Wednesday, April 8, 2015

1891 Home Remedies

"The object of this volume is, to instruct every housekeeper and every owner of domestic animals in the use and applications of simple domestic remedies. It may be properly called a book of Self Instruction in the art of home doctoring. This work has been especially written to benefit and bless suffering humanity everywhere."
The Midwife's Revolt character Lizzie medicine bag held herbal cures, including Belladonna used in childbirth to dilate the cervix. But most medicinal herbs were less deadly.

I have a battered second edition of Home Remedies, passed down through my husband's family. It was first owned by James H. O'Dell and given to his son John H. O'Dell. Then it went to his daughter Laura and then to her son, my husband.

Sick room foods included chicken broth: Boil the dark meat of half a chicken in one quart of water with a little rice or barley Take off the fat and use as soon as the rice is well cooked. Add bits of brown toast.

Milk Porridge was made by boiling a quart of milk and adding one and a half tablespoons of flour, arrow root, or cornstarch wet in cold water. Salt to taste.

One recipe that has come down through my husband's family was Hot Lemonade! Lemonade was considered a sick room drink: Juice half a lemon, one teaspoon o sugar, one glass of water either hot or cold. Hot lemonade was used for colds.

"During the paroxysm dashing cold water in the face is a common remedy. To terminate the spasm and prevent its return give teaspoon doses of powdered alum. The syrup of squills is an old and tried remedy; give in 15 to 30 drops doses and repeat every 10 minutes until vomiting occurs. Seek out the cause if possible and remove it. It commonly lies in some dearrangement [sic] of the digestive organs."
According to A Modern Herbal, Squill "stimulates the bronchial mucous membrane and is given in bronchitis" and is used with other expectorants. It should not be over used, as it irritates the "gastro-intestinal mucous membrane" and can cause death in overdoses.

Alum was used to staunch bleeding, mixed with molasses to make cough syrup, mixed with water to relieve inflamed eyes, and used to cur pimples and prevent 'offensive sweating.'
Rules include "A Child should never be weaned during the warm weather in June, July or August." One wonders if that is because of a previous rule, "Not until a child is a year old should it be allowed any food except that of milk, and possibly a little cracker or bread, thoroughly soaked and softened." It was hard to keep milk from spoiling in warm weather.

Ginger tea was used to cure a cold or for bowel trouble, Sassafras tea was used to relieve dysentery and 'inflammation of the bladder. Peppermint oil on a lump of sugar or dissolved in water,was used for neuralgia, Cinnamon oil was applied to toothache. 

This little wonder book also has household tips and a section on keeping domestic animals healthy. That will be another post!

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