Texas is another country...

Texas is another country...I have driven into Texas from all four directions and can affirm that after crossing that imaginary state line you just know you are in Texas . The world becomes wide open space, the sky feels higher, you can stretch out and rest a spell.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Post by Alana Cash  
The other day I was changing the light bulb on the porch, and as I put my hand on the back of the chair I was standing on, I got stung by a wasp.  It was already dark out, so I wasn’t sure what had happened.  It felt like an electric needle giving me a shock up my arm.  I saw the little red mark and figured out it was a wasp.

I knocked on my neighbor’s door, explained I’d been stung, and asked to borrow a cigarette.  She was pretty surprised, thinking I was going to smoke it.  Instead, I broke the cigarette open, pulled out a teaspoon of tobacco, spat on it, and placed that poultice against my hand.

I put a Band-aid over the poultice and left it for a couple of hours, which was when my hand stopped hurting.  I removed the tobacco and threw it away.  My hand swelled up just a little a day later – but only because it was itching like crazy and I started rubbing it.  I guess that spread the wasp juice around.  Anyway, it’s been three days now and I can hardly tell it happened.

Making this poultice was something I learned from my grandma one afternoon when we were picking blackberries and I got stung.  I don’t know why tobacco and saliva work on a wasp sting – whether it draws something out or the nicotine gets in and calms everything down.  I just know it always works for me and when I didn’t use it, my arm swelled up like a football. Whether it works on bee stings, I don’t know, because bees don’t ever bother me.  I tried it on a flea bite once and it didn’t work at all

You kind of have to wonder how someone figured out something like that.  But I guess people who lived miles from the nearest doctor, had to figure a lot of things out.  Midwives delivered my grandmother’s nine children.  The family couldn’t afford a doctor, so they rested when they were sick, drank herb teas, dipped snuff, and whatnot. 

Nowadays folk medicine (natural medicine) is having a revival, but still has a fringe reputation, probably as a legacy from the persecution of female folk healers in Europe who boiled up toads and herbs.  Male doctors, who favored bleeding the patient, cupping them with scalding glass, and purging by shoving metal tubes down their throats, condemned the women healers as witches and had them burned at the stake. 5,000,000 of them.  After the witch-hunts in Wurzburg, Germany, there was not one woman left. 

In light of that, here is an interesting fact I learned while watching a documentary about toads on PBS.  There is an antibiotic used in current American medical prescriptions that is derived from the slime of toads and toad brains contain antiviral-antibacterial substances as well.  So, those women knew something.


And some types of toad slime are psychoactive (hallucinogenic) which might explain the fairy tales about a girl kissing a toad and turning it into a prince.  

At any rate, try the tobacco and saliva poultice next time you have a wasp sting. 

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