Flu season in the Philippines lasts throughout the year. Getting sick entails facing rising healthcare costs that are difficult for the majority of Filipinos to cope with. This is why Filipinos (especially older folks) turn to simpler health hacks for relief. These tips have been passed down to younger generations, making them staple home remedies in a typical Filipino family.
Efficascent oil (camphor oil)
Body pains are common after-work woes. That’s why almost every Filipino family has Efficascent oil, the most popular brand of camphor oil, in their first aid kits. After a long day’s work, Filipinos enjoy a relaxing massage and it’s normal for houses to smell like painkiller oil in the evening.
Aceite de Manzanilla (oil of chamomile)
Aceite de Manzanilla is used for baby colic and adult stomach cramps after a heavy meal or during cold weather. Filipinos believe that “hangin” (wind) or “lamig” (cold) can penetrate a person’s skin. This results to muscle spasms or slight loose bowel movement. Aceite de Manzanilla is rubbed on the stomach and portions of the back. Burping and passing wind are signs that the oil worked.
Locally known as “luya”, ginger is the go-to solution for sore throat and raspy voice. Ginger is heated in pans or grilled until it becomes tender for easy chewing. The sick person can opt for tea or juice for additional benefits like relief for bloating or indigestion, and nausea.
Most Filipinos keep this ointment in their bags or pouches. White Flower oil is a blend of essential oils including eucalyptus and lavender oil. It is a popular relief for dizziness and nausea. It is an all-around remedy used by many Filipinos. When someone passes out, White Flower is applied to temples and below the nostrils as first-aid.
In rural areas, people grow herbs in their backyards or in repurposed plastic containers. Oregano (pot marjoram) and pasaw (nalta jute) are often used as “hampol” (poultice) for coughs and fevers. The leaves are sterilized and fastened to the head with a cloth. The leaf extracts are believed to be absorbed directly by the body.
When someone is running a fever, it’s common practice to cover him with a thick blanket to quicken perspiration. Sweat promotes the cooling down of the body and hastens recovery. As the sick person often feels cold, he’s also made to wear socks and/or jackets plus the thick blanket.
In a country where it’s hot (and only gets hotter) all year, minor illnesses like influenza, cough, rhinitis, and fever are no longer seasonal. Getting sick takes a toll on the person’s body and his pockets, that’s why Filipinos turn to cheap alternatives. Despite the lack of scientific proof, a lot of people (even the younger generation) would vouch for them.
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