Old ways are best. Or so at least we often suppose.
We hearken back to an earlier time when, we believe, people lived more simply and naturally.
I myself am apt to do some hearkening in this direction. The sentimental reactionary in me quickly retreats, however, when I refer to the housekeeping books I inherited from my great-grandmother, Nellie Richardson Clizbe. These books, published around 1885, contain recipes - then called receipts - and advice for handling every household situation that might arise. Simple and natural? judge for yourself.
RECEIPT FOR COLD: One pound of liverwort (not liverwurst) put into four quarts of water and boiled down to one quart; add, while warm, a quarter pound of ball licorice and a quarter pound of loaf sugar; when cool add a half pint of gin. Dose - half a large wineglass half an hour before each meal.
COUGH MIXTURE: Two ounces of gum arabic, one ounce of paregoric elixir, two ounces of sugar, juice of one lemon; mix with six glasses of hot water. One wineglass to be taken morning, noon and night.
TO REMOVE WARTS: Touch the wart with a little nitrate of silver (lunar caustic); or with nitric acid or aromatic vinegar. ... Sparks of frictional electricity, repeated daily, by applying the warts to the conductor of an electrical machine, have also been successfully employed as a cure for these troublesome and unsightly excrescences.
NEW CURE FOR WOUNDS: As soon as a wound is inflicted, get a little stick - a knife or a file handle will do - and commence to tap lightly on the wound. Do not stop for the hurt, but continue until it bleeds freely and becomes perfectly numb. When this point is reached you are safe. ... Nothing more than a little cerate on a clean cloth is necessary. ... Among other cases: A coal-rake tooth going entirely through the foot, a bad bite of a suckling pig, several instances of file shanks through the hands, and numberless cases of rusty nails, awls, etc., but we never knew of a failure of this treatment.
A MUSTARD PLASTER: How many people are there who really know how to make a mustard plaster? Not one in a hundred at the most, perhaps, and yet mustard plasters are used in every family and physicians prescribe the application. The ordinary way is to mix the mustard with water, tempering it with a little flour. Such a plaster as this makes is abominable. Before it has half done its work it begins to blister the patient, and leaves him finally with a flayed, painful spot, after producing far less effect in a beneficial way than was intended. Now, a mustard plaster should never blister at all. If a blister is wanted, there are several plasters far better than mustard plasters. Then use no water, but mix the mustard with the white of an egg, and the result will be a plaster that will draw perfectly, but will not produce a blister on the skin of an infant, no matter how long it is allowed to remain on the spot.
THE OPIUM HABIT: An eminent New York physician writes that the only sure cure for the opium habit is "tapering off," diminishing each dose by infinitesimal deductions, so that the system may adapt itself to the change. He cured himself in this manner. ... His habit was to put 30 grains of morphine in an 8-ounce bottle, and take a teaspoon of the mixture, containing 1 grain of morphine, four times a day. In his next bottle he put but 29 grains, in the next but 28, and so on. The change was very gradual, and caused no shock to the system; and the habit never returned.
FOR SORE THROAT: Cut slices of salt pork or fat bacon; simmer a few moments in hot vinegar, and apply to the throat as hot as possible. When this is taken off, as the throat is relieved, put around a bandage of soft flannel. A gargle of equal parts of borax and alum, dissolved in water, is also excellent. To be used frequently.
TO RESTORE FROM STROKE OF LIGHTNING: Shower with cold water for two hours; if the patient does not show signs of life, put salt in the water, and continue to shower an hour longer.
SMALLPOX REMEDY: When Jenner discovered cow pox in England, the world of science hurled an avalanche of fame upon his head, and when the most scientific school of medicine in the world (that of Paris) published this panacea for the smallpox, it passed unheeded. It is unfailing as fate, and conquers in every instance. It will also cure scarlet fever. Take sulphate of zinc, one grain; fox glove (digitalis) one grain; half a teaspoonful of water. When thoroughly mixed, add four ounces of water. Take a spoonful every hour, and either disease will disappear in 12 hours.
Have a good week!