When we were growing up my Grandma Fisher was in charge of most of our medical care. She nursed my sisters and I through everything from thorn wounds to measles and chickenpox and we survived it all, although that old saying, "What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger", comes to mind when I think of some of her cures.
Black Salve was one of the "cures" in the old, white-painted cabinet that hung on the wall of her kitchen. She brought it out when we had splinters or thorns that needed it's "drawing" power to bring the object to the surface so that she could do surgery with her sewing needle. I remember chasing the cows one day while I was barefooted, after being warned to put my shoes on before heading down to the pasture, and I stepped on a thorn that drove itself deep into my heel. It took weeks of black salve applications to get that old thorn out but it finally festered up one day and Grandma's skills with that needle extracted it.
Father John's was another of her "cures for what ails ya" and if we ever came down with a sniffle, she'd dose us up with a tablespoon of it. She used Grove's Chill Tonic (we called it Grover's) to keep us from getting colds and to build up our blood in the Spring after a hard Winter. There was much protest when she brought out those two bottles and I can even remember trying to run and hide to avoid having to swallow that nasty stuff, but she'd just wait patiently cause she knew I'd come out of hiding around meal time.
If you needed a laxative she had a bottle of Black Draught and if that didn't work you, pronto, she had an old stand-by, Castor Oil. As bad as the Black Draught tasted, you always prayed it would work cause the Castor Oil was a hundred times worse!
A little, blue, jar of Vick's Salve (actually Vick's vapor rub) was also a resident of her medicine cabinet. She'd rub it on our chests if we had a cough, rub it under our noses if we were sniffling, and put a glob of it in our mouths if we had what she thought was the croup. One of the main ingredients of Vick's is camphor and I've heard tell, since I've been grown, that it's a poison if it is ingested because it causes the death of liver cells. I guess it's a wonder that we're still alive, cause I know for a fact that, as a kid, I probably ingested what amounts to 2 or 3 jars of that stuff.
A little bottle of turpentine was in that cabinet too. In the Spring we'd get a drop of turpentine on a teaspoon of sugar to make sure we didn't have any worms. Sugar does not disguise the taste of turpentine and it tastes pretty much the same way it smells. She also used turpentine as a disinfectant, when I buried her butcher knife up to the bone in my hand between thumb and pointer when I was trying to punch holes in a jar lid for the frogs we'd caught, she poured turpentine in and on the wound and tied a bleached dish towel around it. I've got a scar from it, but the hand still works fine.
I suppose we were lucky that her medical skills graduated to a use of more modern pharmaceutical supplies by the time we were born cause I've heard stories of how she'd used kerosene (she called it coal oil) to disinfect and cure stuff like cuts and snake bite when she was younger.