Ruth Macy’s been home-brewing her special skin cream for close to two decades
|Patti Sells | News-Telegram Feature Editor|
June 30, 2005 - Since cooking is one of her many hobbies, it's not unusual to find 82-year-old Ruth Macy standing over her stove mixing ingredients for a new recipe she's come across. But occasionally what she has brewing is her very own recipe of Bud's Buffalo Skin Cream, a home remedy prepared in her crock pot that took more than three years "to get just right."
"Bud would have been very impressed," said Macy, who explained the liniment was given that name as a tribute to her younger brother, who died of lung cancer in 1986.
Her brother never endured the discomfort of chemotherapy and radiation, but the cancer itself kept him in great pain. Macy explained that he had heard about a doctor who was experimenting with various parts of buffalo, such as tallow (fat), to make a soft soap that would help relieve the pain of some cancer.
The doctor's theory, according to Macy, was that since cancer is virtually nonexistent in buffaloes, perhaps a cure for the dreaded disease — or at least a way to alleviate some of its discomfort — could be found in a buffalo-based product.
n hopes of relieving some of his pain, Bud bought 300 pounds of buffalo fat and had some soft soap made. Unfortunately, Macy said, he didn't live long enough to ever even try the product. After a short six-month battle, Bud died at their mother's home in Atlanta.
But Macy, suffering from bursitis in her shoulder, decided she would try some of the soap herself.
"It just about took the hide off my skin," said Macy, who didn't realize fresh lye was also one of the main ingredients in the soap.
But believing that the doctor and her brother might have been on to something — not to mention the 200 pounds of tallow that were left over — Macy decided to do some experimenting of her own. She began revising a hand cream recipe given to her by one of her sister-in-laws, and after countless hours of mixing and testing, she came up with a smooth, creamy lotion that not only heals rough, dry skin, but in some instances alleviates aches.
"In some cases, it does relieve pain," said Macy, who continues to use it for her bursitis. "I've had lots of good reports. There is one lady from Atlanta whose skin was left in terrible condition after cancer treatments. She has ordered it by mail for years, because she vows it has helped her so much."
Macy, who has now been selling the salve for almost two decades, said she has had positive reports from people who use it for their sclerosis, and arthritis, as well. She said the cream is also great for insect bites, minor burns, scrapes, cuts, itching and other minor skin irritations.
"I've heard it's wonderful for diaper rash," she said, with a laugh.
Macy also said she has never felt the need to patent Bud's Buffalo Cream.
"I don't think too many people are going to mess with rendering buffalo fat," laughed Macy of the process, which involves liquefying slabs of fat and then separating it. "I can usually whip up a batch in about 45 minutes. It took me three years to develop, but now I've got it down pat."
Macy said the home remedy will be passed down to her daughter, Julie, who will soon be retiring to this area from California.
"With technology the way it is, she can probably do a lot more with the product than what I have," said Macy, whose only means of advertising has been by word of mouth.
Bud's Buffalo Cream can be purchased at The Shoe Inn, ABC Pharmacy, Brumley's, Red Barn Café, Penny's Café and Ben's Shoe Repair, or can be ordered by calling Macy at 903-885-8140.
"It doesn't always work for everyone, so I always say, 'If it works for you, wonderful. If not, well, you've got a hand cream that's great for dry skin.' Try it. It sure couldn't hurt."