What Would Your Grandma Recommend to Fix This?

Photo by Flickr user julochka. CC BY-NC 2.0

Photo by Flickr user julochka. CC BY-NC 2.0

Across countries and cultures, grandparents hold a special place in all of our hearts. They're a well of wisdom and love to whom we often turn in times of need.

The advice they offer, however, is hardly universal. Ask 10 different grandmas around the world for a remedy to heal the tickle in your throat, and you might get 10 different answers, depending on the time and place in which they grew up and their personal experiences, beliefs and idiosyncrasies.

Similarly, the Global Voices community is a diverse bunch with a wealth of ideas and experiences. So we'd like to ask all of GV's lovely contributors:

What remedies would your grandma recommend? 

These can be prescriptions for everything from physical ailments to a bout of bad luck, and their suggestions don't have to be a recipe (although recipes are very welcome). Whatever your grandma (or grandpa) would recommend to fix an unwanted situation, we'd like to hear it.

We'll collect all the responses in a post and publish on the Global Voices main site. The deadline is Tuesday, October 20.

To contribute, please share a few lines in a comment below this post, explaining:

  • Where you live (city, country)
  • Where your grandmother is/was from
  • Your grandmother's remedy
  • What it was meant to fix
  • Your experience with the remedy (did it work?)
  • A link to a Creative Commons-licensed or public domain photo of the remedy, if possible

Let's see what GV can learn from the savvy of our grandmas!


  • Firuzeh

    I am from San Juan, Puerto Rico. My beautiful and wise abuela, Guillermina Ferrer, is from Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. One of my grandmother’s most famous remedies is a glass of water mixed with one teaspoon of salt for curing anxiety and nervousness. I have used it many times in my life, the first time was before taking my drivers license test when I was 16 years old. Since then, I drink a glass of water with salt right before any event or occasion that might make me nervous. It works miracles!

  • I am from Porto, Portugal. My missed avó, Júlia Oliveira, used to make a home syrup to stop coughing. The recipe is very simple: Chopped carrots in a container, add heaps of yellow or cane sugar on top with a bit of Port. Leave it resting for one day or two. Take two spoons of the syrup two times per day! It used to work fine for us! ;)

  • I have so many unique remedies to share as a Ukrainian immigrant in New York City, but the one that stands out to me the most would be that if you have a cough (or something like bronchitis), you can make a warm compress by boiling potatoes, putting a little bit of oil on them, stuffing them in a warm cloth, and putting that on your chest to sleep with. It sounds totally crazy, but it absolutely works!

  • I am from Moscow, Russia, and my beloved babushkas are from Siberia. They could give you a lot of advices about how to cure a sore throat or a cold, but ofe on the most interesting of them is this one, and it works especially good for children. Rub your feet down with oil, then put on some really warm socks and go to sleep under a really warm blanket. It usually makes you feel much better in the morning!

  • I am from Nepal and I can never forget two home remedies that my grandpa made. The first one was a mixture of orange peel, coconut husk fibre, carom seeds and rock salt. He used to dry the orange peel, roast all – carom seeds, coconut husk and orange peel and grind them together with the rock salt. It works wonders curing indigestion.

    Another was a remedy for eczema and other skin diseases. He used to collect trifoliate-like herbs called Musakani in local Tharu language from grasslands and cook it in mustard oil over cow-dung cake fire. The concoction was an amazing cure for different skin diseases, especially the poor people loved it.

  • These are all amazing! Thank you so much, Firu, Manuel, Marianna, Anna and Sanjib, for being so quick to answer. I might just have to adopt one or three of these remedies… :)

  • I am from Lahore, Pakistan and my Dadi is from Sialkot, Pakistan. As winter draws near, one remedy we all are bound to follow is to gargle every morning with a glass of luke warm water, with a pinch of salt dissolved in it to avoid sour throat. Another remedy to avoid travel sickness, which worked for me is to keep ‘gur’ (a candy made from juice extracted from sugarcane) in your mouth.
    These two remedies have worked for me! I usually never believed in remedies but health remedies do work I guess.

  • Hi! I am from Mexico City. My grandmother was from Hidalgo, a state north of the City with a great indigenous population.
    She had a remedy almost for everything:
    – Soar throat: a look warm infusion made of lemon and bee honey.
    – Cought: an infusion of garlic and cinnamon.
    – Alergies: use a nutmeg as a necklace.
    – Insomnia: place a leaf of lettuce under your pillow.
    – Mosquito/spider bites: cut a garlic and rub it on top of the bite (this one is WONDERFUL)

    And here are some from the Peruvian grandma who helps me babysit my kid:
    – Stomach ache: infusion of Paico (Chenopodium ambrosioides, known as wormseed, Jesuit’s tea, Mexican-tea, paico, epazote, or herba sancti Mariæ, is a herb native to Central America, South America, and southern Mexico)
    – Stomach infections: infusion of spearmint.
    – Bladder and/or kidneys infection: infusion of linseed with potato skins.

    I always try all of this before traditional medicine and I got to say, they have helped a lot. :)

  • My maternal grandmother, Granny Petra, had a great stomach ache/constipation cure: Mix 2 teaspoons of Epsom Salts in a 1/2 teacup of water. Gulp it down fast because it tastes terrible. Then, have a sliced orange on hand to munch into (helps get rid of the awful aftertaste). Works every time! :)

  • I was born in Lima, Perú, but all my mother’s family hails from the Amazon region. My siblings and I were lucky enough to have my great aunt, the sister of my great grandmother, living at home with us. She was raised until she was eight in the rubber plantations around the Amazon River during the Rubber Boom in the early 20 century, and she really was a box full of recipes (and expressions we still use) for almost everything.
    I remember especially her medicine for sore throats: she sliced garlic and mixed it with onions and some water. She would leave that mix to stand for some hours and then she’d add some sugar and give that to us with a spoon. She had to add TONS of sugar for the preparation to have at least some sweetness. After all our moans, we finally swallow that (I can even remember its taste, yikes!). The thing is our cough was over in less than an hour, our throats were grateful.
    God bless my always beloved and remembered tía Angelita!

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