Woman wearing large apron holding a goose in her arms stands with two boys, November 8, 1912

Dirty Socks, Goose Fat, and Hot Toddies: Cold Remedies from the Folklore Archive



Reuther Library archivists Elizabeth Clemens and Dan Golodner raise a glass for the regional and ethnic cold remedies collected in the Reuther’s extensive Folklore Archive, including whiskey, honey, lemon, hot toddies, goose fat poultices, the color red, horehound, catnip tea, dirty socks, and the more dangerous turpentine and kerosene — don’t try those at home! Clemens explores why the informants interviewed resorted to folklore remedies, why we still use them today, and why a few of these remedies just might work.

Related Collections
Folklore Archive

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Host: Dan Golodner
Interviewees: Elizabeth Clemens
Sound: Troy Eller English

With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, and Paul Neirink


One thought on “Dirty Socks, Goose Fat, and Hot Toddies: Cold Remedies from the Folklore Archive

  1. Here are a couple of folklore cures from my family:

    Egg white for treatment of pink eye- This treatment was used on me as a child. Allow egg white to come to room temperature, drop some in eye at night and apply eye patch. Overnight cure. I speculate that this treatment worked because back then, farmers treated chicken feed with a lot of antibiotics (typically tetracycline). Perhaps this was transferred to the egg.

    Onion and vinegar to remove warts. Soak a piece of onion in vinegar overnight in a closed container. Cut a piece of onion the exact size of the wart and cover with bandage. Change daily. This also worked well.

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