September 1, 2010 Edition

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Dr. Mom

Dewitt Rowlett
Guest Writer

Most moms out at Possum Trot were "medically" trained. There were home remedies for almost every affliction imaginable. A lot of those remedies were composed of a tender voice and a "kiss it and make it well" process that absolutely worked wonders.

The little cowboys I ran with almost never went to see the city doctor, Mom had a cure for everything - except perhaps a broken bone. Those cures must have worked pretty well; we are all pushing 70 now, and we are still breathing.

Of course every household had a bottle of castor oil for a stomach ache and a package of Ex-Lax for constipation. Oh, but that was the store-bought meds. No one put a lot of stock in their worth.

Here is the real deal; mom's knew their stuff:

  • Step on a rusty nail and it goes all the way through your foot - soak the foot in kerosene.

  • Vicks VapoRub on a flannel rag heated on the wood stove and pinned to the inside of your T-shirt for the night was the instant remedy for a cold.

  • Ringworm? The juice from a green walnut husk took care of that PDQ.

  • Iodine is supposed to be poison, but moms would coat a sore throat with the stuff using a long cotton swab and the soreness was gone by morning. I'll bet that upsets any child protective agent who may be reading this

  • Wasp sting? Get one of the men who chewed tobacco to rub a little juice from his mouth on it - yeah it sounds gross, but it seemed to work.

  • Poison Ivy? Vinegar and cornstarch dried it right up.

  • I remember once I sprained my ankle and it swelled up as big as my head. Mom soaked a brown paper bag in vinegar and wrapped it up and in a few hours the swelling was gone.

  • If you got an infection in one of the many cuts and scrapes a country boy is ultimately destined to get, there was this little bottle of white salve called O'Poiso. Anyone know if that product still exists?

Mom's home remedies ... Good stuff folks! Good stuff.

Dewitt Rowlett of Vilonia is a native of Possum Trot Community, five miles west of Swifton. He writes of his life in rural Arkansas and is gaining quite a fan club of people who are of the nostalgic persuasion. Comments can be sent to him through e-mail at

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