Friday, April 6, 2012

Kerosene for Coughs and Other Helpful Tips!

 My coffee smells like propane. It also kind of tastes like something that should run through the engine of a V8. That's how I like it. Actually...that's how I have to drink my morning/afternoon pick-me-up. With three little vampires running around, I have to get my energy source where I can find it!
This slightly gaseous odor made me recall a conversation that I recently had with my Grandmother, Mamaw
While the recent bacteria bonanza was going down at my house, I called Mamaw to complain about the lack of sleep due to the persistent cough that held all three boys in its evil clutches. 
Mamaw began to think on all of the good ol' remedies that her mother used to during times of illness.
Mamaw--"You know, when we had a bad cough Mother used to give us....what's that stuff called?? Kerosene! She gave us one or two drops of that when we had a cough." 
Me-- "What?! She gave you GAS?!"
Mamaw--"Noooo, kerosene. Not gasoline, it's not as flammable."
Me-- "Mamaw! Kerosene is used to LIGHT LANTERNS!! It's most definitely flammable."
Mamaw-- "I know that it's flammable, I meant that the amount she gave us wasn't enough to set us on fire."
I think I'll pass on the lantern lighting. The image of spontaneous combustion and of a scorched sofa just kept dancing itself through my head. 
When I'm told of the home remedies that were enforced at that time, it makes me cringe. There must have been something extra in the old cigarettes back then. Kerosene?? Really?! 
My father is from Thailand. Tiger Balm is the Asian remedy for every known affliction to mankind. You have a headache?? Put Tiger Balm on it. You broke your hip? Put Tiger Balm on it. 
Whenever my Dad had a stomachache, he was to eat Tiger Balm. By the way...if you aren't Asian (and awesome) Vick's Vapo Rub with a dash of Icy Hot is the equivalent to Tiger Balm. Imagine having to stomach that!
While most of those old school methods are horrendous, there are some home remedies (even though a bit strange) that are known to work: 
*Corn syrup for constipation. Whenever my kids were still on the bottle, two of them would go for days without a dirty diaper. I was told to administer 1-2 tsp. of corn syrup in their bottles. (Now I can't get them to STOP pooping. Irony)
*Onions for fever. this one is quite strange. If a stubborn fever refuses to budge after a dose or two of medicine, take an onion and cut it in half. Using a tube sock (or tape) tie the onion half (flat side) against the bottoms of the child's feet. {You can also cut the onion up and stuff it into a large sock, and then put the sock on the child's feet.} Once the onions are brown or wilted, remove.  Miraculously, the fever will drop. Baby may be stinky but better than the nuclear alternative. 
*Homemade cough syrup. This one is from Mamaw, and it is a much better substitute for kerosene. 
       1 Tbs Whiskey, 1 Tbs Honey, 1/2 Tbs lemon juice
{If you're horrified about giving your child whiskey, just remember that most cough syrups contain alcohol.}
These may be unconventional, but they do work. Better yet, all of these are pantry staples! Well...maybe except for whiskey. It's a staple in my house. For cooking...ahem.


Audrey Johnson said...

My Grandmomma used to give us peppermint whiskey when we were sick. It'll knock the cold right out of you! Amanda would steal sips...even when she wasn't sick. Crazy girl!

... said...

I have traveled to Thailand several times and have many Thai friends. I love my Tiger Balm and I use it for everything from nausea, to cuts. It works wonders!!!

Miranda said...

I've never heard of peppermint whiskey, but know that I WILL be venturing to the store today to find it ;)

...., (M)
I love Thailand. It is a beautiful country with beautiful people. I'm proud to have that part of my heritage. The food is phenomenal and the culture is rich!

Ruth said...

Loved this post! I can vouch for the value of kerosene as a medical treatment. After all seven of us kids got head lice for the SECOND time in a month, my mother took us to the backyard, laid us on an altar, I mean, picnic table and poured kerosene in our hair. Killed those stinkin' lice dead. We never got 'em again. And amazingly, all seven of us lived to adulthood. My brother even managed to marry a Thai girl, who has a very liberal view of home remedies!

Miranda said...

It is in my opinion that the kerosene didn't actually KILL the lice. They jumped off of your scalp in fear!! And I would very much like to meet this lovely lady that I've heard so much about. We could all feast together....maybe even with a little bit of whiskey....for our coughs....ahem.

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