Whitesburg KY

Home remedies worked — sometimes

Ever sit around and just let your mind wander back through the ages? Back to a time when life was hard but simple? Back when there wasn’t so many fancy dodads to complicate things?

I have been thinking of those times quite a bit lately. The older I become, the more I think about them.

Anyone who knows me also knows that I am unpredictable when I use my head for something besides a hat rack, so look out.

I’m not in my rocker anymore because it fell apart. Either I rocked too fast or else there was too much of me and not enough chair. Anyway, it disintegrated.

Okay, now where was I? Oh yeah, I was thinking of long ago. For instance, home remedies, which sometimes seem far fetched, but actually worked ‘sometimes.’

As a child, I remember that ginger or sassafras tea was the number one remedy for whatever your ailment was. From a sore throat, a cold or sniffles, to a plain old bellyache.

Sassafras tea had to be made from sassafras roots from the red sassafras tree. The white tree wasn’t any good because of the bitter taste.

I used to be able to tell which was which by looking at the leaves on the tree, but not anymore. But I can still tell the roots apart.

The best time to gather sassafras root is while the sap is down. They have a much stronger taste then. The roots must be collected, washed thoroughly and cut into a manageable size.

Then they are boiled at least 20 to 30 minutes and the liquid strained into a suitable container and sweetened to taste. It can be consumed hot or cold.

Ginger tea is made by boiling ground ginger for 5 to 10 minutes and sweetened to taste, but must be consumed while hot.

Either one is guaranteed to cure what ails you — or kill you. An old woman told me about 55 years ago how to make a tonic for the common cold.

She said to take equal amounts of willow switches, which are the tiny limbs from a willow tree, life everlasting, rabbit tobacco and mullen leaves. Put all in a pot and add enough water to make about a quart of liquid.

Bring this to a boil and boil for about 5 minutes, strain and sweeten to taste. This must be consumed while hot.

I have drunk all three potions, but don’t remember how much, if any, they helped. But I do remember that the ginger tea made me sweat like a candidate awaiting election returns.

For cuts, a little turpentine usually did the trick. It was used for nail punctures, too. For cuts, soot or flower was used to stop the bleeding after the turpentine was applied.

As a child these were about all the first aid I ever got, and I’m still here. So they either worked, or the good Lord was healing me.

Well, that’s all from the funny farm until next time.

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