Folk Remedies from the USA

Aug 10, 2017

Even as a relatively young nation, the United States offers a rich tradition of folk remedies passed down through the generations. The immigrant history of the nation created a melting pot of cultures that certainly included the medicino-cultural traditions emigres brought from their homelands.

Likewise, the frontier tradition that shaped the nation forced an enormous level of self-reliance in caring for the sick and injured as in all aspects of life for farmers and adventurers at the edge of the country's expansion. Of course, those travelers were expanding against existing Native American nations with deep knowledge of alternative and holistic treatments specific to the regional herbs and other natural therapeutics as well.

In these days, grandparents especially seem to have a few clever home remedies to pass along when grandchildren are sick and in pain. Earth Clinic won't let that ancestral knowledge pass away. Won't you help us collect and share America's folk medicine tradition?




Cold and Flu  

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Posted by Linda (Eugene, Oregon) on 01/18/2013
5 out of 5 stars

My gradmother used this remedy for any cold or flu that settled in the lungs. I remember having to endure it myself.

Take two hankerchiefs or just two small light weight pieces of cloth and put them in a bowl of ice water. Wring them out and lay one on the victim's chest and one on the back. Next, put on a sweat shirt, and then put on a heavy WOOL, (and this must be pure wool) sweater or a wool blanket or anything that is pure wool on top. Both layers must be tightly fitting. In my case, because I was so small, they used safety pins to bind them.

Then the victim, er, patient was put to bed and after a few hours the fever and chest cold was gone. I used it on my daughter back in the 60's and it worked like a charm, but there was a lot of yelling about those ice cold handkerchiefs.

Replied by Anonymous
Pacific Palisades, Ca
01/27/2013
5 out of 5 stars

This method does work , My ND uses this method of alternating hot and cold towels. The person is placed on a bed and a warm to hot ( heat is based on your comfort level) towel placed on the chest then your wrapped in 100% cotton sheet tightly covered in wool blanket usually for 15-20 minutes the towel is removed and replaced with a cold towel for 15-20 minutes and it is alternated between the hot and cold towels for 60 to 90 minutes. They end with a cold towel and suggest in the evening putting on 100% cotton socks that have been soaked in cold water wringing the excess water out and then putting them on and then putting a pair of wool socks over the cotton ones and going to bed. This will decrease inflammation, increase blood circulation, balances digestive and detoxifies and purifies the organs liver, kidney, lungs, intestines and skin. This will increase the blood flow to the area. I had this done for sinus infection and it worked wonders.


Colitis  

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Posted by An (La, Ca) on 05/04/2013
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I cured my friend's baby with colitis using 3 drops of Glyco-Thymoline 3 x day daily. I found Glyco thru Google search on "colitis Glyco-Thymoline". Looks like it's an old American medicine circa 1905. It cost $10 a bottle.


Slippery Elm  

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Posted by 1947hoppy (Winamac, Indiana) on 03/10/2013
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Years ago I worked with a Native American who shared several natural cures with me. One that my family tried and had great success with is slippery elm tea. Our children are all grown and gone now, but when they were younger they would actually ask for it. We have used it for most any stomach related problem, and still use it today. Usually one or two cups is all this is needed for a bout with what people refer to as stomach flu. Occassionally I will fix a cup for my wife if she complains of diarrhea. It works well, has no unpleasant taste and most important, NO side effects. It can be purchased at most online herb stores in the bulk form, and a little bit goes a long way. We make it in a tea ball.


Sty  

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Posted by Linda (Eugene, Oregon) on 01/18/2013
5 out of 5 stars

My grandmother always had us use Purex straight from the bottle on a sty and it was gone in a day, and no side effects. Just a little Purex on a cloth or cue tip and wipe it on the sty.

Replied by Carolinablueskies55
Nc
08/06/2017

Purex? Is this a liquid laundry detergent that your grandmother used for Sty? Thank you

Replied by Robert Henry
Ten Mile, Tn.
08/07/2017

CAROLINA,,,,,,,, Purex is Calcium Hypochlorite, a pretty strong bleach that we used in the paper industry to bleach pulp. If it will bleach pulp it will surely bleach your eye. You can dilute it down in a tub and rid your self of red bugs and ticks. Not all EC posters know of what they speak, so be wary. We use a tablespoon in a sink and soak our fresh eggs to avoid salmonella. Wow, hope you missed a bullet and did not use it for your eye.

=======ORH========

Replied by Robert Henry
Ten Mile, Tn.
08/07/2017

CAROLINA,,,,,,,, my bad, as my wife just told me that there is now a Purex laundry detergent that is not the old Calcium Hypochlorite. I got the bottle and read where you must flush with water for 15 minutes if it gets in your eyes. They do not say on the label what this product is except that it contains a surfactant, enzymes and an Oxi, whatever an Oxi is. That my friends is mumbo jumbo. I can almost promise you that the Oxi is Calcium Hypochlorite. Hooray for our government and their labeling practices. Lord, hep us to get right.

The label also says go to a doctor if the water flushing does not help. What the hell is he going to do because he will not know what he's dealing with from the label. Just wish we had a government that was on our side for a change.

======ORH======

Replied by Mama To Many
Tn
08/07/2017

Dear Carolinablueskies55,

I would not use Purex in or around my eye. There are lots of very safe sty remedies. I would try a warm tea bag compress for 15 minutes (black tea or chamomile tea) then apply some extra virgin coconut oil.

I had so many stys as a girl. Wish I had know about tea bags for stys. They can be so painful.

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Kt
Usa
08/07/2017
Replied by Olivia
Nc
08/09/2017

I always do deep research before trying any subjected remedies on EC andor other sites. The eyes are priceless and unless the remedies are from the earth, I move with much caution!! Yes, I wish our government was on our side when it comes to preventive healthcare. If they really wants to bring the national deficit down, renewed healthcare is a good place to start.

Replied by Olivia
Nc
08/09/2017

Thank you, Mama To Many. I was seeking for my sister who has been dealing with Sty under her eye lids. One got so large the (green pea size) Optometrist has to lance it off and my sister said she could smell something bad and the doc told her it was the pus coming out of the sty. That procedure was almost a year ago and no sign of another coming back, as the doc had said it might would. But today she showed me two now appearing under her other eye. Upper outside corner and lower eye lid inside corner. They are both very small right now, but she is concerned why this keeps happening to her. She loves drinking Chamomile tea, so I will tell her to make good use of the used tea bags. I wonder if there's an organic Chamomile cream or soap that might can help as well?

Replied by Mama To Many
Tennessee
08/10/2017

Dear Olivia,

I am afraid a chamomile soap would sting the eyes. You may be able to find a chamomile cream, but I think the tea bags would be most effective.

Honey or coconut oil might be something to try overnight, topically. Both are great antibacterials.

A sty is usually caused by the staph bacteria. Turmeric is great to fight staph. I have used it internally to fight an external staph infection, if applying it topically wouldn't be convenient. (I have never used turmeric in the eye; not sure how that would be.)

~Mama to Many~


Vinegar Wraps  

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Posted by Elizabeth (Seattle, WA) on 01/22/2013
5 out of 5 stars

Vinegar Wraps. This was my late husband's remedy which, I believe, was an old herbalist remedy dating back to the 1800s. We used vinegar wraps to break a fever or to help the body quickly heal from a muscle strain.

To break a fever, you try to stay in a very warm bath as long as you could stand it. Immediately following the bath, wring out a thin cotton sheet in warm water to which has been added apple cider vineger, to make it acid. Wrap the body in the sheet and and pin it. Then, the most important part, one should cover the wet cloth with dry blankets and also pin them, using several layers so that the damp from the sheet does not come through. Best to sleep like this, gives the body a chance to realign the charcras with the electricity from the water mixture.

For a muscle strain or sprain (excellent for bursitis or arthritic knees), follow the same instructions except use a dish towel or two which are thin. Pin and wrap the affected area with several dry towels.