Manuscripts/Mixed Material [Home Medical Practices]
Poultices too were common. Chewed tobacco poultice would remove the heat from a bee sting in remarkably short order. Also a mud of spittle and dust was used on occasions of this sort. Then there was the mustard poultice, the tea-leaf poultice, and a poultice of gunpowder and milk which was used to combat ringworm. In this latter case it was sometimes customary to paint the offending “ring” with ink.
Then there was the still popular remedy of whisky, hot water, and sugar for colds; hot lemonade for the same purpose—to make the patient sweat. The idea was and largely still is, if the patient has a sickness, let him “sweat it out.”
Boiled grapefruit has its curative powers for deranged stomachs, and burns were treated with unsalted lard. Baking soda was also used for stomach disorders, and still is today, when mixed with water and drunk warm.
A so-called cure for warts was to place the head of one match upon the wart and touch it off with another, and so “burn it out.” Another less painful but longer treatment consisted of rubbing the affected part with castor oil. This has been known to clean up warts slick as a whistle.
I recall one old man who made hair tonic out of catnip, cooking down the leaves in a dark, sullen-looking mash, then straining off the