I jumped headfirst into trying to walk 10,000 steps a day and now the rest of my body is dealing with the consequences of thinking about getting into a swimsuit.

My knees feel like they've ruptured and my ankles are pounding. It's a ritual every year at this time, but with each passing season, it gets harder and harder to coax the body back into shape. While walking laps on the acreage, I also began picking up sticks along the way. Who knew poison ivy would be alive so soon.

Trying to avoid the annual visit to the doctor for medicine to cure the poison, I decided to turn to my home remedy book instead. I never used to give going to the doctor a second thought. They would prescribe something, I would take it, I would be cured.

With each full disclosure of side effects, which may or may not happen, the consequences of taking too much or too little, as well as the chance it could possibly have a life-threatening reaction, I decided to purchase a home remedy book. I just want to be cured, not killed in the process.

The book's solution sounded safe and simple. To cure the itch and stop the spreading of poison ivy, rub salt into the infected areas, thoroughly and aggressively. I walked around for a week with salt dripping out of my sleeves, but it did stop the itching. Mostly because, from the looks of my skin, I rubbed the first layer off.

Poison ivy doesn't care where it starts as it likes to travel. Trying to reach the middle of my back, with a salt shaker, wasn't working so I gave in and got the "real" medicine.

Mom was a big fan of Castor oil for anything from a stomachache to acne – she would reach for the teaspoon. If someone wants to give you something, with the word oil in it, and it’s not mixed in with anything else, it’s a trap.

For a while I was pushing apple cider vinegar as being the remedy, but after the second or third day of drinking the stuff my senses began to rebel.

There are two home remedies I know to be tried and true – although I can't perform them on myself. I try to lend a helping hand whenever I hear anyone complain of having a stomach ache or headache.

For those with a bad belly – I have them lay down and relax the stomach muscles and then I make little karate chops across their belly to break up whatever is in there that’s giving them fits. They will either pass gas or belch, either one is effective.

The headache cure is a little more aggressive, although it does work now and then, although my patients will disagree. It's a surprise effect so they no longer think about the headache, I slap them smack dab across the center of their forehead. Surprise!

Home remedy rule number one: if you value your sanity – don't “surprise” the grandkids – give them real medicine instead.


-- Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at sandydownhome@hotmail.com