Folk Medicine- Ichthammol Ointment For Horses

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 55
Occupation: Business owner
Residence: Dallas, TX
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/29/2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Context: My informant grew up in a farming family in Michigan. Her uncle raised horses and had the philosophy of “if it’s good enough for the animals, it’s good enough for me.” Her family was relatively poor, so there was no sense to them in buying something for people when you already had it for the animals. Running around in the woods and on the farm, splinters were common for her and her siblings. She remembers her mother using the drawing salve for the horses on them and it works flawlessly. To this day, she buys the drawing salve meant for horses to use on her own children.

Text: M: “It’s a drawing salve meant for horses, it’s called ichthammol ointment for horses. But it works just as well on people. So if you have a splinter, you just rub some ichthammol ointment on it and it pops right out. They have ichthammol drawing salves for people too, but they don’t work as well because they’re made to look nice and smell good. The ones for horses might smell gross, but they work better than anything else I’ve tried.”

My Thoughts: This makes a lot of sense to me. There are so many products for animals that work just as well for humans, and they’re usually cheaper because you don’t have to pay for packaging, dyes, or fragrances.