Sunday, October 6, 2013

Our Ancestors Knew "It" All Along

As I have looked over the death records of some of my ancestors, I sometimes think to myself, "If they would have lived in my time, they would never have died of that." Many suffered so terribly with maladies which we also share, but we reach into our medicine cabinets and take out a pill to relieve our symptoms.

Many children died at young ages from complications of injuries along with diseases of all sorts of which today we only read about in history books. Mothers often died as the result of the difficulties which can accompany childbirth. Here in the United States we rarely hear of those such cases.

Emma Martinsen Anderson

My mother's paternal grandmother, Emma Martinsen Anderson died the year after mother's birth; so we never knew her personally. A few years ago my mother, sister and I set out on a "family history" adventure interviewing those who knew Grandma Emma. As we questioned her niece, Donna Bagley Harward she said, "I stayed with your grandparents one school year while they lived in Richfield [Utah] and I was attending Richfield High School. Aunt Emmy wasn’t well while I lived with them. I don’t know whether she had the medical attention she should have had. I remember they had a wood burning stove. They would leave the ashes in a tin tub on the kitchen floor. Aunt Emmy would sit and pick up the ashes out of that tub and eat them. It must have helped her."

When I heard this I thought it was very strange. Giving my great grandmother a little benefit, I researched and found out that charcoal is one of the finest absorptive agents known. Taken by mouth, it can have an amazing ability to extract and neutralize many more times its weight in gases, heavy metals, toxins, poisons and other chemicals. 

Charcoal can also be used for relieving a variety of ailments, such as indigestion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, high cholesterol and intestinal bloating. Charcoal’s ability to absorb and prevent substances from being absorbed into the body make it a popular choice for detoxifying the liver and kidneys.

So maybe the next time I feel the need to chew a Tums,  I could grab a piece of charcoal. In fact, charcoal in pill form can be purchased in many local pharmacies. 

Another story from my father's Stephenson family surprised me. It seems my great grandmother Eva Stephenson Thompson's niece as a child was visiting her Grandmother Bennett in Holden, Utah. While playing she received a deep wound. She ran to her grandmother for help. Grandma Bennett called to someone nearby and asked them to go into the barn and bring to her the cleanest cobweb they could find. They did so. She wrapped the cobweb around the wound tightly. Immediately the wound closed and the bleeding stopped.

Scientists today are finding out amazing things about cobwebs. But with regards to wounds, spider silk is known to be antimicrobial, hypoallergenic and completely biodegradable. Spider silk has been used in folk medicine for more than 2,000 years to fight infections, stop bleeding and heal wounds. In American Indian medicine, spider webs were used to banish scrapes, warts, and bruises, by simply covering the area with a web.

They also were eaten on moldy bread to cure infections; and in Appalachian folk medicine, cuts and scrapes on the skin were treated by placing a spider web over the area and blowing on it. These webs were used several hundred years ago as gauze pads to stop an injured person’s bleeding. Spider webs are rich in vitamin K, which can be effective in clotting blood. There is a large body of folklore concerning the antibiotic, wound-healing, and clot-inducing activity of spider silk.
So the next time I cut my finger making dinner, I will simply go to my front porch and search for a spider web. [Displacing the spider of course.]

I could go on and on about old cures which we wouldn't think of using today. Maybe just as a tease, I might try to give my grandchildren a spoonful of cod liver oil to help them grow strong. Or the next time I get a headache I'll go outside to my back yard and collect some leaves and bark of a willow tree, then boil these for a few minutes and drink. Within a few minutes I'm sure 
to feel much better. 

One thing I know for sure, I will feel better not having to read about these terrible ailments anymore!

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