Home Remedies: The Friday Five

This week’s Friday Five is courtesy of Laura. I’m in Iksan, at the Language Center where I taught for my first year and eight months in Korea, killing time while everyone is in class. So, I have a chance now to peruse this question and attempt a response.

If you are anything like me, you’ll go to lengths to avoid having to go see a doctor. I actually made an honest-to-god attempt to get to see mine today, but I was rejected out cold by the Secretary From Hell (never mind the fact I can’t eat or drink anything). But that’s not the point… My question for this week is short and sweet:

What are your five most popular (or common, rather) home cures, Granny’s Recipes or magic tricks even for curing or preventing any old disease?

I’ll gladly grant extra points for anyone whose tip kills my throat pain (preferably without killing me, but I’ll consider other options as well)!

I’m going to include only remedies I learned in Korea, most of them learned from Koreans, though one I learned from a foreigner… I’ll also vouch for or criticize them as I go along…

  1. After swimming, put some Rubbing Alcohol in your ears to prevent infection. It dries out your ear canal. Learned this from my friend John Wendel after a horrible infection I got from not drying out my ears properly after swimming indoors during the winter. It’s served me well for a year.
  2. For a hangover, which I basically never get, eat some Spicy Bone Soup (Bbyeotagi Haejanguk) and go to the Sauna. This has actually worked for me… something about a really involved bathing experience refreshes one, even if the hangover isn’t fully gone by the end of it.
  3. If you have an upset stomach, have a friend prick your finger and squeeze it. This will Let Out The Bad Blood. If the stomach problems persist, then have your friend slap your back and rub your arm while squeezing the exit point of the bad blood. Nobody’s ever done this to me, but I have seen it done not only in a bar, but also in the office at work. I don’t think you need me to tell you what I think of this “medical wonder”…
  4. In order to ensure virility and top performance in bed, men ought to regularly eat dog-meat soup and eel. I can testify that these foods are delicious, but I’ve unfortunately not been lucky enough to have the chance to test the effects of these foods extensively, or, well, very much at all. Hmm. Ah, but it is the nature of man to live in hope of a future testing regimen, is it not?
  5. For a sore throat, use Ginger Tea. Now, I don’t mean anything made with a teabag, I mean you take a bunch of peeled ginger and drop it in way to much boiling water and boil the living hell out of it. All the living hell goes into the water, which you boil down to a thermosful, and then you drink that. You can add honey for the sake of taste, because this stuff is strong. (In Korea I also add tetchu, which in English are called jujubes.
  6. Runners-up include eating sticky food before a test (to ensure knowledge is not “lost” on the way to the exam (it sticks to you like the sticky food), and getting horrific burnt spots seared into your skin in order to suck out bad blood, similar to the point above. A lot of these remedies seem a little weird to me. But one of my friends told me her friend got acupuncture treatment to reduce his sweating, and I’m considering trying it out when I return to Korea, because it apparently did this guy a lot of good.

    We’ll see.

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