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Volume No: 
226

A new friend of mine living in the United States mentioned the other day on an email the treatment for a sea urchin sting and I recalled a few more home remedies that I had denied you. I will not charge any special royalties or late fees, but here they are just in case you are in a situation where you do not have the modern medication and you need the home remedies of twenty-five years ago.

SEA URCHIN STING: Whenever you were diving by the reef, you were bound to be stung by a sea urchin for these animals abound by the reef. When you step on a sea urchin, it breaks several of its bristles into your skin. This is really, and I mean really, painful. The quickest and only remedy we knew 25 years ago was to apply urine to the injured area, usually the feet. But they could hurt you on your knee or even your butt if you sit on them. And how do you apply urine to it? Well, you simply urinate on it. Some boys got a kick out of this process- urinating on a friend. I never saw a girl urinating on a sea urchin sting, but I imagine they did it too, after all their urine has the same medical ingredients.

MOSQUITO BITE: Oh yes these do hurt just as much as they do today except that back then there were more mosquitoes and less repellents. If one did not have any alcohol to apply to the area of bite, then a bit of spit did calm the stinging sensation.

WASP OR BEE STING: These little insects were really dreadful little animals. With no doctor on the island, we really feared them because we thought that they could kill you. For this the all-purpose medication was used and that was Vicks.

COUGHS: When one’s cough was really bad people used to say that you had “tos de perro”, or that you coughed like a dog. I’ve got the best thing for that. You make a cup of milk by dissolving some powdered milk in a cup of water. Then you heat the milk over the stove. Add one teaspoon of Vicks into the milk and let it dissolve. Now drink the hot mild with the Vicks and it is a thing of the past. I do want to remind you that the little bottle of Vicks clearly reads: “For External Use Only”.

POISON WOOD: There are several kinds of this around the world. There is the dreaded poison ivy which is a vine. Here in San Pedro we have a poison wood known locally as “Chechem”. Sorry, but you can go to 100 hundred doctors and they will never cure your chechem. I have been to many doctors because I am terribly allergic to chechem and they have all failed. To cure it I use what I used 25 years ago and that is to take a bath with another leaf bath. Boil the leaves of a plant known locally as “hooloop” and wash the body with the water. After one day you will see the improvement. After three days you are totally healed. Hoolooop is no superstition. It is real. You can get it at many places on the island and I believe everyone should have one in his backyard.

DANDRUFF: Dandruff was as common back then as it is today, if not worse. Back then there were no shampoos. People simply used soap. There were no special shampoos to prevent the dandruff either. There was a special comb, a fine-toothed comb that was used to remove the dandruff. Your mom would have to sit there for an hour or so passing that comb through your hair until all the dandruff was removed. This process was repeated every two days for up to a month. If it did not cure it, at least it removed the excess dandruff. But hey, there was a sure medication- kerosene. I know this might sound dangerous or cruel, but I guess everything is valid when there is a need. They say that in the game of love, everything is valid.

HEAD LICE: Do you like these little beasts? If you had them, nobody liked you. Nobody would even want to sit near you at school. Some boys left their girlfriends because they had too much head lice. Can you imagine you having all your wedding gear and your fiancé leaving you because of head lice? Well, no need to worry for I have the perfect remedy and cure. Bathe your head with the magical kerosene. No do not light a match nor lighter near your head. Simply rub the kerosene oil over your scalp and sooner than later, it will kill these little insects before it kills you.

And there you have it folks, a few more remedies that served us well 25 years ago and I am sure it can serve you if you by any chance do not have the modern medications, and trust me, for some of these, there is no modern medication? By the way, is there a modern medication for head lice? What did you use the last time when YOU HAD LICE? DID YOU HAVE LICE?

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