Thursday, April 14, 2016

Home-made remedies from the OREGON TRAIL

Home-made remedies from the OREGON TRAIL

Burns — Coat the burned skin with egg white, as this provided a sterile seal for the skin and helped keep the wound from drying out. Some folks on the Oregon Trail had to use axle grease, which was made of rendered animal fat and a bit of beeswax thinned with turpentine. That just seems like it would hurt more than the burn itself.
The Common Cold — A few drops of camphor in a glass of hot water was recommended, and for a sore throat, tie a piece of bacon sprinkled with black pepper around the patients’ neck. I’m not sure you should try this if you have a dog.
Cough Syrup — Take poplar bark and bethroot, boil for 20 minutes, drain, add sugar and simmer till the scum ceases to rise. They lost me at scum.
Diarrhea — A standard treatment was an hourly spoonful of water in which blackberry root had been boiled. Doesn’t too many blackberries cause diarrhea?
Snakebite — Rattlesnake bites were often treated just like you see in old westerns; somebody would slice open the bite wound and suck the poison out. This was actually fairly effective if done right away.
Syphilis — The standard heroic treatment for centuries was mercury. Long-term use was thought to be dangerous though. Grannies often recommended arsenic as a safer alternative. I think what Granny was actually saying is that it’s better to be dead than have syphilis.
Tuberculosis — The settlers had many treatments for tuberculosis, none of which were effective. Among them were smoking tobacco, drinking cod liver oil and eating a thick, boiled-down onion stew. Because that makes sense.
The Summer Complaint — Though widely believed to be the result of heat interfering with digestion, “the summer complaint” was simply food poisoning. Between the lack of refrigeration and ignorance of the existence of germs, nobody gave much thought to handling food (especially meat) safely. Little wonder that food poisoning was so common during the warm months of the year that it was thought to be a seasonal disease. Another thing to be grateful for: refrigerators.
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They say there was a certain amount of common sense in Granny Medicine. For example, one basic rule was that anything that had some sort of noticeable effect on the body must have medicinal value. Peppermint oil was used to treat all manner of aches and pains because it causes a sensation of warmth when applied to the skin, and asparagus was widely thought to be good for the kidneys because it makes urine smell odd.
Must-have medicines when traveling over the Plains included:
Essence of peppermint — was used to cure stomach aches and likely actually worked.
Pine tar and turpentine — was used for coughing due to dust, and may have worked if small enough quantities were taken.
Laudanum — is partly opium-based and smells like eucalyptus; it supposedly helped with cholera, but really didn’t.
Whiskey — was considered the cure-all, but probably did not do much medically, except maybe for dulling toothaches.
Hartshorn — was made from red deer antlers and was used possibly successfully for insect bites and unsuccessfully for snake bites.
Quinine tea — was a “questionable” treatment for malaria.
Chamomile tea — was used then for aches and spasms to varying degrees of success; some people still use it for that today.
Citric acid — did help ward off scurvy if taken in the right quantities.
Vinegar — was taken for cholera, but did not do anything to help.
Castor oil — helped “to some degree” with dysentery (diarrhea).
I wondered how I would have handled being a woman on the frontier trail. Heck, I can hardly handle the 1-mile walk during the rodeo parade. I’m not sure if the lack of medicine would have bothered me as much as the lack of a shower. Our health care certainly may not be perfect, but I am grateful to live in this century where most of us have a fighting chance of surviving even the most challenging diseases.
In short, the pioneers lived more simply than most people today are willing to live and that is why they survived with no grocery store, no cheap oil, no cars, no electricity, and no running water.Just like our forefathers used to do, The Lost Ways teaches you how you can survive in the worst-case scenario with the minimum resources available.
Source: http://www.bioprepper.com/2016/04/14/grannys-medicine-home-made-remedies-oregon-trail/

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