What Great Grandma Knew III
Health Suggestions: Watch out for the turpentine & opium.
HOW COLDS ARE CAUGHT
"A great many cannot see why it is they do not take a cold when exposed to cold winds and rain. The fact is, and ought to be more generally understood, that nearly every cold is contracted indoors, and is not directly due to the cold outside, but to the heat inside. A man will go to bed at night feeling as well as usual and get up in the morning with a royal cold. He goes peeking around in search of cracks and keyholes and tiny drafts. Weather-strips are procured, and the house made as tight as a fruit can. In a few days more the whole family have colds.
People swallow more colds down their throats than they inhale or receive from contact with the air, no matter how cold or chilly it may be. Plain, light suppers are good to go to bed on, and are far more conducive to refreshing sleep than a glass of beer or a dose of chloral. In the estimation of a great many this statement is rank heresy, but in the light of science, common sense and experience it is gospel truth.
Pure air is strictly essential to maintain perfect health. Close, foul air poisons the blood, brings on disease which often results in death; this poisoning of the blood is only prevented by pure air, which enters the lungs, becomes charged with waste particles, then thrown out, and which are poisoning if taken back again. It is estimated that a grown person corrupts one gallon of pure air every minute, or twenty-five barrels full in a single night, in breathing alone.
Clothes that have been worn through the day should be changed for fresh or dry ones to sleep in. Three pints of moisture, filled with the waste of the body, are given off every twenty-four hours, and this is mostly absorbed by the clothing. Sunlight and exposure to the air purifies the clothing of the poisons which nature is trying to dispose of, and which would otherwise be brought again into contact with the body.
Many colds are taken from the feet being damp or wet. To keep these extremities warm and dry is a great preventative against the almost endless list of disorders which come from a "slight cold." Many imagine if their feet are not thoroughly wet, there will be no harm arising from mere dampness, not knowing that the least dampness is absorbed into the sole, and is attracted nearer the foot itself by its heat, and thus perspiration is dangerously checked.
WATER: All beings need drink as much as they need food, and it is just as necessary to health as pure air; therefore the water should be boiled or filtered before being drank. Rain-water filtered is probably the best attainable. Boiling the water destroys the vegetable and animal matter, and leaves the mineral matter deposited on the bottom of the vessel containing it; therefore it leaves it clear from poisonous substances.
DIPHTHERIA: A gargle of sulphur and water has been used with much success in cases of diphtheria. Let the patient swallow a little of the mixture. Or, when you discover that your throat is a little sore, bind a strip of flannel around the throat, wet in camphor, and gargle salt and vinegar occasionally.
COLDS AND HOARSENESS: Borax (England during the reign of the red-haired Elizabeth I, women and aristocratic men used borax, saltpeter, saffron and sulfur powder to dye their hair red) has proved a most effective remedy in certain forms of 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. 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 (a preparation of powder of ipecacuanha which was formerly used to produce syrup of ipecac, opium in powder, and potassium sulfate—no longer in modern day use), 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.
MOLASSES POSSET: This old-fashioned remedy for a cold is as effectual now as it was in old times. Put into a saucepan a pint of the best West India molasses, a teaspoonful of powdered white ginger and a quarter of a pound of fresh butter. Set it over the fire and simmer it slowly for half an hour, stirring it frequently. Do not let it come to a boil. Then stir in the juice of two lemons, or two TB of vinegar; cover the pan and let it stand by the fire five minutes longer. This is good for a cold. Some of it may be taken warm at once, and the remainder kept at hand for occasional use.
FOR TOOTHACHE: The worst toothache, or neuralgia, coming from the teeth may be speedily and delightfully ended by the application of a bit of clean cotton saturated in a solution of ammonia to the defective tooth. Sometimes the late sufferer is prompted to momentary laughter by the application, but the pain will disappear.
Alum reduced to a powder, a teaspoonful of the powder and an equal quantity of fine salt well mixed, applied to the gums by dipping your moistened finger in the mixed powder; put some also in the tooth, and keep rubbing the gums with it; it scarcely ever fails to cure.
TO CURE A STING OF A BEE OR WASP: Bind on common baking soda, dampened with water. Or mix common earth with water to about the consistency of mud.
TO CURE EARACHE: Take a bit of cotton batting, put on it a pinch of black pepper, gather it up and tie it, dip it in sweet oil, and insert it in the ear; put a flannel bandage over the head to keep it warm; it often gives immediate relief. Another remedy: Take equal parts of tincture of opium and glycerin. Mix, and from a warm teaspoon drop two or three drops into the ear, stop the ear tight with cotton, and repeat every hour or two. If matter should form in the ear, make a suds with castile soap and warm water, about 100° F., or a little more than milk warm, and have some person inject it into the ear while you hold that side of your head the lowest. If it does not heal in due time, inject a little carbolic acid and water in the proportion of one drachm of the acid to one pint of warm water each time after using the suds.
CROUP: Croup, it is said, can be cured in one minute, and the remedy is simply alum and sugar. Take a knife or grater and shave off in small particles about a teaspoonful of alum; then mix it with twice its amount of sugar, to make it palatable, and administer it as quickly as possible. Almost instantaneous relief will follow. Turpentine is said to be an excellent remedy for croup. Saturate a piece of flannel and apply it to the chest and throat, and take inwardly three or four drops on a lump of sugar. Or, give a teaspoonful of ipecacuanha wine every few minutes, until free vomiting is excited.
Another recipe said to be most reliable: Take two ounces of the wine of ipecac, hive syrup four ounces, tincture of bloodroot two ounces. Mix it well. Dose for a child one year old, five to ten drops; two years, eight to twelve drops; three years, twelve to fifteen drops; four years, fifteen to twenty drops; five years, twenty to twenty-five drops, and older children in proportion to age. Repeat as often as shall be necessary to procure relief. If it is thought best to produce vomiting, repeat the dose every ten or fifteen minutes
BURNS AND SCALDS: A piece of cotton wadding, spread with butter or sweet oil, and bound on the burn instantly, will draw out the pain without leaving a scar; also a handful of flour, bound on instantly, will prevent blistering. The object is to entirely exclude the air from the part affected. Some use common baking-soda, dry or wet, often giving instant relief, withdrawing the heat and pain. Another valuable remedy is to beat the yellow of an egg into linseed oil, and apply it with a feather on the injured part frequently. It will afford ready relief and heals with great rapidity. Some recommend the white part of the egg, which is very cooling and soothing, and soon allays the smarting pain. It is the exposure of the part coming in contact with the air that gives the extreme discomfort experienced from ordinary afflictions of this kind, and anything which excludes air and prevents inflammation is the thing to be at once applied.
TO STOP THE FLOW OF BLOOD: For a slight cut there is nothing better to control the hemorrhage than common unglazed brown wrapping paper, such as is used by marketmen and grocers; a piece to be bound over the wound. A handful of flour bound on the cut. Cobwebs and brown sugar, pressed on like lint. When the blood ceases to flow, apply arnica or laudanum.
When an artery is cut the red blood spurts out at each pulsation. Press the thumb firmly over the artery near the wound, and on the side toward the heart. Press hard enough to stop the bleeding, and wait till a physician comes.
WHOOPING COUGH: Two level TB of powdered alum, two-thirds of a cupful of brown sugar, dissolved in two quarts of water; bottle and put in a dark closet where it is cool. No other medicine to be taken, except an emetic, at first, if desirable. Except in the case of an infant, a milk diet is to be avoided. For a child one year old, a teaspoonful three times a day on an empty stomach. For a child two years old, two tsp. for a dose. For a child five years old, a tablespoonful. The state of the bowels must be attended to, and the doses repeated accordingly.
RELIEF FROM ASTHMA: Sufferers from asthma should get a muskrat skin and wear it over their lungs with the fur side next to the body. It will bring certain relief. Or soak blotting paper in saltpeter water, then dry, burning at night in the patient's bedroom. Another excellent recipe: Take powdered licorice root, powdered elecampane root, powdered anise-seed, each one drachm, powdered ipecac ten grains, powdered lobelia ten grains; add sufficient amount of tar to form into pills of ordinary size. Take three or four pills on going to bed. An excellent remedy for asthma or shortness of breath.
RELIEF FROM ASTHMA: Sufferers from asthma should get a muskrat skin and wear it over their lungs with the fur side next to the body. It will bring certain relief. Or soak blotting paper in saltpetre water, then dry, burning at night in the patient's bedroom.
Another excellent recipe: Take powdered liquorice root, powdered elecampane root, powdered anise-seed, each one drachm, powdered ipecac ten grains, powdered lobelia ten grains; add sufficient amount of tar to form into pills of ordinary size. Take three or four pills on going to bed. An excellent remedy for asthma or shortness of breath."
White House Cook Book by Mrs. F.L. Gillette, L.P. Miller & Co. Chicago, copywrite 1887 by F.L. Gillette, pg. 431-439. Reader beware, these health suggestions are not endorsed by the Annandale Chamber of Commerce or The ENDEAVOR News Magazine. Proceed at your own risk—some suggestions are dangerous.
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