Monday, March 15, 2010

My Family's Medicine Cabinet


This morning I thought it might be fun to take you on a tour of my family's medicine cabinet. It will be a short tour. There are only six items. I mean, there could be seven if you counted the ear candles, but I decided those weren't exactly medicine and more a form of sick entertainment.

My family doesn't believe in doctors. I am not included in this. I love doctors. I practically have Munchausen's syndrome, I love the doctor's office so much. The reason I love to go to the doctor is because it feels both luxurious and defiant to me because as a child, I was never taken because my parents don't believe in doctors. I never even had vaccines until a few years ago when I went to college. My parents and my mother's mother think that doctors are part of some vast conspiracy to make people sick on purpose (I think the Bilderbergs are making them do it to control the population or something) so that they can continue to make money off of sick people and of course the big pharmaceuticals are part of it too. Modern medicine is a scheme designed to kill people and profit off of them at the same time. Doctors are evil and can't be trusted and none of them know a thing anyway. Doctors make you sick instead of healing you. Never mind the millions of people whose lives have been saved or prolonged due to medicine and drugs. Forget all those sick kids who got to get well and grow up and all the infertile people who got to have children. Ignore the fact that we've pretty much wiped out things like polio and small pox which used to be devastating. Or what about the fact that without modern medicine, I would have probably ended up in an institution from my hyper-thyroidism a couple years ago until I had a heart attack from it and died crazy at a young age? A simple procedure, discovered by doctors, fixed me in a couple short months and now I'm fine. But nope, doctors are evil.

And according to my family, you can basically cure anything with the above six items.

My family believes in magic bullet, miracle cure-alls. It can't be a combination of factors that lead to healing. It can't simply be the natural course of healing. No way. It's always some miracle cure that's often some simple item that the government or doctors or drug companies have somehow suppressed knowledge of in order to keep people sick and dependent on more expensive drugs.

The first miracle cure-all my family discovered was tea tree oil. For years my mother put it on everything. Our entire house reeked of turpentine from it and my mother has a very funny accent so when she says it, it sounds like "TEAtree AWL." As in "You need ta put some of this TEAtree AWL on your (yeast infection, canker sore, male pattern baldness etc.)"

ST 37 came from Memere Marie. She buys it at Walmart, but it's important to understand that you must specifically ask for it at the pharmacy. They hide it behind the counter. Memere puts this on EVERYTHING although the box says it's a medicinal mouth rinse. The last time I was at her house I slammed my hand in a cabinet and she went running for the ST 37 and some cotton balls. She is convinced that no matter what you've done to yourself, if you put ST 37 on it, it will heal overnight. You lost your arm in a combine accident? No problem. Put some ST 37 on the stump and in the morning, you'll have grown a whole new arm. A better arm even. She swears she cured someone of Lyme Disease from a deer tick bite, by soaking the rash in ST 37.

This year my mother discovered oregano oil from the Eyebrow People, who swear by it, and obviously one should always take medical advice from a bunch of 20 somethings with lines cut in their heads. My mother embraced oregano oil like it was the elixir of life itself. Every time I went to her house it was oregano oil this and oregano oil that. If anyone so much as sneezed in her house she was shoveling clear, yellow, pizza scented capsules down their throats. IT CURES EVERYTHING. I wouldn't be surprised if she doesn't have shingles at all, but instead has a blistering rash caused by oregano toxicity. It seems that oregano oil has become the new tea tree oil.

My family has been obsessed with raw apple cider vinegar forever. It also cures pretty much everything. Tuberculosis, pancreatic cancer. Yeah, just take a spoonful of apple cider vinegar. I've had heartburn for my entire life. My mother swears apple cider vinegar cures it. I tried it. My heartburn got worse. It felt like something was eating a hole straight through my chest. Because adding acid to more acid is going to neutralize the acid? I see the logic there.

With my mother's current bout of shingles (or we think since she refuses to go to the doctor for the rash) she believes she has cured herself by soaking the blisters in apple cider vinegar and by taking Tagamet. Yet Tagamet is an actual drug, made by an actual drug company. She makes an exception. The reason why is because she found some article somewhere on the Internet that said something about Tagamet (an antacid) being miraculously discovered to be a immune booster and good for shingles and of course the drug companies suppressed this valuable information in order to promote the more effective antivirals like Valtex and Famvir (which actually work well against herpes infections like shingles). So because Tagamet is part of a conspiracy and its use can somehow be deemed subversive, my mother has decided that taking Tagamet is an act of defiance against The Man of Big Pharma and is therefore ok. By taking Tagamet for likely shingles, she is really sticking it to the big drug companies. She's not taking their Valtrex when she can take some heartburn meds from Walgreens instead! She's practically a revolutionary. And guess what? Of course she has declared it a miracle cure. The shingles were practically gone in less than 24 hours after her first tablet.

Half of the stuff I think she contributes to miracle cures is just the illness or injury clearing up on its own in the normal amount of time.

Last on this list is Bova Cream. I don't know what it is. It sounds like something for cows. Memere Marie swears by this one too. She sends it to everyone in the family after writing all over it in Sharpie "DO NOT GET IN EYES." Apparently something awful can happen if you get Bova Cream in your eyes, but I don't know what it is. I've been tempted to rub it into my cornea just to see what might happen. I mean, if I blinded myself I could always add a few drops of tea tree oil, rinse my eyes with ST 37, pop some oregano oil pills, down a spoonful of apple cider vinegar and then take a Tagamet and I'd probably restore my sight instantly. Right?

Try these remedies at your own risk, and if they don't work you can always pour straight peroxide into your ears.

32 comments:

Living in Muddy Waters said...

Tea Tree oil does keep lice away. I swear! Whenever my preschoolers get it I tell all the parents to start washing their kids hair in tea tree shampoo as a preventative and the lice never spread.

Today's Random said...

Ha! The first thing that came to mind was from the Big Fat Greek Wedding movie: "Put some Windex!"

Anonymous said...

The last line reminded me of my Pop Pop, who used to always tell my Mom to pour a shot of vodka in my ear whenever I got an ear infection. And any sore tooth / mouth problem? Swish some vodka in there!

-Laura

Jean said...

I had to look up ear candles.... and usually I'm up on this crap. Bova Cream, too. Sounds like the same stuff as Bag Balm.... probably smelss as good too....

Ivy and Haley said...

Tea Tree Oil does keep lice away. My sisters and I were the only ones in the entire class not to get lice during the Great Lice Epidemic Of Elementary School, and we were the only ones with Tea Tree Oil Shampoo.

Erica said...

My dermatologist actually put me on Tagament for plantars worts when I was a kid, so it does have some anti-viral activity that's pretty well known.

Silver said...

Believe it or not, the apple cider vinegar actually really helped me with my acid reflux (although it did hurt like h*ll the first couple of times)(and I needed a lot of honey mixed with it to help it go down.) Sounds strange, but it worked.
Similarly, ten years ago, when I had irritable bowel and kept running to the toilet, the doctor told me to take fiber. Again, sounds totally backwards, but it works.

When I was a kid, the 'miracle' cure in my house was Mercurocrhome. i hat ed that bright red streak and sting but mom swore by it. (and I never did get mercury poisoning)

MtnMama said...

Having grown up in Northern CA (Granola Central), I am well acquainted with most of the items out there that are "alternative" - but aside from the tea tree oil and the vinegar, I'd never heard of these.
I have a neighbor who's a big crazy theory, religious, Fox News viewing nutcase... maybe I'll ask her about them. *grin*

staticwarp said...

my mom is like this, but she jumps around a lot. tea tree oil, barleygreen, xanga juice, opc-3, and the latest is coconut oil. doesnt matter whats wrong, she will say "put some coconut oil on it!". its like the dad from my big fat greek wedding with the windex.

Calamity Anne said...

Mom always gave us kids hot toddies to help us sleep when we were sick. Hmmm...boozing up the kids to sleep through the night...doctoring at its finest!

Little Fish said...

Dear WL,

Are you sure your family isn't from the back hills of coal mining country?

These, apparently, will save your life:

Activated Charcoal Tablets
Apple Cider Vinegar (Chased with a spoonful of honey will keep diabetes in check, lengthen life, and whiten teeth according to my grandfather)

Flaxseed oil (In lieu of Tea Tree Oil)
Aquaphor(everything)

That's it. Have a problem? One of those will solve it. Maybe...

Best Wishes,
Little Fish

plainwater said...

I totally agree with your family about doctors. Think of it this way: you go to a doctor with a complaint, some ailment or other that's been bothering you, and you walk out or there with a disease! You go in with an ache, they give you an illness!

kjl said...

My husband's grandmother used to swear by this "cure-all" which was actually a medicated shaving cream. It was called Prep...I wish I could find a picture of it somewhere online. No matter what the ailment, Grandma would say "Put some Prep on it!" Prep is an ongoing joke in our house 20 years later!

Anonymous said...

Listerine!!
on everything!
(I think it was the original "Windex" of MBFGWedding)

Hmm, good tip on the Tagament-- Valtrex makes my kidneys hurt after a couple of days.

FreeDragon said...

My mom swears by the ST-37. As I was growing up she applied to every single bug bite, cut, rash, blister, and burn that I had.

Nanci said...

My mother swears by Emu Oil - for anything and everything!!! Gotta love her!

www.dremu.com

auronsgirl said...

I can still hear the chipper tone in my doctor's partner's voice when she told me that "postherpetic neuralgia is the number one cause of suicides in people over the age of 65!"

I was 27. With shingles. Which hurt like a mofo. Pass the Famvir, thank you.

Chiada said...

DUDE. I SWEAR that the moment I had finished reading the paragraph about "TEAtree AWL', my husband went into the room and said, "we need more tea tree oil". This was without him having read this post and I was reading it silently to myself. Talk about timing. And yeah, I did recognize that bottle of Bragg's as well. LOL I suppose we have a bit of "quackery" going on.. but not THAT overkill. Although Hub-E is a die hard "neti-potter"... lol.

JoeinVegas said...

My wife's family loves Bag Balm - designed for cow's udders, kind of like vasoline but better. Just don't eat it, only good for the outside.

Amy said...

This reminds me of my boss and her love of Air Borne. I swear. Allergies? Don't get meds, just take some Air Borne. Strep Throat? All you need is Air Borne.

She got really pissed off the day I told her I'd had enough and that shit doesn't work all it is is a really expensive placebo pill.

Anonymous said...

I can attest that apple cider vinegar does indeed cure plantar warts. It could take up to a month of daily application for them to completely go away, though.

booda baby said...

The RELIEF I felt when I hit the Bova Cream!! Before that, there was an extreme amount of sympathetic sighing going on. For some reason, the people who administer this buffet of cures like to hover over you to make SURE you've taken their recommended dose. And if they're not physically able to guard the downing, they'll send numerous emails, checking in, checking in and checking in again.

Light Pollution said...

by the way, i am axioms and art (formerly.) missed your blog while i was away from the blogging universe!! <3

Light Pollution said...

tea tree oil is a pretty powerful antiseptic. you can use for a lot of different things.

i have to say, i hate doctors. but my family was exactly the opposite. they were and still are a bunch of hypocondriacs. i dont see the point in paying to have a doctor tell me i have a cold.

Lisa said...

I'm suprised with the lack of neti pots and camphor... That was a staple in my house. Neti pots for colds, sinus infections, etc. and for anything dermatological it was camphor

mcgrimus said...

Some folks might be better off trying any of these remedies before turning to some of the so-called official drugs on the market. Have you read some of the warnings/side effects on these things? For example, Chantix, the smoking cessation drug, may cause "strange and unusual dreams." Most dreams are pretty weird, so you know these have to be fairly bizarre for the drug manufacturer to mention it. I've never smoked, but I think I might want to quit anyway.

Anonymous said...

I vote a million times for doing the vagina monologues (I'm in chicago and that's a firm early & often million). then you must blog about it.

thank you for doing the story of canela - that was a previous request of mine and I enjoyed it quite well

now I also vote that you finish the story from before thanksgiving of how the hotel restaurant kitchen story ended - the last we heard was that you cleaned up the gazapcho and there was one more installment to the story...

and finally I also vote for another installment of your dad moving from israel to the us.

truly finally I hope that the school situation that cannot be named has or is resolving in your favor and that you are feeling lots of peace in your life

one more thing the pineapple bread pudding is a huge hit around here

xtine said...

Some antacids do actually do effect the immune system's actions/reactions.

Adding an acid for relieving reflux makes perfect sense if you think about it like this: your body clearly thinks it needs to produce more acid. Provide it with some, and it will reduce production. In skin: look up the oil cleansing method.

I have a few jars of that exact tea tree oil in my linen closet. But for acne and cleaning purposes, not as panaceas :-) My husband hates when I've had to use it and then come to bed right after. No idea why!

Amy said...

Where you at? We miss you. :(

DippyChick said...

I missed reading your blog so much! We've been busy moving from NH to TN. A couple of acids, such as Braggs apple cider vinegar and lemon juice, turn alkaline in your body. A lot of people take those to reduce the acid in their bodies. When your body is more alkaline, viruses and bacteria have a harder time living in the body. It's pretty fascinating! That's why people detox with those. I was on an alkaline diet for a while and it really helped. I need to get back on it. Sometimes I put a little baking soda in my water too, but it tastes kind of gross.

My big thing right now is Sambucol, which is elderberry extract tablets. You can get a box at most pharmacies for about $12. You take one every 4 hours or so when you start feeling like you're getting a cold or flu. I swear they work!

Another big thing with me is the gluten free diet. I have been on it for 6 years now. I think most people are better off without gluten. I'm always suggesting that one, but not many people stick to it.

Nice to read you again! :)

Eponine said...

Don't knock it til you tried it! (And I mean, really tried it with an open mind!) I've seen many a thing cured by apple cider vinegar (including genital warts!), tea tree oil and baking soda.

I'm surprised you haven't written about oil pulling as well!

(And I worked for a pharmacy for years. Most of that stuff, really, is not good for you. I've seen more people sick and dying FROM the stuff we give them than seen people who were helped by it. A friend of mine beat cancer by using a form of Rx and homeopathy, which I think is the way to go.)

Janice Ladden said...

Emu oil? What does it cure, Nancy? I have eaten Australian emu jerkey. Tastes very much like wild fowl. But here's something maybe Plainwater should try. When you go for diagnosis in New Orleans, or medical check-up, New York, a physical therapy, Dallas, Tx, or anywhere else, it matters that treatment approaches should both be conventional and holistic. I'm no fan of doctors but I always look for these treatments, plus attentive care, of course

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