There is this fear for sickness, and for every little thing some people rush to the doctor. Today there is a fine clinic, good doctors and fine drug stores, but with all that I want to assure you that there is nothing wrong with trying some home remedies before you get to the doctor, or in the middle of the night when you can’t get to a doctor for a little headache, a toothache, a cut, a nail puncture or a belly ache. If these remedies worked for people of the past, I am sure they could work today also.
A DEEP CUT OR WOUND: How do you stop the bleeding? Yes, direct pressure and elevation of the arm or leg was done as is done today. Now hold on to your seat; kerosene oil was poured over the wound and it would clot the blood and stop the bleeding.
NAIL JUK (Creole for nail puncture) This was a very common injury because the dump site was very close to town and children loved to roam on it looking for something usable. Also all Sanpedranos walked barefooted, and a nail puncture was very much more possible. Up until today I am surprised that not many people lost their legs due to gangrene. The home remedy was to immerse the foot with the injury into a pail of very hot and steaming water. Sounds cruel, but it was done for as long as one could take it. Up until today, every time I remember my grandmother, I remember those times she would practice this therapy on us. Then at night you lit a candle and poured the hot melted candle over the injury. This was repeated for about ten times and you could guarantee great results. Great home remedy when there were no tetanus shots back then.
SEVERE PAIN ON CUT OR PUNCTURE: A nail puncture on the sole of the foot hurts a lot. Even after treatment with hot water, the pain thereafter could be intense. What was the home remedy 25 years ago? You took a roach, yes a cockroach, and you fried it crispy in a small frying pan. No you did not eat it! You applied it and tied it right over the wound. Whatever the scientific explanation, trust me, the pain did go away.
TOOTHACHE: What was done about severe toothache discomforts 25 years ago? There was this medication, a liquid in a bottle by the name of “Castro” by one Doctor Castro. You soaked a piece of cotton in the “Castro”, and you kind of placed it right over the pain area and bit on it. The process was repeated three or four times over a 30-minute period and after that you could sleep like a baby or as they said in San Pedro, “like a log”. Please note that Castro might have had some alcohol in it, because alcoholics used to steal the Castro from their wives and drank it. So it might have had an effect on a hangover too. Also, but not too often, mother would have us puff some cigarette smoke to heal a toothache. And also, but not too often, mom would have us chew on the cigarette tobacco as a remedy for toothache.
HURTING TUMMY OR BELLYACHE: That was, and probably still is, the number one ailment, especially among children and especially gluttonous children. It was believed that most bellyaches were the result of overeating, or eating junk food, or eating green fruits with salt and lime and pepper. The solution for a bellyache was one tablespoon of warm water with a few droops of this “Castro” solution. The process was repeated every 2 hours. Please note that Dr. Castro’s solution clearly reads on the label, “For external use only”. My mother was a great exponent of Castro; in fact, as late as last year I got a dose of Castro for some bellyache I had. She said, “It is not only good for children; it is good for old men like you too.”
MORE HOME REMEDIES next week if the author has not been sued for malpractice by a doctor or some parent who tried one of them and it did not work.