An amazing "home remedy" for upset stomach, found in liquor stores

Why is it that every time we travel, we overdo the things that we already know for a fact aren't good for us?

This is no major moralistic concern of mine, it's just my way of complaining for having a weak stomach. I wish I didn't, because hey after all... I am Mexican! But I have learned the hard way, that caffeine doesn't fully agree with me, and I have also learned to stay away from it – at home that is – but on vacation. Forget it! The minute I land elsewhere, I immediately become caffeine-lady-double-espresso-shot after each and every meal. Oh yes, I am bold that way.

So this Spring Break vacation became a little bit too much of everything… from fried foods, to exaggerated portions of Serrano ham, too much garlic and a thousand too many desserts.

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Then because I reached the point of "I am dying now", my Mom reminded me of her grandma Josefina's (of Neapolitan descent) favorite remedy for an upset stomach. Fernet-Branca, an Italian bitter that may be something of an acquired taste, but those who like it often love it. I'm not one of those. But I've tried it before--when things have gotten out of hand--and it worked. So I decided to try it once again.

Fernet-Branca is a dark, syrupy alcoholic drink that has been described as being a cross between medicine, crushed plants and bitter mud. The exact recipe of Fernet-Branca is actually a secret, but the producers claim that it contains 27 different herbs and spices taken from four continents. Among the known ingredients are aloe, gentian root, rhubarb, gum myrrh, red cinchona bark, saffron and zedoary. Fratelli Branca Distillerie claims that such recipe has remained unchanged since its invention in 1845. Fernet was created by the apothecary Bernardino Branca and its logo featuring an eagle poised over a globe, was designed back in 1893.

There were many health benefits claimed by Fernet-Branca during its origin. An advertisement from 1865 stated that this "renowned liqueur" was "febrifuge, invigorating, warming and anti-choleric". It was also claimed to be a drink which had furthermore helped the venerable Doctor Fernet (and several more members of his family) to live for over a hundred years. And it was also marketed as a cure for menstrual cramps!

I imagine the advertising rang true to many people out there, because during the American prohibition--as a medicine--Fernet-Branca was still legal (even though it contains a good amount of alcohol).

And today, many others, like my Mom (a self proclaimed Italian from Mexico) claim that Fernet is an excellent digestive aid. She would love to know that I happen to agree with her on this.

From now on I will proceed to share this secret with the rest of the world: Fernet cured me. But trust me when I tell you I tried many other over-the-counter medicines before heading to the alcoholic remedies.

Fernet-Branca in Argentina it's often drank with cola, so there you go, two stomach remedies at once! Head to your liquor store and keep this remedy home. Next time you have an upset stomach, you will thank me!

What similar secret home remedies has your family shared with you?

Image via Pjohnkeane/Flickr 

Topics: array  tips