Thursday, August 2, 2012

Home Remedies from Back in the Day

Summer might bring great weather and shorter work hours, but it can be pretty rough on our bodies. Despite modern medicine and simple solutions found at the local drugstore, sometimes you can’t prevent falling under the weather.

Instead of (or in addition to) Theraflu and Hall's, some people treat their maladies with old school cures passed down from their abuelas and bubbies, or further up the line from their ancestors.

Image Courtesy New York Public Library

If you flip through The First Jewish-American Cookbook, published in 1871, you'll find a section dedicated to household cures for pesky seasonal illnesses. Here’s what Mrs. Esther Levy, the author of the book, suggests for our summer woes:

For that cold that sneaked up on you:
“Bathe the feet in warm water; if feverish, take a glass of hot milk with a tablespoonful of the best whiskey and a tablespoonful of lime water, sweetened with sugar; and in the morning, fasting, one tablespoonful of castor oil in milk. Be careful about exposure next day.”

For that cramp you got after getting lost on your way to a subway station:
“Stretch out the heel as far as possible, and at the same time draw the toes as much as possible towards the leg; it will give relief.”

For those mysterious mosquito bites you wake up to every morning:
“Put into a glass or basin of cold water, one ounce of alum, a handful of salt, and two tablespoonfuls of vinegar; run it on at night, and let it dry in the flesh.”
Image Courtesy New York Public Library

Feeling inspired by any of these Jewish-American remedies? Were you taught any special cures like these from an elder in your family? Tell us in the comments!

-- Posted by Ana Colon

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