Old Wives Tales
“Old wives’ tale is an epithet used to indicate that a supposed truth is actually a superstition or something untrue, to be ridiculed. It can be said sometimes to be a type of urban legend, said to be passed down by older women to a younger generation. Such “tales” are considered superstition, folklore or unverified claims with exaggerated and/or inaccurate details. Today, some “old wives’ tales” have proven to be valid. Old wives’ tales often center on women’s traditional concerns, such as pregnancy, puberty, social relations, health, herbalism and nutrition.” ~ Wikipedia ‘Old Wives Tales‘.
Sometimes there’s a reason a story from the past was created and passed down through the ages. Because it was true, it worked or it was valid then as it is today. Our modern scientific society isn’t always right and in the know about everything. When we ridicule something from the past as ridiculous, we’re doing not only the ways of old a disservice, but ourselves too.
Many people today talk about the terrible side effects of modern medications. They choose to go without instead of looking for alternatives. And usually because they, like many others choose to ignore the ways of old as nothing more than fake stories or invalid solutions. But if you look at these stories from a different angle, you discover they’re invalid, they simply haven’t been tested in mainstream scientific methods. Or they have been tested, proven true and simply haven’t gotten around because someone is making money off mainstream methods and they don’t want you to know about the alternatives.
Case in point, the Hot Toddy.
Back before we understood antibiotics or discovered penicillin and alike, people had to do with what they had. A strong stiff drink could kill the germs of a sore throat, so they said. Using honey as a salve for a wound would stay off infection, so they said. So why not mix the two together for a cold? And so they did.
Honey has been tested and has proven to have antiseptic properties. If the thousands of years of use didn’t show that, modern science finally has. It has been used since the Roman era on battle wounds and cuts. As time passed, people began using it to sweeten their tea, but also to stay off colds.
As hard liqueur came into being, many western societies condemned it’s use as a social drink. Linking it with drunkenness and debauchery. But western doctors couldn’t ignore its antiseptic effects and it became ok for medicinal purposes.
Some where along the way the Hot Toddy began showing up in the every day home. Different “formulas” found their way into the kitchens of Europe and beyond. When ever someone was coming down with a sniffle, GranMa was in the kitchen making up a hot toddy. The recipe was passed down from Mother to Daughter, through generation to generation.
Our family has two such Old Wives Tales Recipes. One from my side of the family using rum (Maw Stoots Rum Out A Cold). And the other from my partner’s side of the family using Jack Daniels (GrandMa Great’s Hot Toddy Cold Remedy). And interestingly, both work.
If you find yourself listening to an Old Wives Tale, don’t dismiss it as tom-foolery. There might actually be some reality to what you’re being told.
© 1997-2015 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D., Springwolf’s Creations. All Rights Reserved.