Colds and Hoarseness

October 5th, 2016

Borax has proved a most effective remedy in certain forms of colds. In sudden hoarseness or loss of voice in public speakers or singers, from colds, relief for an hour or so may be obtained by slowly dissolving, and partially swallowing, a lump of borax the size of a garden pea, or about three or four grains held in the mouth for ten or fifteen minutes before speaking or singing. This produces a profuse secretion of saliva or “watering” of the mouth and throat, just as wetting brings back the missing notes to a flute when it is too dry.

A flannel dipped in boiling water and sprinkled with turpentine, laid on chest as quickly as possible, will relieve the most severe cold or hoarseness.

Another simple, pleasant remedy is furnished by beating up the white of one egg, adding to it the juice of one lemon, and sweetening with white sugar to taste. Take a teaspoonful from time to time. It has been known to effectually cure the ailment.

Or bake a lemon or sour orange twenty minutes in a moderate oven. When done, open at one end and take out the inside. Sweeten with sugar or molasses. This is an excellent remedy for hoarseness.

An old time and good way to relieve a cold is to go to bed and stay there, drinking nothing, not even water, for twenty-four hours, and eating as little as possible. Or go to bed, put your feet in hot mustard and water, put a bran or oatmeal poultice on the chest, take ten grains of Dover’s powder, and an hour afterwards a pint of hot gruel; in the morning, rub the body all over with a coarse towel, and take a dose of aperient medicine.

Violet, pennyroyal or boneset tea, is excellent to promote perspiration in case of sudden chill. Care should be taken next day not to get chilled by exposure to fresh out-door air.

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

An Indispensable Powder

September 3rd, 2016

A trouble scarcely to be named among refined persons is profuse perspiration, which ruins clothing and comfort alike. For this it is recommended to bathe frequently, putting into the water a cold infusion of rosemary, sage or thyme, and afterward dust the under-garments with a mixture of two and a half drachms of camphor, four ounces of orris-root, and sixteen ounces of starch, the whole reduced to impalpable powder. Tie it in a coarse muslin bag, (or one made of flannel is better if you wish to use it on the flesh,) and shake it over the clothes. This makes a very fine bathing powder.

Source: The Housekeeper’s Friend: A Practical Cookbook

For Cold

March 15th, 2016

There is no remedy so good as to go to bed and stay there, drinking nothing, not even water, for twenty-four hours, and eating as little as possible. Or, go to bed; put your feet in hot mustard and water; put a bran or oatmeal poultice on the chest ; take ten grains of Dover’s powder, and an hour afterwards a pint of hot gruel ; in the morning rub the body all over with a coarse towel, and take a dose of aperient medicine.

Violet, pennyroyal, or boneset tea are excellent to promote perspiration in case of sudden chill.

Or, take white wine whey. One pint of milk ; two wineglassfuls of white wine ; one teaspoonful of vinegar. Simmer gently; then strain, sweeten, and spice; give hot.

Source: The Unrivalled Cook-Book and Housekeeper’s Guide, Mrs Washington

Draughts for the Feet

November 8th, 2015

Take a large leaf from the horse-radish plant, and cut out the hard fibres that run through the leaf; place it on a hot shovel for a moment to soften it, fold it, and fasten it closely in the hollow of the foot by a cloth bandage.

Burdock leaves, cabbage leaves, and mullein leaves, are used in the same manner, to alleviate pain and promote perspiration.

Garlics are also made for draughts by pounding them, placing them on a hot tin plate for a moment to sweat them, and binding them closely to the hollow of the foot by a cloth bandage.

Draughts of onions, for infants, are made by roasting onions in hot ashes, and, when they are quite soft, peeling off the outside, mashing them, and applying them on a cloth as usual.

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

To Keep the Hands from Perspiring

October 1st, 2015

To keep the hands from perspiring, make a lotion consisting of a quarter of an ounce of powdered alum and one teaspoonful of spirits of ammonia in a pint of boiling water. When cool, bottle it, and use on the hands freely.

Source: Audel’s Household Helps, Hints and Receipts

Greek Remedy for Hydrophobia (Rabies)

December 7th, 2008

Eat the green shoots of asparagus raw; sleep and perspiration will be induced, and the disease can be thus cured in any stage of canine madness.

Source: Dr Chase’s Recipes, or Information for Everybody, A.W. Chase

Ingredients: Horse Radish

June 28th, 2008

The Horse Radish of our gardens is a cultivated cruciferous plant of which the fresh root is eaten, when scraped, as a condiment to correct the richness of our national roast beef. This plant grows wild in many parts of the country, particularly about rubbish, and the sides of ditches; yet it is probably an introduction, and not a native. Its botanical name, Cochlearia armoracia_, implies a resemblance between its leaves and an old-fashioned spoon, cochleare; also that the most common place of its growth is ar, near, mor, the sea.

Our English vernacular styles the plant “a coarse root,” or a “Horse radish,” as distinguished from the eatable radish (root), the Raphanus sativus. Formerly it was named Mountain Radish, and Great Raifort. This is said to be one of the five bitter herbs ordered to be eaten by the Jews during the Feast of the Passover, the other four being Coriander, Horehound, Lettuce, and Nettle.

Not a few fatal cases have occurred of persons being poisoned by taking Aconite root in mistake for a stick of Horse radish, and eating it when scraped. But the two roots differ materially in shape, colour, and taste, so as to be easily discriminated: furthermore the leaves of the Aconite — supposing them to be attached to the root — are not to be mistaken for those of any other plant, being completely divided to their base into five wedge-shaped lobes, which are again sub-divided into three. Squire says it seems incredible that the Aconite Root should be mistaken for Horse Radish unless we remember that country folk are in the habit of putting back again into the ground Horse Radish which has been scraped, until there remain only the crown and a remnant of the root vanishing to a point, these bearing resemblance to the tap root of Aconite.

The fresh root of the Horse radish is a powerful stimulant by reason of its ardent and pungent volatile principle, whether it be taken as a medicament, or be applied externally to any part of the body. When scraped it exhales a nose-provoking odour, and possesses a hot biting taste, combined with a certain sweetness: but on exposure to the air it quickly turns colour, and loses its volatile strength; likewise, it becomes vapid, and inert by being boiled. The root is expectorant, antiscorbutic, and, if taken at all freely, emetic. It contains a somewhat large proportion of sulphur, as shown by the black colour assumed by metals with which it comes into touch. Hence it promises to be of signal use for relieving chronic rheumatism, and for remedying scurvy.

Taken in sauce with oily fish or rich fatty viands, scraped Horse radish acts as a corrective spur to complete digestion, and at the same time it will benefit a relaxed sore throat, by contact during the swallowing. In facial neuralgia scraped Horse radish applied as a poultice, proves usefully beneficial: and for the same purpose some of the fresh scrapings may be profitably held in the hand of the affected side, which hand will become in a short time bloodlessly benumbed, and white.

When sliced across with a knife the root of the Horse radish will exude some drops of a sweet juice which may be rubbed with advantage on rheumatic, or palsied limbs. Also an infusion of the sliced root in milk, almost boiling, and allowed to cool, makes an excellent and safe cosmetic; or the root may be infused for a longer time in cold milk, if preferred, for use with a like purpose in view. Towards the end of the last century Horse radish was known in England as Red cole, and in the previous century it was eaten habitually at table, sliced, with vinegar.

Infused in wine the root stimulates the whole nervous system, and promotes perspiration, whilst acting likewise as a diuretic. For rheumatic neuralgia it is almost a specific, and for palsy it has often proved of service. Our druggists prepare a “compound spirit of Horse radish,” made with the sliced fresh root, orange peel, nutmeg, and spirit of wine. This proves of effective use in strengthless, languid indigestion, as well as for chronic rheumatism; it stimulates the stomach, and promotes the digestive secretions. From one to two teaspoonfuls may be taken two or three times in the day, with half a wineglassful of water, at the end of a principal meal, or a few minutes after the meal. An infusion of the root made with boiling water and taken hot readily proves a stimulating emetic. Until cut or bruised the root is inodorous; but fermentation then begins, and develops from the essential oil an ammoniacal odour and a pungent hot bitter taste which were not pre-existing.

Chemically the Horse radish contains a volatile oil, identical with that of mustard, being highly diffusible and pungent by reason of its “myrosin.” One drop of this volatile oil will suffice to odorise the atmosphere of a whole room, and, if swallowed with any freedom, it excites vomiting. Other constituents of the root are a bitter resin, sugar, starch, gum, albumen, and acetates.

A mixture of the fresh juice, with vinegar, if applied externally, will prove generally of service for removing freckles.

Bergius alleges that by cutting the root into very small pieces without bruising it, and then swallowing a tablespoonful of these fragments every morning without chewing them, for a month, a cure has been effected in chronic rheumatism, which had seemed otherwise intractable.

For loss of the voice and relaxed sore throat the infusion of Horse radish makes an excellent gargle; or it may be concentrated in the form of a syrup, and mixed for the same use — a teaspoonful, with a wine-glassful of cold water.

Gerard said of the root: “If bruised and laid to the part grieved with the sciatica, gout, joyntache, or the hard swellings of the spleen and liver, it doth wonderfully help them all.” If the scraped root be macerated in vinegar, it will form a mixture (which may be sweetened with glycerine to the taste) very effective against whooping cough. In pimply acne of the skin, to touch each papula with some of the Compound Spirit of Horse Radish now and again will soon effect a general cure of the ailment.

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

Rheumatism in Children

February 20th, 2008

Rheumatic fever in young children is generally the result of inherited tendency. The symptoms are redness and swelling of the larger joints, with pain, perspiration, and fever. The fever is not, as a rule, high, seldom rising above 102 degrees Fahr., and is not long continued; but when it rises even thus, it is generally due to the heart being affected, and affections of the heart are those which have to be dreaded whenever a child suffers from this complaint. Where there is a hurried breathing, a dry cough, or uneasiness or pain about the heart, the case should be looked upon as serious from this point of view. Pleurisy is also a common sequel to rheumatic fever, and one of the diseases most closely associated with it is St. Vitus’s dance, which seems in some way dependent upon the affection of the heart to which this disease gives rise.

Eruptions on the skin, such as nettle rash, or a rash resembling red gum, are very common, and seem to be caused by the intense acidity and poverty of the blood, which are common in rheumatic children, and last for a long time after an attack.

The disease, as a rule, lasts from two to three weeks, slight cases getting well in between ten and fourteen days. The child should be kept at rest, and well protected from every possibility of chill. It should lie in bed in a flannel nightgown between the blankets. Food should at first be farinaceous with bread and milk, and later on broths and fish may be added. The affected joints should be wrapped in cotton wool, and when they are painful a solution may be made of one drachm of nitrate of potash and twenty drops of laudanum in an ounce of water, and a flannel soaked in this applied. The rubbing in of iodine ointment is of service for the swelling which lingers during convalescence.

Any internal remedies will, of course, be prescribed by the doctor in attendance; but the most important part of the treatment is that by the nurse or mother, as so much care is necessary with reference to the warmth of the clothing, the digestibility of the food, the avoidance of exposure to cold and damp, and saving the child from much fatigue, over-exercise, and over-excitement.

Muscular Rheumatism is found in the form of stiff neck or lumbago, and in the muscles of the arms and those of the head. Treatment consists in rest, the application of warmth by hot fomentation and the use of liniments, such as the compound camphor liniment; while perspiration should be assisted by the use of sweet spirits of nitre, and keeping the child in bed between the blankets. If the case lasts, bromide of ammonium is a useful remedy. Chronic rheumatism is rare in childhood, and is best treated by warm baths with plenty of carbonate of soda in them, and massage, while iodine may be painted on the affected joints.

Source: Home Notes, 1895

Ingredients: Balm

February 9th, 2008

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

Offensive Sweating, Alum Water for

January 16th, 2008

“A wash made with a teaspoonful of alum and a quart of water will prevent offensive sweating. We all know how disagreeable it is to sit near a person in a street car or any crowded place, who has an odor of perspiration about them. How easy it would be to use this wash and rid yourself of this difficulty!”

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