Colic Mixture for Infants

January 7th, 2017

Eighty drops of laudanum, fourteen of oil of anise, two tablespoonfuls of alcohol, and a piece of asafoetida as large as a pea; put these in an eight-ounce phial, and fill with warm water. Sweeten with loaf sugar. Dose from four to six drops to a child a few days old. Increase the dose as the child grows older.

Source: Mrs Hill’s New Cook-Book

Powders for Children

August 20th, 2015

A very excellent carminative powder for flatulent infants may be kept in the house, and employed with advantage whenever the child is in pain or griped, dropping five grains of oil of anise-seed and two of peppermint on half an ounce of lump sugar, and rubbing it in a mortar, with a drachm of magnesia, into a fine powder. A small quantity of this may be given in a little water at any time, and always with benefit.

Source: The White House Cookbook, F.L. Gillette

For Colic

July 11th, 2015

For colic, or pain in the bowels, take two large, thick dinnerplates, put into hot water, let heat until you cannot bear your hand on them, then wrap one in a thin towel and lay over the seat of pain, changing as often as the plate grows cool. This is much easier than wringing cloths from hot water and quite as efficacious a remedy.

Source: Audel’s Household Helps, Hints and Receipts

Ingredient: Castor Oil

May 19th, 2015

This oil is a valuable aperient; for whilst, in doses of from half an ounce to an ounce, it thoroughly evacuates the bowels, it does so with little irritation; hence it is especially useful in inflammatory cases, or where there is spasm, or where all increased action of the system is particularly to be avoided. From its quick and mild operation, it is particularly adapted for children, and females during pregnancy. It is also the best purgative that can be employed in that affection of the bowels knowm by the names of colica pictonum, or painter’s colic, the Devonshire colic, and the dry bellyache; and it is the more useful in that disease, as it may be joined with opium and other narcotics without having its purgative properties lessened. For the same reason castor oil is advantageously given in calculous affections. It has also been regarded by some continental physicians as peculiarly well suited for expelling the tape-worm. It is likewise considered the best purgative, when properly administered, for combating habitual costiveness. For this purpose a large dose must first be given in the morning, and the use of the oil continued for some weeks, gradually diminishing the dose daily, until half a tea-spoonful only is taken; on the discontinuance of which, the bowels continue to be relieved without further assistance. One disadvantage attending the use of this oil is its tendency to excite vomiting, but this is counteracted by combining it with some aromatic. The best modes of exhibiting it in general have been much canvassed; it is given floating on water with a small quantity of brandy poured over it, and when this can be swallowed at once, there is no better mode; but as this cannot always be done, it may be given with success in coffee or mutton-broth, or suspended in water by the intervention of mucilage or yolk of egg, according to the taste of the patient. Upon the whole, castor oil is a purgative of great value, and one whose operation, as it is in daily use, should be well understood.

Source: A Companion To The Medicine Chest, John Savory.

Ingredient: Chamomile Flowers

April 30th, 2015

A strong tepid infusion of these flowers, administered in doses of from three to four ounces, operates as a powerful emetic; a weaker infusion is a useful diluent in promoting the operation of other emetics, when the stomach is weak and likely to be too much oppressed by the use of simple water. A small tea-cupful of cold chamomile tea, taken in the morning fasting, is often serviceable in dyspeptic affections, and intestinal debility. They are also used, either alone or in combination with poppyheads, for fomentations in colic, but are little preferable to hot or warm water; excepting that the infused flowers, rolled up in a cloth or flannel, serve to retain the heat of the application.

Source: A Companion To The Medicine Chest, John Savory.

Ingredient: Assafoetida

April 5th, 2015

This substance is used as a stimulant and anti-spasmodic in hysterical and nervous diseases, and spasmodic cough; as an expectorant in asthma; and as a carminative in flatulent colic. The usual dose is from five grains to half a drachm, combined, if necessary, with expectorants in cough, and with chalybeates and aloetics in hysterical complaints. The following formula will sometimes allay obstinate attacks of spasmodic cough, and has been found useful even in [w]hooping-cough : —

Take of Assafoetida, half a drachm;
Mindererus’s Spirit, two ounces;
Penny-royal Water, two ounces.

Mix, and take one or two table spoonsful for a dose.

For the relief of colic in the bowels, the following glyster may be administered :—

Assafoetida, two drachms;
Thin Gruel, ten ounces.

(Assafoetida was used by the ancients as a condiment, under the names of Silphion and Laserpitium. In Persia, it is still esteemed as a condiment, and mixed with almost all their dishes. Gastronomers, as the French term those who delight in the pleasures of the palate, among the moderns, employ it for the same purpose; having the hot plates on which they eat beef steaks rubbed with it.)

Source: A Companion To The Medicine Chest, John Savory.

Ingredient: Caraway Seed

April 1st, 2015

Caraway seeds sharpen the vision, promote the secretion of milk, and are good against hysterical affections. They are also useful in cases of colic. When used to flavour cakes the seeds should be pounded in a mortar, especially if children are to partake thereof.

When used medicinally 20 grains of the powdered seeds may be taken in a wineglassful of hot water. But for children half an ounce of the bruised seeds are to be infused in cold water for six hours, and from 1 to 3 teaspoonfuls of this water given.

A poultice of crushed caraway seeds moistened with hot water is good for sprains.

Caraway seeds are narcotic, and should therefore be used with caution.

Source: Food Remedies: Facts About Foods And Their Medicinal Uses, Florence Daniel

Ingredients: Peach

January 10th, 2009

The Peach (Amygdabus Persica), the apple of Persia, began to be cultivated in England about 1562, or perhaps before then. Columella tells of this fatal gift conveyed treacherously to Egypt in the first century:–

“Apples, which most barbarous Persia sent,
With native poison armed.”

The Peach tree is so well known by its general characteristics as not to need any particular description. Its young branches, flowers, and seeds, after maceration in water, yield a volatile oil which is chemically identical with that of the bitter almond. The flowers are laxative, and have been used instead of manna. When distilled, they furnish a white liquor which communicates a flavour resembling the kernels of fruits. An infusion made from one drachm of the dried flowers, or from half an ounce of the fresh flowers, has a purgative effect. The fruit is wholesome, and seldom disagrees if eaten when ripe and sound. Its quantity of sugar is only small, but the skin is indigestible.

The leaves possess the power of expelling worms if applied outside a child’s belly as a poultice, but in any medicinal form they must be used with caution, as they contain some of the properties of prussic acid, as found also in the leaves of the laurel. A syrup of Peach flowers was formerly a preparation recognised by apothecaries. The leaves infused in white brandy, sweetened with barley sugar, make a fine cordial similar to noyeau. Soyer says the old Romans gave as much for their peaches as eighteen or nineteen shillings each.

Peach pie, owing to the abundance of the fruit, is as common fare in an American farm-house, as apple pie in an English homestead. Our English King John died at Swinestead Abbey from a surfeit of peaches, and new ale.

A tincture made from the flowers will allay the pain of colic caused by gravel; but the kernels of the fruit, which yield an oil identical with that of bitter almonds, have produced poisonous effects with children.

Gerard teaches “that a syrup or strong infusion of Peach flowers doth singularly well purge the belly, and yet without grief or trouble.” Two tablespoonfuls of the infusion for a dose.

In Sicily there is a belief that anyone afflicted with goitre, who eats a Peach on the night of St. John, or the Ascension, will be cured, provided only that the Peach tree dies at the same time. In Italy Peach leaves are applied to a wart, and then buried, so that they and the wart may perish simultaneously.

Thackeray one day at dessert was taken to task by his colleague on the Punch staff, Angus B. Reach, whom he addressed as Mr. Reach, instead of as Mr. (Scotticé) Reach. With ready promptitude, Thackeray replied: “Be good enough Mr. Re-ack to pass me a pe-ack.”

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

Ingredients: Ivy (Ground)

September 13th, 2008

This common, and very familiar little herb, with its small Ivy-like aromatic leaves, and its striking whorls of dark blue blossoms conspicuous in early spring time, comes into flower pretty punctually about the third or fourth of April, however late or early the season may be. Its name is attributed to the resemblance borne by its foliage to that of the true Ivy (Hedera helix). The whole plant possesses a balsamic odour, and an aromatic taste, due to its particular volatile oil, and its characteristic resin, as a fragrant labiate herb. It remaineth green not only in summer, but also in winter, at all times of the year.

From the earliest days it has been thought endowed with singular curative virtues chiefly against nervous headaches, and for the relief of chronic bronchitis. Ray tells of a remarkable instance in the person of a Mr. Oldacre who was cured of an obstinate chronic headache by using the juice or the powdered leaves of the Ground Ivy as snuff: Succus hujus plantoe naribus attractus cephalalgiam etiam vehementissimam et inveteratam non lenit tantum, sed et penitus aufert; and he adds in further praise of the herb: Medicamentum hoc non satis potest laudari; si res ex usu oestimarentur, auro oequiparandum. An infusion of the fresh herb, or, if made in winter, from its dried leaves, and drank under the name of Gill tea, is a favourite remedy with the poor for coughs of long standing, accompanied with much phlegm. One ounce of the herb should be infused in a pint of boiling water, and a wineglassful of this when cool is to be taken three or four times in the day. The botanical name of the plant is Nepeta glechoma, from Nepet, in Tuscany, and the Greek gleechon, a mint.

Resembling Ivy in miniature, the leaves have been used in weaving chaplets for the dead, as well as for adorning the Alestake erected as a sign at taverns. For this reason, and because formerly in vogue for clearing the ale drank by our Saxon ancestors, the herb acquired the names of Ale hoof, and Tun hoof (“tun” signifying a garden, and “hoof” or “hufe” a coronal or chaplet), or Hove, “because,” says Parkinson, “it spreadeth as a garland upon the ground.” Other titles which have a like meaning are borne by the herb, such as “Gill go by the ground,” and Haymaids, or Hedgemaids; the word “gill” not only relating to the fermentation of beer, but meaning also a maid. This is shown in the saying, “Every Jack should have his Gill, or Jill”; and the same notion was conveyed by the sobriquet “haymaids.” Again in some districts the Ground Ivy is called “Lizzy run up the hedge,” “Cat’s-foot” (from the soft flower heads), “Devil’s candlesticks,” “Aller,” and in Germltny “Thundervine,” also in the old English manuscripts “Hayhouse,” “Halehouse,” and “Horshone.” The whole plant was employed by our Saxon progenitors to clarify their so-called beer, before hops had been introduced for this purpose; and the place of refreshment where the beverage was sold bore the name of a “Gill house.”

In A Thousand Notable Things, it is stated, “The juice of Ground Ivy sniffed up into the nostrils out of a spoon, or a saucer, purgeth the head marvellously, and taketh away the greatest and oldest pain thereof that is: the medicine is worth gold, though it is very cheap.”

Small hairy tumours may often be seen in the autumn on the leaves of the Ground Ivy occasioned (says Miss Pratt) by the punctures of the cynips glechomoe from which these galls spring. They have a strong flavour of the plant, and are sometimes eaten by the peasantry of France. The volatile oil on which the special virtues of the Ground Ivy depend exudes from small glandular dots on the under surface of the leaves. This is the active ingredient of Gill tea made by country persons, and sweetened with honey, sugar, or liquorice. Also the expressed juice of the herb is equally effectual, being diaphoretic, diuretic, and somewhat astringent against bleedings.

Gerard says that in his day “the Ground Ivy was commended against the humming sound, and ringing noises of the ears by being put into them, and for those that are hard of hearing. Also boiled in mutton broth it helpeth weak and aching backs.” Dr. Thornton tells us in his Herbal (1810) that “Ground Ivy was at one time amongst the ‘cries’ of London, for making a tea to purify the blood,” and Dr. Pitcairn extolled this plant before all other vegetable medicines for the cure of consumption. Perhaps the name Ground Ivy was transferred at first to the Nepeta from the Periwinkle, about which we read in an old distich of Stockholm:–

“Parvenke is an erbe green of colour,
In time of May he bereth blo flour,
His stalkes are so feynt and feye
That nevermore groweth he heye:
On the grounde he rynneth and growe
As doth the erbe that hyth tunhowe;
The lef is thicke, schinende and styf
As is the grene Ivy leef:
Uniche brod, and nerhand rownde;
Men call it the Ivy of the grounde.”

In the Organic Materia Medica of Detroit, U.S.A., 1890, it is stated, “Painters use the Ground Ivy (Nepeta glechoma) as a remedy for, and a preventive of lead colic.” An infusion is given (the ounce to a pint of boiling water)–one wineglassful for a dose repeatedly. In the relief which it affords as a snuff made from the dried leaves to congestive headache of a passive continued sort, this benefit is most probably due partly to the special titillating aroma of the plant, and partly to the copious defluxion of mucus and tears from the nasal passages, and the eyes.

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

Ingredients: Lavender

August 16th, 2008

The Lavender of our gardens, called also Lavender Spike, is a well-known sweet-smelling shrub, of the Labiate order. It grows wild in Spain, Piedmont, and the south of France, on waysides, mountains, and in barren places. The plant was propagated by slips, or cuttings, and has been cultivated in England since about 1568. It is produced largely for commercial purposes in Surrey, Hertfordshire, and Lincoln. The shrub is set in long rows occupying fields, and yields a profitable fragrant essential oil from the flowering tops, about one ounce of the oil from sixty terminal flowering spikes. From these tops also the popular cosmetic lavender water is distilled. They contain tannin, and a resinous camphire, which is common to most of the mints affording essential oils. If a hank of cotton is steeped in the oil of Lavender, and drained off so as to be hung dry about the neck, it will prevent bugs and other noxious insects from attacking that part. When mixed with three-fourths of spirit of turpentine, or spirit of wine, this oil makes the famous Oleum spicoe, formerly much celebrated for curing old sprains and stiff joints. Lavender oil is likewise of service when rubbed in externally, for stimulating paralysed limbs–preferring the sort distilled from the flowering tops to that which is obtained from the stalks. Internally, the essential oil, or a spirit of Lavender made therefrom, proves admirably restorative and tonic against faintness, palpitations of a nervous sort, weak giddiness, spasms, and colic. It is agreeable to the taste and smell, provokes appetite, raises the spirits, and dispels flatulence; but the infusion of Lavender tops, if taken too freely, will cause griping, and colic. In hysteria, palsy, and similar disorders of debility, and lack of nerve power, the spirit of Lavender will act as a powerful stimulant; and fomentations with Lavender in bags, applied hot, will speedily relieve local pains. “It profiteth them much,” says Gerard, “that have the palsy if they be washed with the distilled water from the Lavender flowers; or are anointed with the oil made from the flowers and olive oil, in such manner as oil of roses is used.” A dose of the oil is from one to four drops on sugar, or on a small piece of bread crumb, or in a spoonful or two of milk. And of the spirit, from half to one teaspoonful may be taken with two tablespoonfuls of water, hot or cold, or of milk. The spirit of Lavender is made with one part of the essential oil to forty-nine parts of spirit of wine. For preparing distilled Lavender water, the addition of a small quantity of musk does much to develop the strength of the Lavender’s odour and fragrance. The essential oil of Lavandula latifolia, admirably promotes the growth of the hair when weakly, or falling off.

By the Greeks the name Nardus is given to Lavender, from Naarda, a city of Syria, near the Euphrates; and many persons call the plant “Nard.” St. Mark mentions this as Spikenard, a thing of great value The woman who came to Christ having an alabaster box of ointment of Spikenard, very precious “brake the box, and poured it on His head.” In Pliny’s time blossoms of the nardus sold for a hundred Roman denarii (or £3 2s. 6d.) the pound. This Lavender or Nardus, was likewise called Asarum by the Romans, because not used in garlands or chaplets. It was formerly believed that the asp, a dangerous kind of viper, made Lavender its habitual place of abode, so that the plant had to be approached with great caution.

Conserves of Lavender were much used in the time of Gerard, and desserts may be most pleasantly brought to the table on a service of Lavender spikes. It is said, on good authority, that the lions and tigers in our Zoological gardens, are powerfully affected by the smell of Lavender-water and become docile under its influence.

The Lavender shrub takes its name from the Latin lavare, “to wash,” because the ancients employed it as a perfume. Lavender tops, when dried, and placed with linen, will preserve it from moths and other insects.

The whole plant was at one time considered indispensable in Africa, ubi lavandis corporibus Lybes eâ utuntur; nec nisi decocto ejus abluti mane domo egrediuntur, “where the Libyans make use of it for washing their bodies, nor ever leave their houses of a morning until purified by a decoction of the plant.”

In this country the sweet-smelling herb is often introduced for scenting newly washed linen when it is put by; from which custom has arisen the expression, “To be laid up in Lavender.” During the twelfth century a washerwoman was called “Lavender,” in the North of England.

A tea brewed from the flowers is an excellent remedy for headache from fatigue, or weakness. But Lavender oil is, in too large a dose, a narcotic poison, and causes death by convulsions. The tincture of red Lavender is a popular medicinal cordial; and is composed of the oils of Lavender and rosemary, with cinnamon bark, nutmeg, and red sandal wood, macerated in spirit of wine for seven days; then a teaspoonful may be given for a dose in a little water, with excellent effect, after an indigestible meal, taking the dose immediately when feeling uneasy, and repeating it after half-an-hour if needed. An old form of this compound tincture was formerly famous as “Palsy Drops,” it being made from the Lavender, with rosemary, cinnamon, nutmeg, red sandal wood, and spirit. In some cases of mental depression and delusions the oil of Lavender proves of real service; and a few drops of it rubbed on the temples will cure nervous headache.

Shakespeare makes Perdita (Winter’s Tale) class Lavender among the flowers denoting middle age:

“Here’s flowers for you,
Hot Lavender: Mints: Savory: Marjoram;
The Marigold that goes to bed with the sun,
And with him rises, weeping: these are the flowers
Of middle summer, and I think they are given
To men of middle age.”

There is a broad-leaved variety of the Lavender shrub in France, which yields three times as much of the essential oil as can be got from our narrow-leaved plant, but of a second rate quality.

The Sea Lavender, or Thrift (Statice limonium) grows near the sea, or in salt marshes. It gets its name Statice from the Greek word isteemi (to stop, or stay), because of its medicinal power to arrest bleeding. This is the marsh Rosemary, or Ink Root, which contains (if the root be dried in the air) from fourteen to fifteen per cent. of tannin. Therefore, its infusion or tincture will prove highly useful to control bleeding from the lungs or kidneys, as also against dysentery; and when made into a gargle, for curing an ulcerated sore throat.

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