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People's Home Remedies

We all have our tried and true methods and mixtures for dealing with the minor ailments of life. Some come from practical experimentation; some are handed down within the family, some come from the 1890 edition of People's Home Library. But wherever you find the cure that works for you, please share it with NCPR and we'll post it here.

Suggest a home remedy.

A Number of Family Cures

(submitted by Tony Waickman)

I have a few that you might enjoy:

My Irish grandfather had a cure for everything. If it was a rash of any sort, axle grease was the cure-all. Really! But his cure for the common cold was the two bottle method. You took a bottle of aspirin and a bottle of scotch and went to bed. You put the bottle of aspirin on the foot of the bed, drank the scotch until you saw two bottles of aspirin, and then you were cured. My grandmother’s cure for a cough was half a jigger of bourbon, and half a jigger of lemon juice. You took a large spoon of honey, dipped it into the bourbon- lemon mixture, and slowly licked that. She didn’t tell me to lick the honey the first time that she gave it to me. I was about 10, slugged everything down at once, and couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t catch a football worth beans.

Some local remedies were not so funny. An old remedy for acne that was used in the St. Lawrence River Valley area was lead, usually swallowed fishing sinkers. This probably led to significant problems many years later.

Stay healthy. And be sure to wash your hands. An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.

Tony Waickman


Bionic Tonic

(also known as “Last Chance Tonic”), from Professor Edwin Clark, Potsdam

  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 quarts water


  1. To make concentrate: Add honey to 1 cup heated water. Stir. Then add apple vinegar.
  2. Add to water to taste.

A preventative cure – “Drink it every day and you’ll never get a cold.”

Cold-Killing Tea

(submitted by Joella Whitecell, Potsdam)

  • 2 quarts of water
  • a thumbsize of grated ginger
  • cinnamon sticks
  • ½ cup of honey
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  1. Simmer water, ginger and cinnamon sticks. (Don’t boil).
  2. Strain, and add honey and squeeze lemons into mix.

The Linus Cure

(submitted by Radio Bob Sauter, Canton)

Whenever I get the beginnings of a cold, like a sore throat.... I just grab a handful of 500mg Vitamin C tablets... and take about 2 grams a day for a couple of days. Usually I'm sore-throat free within a day or so. I have Nobel Prize-winning molecular scientist Linus Pauling to thank for this remedy!