Kawartha Lakes Public Library - Digital Collections
Looking Back: Remedies
, p. 30

Hooper, John, Author
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Item Type:
Written: 29 January 1997
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.35012 Longitude: -78.73286
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Full Text

Not long ago I was chatting with an elderly gentleman and made mention of the fact that there are so many new products on the shelves in drug stores. It's difficult to choose the one you want for whatever ails you.

"Bah" he said, "too many people running to the doctor to-day with the least little thing that's bothering them. Back in my time we had home remedies that did as much for us in a shorter period of time than it takes to-day."

"You know, folks didn't have the money or medical plans that they have to-day and had to rely on what our parents and grandparents did; make their own remedy for whatever ailed them."

He went on to draw a few of the "magic" medicines that did wonders and I was able to recall a few of them my mother used on us.

A piece of bread dipped in hot milk made a great poultice to apply to a fester one might have. A mustard plaster was placed on the chest to help relieve one from heavy congestion on your chest as was goose grease. How about a little electric oil for an ear ache or gin pills for kidney discomfort or sweet spirits if niter if the gin pills failed to do the trick.

"Ever have a sore throat and have a dirty sock wrapped around it?" my friend asked. "If you had a headache a piece of a brown paper bag soaked in vinegar and planted on your forehead was a great cure."

"Did you ever place a piece of stuff called Thermogene inside your skate boots to keep your feet warm or a great cure for Impetigo was to burn a piece of cloth on an axe and make it into a paste then put it on the affected area. Best thing in the world to cure that mess up."

Some of the other "sure cures" we came up with were: Sulfur and molasses for diphtheria and boils. A good dose of castor oil to ward off the flu, licorice for constipation, milkweed juice placed on warts cleaned them up. Peeled onions strung up in the kitchen would send the cold bugs away; have a pipe smoker blow smoke in your ear to relieve an earache. Place soda on a mosquito bite and take a slug of ginger in water if you had an upset stomach.

I chuckled as I mentioned some of these so-called cures to our doctor and was surprised when she said, "it's no laughing matter, and some of the old cures were as good as we have to-day."

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Looking Back: Remedies