Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Romanian Folk Remedies

Ever since my husband left for New York a few weeks ago my grandma has been calling me just about every day, for one reason or another. Usually it's to ask how the cats are (they're fine), how I am (I'm fine too), if I either put gas in the car or had the oil changed (yes to both), and when my husband's coming home. He told me I should tell her "Never, and it's because of you!", to which I told him that, though it was amusing, the sarcasm would just confuse her. I guess sarcasm doesn't compute well when you're speaking English to a Romanian speaker.

Well, today she told me that her sister told her they've shut down schools in Romania because of swine flu. Actually, I don't know if it really was her sister since the word for sister in Romanian can also be used in a "my friend" context like "Hey bro, wuddup?!" That's beside the point though. So she told me that I need to be careful because swine flu can make me sick, so what I need to do is get some rubbing alcohol and cotton balls and wipe my nose with them to kill the germs. She then asked me if I had a place to wash (my hands) at work and told me how she takes a little baggie with cotton balls soaked in rubbing alcohol on the bus to wipe her nose with so she doesn't get sick. I feel sorry for the people who have to sit next to her on the bus.

Gotta love those good old folk remedies. I wonder if back in Romania she used vodka or something instead of rubbing alcohol. If that was the case, I bet she stopped when she moved to the US because people on the bus would ask her if they could have some booze too.

I think rubbing alcohol must be her favorite cure-all. Apparently sticking rubbing alcohol soaked cotton balls in your ears will help you get over a sore throat and cold, and if you soak your head in rubbing alcohol it will kill head lice. Personally, I would rather she went with the Victorian era cocaine as her cure all, at least that would be fun and you wouldn't smell like you had a Russian warehouse accident.


  1. My dad isn't Romanian, but he's also a big fan of the rubbing alcohol. You can actually use rubbing alcohol mixed at least 60% with aloe vera gel to make your own hand sanitizer, so she's on the right track. Plain rubbing alcohol kills germs, but it will also dry the heck out of your skin.

  2. That's true, and good tip for making your own hand sanitizer! I just spent $2 on a bottle to have in my car (I hate touching gas pumps so I keep it around for after I pump gas) and I felt like that $2 could have been put to a better use. I'm so cheap haha