The Chest Cold Remedy

8 Feb


Judy Wills


When you get a cold these days (hopefully seldom, and just a mild one), when you search for the best pill or concoction to shake it out of your system… in the world do you choose? There seems to be hundreds out there to choose from. Just google it, and you will see.

And yet, I can remember my Mother’s remedy for a chest cold, as clear as yesterday. You see, we had this little space heater in our bathroom that was built into one wall.


Sounds like a disconnect already, doesn’t it? Well, hang on……’s coming. She would have me sit on the edge of the bathtub, and she would rub Bengay® all over my chest.


Then she would take a dry washcloth and hold it in front of that little space heater until it was nearly hot, then she would have me hold it over my chest while she was heating another wash cloth. That went on – back and forth between two cloths – until she felt she had done enough. Then I was sent to bed.

I don’t remember any cold medication, although there was probably something. Perhaps nothing more than hot tea with lemon and/or honey to help with the sore throat and the cough.

But I’m always sent back to that memory and Mother’s remedy when I smell Bengay™ or anything like it. It is such a sweet memory of a simpler time and loving care my Mother took with me when I was ailing.

I also don’t remember too many other houses that had that kind of in-the-wall space heater. Perhaps it was indicative of the time those houses were built. Fred and I did have one in the bathroom in our first apartment, but that apartment, too was built in the 1950’s or so. I think now in our modern homes, there is a “heat lamp” light fixture that warms the room. Such a loss.

But what a warm, loving memory that is for me.

5 Responses to “The Chest Cold Remedy”

  1. Louise Gibson February 15, 2015 at 10:09 am #

    I grew up with :Vicks” the #1 remedy for colds back then..It was inhaled, rubbed on our chest, and injected up our nose. How nostalgic..


  2. Bill February 8, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

    I have fond memories of that home-spun remedy also. Thanks for the memories.


  3. Old Things R New February 8, 2015 at 8:02 am #

    My mom used “Musterole” not sure of the spelling but it was hot!


  4. Steve Vernon February 8, 2015 at 6:13 am #

    My grandmother used to smear a gray woolly sock with Vick’s Vapour Rub. Then she would wrap that sock around my throat and pin it snugly with a safety pin that was large enough to successfully impale a fully grown water buffalo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ludyja February 8, 2015 at 7:33 am #

      What a visual! Thanks for the input.


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