Old Time Remedies

The remedies our ancestors used -- or, at least, were told to use! Folk remedies, old wives' tales, mediaeval cures... they're all here.

NOTE: these remedies are listed only for information and/or amusement. They are not to be construed as medical advice of any type, nor are they recommended for use. Consult your doctor for any medical advice you require.

 

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Dr Butler's Cordial water

Take Pimpernel, Carduus, Angelica, Scordium, Scabious, Dragon, and still these severally in a Rose-still; and when you have a pint of the water of every of these sorts of Herbs, then mingle all thse together very well, and dissolve in it half a pound of Venice Treacle, then still all these together, and mingle the stronger water with the small; six spoonfuls of this water, made blood warm, given to one sick of the Plague, driveth all venome from the heart. It is excellent so used, for the Small Pox, or for any pestilent Feaver.

Source: The Queens Cabinet Opened: Or, The Pearle of Practice. Accurate, Physical and Chirurgical Receipts, Nathaniel Brooke

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Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Indigestion or Dyspepsia, Mustard and Molasses for

"Mustard is an excellent household remedy kept in every home. A tablespoonful of white mustard mingled with two ounces of molasses and then taken once a day will act gently on the bowels and is a beneficial remedy in dyspepsia." By acting upon the bowels it relieves the stomach of any food that may have caused a disturbance and relieves the dyspepsia.

Source: Mother's Remedies: Over One Thousand Tried and Tested Remidies from Mothers of the United States and Canada, T. J. Ritter

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Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Treacle Posset (II)

For each person use: 1 teaspoon black treacle, 1 glass milk.

Heat the milk and dissolve the treacle in it; serve hot. Black treacle contains large amounts of the B group of vitamins and the drink is an excellent preventive measure against colds, especially if taken each evening during the winter before retiring to bed.

Source: Home Made Wines, Syrups and Cordials, The National Federation of Women's Institutes

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Saturday, 8 March 2008

Treacle Posset (I)

2 tablespoons treacle
1 lemon
1 pint milk

Heat the milk until near boiling point, then add the treacle and lemon juice. Boil slowly until the curds separate, strain and serve hot as a remedy for a cold.

Source: Home Made Wines, Syrups and Cordials, The National Federation of Women's Institutes

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Saturday, 9 February 2008

Ingredients: Balm

The herb Balm, or Melissa, which is cultivated quite commonly in our cottage gardens, has its origin in the wild, or bastard Balm, growing in our woods, especially in the South of England, and bearing the name of "Mellitis." Each is a labiate plant, and "Bawme," say the Arabians, "makes the heart merry and joyful." The title, "Balm," is an abbreviation of Balsam, which signifies "the chief of sweet-smelling oils;" Hebrew, Bal smin, "chief of oils"; and the botanical suffix, Melissa, bears reference to the large quantity of honey (mel) contained in the flowers of this herb.

When cultivated, it yields from its leaves and tops an essential oil which includes a chemical principle, or "stearopten." "The juice of Balm," as Gerard tells us, "glueth together greene wounds," and the leaves, say both Pliny and Dioscorides, "being applied, do close up woundes without any perill of inflammation." It is now known as a scientific fact that the balsamic oils of aromatic plants make most excellent surgical dressings. They give off ozone, and thus exercise anti-putrescent effects. Moreover, as chemical "hydrocarbons," they contain so little oxygen, that in wounds dressed with the fixed balsamic herbal oils, the atomic germs of disease are starved out. Furthermore, the resinous parts of these balsamic oils, as they dry upon the sore or wound, seal it up, and effectually exclude all noxious air. So the essential oils of balm, peppermint, lavender, and the like, with pine oil, resin of turpentine, and the balsam of benzoin (Friars' Balsam) should serve admirably for ready application on lint or fine rag to cuts and superficial sores. In domestic surgery, the lamentation of Jeremiah falls to the ground: "Is there no balm in Gilead: is there no physician there?" Concerning which "balm of Gilead," it may be here told that it was formerly of great esteem in the East as a medicine, and as a fragrant unguent. It was the true balsam of Judea, which at one time grew nowhere else in the whole world but at Jericho. But when the Turks took the Holy Land, they transplanted this balsam to Grand Cairo, and guarded its shrubs most jealously by Janissaries during the time the balsam was flowing.

In the "Treacle Bible," 1584, Jeremiah viii., v. 22, this passage is rendered: "Is there not treacle at Gylead?" Venice treacle, or triacle, was a famous antidote in the middle ages to all animal poisons. It was named Theriaca (the Latin word for our present treacle) from the Greek word Therion, a small animal, in allusion to the vipers which were added to the triacle by Andromachus, physician to the emperor Nero.

Tea made of our garden balm, by virtue of the volatile oil, will prove restorative, and will promote perspiration if taken hot on the access of a cold or of influenza; also, if used in like manner, it will help effectively to bring on the delayed monthly flow with women. But an infusion of the plant made with cold water, acts better as a remedy for hysterical headache, and as a general nervine stimulant because the volatile aromatic virtues are not dispelled by heat. Formerly, a spirit of balm, combined with lemon peel, nutmeg, and angelica-root, enjoyed a great reputation as a restorative cordial under the name of Carmelite water. Paracelsus thought so highly of balm that he believed it would completely revivify a man, as primum ens melissoe. The London Dispensatory of 1696 said: "The essence of balm given in Canary wine every morning will renew youth, strengthen the brain, relieve languishing nature, and prevent baldness." "Balm," adds John Evelyn, "is sovereign for the brain, strengthening the memory, and powerfully chasing away melancholy." In France, women bruise the young shoots of balm, and make them into cakes, with eggs, sugar, and rose water, which they give to mothers in childbed as a strengthener.

It is fabled that the Jew Ahasuerus (who refused a cup of water to our Saviour on His way to Golgotha, and was therefore doomed to wander athirst until Christ should come again) on a Whitsuntide evening, asked for a draught of small beer at the door of a Staffordshire cottager who was far advanced in consumption. He got the drink, and out of gratitude advised the sick man to gather in the garden three leaves of Balm, and to put them into a cup of beer. This was to be repeated every fourth day for twelve days, the refilling of the cup to be continued as often as might be wished; then "the disease shall be cured and thy body altered." So saying, the Jew departed and was never seen there again. But the cottager obeyed the injunction, and at the end of the twelve days had become a sound man.

Source: Herbal Simples Approved for Modern Uses of Cure, William Thomas Fernie

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Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Colds, Molasses-Vinegar Syrup for

"One-half cup of molasses, butter the size of a hickory nut, one tablespoon vinegar, boil together. Dose: One teaspoonful or less as the case requires. Take often until relieved." This is an old remedy and a good one.

Source: Mother's Remedies: Over One Thousand Tried and Tested Remidies from Mothers of the United States and Canada, T. J. Ritter

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Thursday, 3 January 2008

Molasses Posset for a Cold

Take a pint of the best molasses, a tea-spoonful of powdered ginger, a quarter of a pound of fresh butter, and let them simmer together for half an hour: then stir in the juice of two lemons, or if you have not these, two table-spoonsful of strong vinegar; cover over the sauce-pan, and let it stand by the fire five minutes longer. Some of this may be taken warm or cold.

Source: Domestic Cookery, Useful Receipts, and Hints to Young Housekeepers, Elizabeth E. Lea

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