Honey, Garlic and Vinegar

Looking at an old issue of Mother Earth News an ad caught my eye.  In big letters across the top it read: “Is your doctor too lazy to read about honey, garlic and vinegar?”  It made me smile.

Not long ago we went to a gathering of friends, farmers and homesteaders in a nearby county.  It was a potluck supper followed by a discussion of home remedies.  There was a lot of talk that night about the benefits of honey, garlic and vinegar.

Home remedies aren’t always sensible, of course.  From my research of medical care and folk medicine in 18th Century England I’ve learned that there were plenty of “cures” being used and promoted that are ludicrous to a 21st Century reader.  A red hot poker under the nose is not a sensible way to treat nosebleeds, sticking orange peels in one’s nostrils is not a good way to treat a head cold, and lying with a kitten on one’s stomach will ordinarily not cure a stomach ache, for example. But there are some tried and true folk remedies that do continue to make sense, but aren’t likely to ever be recommended by a physician.  Chicken soup is good for colds.  It just is.  Local honey helps fight seasonal allergies.  Garlic helps cure all sorts of ills.

For most of human history, of course, there wasn’t a CVS or Walgreens on every corner.  I’ve heard my mother talk about going out into the mountain forests with her mother when she was a child, as her mother gathered the herbs they would use for household medicines during the year.  For most of our history people depended upon nature and the wisdom of preceding generations to supply the things they would need to treat illnesses.

We’ve mainly been growing culinary herbs but Cherie (the herbalist of our household) plans to add more medicinal herbs this year and she’s also been learning how to identify and use the remedies which grow all around us.

While the disappearance of absurd folk remedies is no great loss, we ought not toss out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.  When honey, garlic or vinegar can do the job as well or better than any expensive synthetic pharmaceutical, then the choice should be obvious.

26 comments on “Honey, Garlic and Vinegar

  1. tami says:

    Mr Joe (my 75 yo walking buddy) and I were just having this conversation this morning as we stomped around the hood. He got some local honey (allergies) and celon cinnamon (lower blood sugar).

    SM uses tart cherry juice (gout) and is big on the honey and vinegar too.

    I swear by coconut oil for dry skin, scrapes and assorted issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    • shoreacres says:

      It took three days for cherry juice to eliminate my arthritis pain, and after a couple of weeks the joint swelling was down by about 80%. I still have a bit of swelling in a thumb joint, but it doesn’t cause any problem.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      But if a chemical company can’t patent it, then it must not work. 🙂
      Thanks for the reminder about cherry juice (Linda/Shoreacres had mentioned that to me before). I’ve had some stiffness in my elbows in the mornings lately. Sounds like a job for cherry juice.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Joanna says:

    My bachelors was in Pharmacology and Chemistry and I knew when I finished that, there was no way I was going into the Pharmaceutical industry. Since then I have been fascinated by the use of herbal treatments for ailments. I reckon that God is a rather good Pharmacist and perhaps we should take note of the medicinal plants he created!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      We’re losing so much knowledge in this culture, accumulated over thousands of years. Much of what we regard as weeds (or more commonly, don’t regard at all) is food and medicine.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Aye Laddie, truer words were never spoken – Knowledge of the Ages and more precious than gold!
    But about the kitten on the chest thing – I recall reading that the sound (resonance/tone/vibration?) of a cat’s purr is healing. (Makes me feel better, anyway; )

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      That remedy was recommended by Thomas Sydenham, considered to be the English Hippocrates (actually, I think he recommended a puppy). But I have my doubts as to its efficacy. 🙂

      I’ve heard from Cherie that scientists have never been able to identify the reasons cats purr and that there is a theory that the purring aids in healing. I can understand that.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. valbjerke says:

    Can you put a link here to Cherie’s blog?
    I’m a huge fan of picking and drying ‘weeds’ for ointments and teas and so on. I started growing medicinal herbs this past year.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. bobraxton says:


    Liked by 2 people

  6. avwalters says:

    I don’t know, a kitten on a upset tummy seems just the thing to me. If not a cure, at least a distraction, and maybe a bit of warmth.
    I regularly drink a variety of herbal “tonics.” depending on season, symptom and sensibility. Winter is often hot water, apple cider vinegar and honey. Aches calls for hot water and tart cherry concentrate (available locally in grocery stores, since I live in the cherry capital), and lately, crushed fennel seed and ginger slices in hot water. I think we’d all be better off if we dimished our dependence on Big Pharma. I take white willow bark in lieu of aspirin and stinging nettle tea for congestion. I have long been known to scrounge the herb garden for my concoctions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      I need to learn more about herbal and natural remedies. When I’m in need of them I just come whining to my wife and she knows what to do. She seems to have a tea or herb for just about everything. One of our goals for the year is to grow/gather more of what we use.

      I’m in full agreement of course that we need to break our dependence on Big Pharma.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sarah says:

    Vinegar is medicinal? Music to my ears! I currently have 10 batches of soon-to-be red and white wine vinegars swaddled in towels on top of the refrigerator, and multiple jars of finished vinegar in the cupboard. I’ve been wondering how on earth I’ll ever use it all, but am so in love with my vinegar mothers that I can’t bring myself to stop feeding (and dividing) them. Perhaps a large daily dose of vinegar is in order :).

    As for the kittens/cats debate, I’m a strong believer in the healing powers of their purrs :).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. sf says:

    It’s interesting that you should bring up garlic and vinegar because I’ve been trying to mix up a strong concoction of it (with onion too) in order to obliterate aphid insects from my Pops’ plants. Didn’t work. After searching online, I read that I should add liquid soap and Neem Oil. Now, I just need to find that Neem oil…


  9. jubilare says:

    “lying with a kitten on one’s stomach will ordinarily not cure a stomach ache” maybe not, but it can work wonders if you’re sad. 😉

    I’m taking galium aparine, in tea form, to help me deal with lymphedema. There are no clinical trials, of course, and I lean towards being a skeptic, but it does seem to help. I’ve gotten my doctor’s approval, and try not to overdo things, though. Too much of a good thing isn’t necessarily a good thing!


    • Bill says:

      I used to have acid reflux and I started taking Prilosec for it. When I found out how much it cost, I refused to keep taking it (even though it was covered by our insurance at the time). I discovered that a cup of hot decaf tea after a meal worked just as well. Then it later went away all-together, thanks probably to a diet of fresh chemical-free food and editing stress out of my life.

      You’re right about kittens and puppies curing sadness. Pet therapy is being used in assisted living facilities and prisons now to help with emotional issues. But if I recall correctly the theory behind the recommendation in those days was that the illness would somehow pass from the person to the animal. Not nice.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

        Pretty sure the exchange is more like pure love and learning empathy in return.
        Go figure the Kingston Penitentiary just had its world-famous farm (crops and dairy) closed down and its assets scattered to the wind because “farming doesn’t teach any currently useable skills” ):

        Liked by 1 person

      • jubilare says:

        A good diet and reducing stress can cure a lot of ills, I think. I do fairly well on the first one, but the second is still a challenge.

        Aye, that’s like the belief, still held by some people around where I live, that having a Chihuahua cures asthma as the breathing ills are somehow transferred to the dog. If it were true, it would be a very nasty way to cure oneself.

        Pet therapy, though… I rescued my two cats because I realized that I needed some furry things in my life. They’ve been at least as important to my wellbeing as I’ve been to theirs.

        Liked by 1 person

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