Winter Home Remedies


| 12/19/2016 12:36:00 PM


Tags: sickness, medicine, illness, winter colds, flu, fever, cough, homemade medicines, herbs, castor oil, native of Arkansas, Southern California,

Country at HeartAll of us, no matter how healthy, can expect a dreaded visit from that miserable old man, "Mr. Sick," at least once in our lifetime. Unfortunately, he popped up at least once a year at our house, and with so many of us kids one was almost always sick, especially during those long, cold, winter months. So, "Dr. Mom" stayed on the ready with some kind of medicine to remedy our frequent childhood illnesses. My mother didn't believe in going to the doctors' office, so when we got sick, whatever grew out in the fields gave her the herbs that she used for medicine and healing.            

Like clockwork, we kids came down with some kind of malady during inclement weather. Now, this may sound morbid, but I looked forward to sickness more than I looked forward to going to work — sickness was the lesser of the two "evils." And whenever I think about it, it seems like childhood illnesses weren't as taxing on the body as grown-up ailments. That could be because, with the passing of time, I've simply forgotten what it was like to be sick.    

When we caught a cold, that unmerciful demon brought along his hated cousins: chills, fevers, coughs, sore throats, stuffy heads, blocked sinuses, and runny noses. We inhaled camphor for decongestion. We ate Vick's Vapor rub and saturated our little, flat chests with it as well as with hot tallow (cow grease) to help break up the mucus and clear our lungs. But no matter what medicines we took, these unwelcome intruders hung around until they outlived their usefulness. It was as though colds had a time frame, and if the cold's time wasn't up, it didn't leave. The medicine simply eased the symptoms.

Since we kids came down with a cold every winter, Mother was always ahead of the game. With the herbs that she gathered from the woods, she concocted her favorite homemade remedies. One of those bitter, weird-tasting, stomach-gagging concoctions that she forced down our throats for colds was called a "Hot Toddy." The ingredients are a little strange; nevertheless, they were brewed together into a nice, soothing, hot tea that scared away colds and anything else that was tormenting us.

Mom's get-well formulas worked like this: When it was time for that unsavory, slow-pouring castor oil to be administered, the drama began. That liquid had to be force-fed. Mother literally stood over us in a threatening manner before we'd finally "gag" it down. 

Then it came to the "Hot Toddy;" we drank that strong, strange-tasting tea just before turning in, with a verbal warning that no matter how hot and sweaty we got (and believe me, we got summertime-hot under a pile thick, heavy quilts) not to kick the covers off. To do so would expose our body to the room's contrasting cold night air and thus defeat the cure's purpose. If we removed the covers, the "toddy" wouldn't work as well as it should have.




mother earth news fair

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Feb. 17-18, 2018
Belton, Texas

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!

LEARN MORE