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Sick? : Abuela’s home remedies to the rescue

At home remedies are passed down generation to generation.
At home remedies are passed down generation to generation.

The recipes to quick-fix home remedies are passed down from generation to generation in some Latino families. (Jaclyn Diaz/ Press Pass Latino)

If there’s one thing I miss about my younger years is being taken care of by my mom when I was feeling under the weather. If my mom suspected that I was coming up with a cold and was showing symptoms, she’d rush to the kitchen and make me her homemade honey and lime tea and she’d make “una olla de sopita de pollo”.

She’d then spread vaporu (vapor rub) all over my chest and back. Overnight, I would sweat profusely and I’d wake up “empapada de sudor”. I don’t know if it was the lime tea, the chicken soup or my mom’s TLC but rest assured I was feeling like new the next day.

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My abuela, who is from Cuba, taught my mom algunos remedios caseros para curarse en la casa using some basic ingredients that almost everyone has in their kitchen. This is a healthier alternative to taking over-the-counter medicine and you don’t need to leave the comfort of your home.

Here’s a list of some Cuban home remedies from my family to yours, in case you can’t make it to the nearest farmacia and need something immediately.

Si tienes dolor de garganta, if your throat hurts:

Salt, Olive oil, organic raw honey, lemon and a spoon

Salt, Olive oil, organic raw honey, lemon and una cuchara are all you need to alleviate a soar throat. (Jaclyn Diaz/ Press Pass Latino)

You’ll need 1 whole lime, 1 tsp salt, 1 cup of water and a spoonful of organic raw honey

  • In a small tea cup, add 1 cup of warm water and la mitad de un limon con un chin chin de sal. Gargle for 20 seconds spit out and repeat.   OR
  • Cut un limon a la mitad, tilt your head back and squeeze the lime juice into your mouth (preferably directly on the throat). Repeat this several times throughout the day hasta que te sientas mejor.
  • You can also have a cucharada of organic raw honey. Organic raw honey has never been strained, filtered or heated so you actually ingest all the organic enzymes and antioxidants, which help build a stronger immune system. Honey is also known to be a cough suppressant. La miel, in this instance, te ayuda cubrir la garganta and it’s the sweetest of all the other remedies.

If you’re feeling like you’re going to catch a cold and you’ve got a runny nose,  you’re coughing and have a soar throat, these same ingredients can help make my mom’s at-home lime tea. 

  • Boil 1 1/2 cup of water. Squeeze el limon entero into the boiling water. Add dos cucharadas of raw organic honey into hot lime water and stir. Poor the tea into a cup and drink the entire thing.  I know it doesn’t taste the best, but it helps sweat out whatever it is that is causing discomfort.

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The following home remedies I got from my husband’s Tia Clara, who lived in Cuba till she was 17. Like most women, she won’t admit her age to me. She’s been in the United States for over 20 years and these are remedies her mom (my husband’s abuela) would do for her in Cuba.

Si tienes dolor de cabeza, if your head hurts:


A raw potato and a pillow could cure that annoying headache. (Jaclyn Diaz/ Press Pass Latino)

You’ll need a pillow,  una papa cruda and the bed or el sofa

  • Acuéstate en la cama con una almohada por debajo del cuello. Cut la papa cruda and place them on the side of your temples and one en la frente. Close your eyes and lay there until headache is gone.

Si tienes dolor de oido, if your ear hurts:

A spoonful of warm Olive oil and a cotton ball

You have an ear ache? Don’t stress it, a little bit of Olive oil, a cotton ball and a spoon will help you get rid of it. (Jaclyn Diaz/ Press Pass Latino)

You’ll need a spoon,  two cotton balls and olive oil.

  • Get una cucharada de olive oil and warm it up hasta que este tibio. Get un algodón and slightly dip it into the spoonful of olive oil. Hechate una gota inside your ear and place a clean algodón in your ear right after. The olive oil is supposed to help remove excess water in the ear.

Si estas vomitando, if you’re throwing up:


Some vinegar and toasted Cuban bread will stop you from throwing up.  (Jaclyn Diaz/ Press Pass Latino)

You’ll need two toasted bread, vinegar y  tu cama.

  • Toast two slices of bread y despues ponle a little bit of vinagre. Place the slices of bread on your stomach and acuestate en la cama. Make sure to breathe in the vinegar.

I’m not sure if it’s just a cuban thing, pero we all swear by manzanilla tea. Here’s what it’s good for:


Manzanilla/ Chamomile Tea is used in several Latino-inspired home remedies. (Jaclyn Diaz/ Press Pass Latino)

You’ll need a bag of manzanilla, Chamomile

  • Boil 2 -4 cups of water mixed with manzanilla and drink.
  • Manzanilla is good para quitar la inflamación después de parto, after giving birth.
  • para lograr una buena y rápida digestión.
  • Good for puffy eyes.
  • This is also great to use over una quemada. You boil the two spoonfuls of manzanilla with a 1/2 cup of water and use un algodón to drip drops of the tea onto the burned area.

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* The above at-home remedies were passed down from generation to generation in the author’s family. However, these are not recommended or approved by a licensed physician so you’re welcome to try them at your own risk. 


Jaclyn Diaz holds a BA in Mass Communications from Florida International University. She worked at WSVN Channel 7 for five years and covered entertainment events for Deco Drive. Jackie has contributed articles to 53-weeks.com; a mom blog, ExclusiveAcess.net and OurBrickell.com. She's now freelancing as a reporter. You can keep up with Jackie on Instagram @jackie_sd

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