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No matter what happened, our mothers loved and took care of us with all the knowledge they
processed.  Sacrifices we didn't understand then, we hold dear in our memories now.   If only
we had listened to everything they had to say, our lives would have been richer and we would
have been better off.  "Mom, you were right and I was wrong."

The piece written by Robin isn't intended to provide a "cure" for what ails you.  This is just a
smattering of remedies they used way back when.   I've included vintage black n white
photos.  Just because I like old photographs.

The following is for amusement only, we are not doctors.
Home Remedies Or Medicines From Olden Times
Robin L. Wallace
Read, "The Story of the Missing
Cookie Jar" by PenVampyre.  A
delightful little Christmas story with
mouthwatering warm tasty recipes
for the most wonderful time of the

Read "
Santa and the Magic Key",
plus recipes for your holidays.  A
story by PenVampyre

Easter eggs, bunnies and other
Read "
Easter and Where NOT to
Hide Eggs"  Memories of Easters
past and a few vintage recipes.

Logan's Halloween Story -The
original story won first place in
sixth-eighth grade division of
Southeastern Middle School, 2005
by Logan Lyon, alas, no recipes.

Food and Genealogy A story By
Robin L. Wallace.  Our lives, our
families, our very history's are
defined by the foods we eat.

Family Reunion Recipes
"The Fourth of July and Other
(With Apologies to Jean Shepherd)
By Robin L. Wallace

A short story by Suellen Fry.  
Memories of my father and his
version of Kickapoojoyjuice.

Memorial Day Recipes - "For me,
Memorial Day was the day when
we went out where relatives were
buried in the tiny, local cemeteries
and thoroughly cleaned up each
gravesite, carrying away branches
that may have fallen in the

Grandma Irwin's Story of Courage
Swit Tater Biskits Recipe.

Thanksgiving Day recipes and story
from the past.

College Foods and Other Mistakes
I Have Eaten.
  With the drugs available to us in the modern era, it's easy
to become arrogant about some of the practices used in
medicine over the last several hundred years.  Granted,
quackery and lack of knowledge concerning basic medical
principles we accept now did exist, but it's becoming
evident that some of our "modern" cures, tied to a whole
raft of side effects and complications are, in some cases,
worse than the original disease they are supposed to treat.  
Too often we have become dazzled by the ads put out by
modern pharmaceutical companies, and rush to our doctors
to demand that we be given the latest, greatest drug that we
have seen advertised on television.  We have forgotten that
there were some older medical practices are still can work
in the modern day.  How many people remember the fact
that penicillin came out of the use of moldy bread as .a
poultice used to cure infections or the use of alcohol and
honey dating as far back as the ancient Egyptians as
antiseptics to prevent the worsening of wounds because
they are natural antibiotics?
And of course, what listing of old fashioned recipes would be complete without a
recipe for chicken soup?

Chicken Soup
1 chicken, cut up
1 onion, cut up
2 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 tablespoon Bell’s Poultry Seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
Noodles or 1/2 cup rice (optional)
Put chicken in a pot and cover with about 1 1/2 quarts of water.  Cook chicken over
a medium heat for about 45 minutes or until done. Check chicken a couple of times
during cooking and skim off any foam.
Remove chicken from stock and set aside to cool.  If there is any foam remaining,
strain broth through a wire strainer and return to pot.  Add celery, carrots and onions
and cook until tender.  Remove skin and bones from chicken.  Break up chicken into
pieces and return to the stock and vegetables.  Add poultry seasoning and salt and
pepper to taste.
Add noodles or rice last and cook until done.
NOTE: If using rice, be sure to add another cup of stock made with a cup of warm
water and 1 chicken bouillon cube

I hope this overview of old home remedies has given you some useable alternatives
for the next time you’re ill.
Lime juice sore throat remedy
juice of a freshly squeezed lime
Mix the lime juice with an equal amount of honey.  You can drink this 2
– 3 times a day, or as needed.

To clear congestion:
5 – 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
8 ounces milk
Cook garlic and milk until it's thick.  Cool and drink.

Ginger tea to fight Flu
1 small ginger root, peeled and sliced
24 ounces water
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
Boil ginger root for half an hour over low heat.  Take off heat and allow
to steep for 10 more minutes.  Strain, reserving liquid.  Add in brown
sugar and mix well.  Drink when sufficiently cooled.

Emetic (to induce vomiting)
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
8 ounces warm water
Mix mustard into warm water.  Drink immediately.  Should induce
vomiting within five minutes or less.
Cayenne pepper gargle
5 shakes of Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum frutescens) Powder+
1 cup of hot water*
Mix pepper in liquid and gargle every 15 minutes with the spicy elixir.  You may
swallow a tiny bit each time. Gargling with cayenne can cause a strong burning
sensation in the lips and tongue. Try keeping milk or yogurt in your mouth after
gargling until the burning disappears.
*You can substitute herbal tea, a saline mixture or lemon juice.
+If you do not have Cayenne pepper you can use 10-20 drops of Tabasco sauce in
a glass of warm water, and the effect will be the same. If you do not have access to
Cayenne or Tabasco, then chili peppers, hot paprika or white pepper are equally
useful. All these pungent spices contain capsaicin, which dulls the pain and has
anti-viral properties.
CAUTION: Cayenne pepper is a natural blood thinner, so do not take it before
surgery or dental treatment without consulting your physician.

Spicy gargle #2
1/2 ounce  fresh ginger, grated (an equal amount of powdered ginger may be
1 cup water
Juice of 1 freshly squeezed lemon
Equal amount of warm water
1 tablespoon honey
1 pinch Cayenne pepper (optional)
Simmer the grated fresh ginger root or ginger powder in a cup of water for ten
minutes. Strain and add the fresh lemon juice and/or honey and a pinch of Cayenne
pepper, if desired. Use as a gargle every 30 minutes.
Wild Oregano gargle
2-3 drops of Wild Oregano (Origanum vulgare) Essential Oil
8 ounces hot water
Mix Oregano oil in hot water. Gargle several times a day as needed.

Raw garlic gargle
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
Mix crushed clove of raw garlic with  honey and fresh squeezed lemon
juice. Take 1 teaspoon from the mixture several times a day.

Apple Cider vinegar gargle
2 tablespoons of organic Apple Cider Vinegar
1 cup of hot water, as hot as you can stand it
1 tablespoon honey
Mix all ingredients and gargle or drink it as hot as possible .
Fig/milk gargle
2 tablespoons honey
8 ounces milk (optional)
4 figs, cut in half
Boil figs in milk over low heat until softened.  Strain mixture and mix
in honey.  Drink when cool enough to swallow.

Herbal gargle #1
1 teaspoon marshmallow root
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger root
1 cup (8 ounces) water
4 ounces lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt

Simmer marshmallow root and ginger root in 8 ounces water for 10
minutes in a covered pot. Remove from the heat, leave covered and
steep for an additional 10 minutes. Strain, add honey and/or lemon
and 1/2 teaspoon of salt(if desired) and gargle about every 30
There seem to me many, many recipes for gargles to help a sore throat.  Most viruses and
bacteria are susceptible to acids, alkalines, or salt.  Whereas bacteria can develop a resistance to
antibiotics (antibiotics don’t work on viruses, so make sure to have the infection cultured to
determine if the source is viral or bacterial before taking an antibiotic), this is not the case with
most home remedies.  Remember that salt based and baking soda based gargles can be drying, so
have some water handy to drink or gargle with after you use them.

Saltwater gargle:
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 pint of warm water
Mix together. Gargle every 30 minutes.

Onion gargle
1 large yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
Water to cover
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons honey
4 ounces apple cider vinegar (optional)
4 ounces lemon juice (optional)
8 ounces milk (optional)
Chop onions and garlic and place in a pan.  Cover with 16 ounces of water and simmer over a low
heat for 30 minutes.  Take off heat and strain, reserving liquid.  Add salt, honey, lemon juice
and/or cider vinegar.  Gargle with about 2 tablespoons every 30 minutes,
NOTE: Some old recipes call for milk rather than lemon juice or vinegar.  If you choose to use
this, be sure NOT to add either the lemon juice or vinegar.  It will curdle the milk, and cause
immediate nausea.
Salt poultice for bug bites
1 tablespoon salt
Water or alcohol
Mix salt with enough water or alcohol to form a paste.  Hold in place
over bite with a large pad and adhesive tape.  Change daily until bite
Homemade arthritis rub:
1 large horseradish root, washed and peeled
1 bottle of gin*
After peeling, cut the horseradish root into small pieces and place in a
bottle.  Fill the bottle with enough gin to cover the root.  Cover and
store the bottle in the fridge for at least 5 days so the root can steep
in the gin.  Drain off the gin and reserve.  Puree the horseradish until
smooth.  If the paste is too dry, use a little of the reserved gin to
moisten the mixture to form a smooth paste that can be rubbed on
affected areas.
*Some sources indicate that if you don’t have Gin, Schnapps or
Vodka can be substituted, but gin is the best in this case because the
juniper berries that gin is made from have anti-inflammatory

Anti-inflammatory for arthritis or joint pain:
1 box raisins (the non-sulfited organic kind are best
1 bottle gin
Break up raisins so they are separated and place in a jar that has an
airtight lid.  Cover the raisins with gin.  Cover the jar tightly and allow
the raisins to soak for a week.  When done, drain off gin and store in
the refrigerator.  Eat a small handful of the raisins once or twice as
needed to help relieve arthritis or joint pain.
GARGLES: Common gargles may be made of figs boiled in milk and water, with a
little sal-ammoniac (the archaic name for the chemical compound ammonium chloride,
also been used in the past in bakery products to give cookies a very crisp texture,
although that application is rapidly dying due to the general disuse of it as an ingredient);
or sage-tea, with honey and vinegar mixed together. A sore throat maybe gargled with it
two or three times a day.

Mustard Plaster recipe
2 tablespoons of dry mustard (try not to use black mustard)
6 tablespoons flour
Add enough water, egg whites, olive oil or mineral oil to make a smooth paste.
Spread on cheesecloth, diaper cloth, flannel, old dish towel or something like that. Fold
the cloth in half and put it on your chest for about 20 minutes (never longer than 30).
Mustard plasters should not be used on children under the age of 6. Black Mustard
should not be used in patients suffering from ulcers, venous problems, or kidney disease,
or those less than six years of age.
PLASTERS: Common plaster is made of six pints of olive oil, and two pounds and a half
of litharge (one of the natural powdered mineral forms of lead oxide, PbO) finely
powdered. A smaller quantity may of course be made of equal proportions. Boil them
together over a gentle fire, in about a gallon of water, and keep the ingredients constantly
stirring. After they have boiled about three hours, a little of the salve may be taken out, and
put into cold water. When of a proper consistence, the whole may be suffered to cool, and
the water pressed out of it with the hands. This will serve as a basis for other plasters, and
is generally applied in slight wounds and excoriations of the skin. It keeps the part warm
and supple, and defends it from the air, which is all that is necessary in such cases.
Adhesive plaster, which is principally used for keeping on other dressings, consists of half a
pound of common plaster, and a quarter of a pound of Burgundy pitch melted together.
Anodyne plaster is as follows. Melt an ounce of the adhesive, and when cooling, mix with it
a dram of powdered opium, and the same of camphor, previously rubbing with a little oil.
This plaster generally gives ease in acute pains, especially of the nervous kind. Blistering
plaster is made in a variety of ways, but seldom of a proper consistence. When
compounded of oils, and other greasy substances, its effects are lessened, and it is apt to
run, while pitch and rosin render it hard and inconvenient. The following will be found the
best method. Take six ounces of Venice turpentine (produced from the Western Larch
Larix occidentalis and from which camphor is distilled), two ounces of yellow wax, three
ounces of Spanish flies (the dried and powdered bodies of the Cantharis vesicatoria, a
beetle found in Southern Europe whose chief derivative is cantharidin, an active irritant
which when applied to the skin causes a feeling of heat and burning in a few hours) finely
powdered, and one ounce of the flour of mustard. Melt the wax, and while it is warm, add
the turpentine to it, taking care not to evaporate it by too much heat. After the turpentine
and wax are sufficiently incorporated, sprinkle in the powders, and stir the mass till it is
cold. When the blistering plaster is not at hand, mix with any soft ointment a sufficient
quantity of powdered flies, or form them into a plaster with flour and vinegar.
Onion gargles, or “onion teas� were often used to cure sore throats, be they of
viral or bacterial origin.  More often than not, the boiled juice obtained from big yellow
onions, was mixed with salt and/or garlic juice to complete the recipe.  Onions are high
in sulphur, a natural component of sulpha antibiotics, and garlic, in addition to being a
good antiseptic against both viruses and bacteria, has proved to help boost the immune
system and lower cholesterol.  In some older cookbooks, the onion was also mixed
with figs, honey, milk, vinegar and/or a tea made of sage leaves.  Some also called for
the addition of ammonia salts, but taking this internally is too hazardous.

 What follows are original recipes taken from The Cooks and Housekeepers
Complete and Universal Dictionary by Mary Eaton, first published in 1822.  Like many
other books of its kind, it was specifically aimed at new wives and those women likely
to be employed as chief housekeepers in wealthy households.  I have left the directions
exactly as they originally appeared, adding definitions for unknown or ingredients that
are dangerous in boldfaced type.  Following the original recipes are modern versions of
some which can be used more safely if you wish to try the older remedies yourself.
Mustard plasters are made of a mixture of dry mustard powder and a small
amount of flour, mixed with water, mineral oil, olive oil or egg white to form
a paste, and are applied to the chest or abdomen to stimulate healing. In
times past and present, the mixture was spread onto a layer of cotton or
flannel cloth and applied to the chest or back. The paste used in the plaster,
when made correctly, often resembles the Chinese mustard sauce now
regularly served with eggrolls in many American Chinese restaurants.  The
mustard paste, itself, should never make direct contact with the skin, just the
cloth on which it is spread. Leaving a mustard plaster on the bare skin for
too long will lead to burning, blisters, or potentially even ulcers. A mustard
plaster should never be left on for longer than 30 minutes. Applied
externally, Black Mustard is used in the treatment of bronchial pneumonia
and pleurisy. Some old sources suggest that the mustard powder be blended
with egg white rather than water or oil to prevent blistering of the skin.

 Mustard oil (also used in the production of nitrogen mustard gas -- a toxic
gas that was used as a chemical weapon on troops during World War I and
caused irreparable damage to lung tissues and breathing passages) can
cause irritation to mucous membranes, and excessive internal use has been
known to cause stomach problems and kidney irritation. Be very careful
when you use a mustard plaster, though.  Breathing in the vapors of a
mustard plaster can trigger sneezing, coughing, asthma attacks, and/or eye
While not used very often in the United States any longer, mustard plasters, also
known as sinapisms, are in common use in Russia and other Post-Soviet countries. It
is still a common belief there that mustard plasters stimulate the immune system,
relieve pain and also have an anti-inflammatory effect. They are often used to treat the
common cold, a runny nose, rheumatism and problems with the respiratory system.
One of the best cures for skin irritations (and which still has a preparation that is sold
commercially by the Averno company) is colloidal oatmeal used in a warm bath, or
as a poultice placed on the skin.  The commercial preparation, sold as a fine powder,
is a natural non-irritant, and works to soothe the skin and wash away any irritating
substance that can cause inflammation or reddening.  In the olden days it was often
used either conjunction with or instead of calamine lotion to treat such things as
poison oak and poison ivy.  I can remember when I was about nine or so, I got into
poison ivy one summer at Girl Scout camp.  The camp nurse didn't have access to
calamine lotion, so I spent the next two weeks painted up with a poultice of oatmeal.  
It took a little longer to work than the calamine lotion might have, but work it did, and
ended up coming out with no scarring of the skin where I might have otherwise.  I
had to use it so often over the years to clear up various skin irritants that I have found
I can no longer stand the smell of just plain oatmeal as a result.  If the oatmeal is
spiced, like for cookies, I have no problem, but the scent of the oatmeal in the bath
leaves me cold.  I just never could get over the faint oatmeal aroma coming from the
water coupled with a slightly slimy feel the bath left on my skin.
Mustard plaster recipes.
Growing up I was privy to the combined knowledge of my Great-Grandmother
Wallace and my Grandmother Irwin.  For more modern techniques I could look to
both of my parents and an aunt (all trained as Registered Nurses), not to mention the
father of a high school chum who ran the local pharmacy up until the time most drugs
started coming prepackaged directly from the pharmaceutical companies and he was
asked to retire.  Neither my parents or my friend's father (who was able to compound
almost anything he sold at the pharmacy) pooh-poohed some of the "old-time"
remedies, choosing instead, to use those they knew worked and would not cause any
kind of harm to the one they were used on.
Onion gargles or onion teas.
"Old-time" remedies I still make use of to
this day include painting mosquito bites
with full strength ammonia, making a
poultice out of salt and water or alcohol to
draw the venom out of spider and other
insect bites, drinking a hot lemonade toddy
with honey and whisky to cure chest
congestion, and when not taking it in
capsule form orally, using powdered
burdock root as a treatment for acne.  
People who practice holistic medicine
have also found, likewise, that many
homeopathic cures work better than their
"traditional" (read that as anything
contemporary doctors might use) cousins
Common plaster recipes for dressing.
And who in my generation or those before me
could ever forget the use of mustard plasters to
break up chest congestion?  Anyone who
experienced one usually didn’t submit to
another voluntarily, and the removal of plasters was
so awful they made it into popular culture via the
comics or early cartoons.   If not enduring the
plasters, there were those of us who were made to
drink noxious concoctions like onion gargles and
the "spring tonics" based on black strap molasses
or other equally nauseating ingredients that were
combined and boiled up for hours or days on the
stove and were fed to you at the end of the winter
supposedly to help rebuild your constitution
following the ravages of winter elements on your
general health.  Although I'm sure there is some
sort of medicinal benefit to it, one of the worst for
me was the forced intake of cod liver oil.  No
matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't get it past
my tongue, and more often than not, it proved to
be a surefire emetic (substance that induces
vomiting).  To this day my stomach instantly turns
any time I get a whiff of it.
Salt poultice for bug bites.
Homemade arthritis rub recipes.
Saltwater gargle.
Raw garlic gargle
Acids alkalines or salt recipes
home remedies from the past
Spicy gargle recipes
Cayenne pepper in a natural blood thinner
Chicken Soup
Ginger tea
Gargles of boiled milk and figs
sate tea with honey and vinegar
O, the following is for the IDIOTS, who in today's world are thinking we were in any way doctors or
Some people today are so...............well, just "plain ignorant", as my mother would say.