02-20-2013   2 comments

In my travels this year everyone seems to be talking a great deal about the flu, getting flu shots, and health issues in general.  They don’t call this time of the year Cold & Flu Season for nothing I suppose.

As a society we’ve been slowly and steadily introduced to a plethora of drugs that will seemingly cure all of our ills (we hope).  The costs keep rising and rising for these drugs with no end in sight (if the drug companies having anything to say about it).  Prescription drugs have become the new necessities of life and a major addiction for our entire society. It’s all we seem to talk about or think about after  decades of thorough and constant advertising propaganda.

My mother introduced me to herb growing many years ago and ever since I’ve had a really nice herb garden wherever I’ve lived.  I grow dozens of culinary herbs and I’m already planning additions to my garden for this year.  I try to use as many fresh herbs as I can in our food preparations during the summer months and dry and store enough to get us through each winter.  It makes the food much more  flavorful and is likely a healthy practice (we hope).

Being a huge reader I’ve developed a habit of buying old books at yard sales and discount bookstores concerning herb lore and their varied medicinal uses.  About twenty years ago I stumbled on a copy of a very old book, Culpeper’s Complete Herbal – written in 1653, that contains hundreds of plants and their dosages used for  medicinal purposes.  For centuries that book was probably used  for remedies to ease symptoms of many every day minor illnesses.

I decided to do a little more research and  thought I might pass along a few of these outdated and quirky remedies that may have been the basis for some of our current day solutions.  Here are a few:

After all of these years our current well educated doctors are still no closer to discovering a remedy for the common cold.  It’s the same old thing, "drink lots of liquids, bed rest, and take an aspirin every four hours."  The ancients believed in the use of medicinal herbs.  They actually brewed willow bark  to help ease headaches and cold symptoms. It was later synthesized into the modern day aspirin we use today.  Maybe they were smarter than we give them credit for, or  maybe not. Here’s a sore throat remedy that you will just love:

Take a wool sock, a dirty (stinky and smelly) wool sock worn by someone who is obviously strong and healthy.  It must be a sock from a member of the opposite sex and should be turned inside out and tied around the neck.  The foot part of the sock should cover the sorest spot of the throat and left there overnight. In the morning remove the sock and wash (please). Your sore throat and fever should be eased somewhat. (Yikes!)

How’s that for a disgusting bit of healthcare.  I think I’d prefer the smell of Vicks to a nasty old sock worn by better-half. It might cure my sore throat but my eye’s would water for a week. Now for an interesting tip on dealing with a pesky toothache:

Just split open a nutshell, dig out the meat but be sure to keep the two items intact. Put a dead spider in one half and close up the shell. Hang it around your neck and as long as you’re wearing it, no more toothaches. (This one is not for me).  Now for a really ancient hiccup cure:

The ancient Chinese were ahead of their time in dealing with hiccups.  They suggested to gulp nine swallows of water without taking a breath.  You should at the same time press a spot on the back of your neck where it meets the torso.  Modern scientists later determined that was actually the location of the phrenic nerve which when pressed can  stop the impulse to hiccup.

Wart remedies are one of my favorites.  When I was a kid I had a wart on my index finger that would not go away and it drove me crazy.  An elderly Slovak lady who lived in my neighborhood told me to cut a potato in half. Then take a penny and rub both sides of it on the potato halves.  Next I was to rub the penny on the wart using both sides of the coin.  Finally I was to throw the penny away where it could never be found by anyone.  I followed her instructions to the letter and within two week the wart dried up and fell off. I was dumbfounded.

I certainly don’t recommend or endorse any of these ancient remedies, just passing them along as a public service.  Some are silly, some don’t work and some do but either way they’re still interesting.

Have a wonderful Cough and Cold season and save all those stinky socks.

2 responses to “02-20-2013

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  1. What kinda herbs you growing????????

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