This Dominican Curandera's Aloe and Red Onion Cold Syrup Will Crush Your Cold

Yaqui Rodriguez

Image Source: Yaquí Rodriguez

When it comes to battling seasonal sickness like colds or flus, mothers seem to know the perfect remedies to soothe pain and nourish the body. Dominican-American curandera and consejera Yaquí Rodriguez grew up with her Dominican mother, who gave her and her siblings a special aloe vera and red onion blend to fight colds (on top of egg limpias and spiritual baños as a regular occurrence). Red onion, aloe vera, lime, and honey are all loaded with antioxidants and minerals that boost the immune system.

Using ancestral medicine was normalized in Rodriguez's childhood, but she embarked on her own spiritual journey, even spending a few years as an atheist. A few years ago, she visited her grandfather and learned more about his healing methods, a combination of touch and prayer known as ensalmos. During an Indigenous-led ayahuasca ceremony immersed in nature, she felt welcomed home. With the knowledge that her work was meant to help others heal with plants and connect with ancestral reverence, she founded Wave of Healing in 2018. Rodriguez faces stigmatization around Indigenous medicine from friends and family, but to her, ancestral practices demonstrate that we are supported by our predecessors to decolonize the concept of wellness.

"For a long time we were taught to be ashamed of these practices. They were demonized, and still are to an extent, but the difference now is because of access, we are exposed to more information and have been able to learn the true history of these practices," Rodriguez said. "The idea that it's 'bad' exists because of colonization and the way our ancestors were indoctrinated. Anyone practicing what was not part of the status quo, in our case, Catholicism, was severely punished, killed or exiled. This fear reverberates through generations and there comes a point where we don't even know why we believe what we do, we just do because we were told."

What Is Dominican Aloe, Red Onion, and Honey Cough Syrup and What Are Its Benefits?

"Lime is known to cleanse negative energy. Onions energetically absorb sickness or malignant energy, and honey brings sweetness and fluidity," Rodriguez said in an email with POPSUGAR. "The reclamation of curanderismo and plant medicine is a remembering that already lives deep in our bones. It's a form of healing justice. We have the opportunity to undo so much generational harm. We are able to honor the work of our ancestors, to be in the right relationship with each other, the earth and all its inhabitants with the awareness that we are all one."

While the taste of this cough syrup is more pungent, the red onions are packed with vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps boost the immune system. They also help fight off bacteria. While honey's soothing properties help relieve a sore throat. Aloe vera works as a natural anti-inflammatory that helps balance the body, fight inflammation, colds, and bacteria. The concoction of all these ingredients together works as an amazing immunity-boosting cold syrup perfect for the winter days ahead.

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Mama's Cold Remedy

Prep Time10 minutes
Yield15 servings

Yaqui Rodriguez


    • 1 red onion
    • 6 limes
    • 1 aloe leaf
    • 3-4 ounces of honey


    1. Peel the aloe leaf off with a knife, take out the pulp, and blend with the red onion. After blending, put the mixture in a glass container.

    2. Squeeze the limes, add about 3-4 ounces of honey and let it sit in the fridge for 3-4 days.

    3. Stir before serving. Children should take 1 tablespoon, and adults should take 2 tablespoons.