Twenty five years ago San Pedro might have lacked doctors and nurses, but that is not to say that people lived without any mercy of the ailments and diseases. Of course there were the home remedies and I can tell you that they were effective. Today a little toothache has people running to the doctor and taking three days off from work. Not so 25 years ago. So let us begin by curing your “cagalera”.
After noticing that the flow more than usual, you know that you have the loose bowels. As soon as mom heard of this, she would send someone to the coconut palms and have him pick a few small tender coconuts, no bigger than a tangerine or so. The home remedy calls for you to boil these for fifteen minutes until the water begins to turn yellowish or greenish. This means that the sap of the young coconut is now in the water. Wait until it is cool and you drink the water by tablespoons or small gulps throughout the day and by evening time the flow of the flow has either subsided or stopped completely.
And here is remedy number two. Select the juiciest leaves from the sea grape tree. You will find these along the beach, in many yards, and all over San Pedro. Also peel off some of the bark of the same tree. Boil for some fifteen minutes and drink the liquid the same way you drank the water from the young and tender coconuts. Two things about the sea grape water (You can call it sea gripewater). It is a lot bitter than the coconut water and it works a bit slower, but it is effective.
Cagalera (loose bowels) was so common that there had to be several remedies in case one did not work. Very popular even today is the coke and lime remedy. Pour about four ounces of coke in a bottle. It must be lukewarm or at room temperature. Squeeze two or three caye limes or lemons into the coke. Sip it or take a spoonful every time you pass by the glass of coke or every half an hour. This should help soothe the upset stomach.
Next time you get the loose bowels, why rush to the doctor or buy that expensive Peptobismol? Try the tender coconut or look for the sea grape tree. Now don’t try both because you’ll get a constipation that will bring tears to your eyes.
– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist