Saturday, April 28, 2012

One Hundred Things My Mother Taught Me A Million Times – Chapter 84

#84 – “If you have an injury make a poultice and tie it on the injury with a soft rag to draw out the bad stuff.”

When I went to the list of the 100 things my mom taught me a million times and saw #84, my first thought was, “What in the hell am I going to say about that?” But after I woke up this morning, excited to finally have time to blog, then drank too much of too strong coffee, the thoughts came rushing out so fast they were like bodies piled at the only exit of a burning building. So here are the fortunate survivors (thoughts). Writing is such wicked fun.

“Poultice” is a creepy word and even a creepier thing to me. Every time my mother said the word “poultice,” I would involuntarily twitch, look around to see if anyone else heard her, and then visualize the Wicked Witch of the East’s ugly stepsister – the one with hairs growing out of her facial moles.

Perhaps you’re wondering what a poultice is? Although there are many variations on the ingredients for a poultice, mom’s poultices were flour and hot water mixed to the consistency of cookie dough, spread onto a soft rag (important part of the formula), and then applied to anything that hurt: bug bites, snake bites, broken bones, bronchial congestion, splinters, blisters, gunshot wounds, and day-to-day booboos.

The principal behind this ancient, yet fairly effective formula/technique, is that as the poultice “paste” dries and cools, it “pulls out” the bad stuff – infection, inflammation, bullets and splinters – taking the pain with it. A little research (very little) revealed that Native Americans used mashed pumpkin as a poultice, and the Romans used porridge, which makes sense as no one really wants to eat porridge anyway – well, except me. I’m an inexplicable Malt-O-Meal freak. Click on Read More Below...

But back to poultices: mashed herbs, bread, potatoes or onions were also used as poultices, although I can tell you that my mom would never waste a slice of bread or a potato just to heal a broken leg. And then there’s the brown paper and vinegar poultice, which is referenced in the second verse of the “Jack and Jill” nursery rhyme:
Up Jack got and home did trot,
As fast as he could caper;
And went to bed and bound his head
With vinegar and brown paper.

And don’t forget the “soft” rag part. Every description of poultices I saw online specified the use of a “soft” rag. Of course it is the nature of a rag to be soft, but my mom’s rags were the softest in the county. Seriously, this goes back to mom’s #29, “Never throw away old towels.” By the time our towels graduated from the bathroom to the rag drawer in our house they were practically transparent and soft as a cotton ball.

Just keep in mind that when the megaquake, global pandemic, nuclear war, or solar-flare-induced power failure happens, and our medical system goes to hell in a handbag, we'll all be making poultices. Yes, I've been watching the National Geographic Channel's "Doomsday Preppers," and yes, I have my BOB (Bug Out Bag). 

So, mom was right. If you get a booboo, or a radiation burn, make a poultice.

No comments:

Post a Comment