I am surprised that someone hasn't created a node for this topic yet and I'd like to make the first contribution from the lore I've acquired in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.


This is an approximation of the Dominican pronunciation of Vix Vapor Rub. In the Dominican Republic this is the cure of choice for almost anything. If you have a headache, rub it on your temples. This is also the cure for hysterics and other mental distress. Premature ejaculation is cured with a judicious application of vivaporú to the testicles. (I haven't tried that yet.) Morning leg cramps will disappear with a generous dab on the aching muscle. I've seen an open jar of vivaporú in the pantry to discourage bugs.

Roble (Tabebuia heterophylla)

In Spain the word means oak, but in Puerto Rico it is a smallish tree with purple/white flowers. The damas civicas ( = elderly ladies, pillars of the church and keepers of public morality) use the juice extracted from the flowers of this tree to keep the skin soft and to remove unsightly calluses from the elbows.

Parcha (Passiflora Edulis)

The fuit has many names: passion fruit, ciebey, fruta pasionaria, burucuya, guate-guate, curuba, tacso y maracuya, but whatever you call it, it's fame is almost universal. I have seen blood pressure drop miraculously after several days of drinking refrescos ( = refreshing beverage) of Parcha.

Acerola (Malpighia punicifolia L.)

The most common name in English for this fruit is West Indian Cherry. The trees are climb-able and I've climbed many. This is a great source for vitamin C and the fruit are eaten to ward off the first symptoms of a cold.

Se pa'ma

This is an item of folk wisdom from the Dominican Republic. I have no idea what it means literally, but it has to do with "catching" a heart attack. The woman who took care of my house came screaming into my room when I got out of bed and put my bare feet on the floor, "Se pa'ma! Se pa'ma!" What did I do wrong? The "whole world knows" (this is invariably the formula for introducing folk wisdom in both Puerto Rico and the DR), "you can catch a heart attack when you put warm feet on a cold floor." Well, I never did that again.

Medicine practised without scientific knowledge of a specific topic, but rather developed over a long period of time, usually centuries, by inhabitants of an area. Most folk medicine consists of herbal remedies for a disease. Some folk medicine is therefore beneficial, while some can be quite dangerous, or, if not practised properly, possibly fatal. This is not to say that these remedies don't work, because in many cases, they may. When considering folk medicine, use common sense and good judgement, and always consider the source.

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