The old time ways are fading into the past except in our hearts, but my mama’s cure for the Thrash (Thrush) lives on in many hearts and minds.
She had a special way of doing it and it was her secret. If anyone ever found out about it, it wouldn’t work, that’s what she always said. It was handed down from her father. He told three women and each one of them could tell three men, so on and so forth. He told my grandma and my aunt ( mama’s sister) . They didn’t carry on the tradition like mama did. They kinda turned it over to her, and boy did she run with it.
So many little children were brought to her that we lost count years ago. Some kept coming back in later years as well. Their parents found out that whatever mama did worked and word spread fast. There was a special leaf or herb that she used. We always suspected it was a leaf from some bush or tree. She told daddy over the years cause it was wearing her out to fetch it. I asked her about it one time and she said it didn’t hurt for him to know as long as he didn’t find out what she did. Daddy never did want her to tell him. He didn’t want any part of the doctoring as they called it.
We could always tell when someone was coming to get cured of the thrash or bringing their kids,. When mama saw them coming up the road, she’d slip and tell daddy to go get the medicine and he always slipped it into her hand when he came back.
There were a lot of grown ups that came as well. Mama had to blindfold them so they wouldn’t see what she did. I can attest to that. She always said, there were three kinds of the thrash, red, white and yellow. They appear as little blisters in the mouth, usually inside the lower lip or on the tongue or jaw area. Mama could just look at it and tell if it was thrash and tell them what kind they had.
I’ll never forget having it myself one time after I was grown. I told mama that my mouth was sore and she said, open your mouth. She looked at my mouth and told me I had the White Thrash. I knew something was bad wrong but never did think about it being the thrash.
Whatever she used always seemed to be close by and in plentiful supply, even in the winter months. She ran over across from the house in the woods and came back and we went in the bedroom. She put a blindfold on me and told me to open my mouth. It wasn’t but about five seconds till she said, you can take it off now, I’m done. I never felt a thing inside my mouth or anywhere for that matter. I never asked any questions except for where she thought I might have got it at. She couldn't give me an answer for that but I’d heard her many times over the years telling people when they asked about it that it was sometimes caused by a kid chewing on a comb that had been used to comb hair or a nasty bottle nipple or paciefier that had been dropped in the floor and never washed before it was stuck back in their mouth. I asked her one time about grown ups and she said it was very often caused by something they’d had in their mouth that wasn’t clean but had no way of knowing. .
We could always tell when a child or grownup had it when they walked in the door. Their mouth and lips were purple. That was the doctors method of treatment and mama always said it wasn’t worth a dime. After she did her thing they’d always get better. She always told everyone that it might get a little worse but after three days it should start getting better, and if it didn’t to come back and she’d do it a second time.
I knew one older lady that had to come back three times before she ever got better. Mama said she’d depended on the doctor medicine to long. It went all the way through her. Yes, mama always said if that stuff wasn’t taken care of early on it could go all the way through a person’s body. They’d get diarrhea, fever, chills, etc. That lady had it all but after the third time she got better and praised mama the rest of her life. There were plenty of kids that it happened to as well.
Between mama and God they always cured them, it may have took more than once but they always got better. Her own family doctor found out she was more successful than him and started sending his patients to her. It got pretty rough on her but she never did charge anyone a dime, said it wouldn’t work if she had of charged anything.
Over the years there was this one man that kept coming to her to be doctored and he kept bugging her to tell him and she told him she would if he promised to help her some. I don’t know if he ever kept his end of the deal or not. You couldn’t tell it by the way people kept coming. She wanted to tell one or two of my brothers and I begged them also to let her tell them so they could tell me but nope, they wouldn’t hear of it. She finally told one other man, and he and his wife are still carrying it on today.
I’ve heard about a lot of different methods and cures over the years and whether they work or not is not to my knowledge but one thing is for certain, my mama’s cure worked and there’s a lot of folks out there today that are living proof. Mama’s faith was the cure, she would do it and walk away knowing in her heart it would work.
Even though my mama is gone today she left some pretty big shoes to fill in more ways than one and especially when it came to curing the thrash.
© Susie Swanson, 2013