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The Humorous Side of Home Remedies

Updated on August 20, 2012

A True Story

Living for the last ten years here in the Appalachians of Northern Georgia, I have heard a lot of different things that I never would have heard elsewhere. Most of it is country lore, such as the time a man told me that you can pick up a poisonous snake without getting bitten if you rub your hands in your armpits first. “’at’s the gospel truth!” he concluded after I looked at him like he was crazy.

But I have also learned a lot about home remedies, which some I’ve learned aren’t so far-fetched. Like if you feel like the stomach flu is coming on, just eat some cayenne pepper mixed with an equal amount of honey and you will soon feel better. I tried it, and it seemed to work. But just recently my wife’s 88 year old step-mother, Doris was having a bad time with a head and chest cold. This old gal refuses to see the doctor because of a deal she made with God 70 years ago.

“I made an agreement with the Good Lord when I was 18. He promised to take care of me in a way that no man could, and I promised to dedicate my life to doing his work. I ain’t been to a doctor since.” She’s a tough old gal, although perhaps a tad off keel. She has had two broken arms, pneumonia and many other serious maladies since I have been here in Lulawissie, and suffered in agony through them all. “The Lord will take care of me.” There was no reasoning with her. Meanwhile, my father-in-law, a fire and brimstone preacher, went to the doctor as often as he could. “God gave these men the wisdom to heal us” is his credo.

So now, Doris is sick in her recliner, feverish, coughing and sneezing and as miserable as a miserable old woman could be. Her husband told her that the doctor said all she needed was to drink plenty of fluids, take some aspirin or Tylenol for the fever and get plenty of bed rest, and in 7-10 days she will feel much better.

“I ain’t doing what no doctor said do!” She went on. “I’m going to do it the country way, and have faith in the Good Lord! All I need is to take some cayenne with molasses, garlic and apple cider vinegar twice a day and it’ll cure this thing. My momma did this, and my momma’s momma did this. It is an actual cure for the common cold! It works! Before you know it, I’ll be better!”

My father in law relayed this information to his doctor, and it caught his interest. “Wow. Could it be that a cure for the common cold is just that simple?” Despite Doris’ protests, he came to see her and inquired about this “miracle country remedy”.

“How does it work, Doris?” The doctor asked her.

“I ain’t sure I can trust you. Cain’t have somethin’ like this getting’ out to the flatlanders. They cain’t handle strong country medicine like us mountain folk can!

“I’m just curious.” The doctor said. “I won’t tell anyone.”

She looked at my father-in-law, he nodded. “Well, you take equal parts of honey, cayenne pepper and fresh chopped up garlic and add it to a glass of apple cider vinegar. Add a tablespoon of molasses and stir it up, then you drink it down. Do this twice a day.”

The doctor was writing all of this down in a small notebook. “Then what?”

“You drink plenty of fluids, take some aspirin for the fever and get lots of rest. In about a week or so, the cold’ll be gone and you’ll be as good as new.”

The doctor closed his notebook.

“Works ever’ time!”

©2012 By Del Banks


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    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      7 years ago from The Caribbean

      Voted Up. A really good story. Some folks will never give up on the old remedies.

    • badegg profile imageAUTHOR

      Del Banks 

      7 years ago from Southern Blue Ridge Mountains

      I have heard on peeing oon Jellyfish stings.....but that was it.

      Thanks for commenting.

    • teacherjoe52 profile image


      7 years ago

      Hi badegg.

      I never heard of that for a cold but sounds good.

      The strangest we had was to pee on a cut believing the iodine in the pee would steralize the wound.

      Very good article.

    • peachpurple profile image


      7 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Great hub you have here. I do agree that some home remedies really mess up old folks brain. Too stubborn to seek medical advice.

    • badegg profile imageAUTHOR

      Del Banks 

      7 years ago from Southern Blue Ridge Mountains

      I am not knocking the effectiveness of any home remedy, because they all have a basis of truth somewhere down the line. But I agree with melbelle, I wou ld not pick up a poisonous snake under any conditions.

      I have heard of kerosene working for a number of things, and my dad has used it on me. I remember my uncles telling me a story of when my dad was a kid, he was bitten by a copperhead on the family farm in Missouri. My grandfather grabbed a chicken on the way out to where he was, and tore it open (it was still alive) and put the warm, bloody chicken around my dad's leg and brought him home. Eventually, the chicken's flesh had turned green, and my dad recovered. How the old timers learned all of this, we'll never know.

      Thanks for reading!

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 

      7 years ago from Central Texas

      Great Hub -- funny for sure but there's a lot of truth in the old remedies. My Granny was a great believer in kerosene for cuts (and nails in kids' feet) and it worked like a charm (no pun intended). Thanks for sharing this one with us -- a real hoot! Best/Sis

    • melbelle profile image


      7 years ago from Southern United States

      Very funny hub. I can relate, because I was raised in the Appalachians of North Carolina. I knew many, many "old-timers" that did not trust doctors at all. They are so use to healing themselves, and their folks didn't have a local doctor that you could drive to, or in some cases ride the mule to. And, I tell you, some of this mountain remedies do work. Or, at least make you feel better while your waiting till your "cold" goes away. I am grateful for doctors, I do think the they are God's gift to us as healers. Some of these old remedies are "way out there", but some actually have medicinal purposes. I would draw the line at picking up any kind of snake after rubbing my hands in my armpits though. LOL


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