Old Time Home Remedies

From the book "A Century of Home Remedies for Entertainment and Historical Value" compiled by the Jolly Age Club, Albany, transcribed and submitted by Lisa Haug.

  • Mix equal parts of honey and vinegar for arthritis, kidney trouble, and blood pressure problems.
  • Scrape an Irish potato and place a poultice on a boil, risin', or sore to reduce swelling and bring it to a head.
  • Make a tea from mint leaves to stop vomiting.
  • For a sprained ankle or wrist, place brown paper in vinegar and rub until the paper is soft, then wrap the paper around the sprained ankle or wrist; when the paper is dry, repeat the above steps. This procedure helps reduce swelling and takes the fever out of a sprained ankle or wrist.
  • Steal an old dishrag from someone, rub it on a wart, then throw it away; it will take the wart off.
  • Chew tobacco and put quid (cud) on a bee sting.
  • To cure athlete's foot, wrap a wool string around the toe or step in fresh cow manure.
  • Soak poke root in water and apply on skin for itch.
  • Mash cockleburr leaves and cover with sweet milk if a snake bites your dog.
  • Take one teaspoon sugar with two or three drops of turpentine for worms.
  • Combine equal parts of coal oil, turpentine, and camphor for colds or chest congestion; rub mixture on chest and cover with a warm cloth.
  • For hiccups, eat a teaspoon of peanut butter or place your head in a paper bag.
  • Drink spice wood tea to bring out measles.
  • Drink sheep nip tea to bring out measles.
  • When someone has the measles, keep the person in a dark room; then give him some whiskey to drink.
  • Mix whiskey and roc candy and drink the mixture to bring out measles.
  • Peel the bark of a walnut for vomiting or "the other way".
  • Take one teaspoon of vanilla for diarrhea.
  • Take a little soda in warm water for upset stomach.
  • For constipation, boil sarsparilla. Put Black Draught in a cup and pour boiling water on it. Mix with sarsparilla and enough corn whiskey to keep from souring. Drink a tablespoon.
  • For a run around (infected cuticle) on the finger, stiffen the yolk of an egg with salt and put it on the finger. This will bring the infection to a head.
  • Rub a wart with a bean leaf to take the wart away.
  • Ginseng cures ulcers.
  • Tie an asafetida bag around the neck. Chew on the bag regularly; it will ward off colds and "keep everyone else away."
  • Boil wild cherry bark and sugar or honey to make cough syrup.
  • Gargle with warm salt water for sore throat.
  • To cure croup and colds, kill polecat (skunk), render the fat, and rub on chest and back.
  • To cure a cold, take scaly bark from a hickory tree and boil. Drink the juice, go to bed, and cover well; this will make you sweat.
  • Make a tea from mullin root to ward off colds.
  • Parch leaves of rat's vein and grind them to a powder. Sniff for kidney infection or colds.
  • Suck salty water up your nose for asthma.
  • Ginseng week leaf will bring a risin' to a head.
  • Rub turpentine mixed with sugar on sores.
  • Use salt on mouth sores or fever blisters.
  • To cure a sore mouth, put slippery elm bark in a glass of water, let stand awhile, then drink.
  • Place an ice pack on nose for nose bleed.
  • If you have a small cut, wet a cigarette paper or a small piece of tissue paper and place over the cut.
  • Drink spice wood tea for blood thinner.
  • For a cut on a horse, sprinkle dry sulphur on the cut.
  • For an earache, put a little sweet oil on cotton and put in the ear.
  • Dissolve table salt in lukewarm water and pour into ear to dissolve wax which is causing an earache.
  • Put camphor salve or turpentine on an aching tooth.
  • Put a flax seed in the eye and it will work out any speck of dirt or any other foreign object in the eye.
  • Remove a sty from the eye by running the tip of a black cat's tail over it.
  • Boil dandelion to make a tea for kidney problems.
  • For rheumatism, carry a buckeye or an Irish potato until it gets hard.
  • Soak poke berries in water, drink for rheumatism.
  • Drink powdered rhubarb dissolved in white whiskey for arthritis.
  • Soak foot in apple juice or hot water for sprain.
  • If you stick a nail in your foot, smoke foot with a wool rag.
  • To cure cramps in your feet, place your shoes upside down before going to bed.
  • Use an ice pack for a bumblebee sting.
  • Put coal oil on insect bites.
  • Mix sulfur and lard to cure itch.
  • To kill head lice, put coal oil on a fine toothed comb and comb hair.
  • Use oil of sassafras for head lice.
  • Crush leaves from nightshade plant, add sweet milk, and use for poison ivy.
  • Put sow bug in a bag and place around the children's neck for thrash.
  • Give catnip tea to babies for colic.
  • Boil honey and alum and give to baby for croup.
  • To cure yellow jaundice, have a child swallow a sow bug.
  • To cure a baby's cold, rub tallow on bottom of both of baby's feet.
  • Boil ground ivy in water, strain, add sugar, and give to children for hives.
  • Honey and salt will help cure the croup by causing the child to cough up phlegm.
  • Tie a sulphur bag around a child's neck to keep away colds.
  • Use dirt from a dirt dauber's nest for diaper rash.
  • Give babies catnip tea for hives.
  • Use peach tree tea (a limber switch) for misbehaving children.
  • To remove freckles, mix buttermilk and lemon juice and apply the mixture to the freckles.
  • Spray sunburned skin with vinegar.
  • Sleep with a Bible under your pillow and you will never have nightmares.

    From the book "The Country Doctor" by Floyd B. Hay, transcribed and submitted by Lisa Haug.

    For itch or scabies they used sulphur and grease applied on the body twice a day. For hiccups, stand on the head and drink ten sips of water. For impotence, drink saltpetre water. For maggots in old wounds, pour whiskey over the wounds to get rid of the maggots. For gas, use elm bark boiled in water; then drink the tea. For a cold, ginger tea and Sloan's Liniment put in water with butter and sugar. Drink this. Also it was not that this drink could be made out of red pepper with water, butter, and sugar. For colds they would use a flannel rag for poultices with mutton tallow, turpentine, and sometimes Cloverine Salve. They would put this on the chest and then heat irons or hot ashes or meal poultices and put to the chest. This way they would get heat to the chest. Never wash the hair if you have a cold. For tonic they would use iron, quinine, and strychnine. For irritated eyes they would pluck out the wild hairs. For obstructions of the bowels, they would use calomel in large doses.

    Among some of the other remedies to thin the blood, they would use sassafras tea. For pneumonia they would use ginger tea; they would also use this to bring the baby down when they were in labor. To keep cold and other diseases away, they would use asafetida around the neck. For sores on the body, they would use mutton tallow. For boils and sores they would use fat meat to draw the pus out or to bring the boil to a head. For bleeding they would use soot and sugar to stop the bleeding. For a cough they would use wild cherry bark with a plant called mullen and whiskey and sugar. For chest pain they would use whiskey. For baby colic, they used catnip tea. For thrush when the baby had lesions in the mouth, they would have an old woman with snaggled teeth and foul breath to blow in the baby's mouth. For fever they used aspirin; they also used aspirin with whiskey for pain. For the disease they would state, "Eat an apple a day and keep the doctor away." For lice, they washed the head in Lysol water. For typhoid fever, no food except buttermilk was allowed and they stayed in bed.

    One with measles was kept in a dark room to keep from hurting his eyes; he was given sheep ball tea to bring the measles out. For kidney infections, they would use gypsum tea, and to clean out the lower bowels they would give greens with polk in the greens. They ate this twice a day. For constipation they would sometimes use sulfur water that came from the spring. For bee stings or snake bites they would put a brown paper soaked in vinegar over these lesions. For babies on the breast when the breast became sore and was about to rise, they would either put fat meat or they would put a gypsum leaf that had wilted on the lesion, and then when the baby was starting to come from the bottle, the mother would chew the food and then give it to the baby until it began to eat alone. For pneumonia, they would give fever tablets which were aspirins. Heart trouble they would treat with digitalis leaves or strychnine tablets.

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