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QotD: 2003.04.15


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In this age of genetic therapies, HMOs, and shortage of family doctors, I think it's high time we went back in time to the days when people took an active role in their own health care.

To that end, what home remedies do you remember from your childhood?

For me, the big one was the "mustard plaster". Ingredients:

  • one child with congested chest and/or nose
  • piece of cotton cloth (e.g., a chunk cut out of a bedsheet)
  • several teaspoons of dry mustard
  • flour (IIRC)
  • hot (maybe boiling) boiling water

Mix the boiling water, mustard, and flour into a paste, and impregnate the cloth (folded into several layers) with it. While it's still hot, stick it on the child's chest, tuck said child into bed, and wait. By the time the thing cools, the congestion should have eased a great deal.

I know my Mom still has the recipe; I'll have to get the exact details from her sometime, to ensure future generations can experience the healing delights of this concoction.


BRAD (Bravely Remembering Analgesic Doses)

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Guest Low Roller

(Running short on topics are we?)

When I was young and sick, my parents would devise the most horrible concoction ever created in the guise of making me "better". It consisted of a glass of milk, a clove of garlic, and a slice of butter. Put it all in a sauce pan until it boils, and voila! Putrid medicine.

To their credit it did help me to get better faster. Possibly out of fear of the drink.

My grandmother, not to be left out of the loop, also prepared her own witchcraft medicine: cut up an onion, pour some sugar on it, and let it sit. Eventually the onions will release their juices and I would drink that.

Ah, the joys of having an old-world family.

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Hmm no weirdness here....my mom's a nurse though so most illnesses were dismissed-usually the words were "you need a good poop and some aspirin"

If I ever cut myself or inflicted some sort of bodily harm(ie bike wipeout) and my mom had to clean it up, she could scrub as hard as possible with this statement to back it up: "The doctor would do worse"


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Cuts, scrapes and blisters were soaked in hot salt water. Sore throats were treated with a cold salt water gargle and yeah, I remember that mustard plaster for chest conjestion. Worked like a charm but burned like hell.

These days a cup of chamomile tea and some medicinal marijuana usually cures what ailes me.

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Hiccups eh?

Glass of water, bend over til your head is around your knees, slowly drink it from the opposite side of the glass...............

Aside from that, Davey-Boy and I have the 'cure-all'

When we lived in Kingston together, and felt a cold coming on, we would get really drunk, and wake up with a hangover, but no cold.

Speaking of which, its pretty nice weather out there, Davey-Boy!

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My sibs got this one, but it was never given to me for some strange reason ...*

Cold remedy: Take a small glass. Add a generous dollop of colourless stuff from the liquor cabinet. Top up glass with boiling water. The result was a glass of something barely lukewarm and a 12-year-old that suddenly forgot abouthaving a cold.

*Not so strange, really. Likely it's because I'm so much smaller than my sibs, my parents probably figured that much alcohol would do more harm than good.

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For a cough, i always got brandy from mum.

Kids always get cuts and scabs and dirt and ifections and whatnot. My grama makes this "poultus" that you put on an oozy wound or cut or something. its all mushy and then it hardens over. You let it sit for a while and as it dries, it sucks all the junk out of your infection.....nice.

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My mom was a bit weird when we were growing up. She was a bit of a pill popper and believed(still does to a certain degree) that there was a pill for everything. So antibiotics and crushed up Tylenol on a spoon with water. I remember the mustard thing but i remember more the Vicks Vapo Rub routine.

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