Cures and Fixes

While watching TV the other day, I saw a pediatrician being interviewed. During the interview she recommended giving honey to children for their coughs. That got me to thinking about my mother. Were she living, Mom could say, “I told you so.” That would be with relationship to the effectiveness of some of the “cures” she used when caring for her sick children.

We knew the regimen for each ailment:
  • Cough? A teaspoon of honey mixed with a few drops of lemon juice.
  • Tummy Ache? Chicken soup, hot tea, and toasted crackers slathered with butter.
  • Sore Throat? Suck on horehound drops.
  • Bad Breath? Brush teeth with baking soda and gargle with salt water.
  • Canker Sore? Apply paste made of alum and water.
  • Bee Sting? Remove stinger and cover with paste made of baking soda and water.
  • Wound or Cut? Soak in warm water to which Epsom Salts was added; dry and apply iodine. (Ouch!)
  • Cold Hands? Rub vigorously through hair.
  • Headache? Place the inside of a banana peel at base of skull, cover with towel; lie down in a darkened room.
  • Diarrhea? Eat Apples.
  • The Blues? Homemade potato soup served with toast.

Mom was quite the folk practitioner. I can count on one hand the number of times I went to the doctor during childhood and adolescence.

Not only did Mom have cures, she also had "fixes." Sometimes when I share some of her fixes, I see raised eyebrows. But they all work and they are economical.
  • Fruit juice on a washable fabric? Place the stained portion of the fabric over a strainer and run a stream of boiling water over the stain until it disappears. (No, this does not set the stain. The stain totally disappears.)
  • Mildew on cloth? Soak in sour milk. (Worked back in the day before pasteurization when milk could still be soured rather than just turn smelly and bitter.)
  • Iron rust on cloth? Wet with lemon juice, sprinkle with table salt, put out in the sun.
  • Water ring on table? Cover the spot with a thin layer of mayonnaise. Sprinkle with a small amount of baking soda. Rub lightly with a soft cloth in the direction of the grain of the wood. Remove all mayo and buff with dry soft cloth. (May need to be repeated.)
The other day I discovered a “fix” that my mother apparently did not know about. On a recent cold day when wool coats were being removed in a church foyer, many women discovered that skirts and slacks were left clinging to their bodies. There was much distress being expressed until one very savvy lady took a metal object and rubbed it against the various fabrics. VoilĂ ! Static free clothing! How is that for a cheap alternative to the static-cling sprays?  


  1. In the winter, I rub against an outside corner (inside the house). There is a metal strip that runs along that edge and underneath the drywall joint compound. Any static build up is drained off and into that metal.

  2. Secondary Roads, another great hint! Interesting that the metal works even when it is covered with the drywall joint compound.

  3. Bee sting-crushed garlic or a mud pack made with your own spit.
    Diarhea-2 TBS powdered jello (unprepared)
    Sweaty Feet-Soak in warm tea for 15 minutes every week
    Head cold-Grind 1 inch of a peeled garlic root, with one peeled lemon. Make it into a pitcher of water and sweeten. The ginger forces your body to release toxins and the Lemon provides the vitamin C your body needs.
    Sugar inhibits healing from illnesses.

  4. Hillary, thanks for some additional cures!

  5. ...and a really sore throat: swab with a mixture of iodine and glycerin, thanks to Dad. He also knew a bundle of things "coaloil" would fix.

  6. Vanilla, I had forgotten about the iodine and glycerin. Was the coaloil for an infected sore?