Maybe Mother Knew Best After All —

No doubt everybody’s mother had favorite home remedies that they inflicted upon their children. But I thought my mother’s were both strange and unique. They included wrapping lots of kosher salt in a long towel and heating it in the oven and wrapping it around the neck (specific for sore throat). Vicks vapo-rub for coughs (rubbed on chest) and colds (dabbed in runny nose). Enemas — we won’t go into that. Strangest of all, for a stye — carve a hollow in a potato and press it onto the offending eye. Actually these cobbled-up home remedies seemed (eventually) to work. The colds and coughs and even styes went away, without, however, adding luster to my mother’s medical reputation, at least in my eyes..

The latest in the New York Times, however, indicates that one of her favorite remedies (and one of my most disliked) was on to something. It turns out — who would have thought it? — that gargling with salt water actually works!

Read about it in Anahad O’Connor’s column in The New York Times, which begins “Nothing but time can cure the common cold, but a simple cup of salt water might ease the misery this winter.”

My, my. What’s next? Kosher salt, anyone? Shall I carve a potato?

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6 Responses to Maybe Mother Knew Best After All —

  1. pauline says:

    Gargling with either salt water (which temporarily eases the pain) or with diluted cider vinegar (which helps kill the germs) will help ease the symptoms of a head cold. I usually do both alternately. My Memere knew how to take care of me 🙂


  2. DJE says:

    It is said that “penicillin given with love works better than penicillin that is just given.” That, in my opinion, is why mother’s home remedies work. In the same way, perhaps, a physician’s (or other care giver’s) treatment that is given with agape is more likely to help a patient than the same Rx quickly dispensed w/o the “friendship of a listening face.” Time is truly a four letter word.


  3. Irma says:

    Adding a little bicarbonate of soda to the salt water (my mother’s idea), lessens the pain of a sore throat. It works
    But as for Vicks vapor rub on my chest..I dreaded that, and hated her for using it, with or without love!!!!


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