22 October 2009

Alternative Medicine

Chapter Four: Alternative Medicine.

I don't think we were ever subjected to it, but I can remember them saying how horse manure poultices were a great remedy for chest colds. They'd put fresh horse manure in very hot water, then put it in an old cloth, lay it on your chest, then cover you with blankets. They used that on sprains too.

Another chest cold remedy was antiphlogistine poultices. That was prescribed by doctors. Antiphlogistine was very similar to putty. You'd heat that up and flatten it out and put it on your chest to bring the cold out, or around your neck for sore throats.

For cuts and scratches, plain mutton fat was very popular to keep the wound soft and clean, and then nature would do the rest. The treatment for earache was a sock full of hot salt. You'd hold it against your ear or lie on it. For toothache... chewing mint leaves, which I always thought was a failure.

Every Monday morning we'd line up for a dose of castor oil, which was supposed to keep your system clean. It was horrible stuff, and the only way we could be persuaded to take it was with a big spoonful of jam to follow.