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Old Time Remedies
for People & Animals
courtesy of Sedona Historical Society

After reading this story, you may wonder
why they were called the "Good Ole Days!"

Sedona pioneer Roe Smith was the son of Link (Abraham Lincoln) Smith and Addie Smith. Addie was sickly much of her life and young Roe slept on a pallet near her so that he could prepare medicine for her if she had an attack of illness in the middle of the night.

Because of this experience early in life, it seemed that Roe was thereafter often called upon to advise neighbors on home remedies. The following are some of his remedies from the early 1900s:

• Earache: blow pipe smoke in the ear

• Draw out infection: turpentine alone or turpentine, sugar, salt pork and soap as a poultice

• Blood poisoning: Potash of Mercury dissolved in water

• Insect sting: apply chewing tobacco, mud, sliced onion and bluing

• Pneumonia: apply a mustard plaster

• Croup: 1-2 drops of kerosene on a tsp. of sugar

• Deep cuts (animals or people): pack flour into the cut (stops bleeding)

• Diaper rash: burnt flour or cornstarch

• Coughs: whiskey, lemon, and honey

• Sunburn: wring out a cloth in strong tea, vinegar or canned milk; put cloth on skin; or a paste of cornstarch & water

• Toothache: hold vinegar on tooth

• Arthritis: bind potato slices on both sides of affected joint; wear a copper bracelet

• Chronic nosebleed: wear necklace made of lead

• Gallstones: fast for 24 hours; then eat a quart of tomatoes; four hours later, eat a lemon; wait one hour and take a big dose of Epson’s Salts

Another local family, the Loys, used spider webs on cuts, and whiskey for toothaches.

From yet other sources we found these "cures":

• Earaches: warm urine poured into the ear

• Fevers: could be broken by frequent sponging off with soda water or a mix of baking powder and lard smeared on the body

• Measles: cured by eating a well-roasted mouse; also a tea made of sheep pellets was used to "break out" measles

• Snake bite: apply whiskey on the bite and use warm horse manure to draw out the poison

• Whooping cough: drink mare’s milk with whiskey

How many of you remember your mother having an Aloe Vera plant in the window? Aloe liquid was used for cuts, wounds, insomnia, stomach disorders, pain, constipation, hemorrhoids, itching, headache, mouth and gum disorders, kidney ailments, sunburns, scalds, ulcers, arthritis, asthma among others.

And then there was the "stand-by," Castor Oil. Whiskey and flavored liqueurs or ‘cordials’ were considered ‘medicinal’ and proper for babies, "ladies" and rough-necks. In the Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalog of 1900, items listed as "Family Remedies" were sold on the same pages as laundry or home cleaners ... some serving double duty.

In 1973, an unknown 83-year-old author wrote an article on this subject for the local newspaper. The recollections were of home veterinarian remedies used on the family plantation in South Carolina, pre-1900. Remember, these cures were for animals:

• Screwworms: 1/2 cup honey & 1/2 cup water poured into wound drives worms out

• Colic: feed thin cut plug of chewing tobacco with small amount of salt

• Intestinal worms: for horses or mules, gather roots of small black walnut tree; cut up and boil ‘substance’ out of roots; pour in animal; worms soon leave

• Animal miscarriage: never feed fresh pumpkin to a pregnant pig or cow

• Worms in dogs: inner bark of Dogwood tree cut fine; fried in grease; sometimes feeding with black gunpowder on a piece of meat also worked

• Rattlesnake bite for dogs: mix powdered Alum with fresh meat and force down throat

• Cuts & abrasions: pour turpentine in wound

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