Friday 16 August 2019

Join Historical Romance author, Elizabeth Keysian, as she takes a look at the Georgian remedies that will make your hair stand on end #Regency #History @EKeysian

Georgian remedies that will make your hair stand on end.
By Elizabeth Keysian

*Please don’t try any of these remedies at home!

You wouldn’t want to get sick in Georgian England. Some of the remedies cited below include scary substances such as vitriol (copper sulphate) and bullock’s gall. Our ancestors were also fond of purges and blood-letting to eliminate sickness, something that simply does not appeal today. Hence my advice that you do NOT attempt any of these remedies yourself.

Cure for Baldness

“To cause hair to grow take two ounces of Boar’s grease, one dram of the ashes of burnt Bees, one dram of the Ashes of Southernwood, one dram of the Juice of a white Lilly Root, one dram of Oil of sweet Almonds, and six drams of pure Musk; and, according to Art, make an Ointment of these; and the day before the full Moon, shave the place, and anoint it every Day with this Ointment. It will cause Hair to grow where you will have it. Oil of sweet Almonds, or Spirit of Vinegar, is very good to rub the Head with if the Hair grows thin.”
From The Compleat Housewife, or Accomplish’d Gentlewoman’s Companion, E. Smith, c.1736


“In attempting to recover persons apparently drowned, the principal intention to be pursued is, to restore the natural warmth, upon which all the vital functions depend; and to excite these functions by the application of stimulants, not only to the skin, but likewise to the lungs, intestines, etc. Though cold was by no means the cause of the person’s death, yet it will prove an effectual obstacle to his recovery. For this reason, after stripping him of his wet clothes, his body must be strongly rubbed for a considerable time with coarse linen cloths, as warm as they can be made; and, as soon as a well heated bed can be got ready, he may be laid on it, and the rubbing should be continued. Warm cloths ought likewise to be frequently applied to the stomach and bowels, and hot bricks, bottles of warm water, to the soles of his feet, and to the palms of his hands. Strong volatile spirits should be frequently applied to the nose; and the spine of the back and pit of the stomach may be rubbed with warm brandy or spirit of wine. The temples should also to be chafed with volatile spirits; and stimulating powders, as that of tobacco or marjoram, may be blown up the nostrils.”

From Domestic Medicine: or a Treatise on the Prevention and Cure of Diseases, William Buchan M.D. 1792

Bleeding from the nose

“Where it is not considered beneficial to allow the bleeding to continue, the patient should be set nearly upright with his head reclining a little and his legs immersed in water about the warmth of new milk. His hands ought likewise to be put in lukewarm water and his garters may be tied a little tighter than usual. Ligatures may be applied to the arms about the place where they are usually made for bleeding, and with nearly the same degree of tightness. These must be gradually slackened as the blood begins to stop, and removed entirely as soon as it gives over. Sometimes dry lint put up the nostrils will stop the bleeding. When this does not succeed, dossils of lint dipped in strong spirits of wine may be put up the nostrils, or if that cannot be had, they may be dipped in brandy. Blue vitriol dissolved in water may likewise be used for this purpose.”

From Domestic Medicine: or a Treatise on the Prevention and Cure of Diseases, William Buchan M.D. 1792

Insect Sting

“With regard to poisonous insects, as the bee, the wasp, the hornet etc their stings are seldom attended with danger, unless when a person happens to be stung by a great number of them at the same time; in which case something should be done to abate the inflammation and swelling. Some, for this purpose, apply honey, others lay pounded parsley to the part. A mixture of vinegar and Venice treacle is likewise recommended; but I have always found rubbing the part with warm salad oil succeed very well. Indeed, when the stings are so numerous as to endanger the patient’s life, which is sometimes the case, he must not only have oily poultices applied to the part, but should likewise be bled, and take some cooling medicines, as nitre, or cream of tartar, and should drink plentifully of diluting liquors. It is the happiness of this island to have very few poisonous animals, and those which we have are by no means of the most virulent kind. Nine-tenths of the effects attributed to poison or venom in this country, are really other diseases, and proceed from quite different causes.”

From Domestic Medicine: or a Treatise on the Prevention and Cure of Diseases, William Buchan M.D. 1792

A serious scalding- anecdote

“As example teaches better than precept, I shall relate to the treatment of the most dreadful case of this kind that has occurred in my practice. A middle-aged man, of a good constitution, fell into a large vessel full of boiling water, and miserably scalded about one half of his body. As his clothes were on, the burning in some parts was very deep before they could be got off. For the first two days the scalded parts had been frequently anointed with a mixture of lime water and oil, which is a very proper application for recent burnings. On the third day, when I first saw him, his fever was high, and his body costive, for which he was bled, and had an emollient clyster administered. Poultices of bread and milk, softened with fresh butter, were likewise applied to the affected parts, to abate the heat and inflammation. His fever still continuing high, he was bled a second time, was kept strictly on the cooling regimen, took the saline mixture with small doses of nitre, and had an emollient clyster administered once a day. When the inflammation began to abate, the parts were dressed with a digestive composed of brown cerate and yellow basilicum. Where any black spots appeared they were slightly scarified, and touched with the tincture of myrrh; and, to prevent their spreading, the Peruvian bark was administered. By this course, the man was so well in three weeks as to be able to attend his business.”

From Domestic Medicine: or a Treatise on the Prevention and Cure of Diseases, William Buchan M.D. 1792


“For a sprain put an ounce of camphor, sliced or coarsely pounded, into a pint bottle; add half a pint of rectified spirit of wine; and nearly fill up the bottle with bullock’s gall. Let it stand two to three days by the fireside, shake it frequently, till all the camphor be completely dissolved, and keep it very closely stopped for use. The sprained part is to be bathed plentifully every three or four hours, till relief be obtained.”

From The Female Instructor, or Young Woman’s Companion, 1815


“The best treatment of the commencement of a violent stunning is, to place the patient in a warm bed, to apply bladders of hot water over the region of the heart and stomach, and to employ gentle friction to the limbs. When he begins to recover, a little warm slop may be given, but no brandy, wine, or other stimulants, for all severe injuries of the head are liable to be followed by inflammation, and we should have our eye to this probable consequence for many days after the receipt of such an injury. The patient must be kept quiet, and have a black draught to empty the bowels. If, as he recovers sense and the power of motion, he grows irritable, and has pain in the head, and flushing of the face, we should anticipate inflammation by taking a pint of blood from the arm, and giving some more purging physic; and should active inflammation of the brain supervene, the means noticed under that head must be rigorously enforced.”

From Modern Domestic Medicine, Thomas Graham, 1827

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By Elizabeth Keysian

Never get caught in a trap of your own making.

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Elizabeth Keysian

Bestselling author Elizabeth Keysian adores history and archaeology, and writes romances that give the reader an experience of travelling back in time.

She feels very British-despite her Viking ancestry-and loves creating rich backdrops for her stories based on real places and actual experiences. She used to be a re-enactor, so has sampled the living conditions, clothing, and smells of the past. She’s also sampled the food, which was actually pretty good.

Her characters battle their problems with both tears and laughter, but she always guarantees them a Happily Ever After, no matter what she’s put them through.

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1 comment:

  1. Yikes! And they probably thought their remedies were as modern as we believe ours are now.


See you on your next coffee break!
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Mary Anne xxx