Article Thirty - five
Some months ago, I wrote about the old-time method of treating many ailments and diseases that afflicted mankind back in the early days when this country was first settled by white men. In those days, doctors were sometimes as much as fifty miles away and oft were twenty or more miles away. Under such circumstances, it was necessary that the people should have a home remedy for most all ailments common to mankind. Since that time, a great many of the deadly and crippling diseases have been eradicated or brought under control by the many vaccines that have been developed.
For ARTHRITIS, drink a mixture of honey, vinegar, and moonshine whiskey or powdered rubarb dissolved in whiskey,
For ASTHMA suck saltwater up your nose or smoke rabbit tobacco or keep a Chihuahua dog around the house. Another remedy, drink honey, lemon juice and whiskey, a tablespoon of each.
For ATHLETE'S FOOT. Wrap a woolen string around toes and stand in a fresh pile of cow manure, preferably while it is still warm.
For COLIC. Tie a bag of asafoetida around the baby's neck for the first six months to ward off the six-months colic. If the baby does take the colic, feed it breast milk one drop of kerosene and one drop of sasfoetide and whiskey with milk or water.
For COLDS. There are so many remedies for colds that I will only mention a few. The best home remedy is bone set tea if you can find the boneset. Other remedies are Ginger tea, Pine needle tea, the amount of quinine that will lay on three-eights of an of the point of a pen knife blade. Put goose grease salve on breast. Drink whiskey and honey mixed. Drink red pepper tea. If your feet cramp of a night, turn your shoes upside down when you go to bed and they will not cramp.
CROUP in children. Roast a large onion and squeeze the juice out of it and give it to the child to drink. For a baby, pour a mixture of turpentine and white whiskey saucer and set it afire and hold the baby over the smoke until it loosens him up. In my own opinion, the best remedy for the croup is to do something to make him sick, yet not quite enough to make him vomit. This can be accomplished by wetting, a leaf or more of strong leaf tobacco and binding it with a cloth on his breast just under his chin and put him to bed and cover his face and breast with a light cloth. Most of the time, the kid will be asleep in less than ten minutes and the croup will be gone. If tobacco is not available, strong scotch snuff on a damp cloth will do just as well. Another old-time remedy for croup is a dose of epicac.
DIARRHEA. Drink blackberry juice or wine.
EAR ACHE. Pour warm salt water in ear. Roast cabbage stalk and squeeze juice into ear. Pinch the head of a Betty bug and squeeze two or three drops of blood into the ear.
FEVER. Trim the patient's finger and toe nails and put them in a bag and tie to a live eel and it will carry the fever away. Snake root tea will lower the fever, or boil two ginsang roots in a cup of water and drink the tea.
FLU. About the same as for colds. Boneset tea and chew rabbit tobacco.
GALLBLADDER TROUBLE. One tablespoon pure corn whiskey and black draught.
HICCUPS. Eat a spoonful of peanutbutter or drink a cup of hot apple juice.
BEE STINGS, CHIGGER BITES, AND MOST OTHER INSECT STINGS. There were many different treatments, but the most commonly-used were a chew of chewed tobacco, or a wad of bruised ragweed to the sting would relieve the pain.
For HEAD LICE or "Cooties", clip the hair and massage the scalp with a cloth soaked a in kerosene and wrung out. Repeat this once a week until the scalp is clear of lice.
For CHINCHES or bed bugs, burn sulpher in a closed room and swab linseed oil in all the cracks around a bed and then search of "Bat Harbers" up around the edges of the roof and destroy the bats and stop them out.
POISON OAK and POISON IVY. Use a mixture of buttermilk, salt and vinegar. Rub wild touch-me-nots on it. Slice open a green tomato and rub the juice on it. Gather a big handful of green cedar leaves and bruise them good and rub the affected parts with the bruised cedar and it will render you almost immune from infection for the rest of your life, or it did for me anyway and I suppose it will do the same for you, but, I won't guarantee it.
For the ITCH. Use sulpher and lard or gunpowder and lard. To remove FRECKLES, mix vinegar and lemon juice and put on them, or sap from a grape vine or stump water will do just as well.
MEASLES. Most any herb tea will break them out. Boil red alder twigs and branches to make a tea. Make a tea from sheep droppings or put the patient in bed and give whiskey to drink every two or three hours. For a small child, give one-half teaspoon full.
There is one more ailment I am going to write about and then bring this doctor book to a close.
RHEUMATISM. The cure and preventive of rheumatism, as given to me by my Uncle Aaron Bible was, eat from three to a dozen poke berries every day while in season and gather enough to make three or four gallons of wine for winter use and take a tablespoon full every day. He lived to be 92 years old and he never was bothered by rheumatism.
As for my own experience, with the disease, back in my middle age, some thirty or forty years ago, I was bothered with more or less severe attacks of either arthritis or rheumatism (whichever name you wish to call it) when I read in some paper that a honey eater never was bothered with either arthritis or rheumatism. I immediately began to eat a honey and butter biscuit every morning for breakfast, not because I believed what the paper said, but because I always loved honey better than any other sweet food. You may believe it or not, but I have never had another attack of either disease since I began to eat honey every day. I am now past 93 and I intend to eat honey right on along as it is available on the market.
Thank you all for your patience and tolerance in reading my foolishness for today.
These articles were written between 1972-1975 by Estil Barb Bible for a local newspaper (the "Greeneville Times" in Tennessee). He wrote these articles after he was past ninety years of age, and they appear just as he typed them.
As a memorial to him, and to preserve a bit of the past; these articles were published by his granddaughters, Janie Bible Hurley and Elizabeth Bible Wiley.