Cape Breton's Magazine

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Page 37 - Amelia Cook: Great-Grandmother's Cures

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1979/12/1 (422 reads)

grows out here. My husband used to gather it. He never used it but just for emergen? cy. It's called agrimonia. It grows on a stalk, and looks very much like a butter? cup. And boneset, that was another weed • and I think that was for fever too. It is really a fascinating flower, and it's not too plentiful. It grows in a brook. And you look at it and you might never notice it, but if you took it up and examined it, it's got like a great big tooth, like a horse's tooth, and the stalk seems to grow up right through the leaf. Boneset is good for when men's water stops. And for swel? ling and sickly biliousness. And Thomp? son's bitters, they take for a tonic. It's a great big plant; oh, in the fall of the year every place is covered with it. It's a tall plant and it's got a pinkish blos? som that doesn't come out very much, but it has a big cluster on the top. (Three or four feet high?) And probably higher. It has a big flat top on it, full of little weeny flowers. That's Thompson's bitters. Just steep it as a general tonic. And Cape Breton's full of it, and full of boneset, too. Then there's heartseed. It was my grand? mother's cure. The leaves in the summer? time, when they're at their best, there's a red like a drop of blood on them, just in the shape of a heart. They say it fell from the Lord's heart. And they say it's a cure for heart trouble. Well, the little blooms are all little heart-shaped seeds. I don't know whether they boiled the seeds, but however they used it, it was consid? ered a cure for heart trouble. And beets. You can't beat beet poultice for blood poison. You can take the raw beet and grate it and put it on the sore, with a rag. And kerosene oil is good for a sore throat. You know, a lot of people have taken a tea? spoon of kerosene oil, but I wouldn't take that. But especially to cure hoarseness, take a spoonful of molasses and put a lit? tle shake of pepper on it • and do you know, boy, it works. (You wouldn't take the ker? osene?) I guess I wouldn't, but I may rub it on me. If you are burnt, kerosene will take the fire out. The new style today is, put the hand under the tap of water. An? other thing is the raw potato scraped • it's cool and it draws the fire out. For worms, there's a tree called wormwood, but I've never seen it. And what I took • we used to have black gxmpowder. And you take the little old-time five-cent piece, and you take enough gunpowder on that, just what that would pick up, for worms • and you couldn't beat it. The white of an egg is very good if you burnt your throat, drink a cup of hot tea too quick • and the white of an egg kind of puts a coating on the throat. And my cure for a cold sore is the brimstone of a match. Today they use lighter fluid. But brimstone of a match is what we always used. Just wet your match and get rubbing it over your cold sore. m' And a cure for styes on your eye. You nev? er see a sty on anybody's eye now, do you? Take a gold wedding ring and rub it on the sty and say, "One sty, two sty..." till you got up to nine styes. And the soreness would leave and before you knew it, the sty was gone. That's the old timers, boy. My own mother was a cripple, you know. She went 24 years with her knee on a chair. Poor Mama had milkleg. That's an old time expression of it. When you're nursing your baby and you get cold, the milk as a rule, they say, goes down in your leg. And lots of times that milk will beal. They used to put hot cloths on Mama's leg when she was laid up with it, and they say that made it- beal. You should wear an elastic sock on it, but she didn't. And it was a sore on it that killed her. It was sore, but it didn't knock her off her feet. I got her a bottle of Rexall rubbing oil. And it cured her. She got along, oh, for years. But then she got a sore again, really as big as a saucer.' One time it would look better or worse, but it was always open. It got so she couldn't walk too much with it. She used to walk .with her knee on a chair. And I've got chairs in the house here with the marks of my mother's fingers worn right in the wood where she used the chair instead of a crutch. And she was around doing work, and she hooked mats and, after we were married and gone, she made Daddy's supper and would do the washing in a washtub • with her knee on the chair. Then it kept getting worse, getting worse • and it turned to gangrene, and in no time it killed her. (And was milkleg common?) Oh yes. I guess it was common. I've known lots of people had two milklegs. Mama should have had it off. The doctor coaxed her to but Mama was old-fashioned, she didn't believe in that. (But with all the cures she knew, she couldn't do anything....) No, couldn't do anything for the milkleg. At that time, it was just God's power. And that's what killed my mother. Cape Breton's Magazine/37
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