Whether it’s a hangover, battling through the onslaught of an April cold or fixing the scrape that tore open your knee, the fact is an Irish mammy always had the cure. How much of this (highly questionable) medical advice have you absorbed?
It was usually a homemade solution or a cupboard staple that saved the day, and you can guarantee these were the first go-to rather than a trip to the local doctor.
You couldn’t be spending a fortune like that now. Not when the answer was as simple as…
1. A cup of tea
Everyone knows tea is the answer to all life’s problems. Heartache? Check. Headache? Check. Shock? Double check. In this case, you sometimes got an extra shot of sugar or the chance to dig into the good biscuit tin.
2. Flat 7-Up
There’s not a sick tummy in the country that hasn’t sipped on flat 7-up. While your brothers and sisters were sneaking glasses of fizzy deliciousness from the bottle, you were left with the rather dull dregs of a drink that tasted like pond water.
3. Vicks VapoRub
Usually smothered all over your chest/nose/anywhere that your mother could reach while you sniffled through a mountain of tissues. Couldn’t sleep from your stuffed nose? A knob of the eucalyptus balm into a bowl of hot water was your instant sauna.
Fall from your bike, a burn from the cooker or a breakout of angry spots? There was only one thing for that. Slap on some sudocreme and let it do its magic. There was no point in saying it still hurt. You clearly just hadn’t given it enough time to start working.
5. Dock leaves
Swiped over arms, legs and any body part exposed to a nettle, there wasn’t a summer where you weren’t swatted with one of these green leaves. There was no running away from Mammy Nature’s cure, even if you feared it had doubled as an aiming post for a dog emptying his bladder. At least it took the swelling down.
6. Damp cloth
Having the flu was a catch 22. Yes you got to stay home from school and watch cartoons with your duvet on the couch. But you also had to have your face pressed with a damp cloth. Every twenty minutes. Which left your pillow saturated and you resting your feeble head on a wet spot.
7. Spoon of brandy
Wisdom teeth are the devil. So much so that no amount of painkillers ever really kicked in on time. Then Mammy appears with a spoon of brandy and insists it’s purely medicinal. Shockingly enough, you didn’t like the taste and you weren’t about to run for round two.
She was convinced it was the secret trick. You knew better than to complain about any more teething aches.
“If you’re not feeling better, you won’t be able to go to the party”, “Do you think if we go for ice-cream you might feel better?” or our favourite, “Well I was going to say we could go to *insert favourite place here* but if you’re not feeling up to it…”
Our parents knew just how to wrap us around their little finger. And it really worked 90% of the time. Proof that ice-cream is actually REALLY good for you.
9. Milk of Magnesia
The magic formula has been used to treat everything from sweaty armpits and dandruff, to tummy upsets and constipation. The creamy concoction usually made you gag while you glugged but it was the price to pay if you turned down dinner at your granny’s table.
10. Some TLC
Mammy knew that sometimes the only way to battle through the war wounds was with a hug and a kiss. Yes, being told we’d be better before we were married was a little irritating, but there’s a special cure in your mammy’s hug. Forget the hospital, your number one nurse was right always right where you needed her.