There was a time when grandmothers knew everything or were believed to by their young worshipers who treasured their presence when illness struck. Today medical science tends to pay Granny more respect for her home remedies than it did during previous generations when the marvels of science was all the rage.
Splinters were common as toys and many other items were constructed of wood, not plastic. Most were easily extracted with a needle from Granny's sewing basket. If this method proved difficult and more powerful measures were required she reached for an egg. She cracked it, set the yolk and white aside for other uses and carefully pealed the white membrane away from the shell. She gently applied this over the break in the skin above the splinter. The theory being that the egg skin as it dried would draw the splinter to the surface to be removed with tweezers. Today, a dad of white glue can produce the same results when left to dry. It can then be pulled away bringing the splinter with it.
Chiggers and mosquito bites were doctored with an old friend, Absorbine Jr. This one I know from experience and keep a bottle within easy reach in the bathroom spring, summer, and fall. How many can remember using clear finger nail polish to seal the little hole left by a chigger? Generally one application will stop the itching and burning so the bite can heal on its own.
Forgetfulness was relieved by cutting a lemon in half and then rubbing the tips of both halves. Next time you cannot find your keys or your glasses try the lemon cure.
Onions were just not for hamburgers. Every home had a supply of onions; the hot type that would instantly bring tears to your eyes when their skins were pierced. I remember them being referred to as 'keeper' or Spanish onions, they were hard and yellow that when cooked had a pungent taste. For colds and flu they were Granny's friends.
If you were coming down with a cold you would be fed fried onions for supper or given a slice of raw yellow onion to eat just before bedtime. By morning cold symptoms would be gone. For a cough due to a cold cooked onions would be mixed with honey for a soothing syrup.
Another tried and true cold treatment is to gargle with warm salt water before going to bed to relieve a sore throat.
My grandmother was a nurse during the terrible winter of 1918 when a virulent strain of flu raced across the United States killing many people. Her family never caught the flu as she kept half a fresh yellow onion in a dish by each bed. She discovered the ancient remedy in farm homes whose residents were ill, but did not die. When the flu virus was present in the room of the patient the onion would turn black overnight. Why this worked no one knew, but it did.
Minor burns were treated by immersing the burned area in cold water and allowing it to dry, then the burn was covered with the scrapings from the outside of a potato and lightly bandaged.
A Band-Aid was Granny's cure for scraps and cuts and my nephew firmly believed it. He bit his tongue and was screaming his head off when he was confronted with a mumble fingered aunt who didn't know anything. Have you ever tried to fit a Band-Aid to a three year-old's tongue? Once I applied the marvel cure he quieted down and was cured.