Home Remedies, S.C. Style (Pedcast)


Today, I have something really unique for you… I am going to introduce you to Tamika Hinton, my office assistant. I recently discovered that she is a wealth of information about home remedies for common ailments… that is, folk remedies, South Carolina style remedies. She is also a wonderful person, full of life and cheer, who grew up in the small SC town of Rock Hill. We were talking the other day and she started telling me about some of her families home remedies she recalled from her childhood. I found them so interesting that I had to share them with my viewers, along with some of Tamika’s childhood memories. So today, I’m going to share with you some of Tamika Hinton’s Home Remedies, South Carolina Style.

Doc Smo-Question 1: First, I asked Tamika, to tell me what her mother did when she had a fever as a child and here is what she told me.


Tamika’s answer: Cut potatoes in her socks for fever. Baby potatoes…does with kids. Half in each sock. Only once or twice. She said this took the fever right down and made her feel much better.


DocSmo’s analysis- Well, that treatment seems to make sense to me. Rather than lowering a child’s biologic thermostat located in their brain with a medicine like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, simple put a vegetable that is mostly water, like a potato, in contact with their skin, that acts like a heat sink, pulling heat out of the child. Sort a like a heat pump on the cooling mode. Maybe something in potato that has a chemical effect as well, I’m not sure?  Seems benign. A tub of luke warm water does the same thing but this may work while the child sleeps, ingenious. It’s hard to give a child a bath all night long.


DocSmo- Question 2: Next, I asked Tamika how her family cured ringworm and she told me how they did that without ever going to the drugstore or spending a dime.  Here is what she told me.


Tamika’s answer: This answer was fascinating.  Tamika told me that the child was asked to urinate on a rag and then this rag was applied to the ringworm rash 3-4 times daily until the it disappeared.   According to Tamika, this therapy worked every time and usually only took about a week to work.


Doc Smo’s analysis: Well, it is not unheard of to use of bodily fluids as medicine. I’ve heard that urine therapy has been used for years on jellyfish stings. It is said that dogs licking their saliva on cuts of humans accelerates healing. Maybe the urine that Tamika’s family used for ringworm worked by providing some irrigation. The urine probably created a high osmotic environment that may inhibited fungal growth. Changes ph. Bottom line… it seems to work in Tamika’s experience. In today’s world however, urine on ringworm may be good if you and your child are stranded on an island without meds but OTC antifungals are cheap and very effective. Oh, and by the way, never try this for infections of the head. Take those fungal infections to your pediatrician. Terrible scarring can occur and is permanent fromm hair follicle fungal infections.


Question 3-  Next, I asked Tamika to tell about how her family’ would approach treating a boil and here is what she told me.


Tamika’s answer: Salted Fatback on a boil was an alternative to draining or lancing the boil. The fatback she claims brings the boil to a head. She said this therapy works fast. She told me some very colorful anecdotes about how well this worked for her family members but i can’t repeat those stories here.


Doc Smo analysis: Well, again, that might make some sense. Oils softens skin making it easier to push out contents of the boil. That physical property of oil is the basis of a billion dollar moisturizer industry. Yes, this therapy makes perfect sense. Additionally, oil, by it’s physical properties, contains no water that bacteria need  to grow and thrive.  Maybe the fat starves the bacteria of needed water and somehow inhibits the growth of the germs that are causing the abscess.?  Another form of salting a wound?



Doc Smo-Question 4: Next, I asked Tamika, if she had any other home remedy tips for my listeners, maybe a way to prevent getting sick?


Tamika’s answer: Cut onion keeps sickness away. Tell previous doctor story without using her name please.


Doc Smo: Eating onions maybe but just in the room with onions?… I’m skeptical of that one. I’m having trouble figuring out how that one may help. Well, wait a minute. Since other people are the vehicle for germs,  maybe the bad smell of onions just keeps other people away and therefore their germs stay away!


Doc Smo Question 5: Finally, Tamika, told me about the time her mother badly twisted her ankle and her Mom immediately started a unique treatment for this soft tissue injury.  Grandma’s solution to this injury…soak brown paper bag with white vinegar and wrap the injured part. Tamika claims this works fast and very well. Her mama was up and running before you knew it.


Doc Smo’s analysis: The healing power of vinegar. I’ve had comments sent to my blog about that! Drinking vinegar, bathing in vinegar…now wrapping oneself in vinegar. I’m sure at least the wrapping and elevation part helps. We know compression and elevation are some of the basics that hasten tissue repair. Remember the pneumonic RICE. Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Every doctor and Doctor Mom knows about these. Additionally, vinegar is a fermented product and we know some great things happen when you ferment foods; all sorts of nutrients and substances get released, some that may have pain relief effects and even enhance healing. I’m OK with this one Tamika.  I might try it myself the next time I fall.


I want to thank Tammika Hinton for sharing some of your life experiences with me and my listeners. Tamika, you’re the best. I am fairly certain we will get some comments about this pedcast. Go ahead, parents, feel free to comment away at my blog or on social media. You can follow us on Facebook or Twitter or google plus. And don’t forget to comment and subscribe on iTunes. This is Dr. Paul Smolen, reminding you that when your child doesn’t feel so dandy, don’t forget to see what you have handy. Until next time.


Smo Notes:


  1. Healing properties of Vinegar, by Gayle Alleman