Kick The Flu – Kiss A Goat

Published 1:32 pm Thursday, January 17, 2013

With the start of a new year we don't need to be reminded that it's cold and flu season. This past week the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warned that the flu had reached epidemic levels in the United States with flu reported in 47 states. To make matters worse, widespread flu activity is projected to continue for at least another month or two.

Those who decided not to get a flu shot last fall, and some who did get the shot, are finding themselves sidelined by a host of unpleasant symptoms. Apparently, many flu sufferers have resorted to old-fashioned remedies to alleviate what is, after all, a very old ailment.

Long before such modern flu-fighters as Tamiflu or Theraflu, our grandmothers and grandfathers depended on home remedies. Grandmothers in that day in time actually kept a little book full of notes on cures for just about any ailment known to man or beast.

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Under the heading of “colds and flu,” my grandmother noted this advice: “keep a good distance from anyone ailing.” Further elaboration on the topic, full of notations about onion and garlic, added to the success of her advice.

Consider my grandmother's slight variation of a familiar adage: “An onion a day keeps the doctor away.” Here's another tip from grandma's notebook: “To ward off cold and flu fill a rag with garlic and wear it someplace on the body” (is there, I wonder, a good place to wear garlic?).

At the first sign of cold or flu our grandmothers knew what to do – munch a clove or two of garlic followed by a cup of peppermint tea (tea for two is nice, but throw in some garlic and you'll have a solitary tea party in no time).

Other cold and flu fighting advice included the following:

To get rid of congestion fry onions in grease and smear the concoction on a patient's chest (if congestion is caused by too many visitors, this tip is sure to work).

To keep cold or flu from visiting your home hang strips of freshly peeled onion over each doorway from October until May (could this be the inspiration for the popular song that begins, “It's a long, long, time from May to September?).

Another way to chase germs is to place chopped garlic and onion under your pillow at night (sweet dreams – for a pot of spaghetti, that is).

For a sore throat, put kerosene on a dirty sock and tie it around your neck – or just wear the dirty sock (if you really want to “sock it” to those germs, this is the way to go).

The following remedies are for a sore throat: gargle a mixture of vinegar, salt, and rain water several times a day or gargle with a cup of warm water with ten drops of Tabasco sauce added to it (better make sure no one is within tickling range when you do it).

Grandmother's notebook also advised that a tea made from rabbit tobacco could cure a cold, not to mention constipation (hare today, gone tomorrow?).

To help with fever, place a damp lemon peel under each armpit (at the least you'll be more “a-peeling”).

Other odds and ends in grandma's book advised burning chicken feathers in the fireplace of the patient's room to get congestion out of the chest (as soon as the patient can breathe, he'll be out of the room, too).

To keep colds and flu away altogether, smear bear grease in the “altogether” – all over the body, that is (guess you have to “grin and bear it”).

Finally, if all else fails, kick a cold or the flu by kissing a mule, (I'm from Missouri, after all) or if no mule is available, a goat will do (considering that you have to catch the goat first, this is certainly the most athletic tip on the list).

While some of the above remedies undoubtedly help (I haven't had the flu since I started keeping goats 30 years ago) the best advice for those living in the modern world is simple – kiss a goat if you like, but don't forget that flu shot.