skunk grease

Skunk grease

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Colorado Homestead Old Home Remedies With Grandma

By Capper’s Staff | Dec 30, 2011

Colds, burns, earaches – we had them all when we lived on that Colorado homestead. Grandma often treated our ailments with a little good old-fashioned Colorado homestead old home remedies of the medical sort.

For chest colds, the cure was skunk grease. Grandma fried the fat of skunks my uncle hunted and skinned, and she rubbed the stuff generously on the chest and topped it with a warm flannel cloth.

Sometimes the treatment was a mustard plaster. More than once a bit of my skin came off with the plaster.

For coughs, we took a teaspoon of kerosene and sugar.

Flaxseed poultices were used for infections and slivers in the hands.

A hot baked potato was cut open and placed over my aching ear. I lay on it and let the steam help relieve the pain.

When my uncle burned his arm, a friend walked more than a mile for cattails so Grandma could mix them with lard and spread over the burn. When the arm healed, there wasn’t a scar.

Every spring we were given molasses and sulfur to clear the blood – whatever that means. I can’t even eat molasses cookies today.



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Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.


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Grandma was known for her Colorado homestead old home remedies of the medical sort.