Friday, September 8, 2017

Weird Cures

"Good for what ails you." How often have we heard that phrase?
   My nephew was convinced a Band-Aid was the prime cure for all cuts. Have you ever tried to put one on a kid's tongue? That experience ended my baby-sitting career.
   I have a collection of old cures for common ills. Some of them could cause serious harm giving birth to the adage that the 'cure is worse than the disease,' but others are fun to read.
   Warts. Who hasn't had a wart at one time or another? Rub a wart with a rock. Put the rock in a tobacco sack and throw it over you left shoulder.
   If this doesn't work try catching a frog and rub the wart with it. I've heard that catching frogs will cause warts. So that one works both ways.
   When all else fails, walk out into the road after sundown in the dark of the moon. Turn around three times and spit over you right shoulder.
   To Prevent a Cold. Eat an onion sandwich and wash you hair. I'm not sure what one has to do with the other.
   My mother believed a teaspoon of Cod Liver Oil before bed prevented winter colds. This may account for my distaste for salt-water fish.
   With colds comes the Chills. Take a new broom and brush across the patient's back.
   Asthma. If a child has asthma stand him up against a tree and drive a nail in the tree one inch above his head. If the child grows an inch in the next year, the asthma will disappear.
   Nosebleed. Every night pour a bucket of cold water over your head. Keep this up for fourteen days and you will be cured.
   This, sort of, works - had a sister who got nosebleeds when we got in a tussle. We'd stick her head under the bathtub facet and run cold water on her neck so mother wouldn't find out we'd been in a fight.
   Sore throat. When you have a sore throat take a black thread and tie nine knots in it and wear it around your neck for nine days.
   Sty on the Eye. Always tell the truth, because lies cause sties.
            Salt for all mosquito bites,
            Cobwebs on the scratches,
            The sickroom fumigated with
            Our Sulphur kitchen matches.
            Somehow there's quite a bunch of us
            That never had a shot,
            But here we are still kicking
            And enjoying it a lot.
                      Author Unknown

A footnote: The use of cobwebs to seal wounds has an ancient history. Caesar's Roman Legion's carried a supply of cobwebs in their field kits.
   Nash Black, author of the forth coming, Forged Blade.

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