12 Latinx People On The Wellness Practices Their Abuelas Taught Them

Sana, sana, colita de rana.

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Many Latinx folks’ first introduction to wellness is at home with their abuelas. From camphor to connecting with nature, these healing traditions are often passed down for generations. These Latinx women & non-binary folks share the wellness practices they picked up from their abuelas.

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Early Wakeups

“My abuelita was always up before the sunrise — singing, gardening, & making comidita. She always had a bottle of alcohol de caña, tecito de manzanilla, & caldo de pollo y vegetales. Now that she’s in the spirit world, these things connect me to her the most."

Xochitl, 35

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Witch Hazel

“One of the things that has been passed down to women in my family is agua maravilla. My mom would put it in the fridge, & every night we would use some on our face as a way of moisturizing & refreshing it.”

Victoria, 24

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Low-Impact Exercise

“My abuela has always stressed the importance of staying on your feet throughout the day. She’s convinced she wouldn’t be walking at 82 if she hadn’t prioritized consistent, low-impact exercise like tennis as an adult.”

Tess, 22

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The Evil Eye

“My Colombian abuela has always given me el mal de ojo & special good luck charms from the botánicas. Brujería has been stigmatized as this bad thing, but in reality it’s such a powerful way to connect with our ancestors & our history.”

Gabi, 20

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Morning Coffee

“My abuela would always make café for us in the morning; I could always look forward to that time with my mom & abuela. My grandma wasn’t as emotional any other time, unless she was in the kitchen. This made me think about the importance of community & interdependence.”

Yei, 23

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Gardening & Cooking

“My abuela always said gardening & cooking weren’t things women had to do, but they were useful to maintain a sustainable lifestyle. When you take time every day to tend to a garden or create something, it brings clarity & melts stress away.”

Teamaré, 24

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I have some alcanfor in a canvas bag with me at all times. My abuela believed it was a fix-all. We would bathe in it to heal muscle pains, vaporize it to alleviate a congested chest, put it in a hot bath to lower a fever, & use it topically for acne or bug bites.”

Stef, 26

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Cocolmeca Tea

“My abuela would make us this tea – té de cocolmeca. It’s made up of strawberries, blackberries, honey, sábila, y corteza de cocolmeca. It’s said to boost iron & help with anemia. She’d make us drink it weekly ‘para que no estuviéramos tristitos’ — so we wouldn’t be sad.”

Sofía, 22

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Her Bath Routine

“My grandmother would sing, ‘sana, sana colita de rana,’ as she bathed me in hot eucalyptus water. She would then massage in Vicks Vapor Rub & follow up by placing small hot rags she ironed all over my body. She taught me everything I know & believe about wellness.”

María, 21

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A Morning Ritual

“Both my abuelas passed down the importance of a morning ritual. Simply opening all the windows in the house each day for a couple of hours would help cleanse our space to sacar las malas vibras, mal olores y dejar entrar la luz. I learned a new day deserves new energy.”

Cindy, 34


Herbal Remedies

“My abuelita used to add brewed tea to our shampoos to make our hair stronger. Herbal remedies were a huge thing in my family growing up. My mom & abuelita would give me teas, extracts, & other natural remedies as an alternative to western, modern medicine.”

Estefania, 22

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Healing Baths

“My abuela was a curandera. When we felt sick she would create baños, & we would heal through the spirits of the plants. This alchemy is still how we commune with the plant spirits. This is the medicine of generations of resilience.”

Koa, 29

Interviews have been edited and condensed for length and clarity.