Folk Remedies & Old Wives' Tales

God Save Us From Ourselves!

A lot of the old folk remedies turned into old wives' tales. 

While some certainly served a valid purpose, many were found to be useless or even fatal.  With that in mind, please use this page for entertainment purposes only!

Old Wives' Tale #1

I'd like to know how they researched this one...
Swallowing gum is dangerous, because the gum won't digest for 7 years.

Old Wives' Tale #2

Cats and babies don't mix.  Never let a cat get by a sleeping baby.  The cat will suck the air out of the baby's lungs.

This one actually has some truth to it. Have you ever had a house cat that liked to lie on your head or face while you were in bed? Imagine a full-grown cat on the head of a baby. The cat might not "suck the air out of the baby's lungs," but she'd sure keep any from getting in! Keep the cats away from the babies...

Old Wives' Tale #3

Wart remedy #1:
Cut an Irish potato in half.
Rub on the wart.
Hide the potato where no one can find it.

Wart remedy #2:
For warts on your hand.  Stick the hand with warts in a bag and tie it.  The first person to untie the bag will get your warts. (That's not a very nice of those old wives.)

Wart remedy #3:
Take a drop of blood from the wart and put it on a coin.  Put the coin in the middle of the road.  When somebody picks it up, your wart will disappear.

Wart remedy #4:
Put a drop of blood from the wart on a grain of corn.  Feed grain to a chicken.

Old Wives' Tale #4

This old folk remedy only works for people who have never seen their father.

For burns: Blowing on it will draw out the painful fire. (I can't help but wonder about all those people who had seen their father...)

Old Wives' Tale #5

My favorite folk remedy!

Chest congestion remedy:
Remove the fat from a skunk.  Eat 2-3 spoonfuls to bring up the phlegm.  (I bet this brings up more than just phlegm!)

Old Wives' Tale #6

Foot cramps at night:
Turn your shoes upside down before going to sleep.

Old Wives' Tale #7

Fever remedy:
Put some of your fingernail clippings in a bag and tie to a live eel.  The eel will carry your fever away.  (No matter how well this folk remedy might work, I'm never catching an eel.)

Old Wives' Tale #8

Sty remedy:
Run the tip of a black cat's tail over the sty.

Old Wives' Tale #9

Save your hair clippings after a haircut.  Bury them under a rock and you'll never have a headache.

Old Wives' Tale #10

Black widow spider bite:
Drink heavy alcohol from 3pm 'til 7pm. (I'm thinking that you won't have a clue that you were ever bitten.)

Old Wives' Tale #11

One of my favorite old wives tales...

Athlete's foot remedy:
Step in warm cow dung. (Yep, I can't wait to try that!)

Old Wives' Tale #12

Nosebleed remedy:
Place scissors, points up, on your neck. (I wonder just how safe this is... what else is going to bleed?)

Old Wives' Tale #13

Nail puncture:
Use a hammer to pull the nail out (ouch! I really have doubts about this folk remedy). Then grease the nail and hide it where nobody will be able to find it. This is supposed to prevent lockjaw.

Old Wives' Tale #14

Remove the initial bandage and bury it for the sore to heal.

Old Wives' Tale #15

Sore throat remedy:
Take a sock that you've worn til it stinks.  Tie it around your neck until throat heals.

Old Wives' Tale #16

(This is the most disgusting thing that I've ever heard!)
Don't eat for a few days in order to starve the worm.  Then hold milk up to your nose and sniff deeply. The worm will stick his head out your nose to find the milk. Keep moving the milk further away to draw the worm all the way out.

Old Wives' Tale #17

Scrape a cow's horns. Boil the scrapings and drink.

Old Wives' Tale #18

For a sick child:
Take a little blood from the child's arm and put it on a grain of corn.  Feed grain to a black hen.

Old Wives' Tale #19

Asthma remedy:
Drill a hole in a black oak tree just a little higher than the person's head.  Place a lock of their hair in the hole.  When they grow and pass the height of the hole, their asthma will go away.

Old Wives' Tale #20

Hair of the Dog. This remedy involves drinking the same "hair of the dog" that bit you, meaning if you got drunk on rot gut whiskey, you should drink more rot gut whiskey to get over it.

Do I need to say it? This is NOT a remedy -- don't drink and you won't ever get hangovers... or a lot of other problems.

NOTE: How do know if you are an alcoholic?  -- If you can't have fun without alcohol (even once a week), you are an alcoholic. Period.

While these may seem like harmless old folk remedies, some of the things that were practiced were often fatal.

Most of these old wives' tales are silly, but some, like keeping cats and babies away from each other, are just good sense.

Please take this page as only for entertainment purposes!

Articles for Real Home Remedies

› Folk Remedies