Household Remedies…a Recipe for Disaster

Homeopathic panaceas can go sideways on you. Be careful.


Garlic, a harmless vegetable, right? Wrong.  A vegetable, yes. Harmless? No. It’s lethal, a wrecker of marriages and a thorn in the side of friendships. Avoid it.

We frequently walk our dogs together on the beach, at least we did until that day. That was the day I offered homeopathic advice for the solution to her problem. There are many lessons to be learned, and relearned, about offering unsolicited advice to women. Men are slow learners.

She stands on the sand waiting, her hands on her hips. It’s an ominous body-language sign, a dead giveaway that’s something’s brewing. I feel an evil wind blowing.

I have a bone to pick with you,” she says.

What? Have I ruined your reputation by walking on the beach?”

No, you’re harmless, just an old man walking his dog on the beach. You said so yourself.”

I was joking. 80 is the new 40 now. Then what’s the bone you want to pick?”

The advice you gave me is ruining my marriage, that’s what.”

What advice? Only fools offer marital advice.”

The advice about garlic.”

Oops, no good intention goes unpunished. Here’s the background info as best as I can relate it.

It seemed that her husband had a stubborn planter’s wart on his foot. It had given the finger to all efforts to eliminate it. He was in intense training for an ascent to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro and desperate for relief. So, I offered advice about garlic.

You’re probably wondering, is there a relationship between garlic and warts? Not really, they’re mortal enemies. But a clove of garlic taped to a wart will burn it right off, say the homeopathic quacks.

I tried it once, but I was young and stupid then, nearly burned my little finger off. But the wart disappeared. So, I suggested he try it. Why not? Desperate situations require desperate remedies.

He had not been schooled in the finer points of garlic’s healing power even though he regularly brought me Kosher garlic bagels from Atlanta. Riding five hours got him accustomed to the aroma. And since he’s an adventurous athlete, he tried it. Which is why we’re here today, on the beach discussing garlic and warts. Now back to the story.

Oh, that. I was only trying to be helpful. How’d it go?”

Horrible. He tried it and kept trying it. Says it helps. He duck-tapes cloves to his foot every night. It smells up the room. We can’t sleep together. Even the dogs refuse to go near him. The children flee the house. Something’s gotta go…him, me, the wart or the garlic.”

I consider suggesting that he should just go for broke, crush up a whole garlic, put it in a paper bag and sniff it, you know, get it into his blood stream. I heard it has an anti-hallucinatory influence, keeps folks from going mad and imagining things like warts and spiders. But I refrain. I’m in deep enough already.

That bad, huh?  Here’s a suggestion. He’s a golfer, right? He knows about commitment. Listen, to get rid of warts you must commit to it, it’s a war, mano a mano, a winner and a loser, a zero-sum battle. Double-down on the garlic, and if there’s still a stalemate, well, there’s always oil of clove. Dentists swear this remedy relieves toothaches. Maybe warts, too. Try it.”

“I’m taking matters into my own hands,” she says.

This about sums up the situation. We walk silently along the beach, the dogs playing, the sound of the waves saying to me, “shut up, shut up.” I vow to refrain from future advice.

* * *

Garlic remedies are now a mute subject between us. They’re still married, we’re still friends, so I can only assume the garlic is gone. I don’t ask.

Before giving homeopathic advice, it’s wise to avoid suggesting garlic.


Bud Hearn

June 6, 2022