A Jungle Cure for the Common Cold?

Well, now

Aji Pipi de Mono (capsicum microcarpium)

Aji Pipi de Mono (capsicum microcarpium)

It’s official. 104°F fevers, a sore throat, achy joints and a clogged nose; I’m down with the cold. In the past, I was a fervent believer of the Hungarian Dancing Hat Cold Cure: you just go to bed with a bottle of your favorite brand of hard liquor. Then you place a hat on one of the bedposts at your feet and you hit the bottle until you begin to see the hat start to dance on its own. By the time this happens, you don’t care a %$#! about the flu anymore.But coming with a bottle of decent liquor in the jungle is very difficult, indeed, so there’s always the need of an alternate cure. I was feeling miserable, especially since the part I hate the most of having a cold is the way how my nose clogs, as if someone had poured a truckload of hardening cement into it. Getting my hands on a jar of Vick Vaporum jelly was also out of the question, mainly with the way drugs and medicine are now hard to come by in my home country, all due to the chavenitas’ miserable politics (cancer patients are literally dropping like flies down here).

Then I remembered that I have a great solution for a clogged nose… growing right at my backyard. It’s a spicy pepper called ‘Aji pipi de mono’ (capsicum microcarpium). Now, don’t laugh; but it actually translates as ‘little monkey dick’ (see picture embedded at the top and I dare you to tell me it doesn’t look exactly as its name implies!)

I went to the place where my backyard ends, bordering the rainforest. There are always two or three bushes of this small wonder pepper growing at that spot. I grabbed six or seven of these things and promptly returned to my house.

Then, I put these peppers into the jar of my blender, along with half an onion, a sliver of sweet bell pepper for consistency, eye of newt, some vinegar and sugar. Well, if I must ingest it, the least I can do is make it palatable. Then I hit the ‘pureé’ button, proceeding to turn all this into a vegetable mash. The fumes of this mix knocked me back the moment I removed the lid of the blender.

I dropped half a teaspoon on top of a Formica top; the mash started to eat through the top like if it were the acid blood of those creatures in the Alien movies, which meant it was ready for consumption (for a few seconds I entertained the notion of just drying up the peppers in the oven, grind them with a mortar and pestle and then snort the resulting powder, but I didn’t like the way it would look like (Ooooh! The colors!!!)… and most probably would cause a paparazzi to appear in my window and snap a picture of me inhaling that stuff. I could almost imagine the National Inksmearer headlines next day; “Mediocre indie writer’s disgusting drug habit! Read all about it in page 4!”

So I put a whole spoonful of this stuff in my mouth.


Forget all about Howlapeños; forget everything you know about those chili cook-offs you love. This is the real good stuff. Two seconds after I put that &%$! in my mouth, the insides of my nose were on fire; my nostrils flared, trying to expel the noxious fumes that were rising from my mouth. But it was working: the clogging snot was now running freely, and I wasn’t as nasally congested as before.

It also works great of sore throats. You let it mix with your saliva (carefully, now!), and then you do gargles with it. Make sure the bathroom is near… you’re gonna need it to spit the stuff out without ruining any rugs or pieces of furniture.

The point of this little take is that I feel a lot recovered, already. I’m still a little feverish, but the most annoying symptoms of the common cold are being kept at bay.

I wonder if I could get the people at Bayer interested in this stuff…

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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One thought on “A Jungle Cure for the Common Cold?

  1. I’m a firm believer in bilitzing colds with chilli. I hope it works for you. I can’t imagine anything more horrible than having a temperature in that heat.



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