Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dealing with rheumatism & gout in 1834

Thursday, January 12, 2012
Loretta reports:

Last week, in response to my blog about curing gout with heavy drinking, a commenter expressed curiosity about treatments in the past for these ailments.

These two home remedies dating to 1834 (and let’s remember that many people never saw a doctor in their lives) came from one of my favorite sources, The New Female Instructor or Young Woman’s Guide to Domestic Happiness, a book I’ve cited before (here & here).
Receipt for the Rheumatism.
Take of garlic two cloves, of ammoniac one drachm: blend them, by bruising, together; make them into two or three bolusses, with fair water, and swallow them, one at night, and one in the morning.  Drink, while taking this medicine, sassafras tea, made very strong, so as to have the teapot filled with chips.  This is general found to banish the rheumatism, and even contractions of the joints, in a few times taking.

Remedy for the Gout.
Gum Ammoniac

Mix two ounces of finely-pounded gum guaiacum, with three quarts of the best rum, in a glass vessel; stir and shake it from time to time.  When it has remained for ten days properly exposed to the sun, distil the liquor through cotton or strong blotting paper, and bottle the whole, corking it up tight.  The more is made of it at a time the better, as it improves by keeping.  The dose is a table-spoonful every morning fasting.  The bottles should be corked as closely as possible; but should not be quite filled, lest the fermentation of the liquor should make them burst.  This medicine must not be made with brandy, or any other spirit but good genuine rum.

Illustrations courtesy Wikimedia Commons.  Clicking on captions will take you to the Wiki page.


Richard Foster said...

Interesting. The colchicine that is used in modern gout drugs is also derived from antique remedies.

Space Bar said...

Since you're doing curatives, thought I'd point you to this old post by a friend:

LorettaChase said...

Richard, it's really interesting to discover old origins to modern remedies as well as reasonably effective older alternatives to modern antibiotics and such. I have a vague memory of garlic and honey being issued to WWI soldiers for medicinal purposes and pine resin used to fight infection. Space Bar, thank you for that link. I knew nothing of the story, and it was fascinating!

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