During the 19th century, empacho as a nosological entity prompted academic research by such renowned Mexican clinicians as Miguel F. Jiménez, Eduardo Liceaga, Fernando Altamirano, José Peon y Contreras, among others. Empacho is often the result of excessive eating or difficulty in digestion of certain foods, especially fruits with a peel (oranges, limes, grapefruits, apples, etc.) and legumes (beans, sweet pea, chick peas). Empacho has a greater effect on children under the age of two. It is clinically identified by diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, restlessness, the presence of abdominal distension, abdominal dullness to percussion, nausea, vomiting, anorexia and meteorism. The most common treatments during the 19th century sought to evacuate gastrointestinal content immediately through vomiting or purgative medication. The general population often used medicinal plants to provoke gastrointestinal purges, while academic doctors most frequently used castor oil as a laxative and ipecacuanha to induce vomiting. This work presents a description and analysis of the general characteristics of the popular illness, empacho. The information comes from doctors, pharmacists, homeopaths, botanists and popular groups.