Granny's cures for all 50 years on

Way before the days of smartphones and Google if you had something wrong with you there was only one go-to person - your granny.

Friday, 3rd August 2018, 3:13 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd August 2018, 5:23 pm
A bit of butter went a long way to cure a bump or bruise or settle a sore throat or cough

Whether you'd skinned your knee, bumped your head, broken a limb, had a bad cold or merely were just feeling under the weather, granny had a cure for all ailments.

And no matter how weird and wonderful that cure may be, you believed her 100 per cent when she said it was 'tried and tested' and worked every time.

Now, older and slightly more cynical, looking back I'm starting to wonder just how rubbing butter on a bump, eating butter rolled in sugar, or sticking boiling hot mushed up bread on your big toe and then bandaging it up was accepted without question as the ideal remedy.

Well, let's see. Butter on a bruise...old wives' tale or does it really work? Well, a quick trawl through Google (yes, well it is the 21st century after all) and there's pretty much a 50-50 split on the answer.

One woman, who had been in the medical profession for 15 years, instantly dismissed it as utter rubbish saying the only way it could help was if it was ice cold like an ice pack, but another website suggested that when applied directly onto your skin, the high fat contains an ingredient (phosphate) that keeps your blood vessels from breaking down, thus creating a bruise or some swelling.

Who knew that granny's remedy was actually quite chemically complex and, according to some, worked a treat!

Butter, it seems, was one of granny's favourites as, when we had a cough or cold, she used to take some, coat it in sugar, and make us swallow it to 'ease our throat pain'.

Luckily, I never actually experienced this joyful cure, having built up a total intolerance to butter due to my inability to keep upright while out playing. To this day I even hate the smell of the stuff.

Indeed, I've heard that some grannies even added vinegar to the butter and sugar mix. And I thought Cod Liver Oil was bad!

Speaking of which, it also was distributed quite a lot in our household as a 'cure all' for aches and pains. Still not sure if it worked, but we held our nose and accepted our fate anyway. There was no avoiding granny when she was on a mission!

Then, of course, there was the dreaded poultice - a delightful mix of bread, milk and boiling hot water which was then applied to anywhere that had a swelling or foreign body lodged inside, this then covered with a huge bandage. You were then forced to sleep with this vile mixture overnight and awaken in the morning with all that was bad having been 'drawn out' by the awful mixture.

Now, according to the oracle that is Google, this actually does work! And not only is it useful on humans, but also on animals to draw out any infection.they may have. So horrendous though it sounds - and it wasn't too pleasant to have to sleep with either - the bread and milk poultice is a cheap, handy and apparently, very effective remedy.

Constipated anyone? Then dig in to a big bowl of prunes! Not sure if this one worked because they were a natural laxative or because I hated the things and couldn't wait to expel them from my body. However, one mere mention of feeling bloated and out came the can of prunes - nothing else would work the same granny insisted.

But hold on...apparently prunes are an all-natural source of fiber making them an easy way to boost the fiber content of your meal plan and thus, keep you regular. Granny MD was bang-on yet again.

One remedy we did all love, however, was chicken soup when you had a cold and were feeling well and truly sorry for yourself. Each delicious spoonful just made you feel better - no idea why, it just did.

And Google agrees... there is actually a small amount of prostaglandins in chicken soup that can help fight infections.A landmark study on chicken soup showed that the nourishing food has an anti-inflammatory effect.

Of course, along with the chicken soup, you had to have the Vicks Vaporub applied all over your chest with a cotton hanky on top (clean of course), tucked under your pyjamas before you headed off to sleep. Oh, and a couple of dabs up the nostrils for good measure.

Apart from the stinging sensation in your eyes and the spreading unbearable heat across your chest, trying to get to sleep with such a sticky substance all over you was difficult to say the least. Then, just when you thought it had finally dried up, granny came and applied a second coat.

Allegedly, on this matter granny was doing it all wrong. Today, the best place to apply Vicks Vaporub if you have a cold is on your feet.

Well, had we known that back then, I think we may have had a more pleasurable sleep for one thing and far less washing of the pyjamas which were, to quote an old phrase, 'clairted' in the stuff!

Looking back, granny fairly had the right idea for her fascinating cures, some of which are still used today. But I'm sure there are many more weird and wonderful remedies out there that we haven't even touched upon, So come on folks, let us know what your granny used to suggest for your aches and pains.