Ladies and gents, listen up, Mr. LeRoy G. Davis of Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, has provided us with the following information on remedies for common ailments like colds, stomach issues, sprains, and general debility. You don’t want to miss reading about these simple remedies, poultices, and tonics.
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There are several common remedies that should be kept on hand at all times. For winter colds, Rub skunk oil rubbed on the chest. bloodroot, taken internally, can ease “cold on the lungs” and Ginger or cayenne pepper, sweetened and mixed with a bit of milk or vinegar, will help with a fresh cold. A black pepper hot tea will settle the stomach and rhubarb root, senna leaves, and castor oil can be used as a laxative. Camphor and opodeldoc can be made as a liniment for sprains and bruises. Alum, powdered after heating, helps sore lips, cold sores, and the like.
No pioneer garden would be complete without boneset, thoroughwort, wormwood, and tansy. A decoction of boneset can be used as a mild emetic and tansy is an excellent emmenagogue. Wormwood can be made into a tonic in biters and used as a vermifuge while blackberry juice or brandy can be used as an astringent in cases of diarrhea.
Tonics, such as tincture of iron, goldenseal, and wormwood should only be given in cases of general debility and can be prepared using sweet flag or camomile. For a child with a severe case of croup, use sweetened urine but for milder children ailments, give them a syrup made of onions and molasses. Of course, for a child with pure, unadulterated cussedness, the best remedy is “strapoil.”
In the case of carbuncles and boils, use a poultice made of dried bread, crumbled and softened with sweet milk. Add to this a bit of egg white, crushed boiled onion, and corn meal or wheat bran. Apply this poultice hot and keep affected areas moist and soft, thus drawing out the poison. If the wound becomes infected, apply a mustard plaster and cover with salve.
If a felon develops on the end of a finger, bind the finger with muslin and pound it with a carpenter’s hammer. This sever treatment will hasten the coming to head of the abscess and improve healing.
Although the remedies discussed can be useful, a doctor, if available, should be called for lung fever, galloping consumption, inflammation of the bowels, and other serious disturbances, although a midwife is adequate for childbirth.
- Frontier Home Remedies and Sanitation by LeRoy Davis, Minnesota History Quarterly Magazine, December, 1938.