Friday, May 3, 2013

Folk Wisdom Ingenuity and Serendipity (Summer Workshop for Kids)

Dr Abe V Rotor

Summer Workshop for kids, Lagro QC

1. Sugar solution extends the life of cut flowers.
In horticulture, they call this pulsing, a technique of providing nourishment and extending the shelf life of cut flowers. This technique lengthens vase life twice as much.  It allows buds to open and postpones stem collapse, while it enhances freshness of the opened flowers.

Pulsing for roses is done by immersing the stem ends for one to three hours in 10% sugar solution, and for gladiolus 12 to 24 hours in 20% sugar solution. Daisies, carnation, chrysanthemums, and the like are better handled if harvested and transported in their immature stage, then opened by pulsing.  It is best to cut the stem at an angle, dipped 6 to 12 hours in 10% sugar solution compounded with 200 ppm of 8-hydroxyquinoline sulfate, 100 ppm citric acid.  Best results are obtained at cool temperature and low relative humidity.
2. Control common insect pests with red pepper (siling labuyo).
These are the ways old folks make use of red pepper or siling labuyo (Capsicum annuum) in controlling destructive insects.
·        To protect mungbeans from bean weevil (Callosobruchus maculatus), thoroughly dry some 8 to 10 ripe labuyo and place them in a tea bag.  Place the bag inside the glass jar or plastic container in which mungbean is stored.  Cover hermetically. Effective protection against the pest is from three to six months.  Just be sure the mungbean is well dried (14 percent moisture) before storage.     

·        When spraying garden plants, crush 5 to 10 pieces of ripe labuyo in one gallon of water (5 liters), and apply the solution with sprinkler like watering the plants.  Repeat every week until there are no signs of insects and other pests in your garden. You may add a pinch of powder soap, preferably natural soap (Perla) Note: Don’t apply on tomato, eggplant, potato, tobacco and pepper itself.  These belong to the same family – Solanaceae – and may be affected by the mosaic virus the labuyo may be carrying.  Use it instead on other plants.

3. Ants on the move means that a strong rain, if not a typhoon, is coming. Cockroaches come out of their abode and seek for shelter outside.
The biological clock of these creatures responds to invisible signals, which comprise decreased atmospheric pressure, high relative humidity and air temperature. Their sensitive antennae and tactile hairs covering their body pick these up these changes of the environment. Thus we find ants in exodus, they move as a colony carrying their eggs and young indoors. Cockroaches become unusually active, flying about in frenzy, in search for a new place. There is a common message, that is, to escape to safer ground, an archetype engrained in their genes passed on to them by their ancestors through evolution.


“Rediscovering indigenous knowledge and folk wisdom enlarges and enhances our history and tradition. Even beliefs and practices, which we may not be able to explain scientifically, can be potential materials for research. And if in our judgment they fail to meet such test, still they are valuable to us because they are part of our culture and they contribute immensely to the quaintness of living.”
- A.V. Rotor
4. If the father or mother leaves the house, place the clothes he or she last worn beside the sleeping child so that he goes into deep sleep.   
This is pheromones in action. Pheromones are chemical signals for bonding in the animal world, and among humans. Like the queen bee that keeps its colony intact through pheromones, so we are attracted by a similar odor, although of a less specific one.  People are compatible through smell. Pheromones are left in  clothes and other belongings, so that a baby may remain fast asleep as if he were in his mother’s or father’s arms.  

5.  Press the base of the nail of the large toe to wake an unconscious person.
First, place the patient in a comfortable position, loosen his clothes for better blood circulation, and be sure he gets fresh air. It is a common practice to fan an unconscious person or to keep him warm if he is cold. Using your thumb slowly press the base of the large toe and watch for signs that the patient is coming back to consciousness. First he stirs, pulls his leg away from your hold (if he senses pain), then takes a deep breath which is usually accompanied by moan. Release your hold.  Repeat until he becomes fully conscious. If he does not respond, press harder but be gentle.  Try the other large toe. If there is no response immediately sought for medical attention. Remember that prolonged unconsciousness endangers the patient to harm complications.

6. Lighted candles drive flies away.
Houseflies (Musca domestica) are the most popular uninvited guests during a party, especially if it is one held outdoor. Before they build into a swarm, light some candles and place them strategically where they are most attracted.   Candle smoke drives away houseflies and blue bottle flies (bangaw), keeping them at bay until the party is over. For aesthetic reason, make the setup attractive by using decorative candles and holders, especially one that can withstand a sudden gust of wind. Otherwise, just plant a large candle or two, at the middle of the serving table. If your guests ask what is this all about, blow the candle out momentarily and they will understand.

7. Gulat ang gamut sa sinok. To stop hiccup, jolt the person.
Now and then anyone may fall into a pit of hiccup for reasons not well understood even in the medical field.  But as sudden and unpredictable it came, just by jolting the person is enough to terminate hiccup. 

This is what you can do to help your friend in a pit. The first remedy is to give him water. If this does not work, gently massage the back of his head.  If still this does not work, secretly time the interval of his hiccup.  Jolt him up real good coinciding with the next hiccup.  Pronto! The hiccup is gone.
8. Stop that sneeze quick!
Press the base of your nose hard and hold it there until the urge to sneeze subsides. You may do it subtlety even in the middle of a speech or conference, but don’t wait for the last minute; sneeze can’t wait.
9. Press the base of the jaw joint to relieve toothache.
There’s a saying that when your tooth aches, there’s nothing you can do about it except to take painkiller. Mabuti pa ang sakit ng tiyan.  At least for stomach ache you can manage to find a comfortable position, or press the painful part to secure relief.

But here is a simple remedy Dr. Vanda Hernandez, school dentist of St. Paul University QC, demonstrated which I found to be effective. There is a mass of nerve cells called Gasserian ganglion that connects the nerves of the gums and teeth, and their surroundings. Now this is how the simple remedy works.  Open your mouth wide, feel where the joint of the jaw is located. Now close your mouth and press this nerve center with the finger until you obtain relief. Do this along the side of the affected tooth. Repeat until pain subsides.  Once you have practiced the technique, you can do it discreetly even with people around when the need arises.     

10. Smoke therapy (suob) –  old folks’ aroma therapy.     
Basang, my auntie who took care of me when I was a child, was sick and dying. Doctor Catalino, our rural physician, gave her injection but her condition did not improve, and now she was in a pit of convulsion.  As a last ditch Cousin Bistra who knew something about herbal cure gathered leaves of kamias (Averrhoa balimbi) and roasted it on charcoal until a characteristic aroma began to fill the room. Fanning it over the patient face, with prayers chanted, Basang began to calm down, the color of her skin improved, and soon fell into deep sleep. 

Ms. Precila Delima who is taking her doctorate in biology in UST related in class a practice among the Ibanag of Cagayan of using suob by mothers who have just given birth. Garlic and shallot onion (sibuyas tagalog) are roasted on charcoal, and packed with cloth.  While still warm the patient sits on the pack for several minutes, with her whole body covered with blanket.  She perspires profusely, eliminating wastes and toxins from her body.  The whole procedure is closely attended to by the “olds” in the family with the direction of the village manghihilot or homegrown midwife (comadrona or  partera Ilk.). Old folks believe that this practice is important because it drives out evil spirits or wards them off in order to prepare the way the mother faces the crucial responsibility of motherhood – after child bearing follows the bigger task - child rearing. ~

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