Ergg, chhjk, hack, cough, cough, wheeze, ergg, chhjk, sniffle…
Sorry, excuse me, cough, don’t come too close…
Yep, Eileen at bearshapedsphere isn’t the only one battling the bug this week. I swear I read her post on all the ways to name a cold and came down with it myself the next day! We’ve since compared symptoms, and while a certain degree of misery is shared, we’ve each maintained our own personal relationship with our viral foes.
Given our common focus these days, I thought I’d write on these winter woes from a different angle. She gave you the vocabulary you’ll need to be able to talk Chilean when you’re sick, and now I’ll tell you how to get better.
I’ve gotten a lot of advice about cures for the common cold; in fact, my mother used to make us take aspirin and gargle with Listerine before she slapped mustard plasters on our chests. Believe me, we did NOT want to get sick! I couldn’t swallow the aspirin, so had to let it dissolve in my mouth (ick), the Listerine made me gag (ick) and the mustard plasters burned like hell (ow)…
Fortunately, the treatments I’ve come across in Chile have been much less hostile. Check these out–and please add more to the list!
Palto-miel (Avocado-honey). This is a popular over the counter syrup-like remedy that can actually be made at home. When I first came to Chile I had bronchitis and the women I rented from made me drink a tea made from avocado leaves and honey. Seemed to work and most people swear by it.
Someone recently told me to steep the leaves in milk instead of water, although that seems a bit counter-productive to me.
Agüita de tilo: Tilo (tilia cordata) is Tilia in English, and is apparently both lime and linden and brewed (especially the flowers) into a soothing medicinal tea for colds and all their symptoms—from coughs and fevers, to headaches, inflammation, and more—oh, and it’s a sedative too.
Pisco sour with (or without) salt. I’ll skip the salt, but have long thought this would be a better bet than the favorite OTC Tapsín, which is a powder stirred into hot water for a soothing hot lemonade. I figure the natural version should work just as well (or better): lemon juice for vitamin C and alcohol as an antiseptic!
Beer with lemon and salt. I’ve heard this one a number of times, but frankly, I’m not likely to try it. Somehow being not only sick, but bloated from salty sour beer doesn’t sound very comforting.
Gargle with warm water, vinegar and salt. Many people swear by this one, so I’ll have to give it a try…
Ginger-lemon tea with honey. Grate or slice ginger and steep in hot water for 10 minutes then add lemon and honey. It is said to fight inflammation and be good for all kinds of “itis” (bronchitis, rhinitis, sinusitis, etc.) Singers use it for their throats.
An anthropologist friend offered a cure that he admits is “ordinario” (crude):
Catrenal: Explanation: in the past people used to take “Dominal” brand aspirin (which no longer exists). It’s a play on catre (cot, though stretched to “bed” in this case) and Dominal and means, he says, not just going to bed, but, er, let’s say with company… in other words, a suggestion that sex will make you better.
And one of my old favorites: Many years ago, an anthropologist I was working with, many years my senior, told me this cure:
Go to bed with a big pitcher of hot rum and milk. Put a hat at the foot of the bed. Slowly sip the drink, and when you see three hats, you’re cured. (What you need to know is that in Spanish, “curado” means both cured and drunk!)
I’m sure I’m missing dozens of great cures—would love to hear yours!