When my brother and I were sick as kids, my mum would always practise her folk medicine skills on us. Usually this meant plying us with hot, bitter tea - tea so bitter that it really was worth making a "miraculous" recovery in order to avoid a second mouthful.
Another of my mum's favourite home remedies was the liberal use of a special brand of eucalytus oil. A handkerchief doused in this stuff creates the effect of a hurricane your sinuses, making you believe you can actually breathe through your nose.
But her most-used remedy was this - take a hot boiled egg, remove the yolk, put a silver coin inside the whites, wrap this up in a clean handkerchief and rub it all over your chest, back, neck and face. Repeat about six times, washing the silver coin thoroughly in between eggs.
Mum really believes this draws out the evil humours in the body and reduces fever. So much so that she walks around with a permanent egg-y smell around her, to which she is completely immune.
We had a visitation today, right in the middle of a food-fight between Baby and me (she was winning) and a minor tiff between the boy and me (over how helpful it isn't when your partner tells you that your stressfulness is showing). Despite cold, windy and rainy weather (normally enough to put her off leaving her house unless it's to collect her pension), my mum dropped by with half a dozen eggs, a silver coin and a bundle of clean handkerchiefs.
And you know what? I do feel better for it, although afterwards I had to clean crumbled egg whites off the floor and light a few matches (for the smell). Maybe it was the hot rub. Or maybe it's because my mum came through.