Grit Blogs > Country at Heart

Rural Arkansas Cold Remedies

Arkansas GirlJust about everybody, no matter how healthy can expect a visit from Dr. Sick at least once in his/her lifetime, but the illness and remedies I'll refer to are from my childhood (1950s) in rural Arkansas. I don't guess the location makes a difference. I'm just identifying where I was in case something might sound familiar to some of you Southern readers. But the location does make a difference, because as rural folks, we didn't go to town that much, so the trees, orchards, woods, and fields gave us a lot of the substances we used for medicine and food.

Since we kids got colds every winter, my Mother was already prepared with her favorite home remedies - including some that my grandmother (her mother) had gleaned from the nearby pasture and woods.
Now, here's what she forced down our throats for colds.
Hold on to you hats, because the ingredients are a little strange.
Recipe for Children's Colds: lemon, honey, peppermint candy, pine needles, mullen, liquor (whiskey, I think), and cow (dung) chips - brewed into a nice hot tea. She used hot tallow on our chests to break up the mucus and clear our airways.
Mom also used coco-quinine (a store bought medicine) for treating our colds.
I thought I was simply imagining that she had really used cow dung, so I had to ask my older sister to refresh my memory about that "cow chip" thing. She verified it to be true.
Those home-made medicines may be a little hard for your minds to swallow, but they are what we reluctantly ingested. But they are also what pushed us back into the healthy-zone. And as a result of "Doctor Mom," I'm here today to give you this report.