Medical Home Remedies:
As Recommended by 19th and 20th century Doctors!
Courtesy of


The biggy of the late 1800's. Clearly shows the massive inroads in medical science and the treatment of disease.

ALCOHOL AND THE HUMAN BODY In fact alcohol was known to be a poison, and considered quite dangerous. Something modern medicine now agrees with. This was known circa 1907. A very impressive scientific book on the subject.

DISEASES OF THE SKIN is a massive book on skin diseases from 1914. Don't be feint hearted though, it's loaded with photos that I found disturbing.




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MEDICINAL PLANTS: Illustrated by 64 Coloured Pictures on 16 Plates, and they and all other important medical plants fully described, with directions for use. [Please note that the pictures are not aranged according to the plate number, as one would expect, but rather just put haphazardly together in NO order - I've noticed that the book's organisation has broken down slightly toward the end and I have attempted to put it back into the order it possibly should be, but the pictures of the medicinal plants are as I found them. However, immediately below this sentence is given the names of the medicinal plants, which I have linked to the medicinal picture plates that actually contain the plants in question:

Pictures of Medicinal Plants - Plate 1 Henbane, Sage, Mustard, Calamint
Pictures of Medicinal Plants - Plate 2 Juniper, Black Currant, White Horehound, Coltsfoot
Pictures of Medicinal Plants - Plate 3 Buckthorn, Fennel, Tansy, Wood Sorrel
Pictures of Medicinal Plants - Plate 4 Peony, St. John's Wort, Acanite or Monkshood, Lily of the Valley
Pictures of Medicinal Plants - Plate 5 Plantain, White Poppy, Pennyroyal, Bearsfoot
Pictures of Medicinal Plants - Plate 6 Liquorice, Yellow Flag, Dandelion, Bramble
Pictures of Medicinal Plants - Plate 7 Dill, Peppermint, Spurge-Laurel, Black Bryony
Pictures of Medicinal Plants - Plate 8 Bittersweet, Chamomile, Caraway, Herb Robert
Pictures of Medicinal Plants - Plate 9 Hemlock, Barberry, Elder, Oak
Pictures of Medicinal Plants - Plate 10 Parsley, Valerian, Foxglove, Crowfoot
Pictures of Medicinal Plants - Plate 11 Common, Flax, Purging, Wormwood, Carrot, Horse-Chesnut
Pictures of Medicinal Plants - Plate 12 Thron-apple, Asparagus, Marsh Mallow, Hop
Pictures of Medicinal Plants - Plate 13 Mullein, Rosemary, Nettle, Deadly Nightshade
Pictures of Medicinal Plants - Plate 14 Stavesacre, Golden Rod, Lime, Bear Berry
Pictures of Medicinal Plants - Plate 15 Scurvy-grass, Colchicum or Meadow Saffron, Garlic, Horse-radish
Pictures of Medicinal Plants - Plate 16 Saffron, Meadow-sweet, Hedge-Mustard, Hedge-Nettle

Plate 1.

Saffron. -This is a familiar garden flower of a deep orange color. It is used as a decoction ; an ounce of the leaves is boiled in a pint of water.

This is used as a gargle for sore throat and as a remedy for ievers. It is supposed to favor the eruption in scarlet fever, measles, etc.

Meadow Sweet. - The root, bark and leaves of this plant are used in diarrhea, especially in children. A decoction can be made by boiling an ounce of the root or bark in a pint of water. Two or three tablespoonfuls of this decoction may be taken four times a day.

Mustard. - Powdered mustard seeds, ordinary table mustard, are chiefly used in medicine for two purposes : first, to promote vomiting. One or two teaspoonfuls stirred up in a glass of warm water usually suffice to excite vomiting. This quantity may be repeated in five minutes if necessary.

The second use of mustard is in the shape of mustard plasters or poultices, which are used to relieve pain and to promote the circulation.

Nettle.- The juice of the nettle is sometimes valuable in cases of bleeding from the lungs, nose, bowels and urinary organs. A decoction can be made of the seeds or leaves.

Plate 2.

Buckthorn.-The bark is sometimes used as a cathartic, though it is apt to purge violently. This plant is not ordinarily used by physicians.

Fennel.- The seeds of this familiar plant are used to flavor medicines. They are also employed to relieve the griping pains of colic ; the drug is usually given as an infusion of the leaves.

Tansy.-This familiar herb is employed in the shape of an infusion. It is popularly supposed to be useful in bringing on the menstrual flow, for which purpose a wineglassful of a strong infusion may be given. An oil is extracted from the plant and used occasionally in medicine. This plant is supposed to be capable of inducing abortion.

Wood Sorrel.- This plant was formerly supposed to have great value in the treatment of cancer, but is now but little employed in medicine.

Plate 3.

Stavesacre.- An ointment made from the seeds of this plant is sometimes used for the purpose of destroying vermin on the head.

Golden Rod. - An infusion made by adding an ounce of the leaves and tops of the sweet golden rod to a pint of water, may be given to relieve the pains of colic. A wineglassful of this infusion is the ordinary dose.

Lime.- The juice of the fruit is mixed with water to make a cooling drink for fever patients. Large quantities of this juice are carried on shipboard as a preventive against scurvy.

Bearberry.- This remedy was formerly much used in the treatment of chronic diseases of the bladder. It renders the urine less irritating, and hence decreases the pain of inflammation of the urinary organs. A decoction (one ounce of the leaves to a pint of boiling water) is the best form for administering this remedy ; two tablespoonfuls of this may be given at a dose.

Plate 4.

Henbane.-This plant has an important place in medicine, being used for nearly the same purposes as belladonna.

It is a violent poison, and must be carefully distinguished from the root of the parsnip, which it closely resembles in shape and appearance.

Henbane is used as a narcotic to quiet pains in inflammations.

Under such circumstances it has the advantage over opium that it does not cause any excitement in the patient, but is directly sedative in its action. It is especially valuable as a narcotic in the treatment of children.

Henbane is frequently used in the treatment of delirium, men­ ingitis, and other affections of the brain in which opium cannot well be employed.

Calamus.-An infusion of the root is sometimes used for the the relief of flatulent colic in children.

Sage.-An infusion of this familiar plant is a household remedy for the promotion of perspiration. It is given during the com­ mencement of fevers and inflammation.

Plate 5.

Thorn Apple.-This plant belongs to the same class of remedies as henbane and belladonna. The dried leaves rolled in cigarettes are often effectual in relieving the paroxysms of asthma. Asparagus.-This plant is sometimes used for the purpose of promoting the secretion of urine.

Marsh Mallow.-A decoction of the root is used as a soothing injection in inflamed conditions of the vagina.

Hop.-The powdered root is employed as a pill to quiet irritability of the urinary organs. It is also employed to relieve the pain of gonorrhoea.

Plate 6.

Scurvy Grass.-This plant is so named because of its supposed efficacy in relieving scurvy.

Meadow Saffron (colchicum).-This plant is chiefly known for its use in the treatment of gout and rheumatism. In employing it care must be taken not to give it in excess, since it causes vomiting and purging.

Garlic.-The garlic, onion and leek are all used for bronchitis and colds in the head. Made into poultices, they are applied to local inflammations.

Horse Radish.-This is sometimes used as a tonic for the digestion and to promote the secretion of the kidneys.

Plate 7.

Juniper.-An infusion made by boiling an ounce of the bruised berries in a pint of water is frequently used to stimulate the action of the kidneys. Hence this remedy is used in dropsy and in some diseases of the kidney. It is usually combined with cream of tartar.

Black Currant.-The juice of the berries is used as an astringent in diarrhea of children.

White Horehound.-An infusion is given in catarrhal troubles, and sometimes in dyspepsia.

Coltsfoot.-An infusion of the dried leaves of coltsfoot is employed to loosen the phlegm in a chronic cough.

Plate 8.

Plantain.-This was formerly employed to increase the secre­ tion of urine ; at present it is rarely used except as a poultice made of the bruised leaves.

Poppy.-The dried juice from incisions made into the capsules holding the seeds of the poppy is familiar to all under the name of opium. This drug is chiefly used for the relief of pain, and is also employed in the treatment of inflammations.

Pennyroyal.-This variety of mint is employed as an infusion for the relief of griping pains in the abdomen. It is popularly sup­ posed to be beneficial in cases of retarded painful menstruation.

Plate 9.

Peony.-An infusion is made b boiling an ounce of the pow­ dered root in a pint of water. Haifa teacupful may be given four times a day. It was formerly considered a nerve tonic, and was used in epilepsy and St. Vitus' dance.

St. John's Wort.-This plant was formerly used as a decoction to promote menstruation, but is now seldom employed.

Aconite.-This is one of the most powerful drugs employed.

It is useful in the early stages of fevers and of inflammations, such as pneumonia, erysipelas and rheumatism. The tincture of the root may be given in doses of one drop every hour until six doses have been taken; the remedy should not be given in excess, since it will cause weakness of the heart and perhaps fainting.

Plate 10.

Flax.-The ground seeds are much employed in the preparation of poultices ; the oily matter which they contain serves to retain the heat and moisture, as well as to make a soft, soothing application.

Wormwood.-An infusion made by adding an ounce of the plant to a pint of boiling water, may be taken for the relief of certain forms of dyspepsia ; a wineglassful of this infusion constitutes a dose.

This infusion, mixed with equal parts of vinegar, is employed as an application for sprains and bruises.

A peculiar intoxicating liquor known as absinthe, is prepared by distillation from wormwood.

Carrot.-The roots of the ordinary carrot can be made into a very good poultice. Internally the medicine is not used, though it was formerly employed occasionally in cases of dropsy.

Horse-chestnut.-A decoction of the bark has been used in cases of ague and other malarial fevers.

Plate 11.

Licorice.- Powdered licorice is commonly used to cover the taste of other medicines ; it is largely employed in the manufacture of pills.

Dandelion.- This plant has long been used as a remedy for torpor of the liver, and dyspepsia associated with some disorder of the liver. A decoction made of the fresh leaves and roots, and a fluid extract are the best preparations of it. One or two teaspoonfuls of the fluid extract may be given at a dose.

Plate 12.

Mullein.-An infusion of this plant (one ounce of the leaves to a pint of boiling water) is sometimes employed after cooling and straining, in inflammation of the bowels and bladder.

Rosemary.-An infusion of this plant was formerly much employed for hastening delayed menstruation ; it is now sometimes used as a tonic for the nervous system.

Deadly Nightshade.-Two varieties of the same family grow in this country ; the deadly nightshade [atropa belladonna) is the one used in medicine. Its fruit resembles somewhat the cherry, being at first green, then red, and finally purple. The black nightshade resembles it somewhat, but its berries are smaller than those of belladonna, and become quite black when ripe.

The root and the leaves of the nightshade are used in medi­ cine. It is a powerful narcotic, and in large doses a violent poison. It is much used in neuralgia and other painful affections ; it is also* employed in various diseases of the nervous system, such as epi­ lepsy.

Belladonna is a useful application in the shape of an ointment or liniment; as a plaster it is often valuable in neuralgia, and is used for drying up the milk of nursing women.

In relieving excessive perspiration from consumption or in other condition of debility, belladonna is one of our most valu­ able agents; it is also used to relieve the incontinence of urine in children.

The active principle of belladonna, atropiay is a remedy of extreme importance in the treatment of various affections of the eye.

Plate 13.

Parsley.-A decoction of the parsley root is sometimes used for the relief of pain in passing water; and has been recommended to promote the menstrual flow. The bruised leaves are sometimes applied to nursing breasts, to prevent " caking. "

Valerian.-This remedy is used almost exclusively for cases of " nervousness," however it may be manifested. In hysteria, and the hysterical paroxysms which often occur about the time of the menstrual epoch, this remedy is invaluable. It is also useful in cases of nervous headache.

Foxglove.-This remedy is chiefly used to strengthen the action of the heart. It is, therefore, valuable in many cases of heart disease, and, in some instances, of kidney disease. When­ ever the disease of the heart causes a rapid and weak pulse, short­ ness of breath, and dropsy, digitalis (foxglove) is of value.

In many cases of dropsy dependent upon heart disease, dig­ italis is the most efficient agent in relieving the swelling. In some cases of delirium tremens, digitalis is valuable in stimulating the heart, and thus counteracting the effects of the whisky.

Plate 14.

Hemlock.-This is one of the most violent poisons. It is chiefly used for its sedative and narcotic effects, but because of its unreliability it is not employed with great frequency. It has been used in the treatment of various nervous diseases, such as delirium tremens.

Barberry.-The bark of the root is sometimes used in the shape of an infusion as a cathartic.

Elder.-A decoction of the bark, or of the berries, is useful in promoting the action of the bowels and of the kidneys. The variety used in medicine bears black berries.

Oak.-A decoction of the inner bark is a valuable astringent.

It is used as a gargle in sore throat, as an injection in cases of the " whites," and as a medicine in diarrhea and night sweats.

Plate 15.

Bittersweet.-There are two plants popularly known by this name. One of them is a shrubby stem, with blue or purple flowers and red berries.

A decoction is made by boiling an ounce of the leaves with a pint and a half of water, and continuing the boiling until the liquid is reduced to a pint. The dose of this is two or three tablespoon- fuls, taken three or four times a day.

This decoction is often used in eruptions on the skin in which scales are formed.

Chamomile.-This is one of th'e few household remedies which possess decided value. It is a good tonic in cases of indigestion, with the formation of gas in the stomach. It is best taken in the shape of a cold infusion, which is made by adding half an ounce of chamomile flowers to a pint of cold water. In cases of indigestion and nausea, the chamomile tea can be taken with a little ginger or myrrh.

Caraway.-The seeds of caraway are used to cover the taste of nauseous medicines.

Plate 16.

Peppermint.-A hot infusion of peppermint is a valuable rem­ edy in cases of pain in the bowels from the accumulation of gas in the intestines. The oil of the essence may be used for the same purpose. Two or three drops of the essence are valuable in reliev­ ing the colic of infants.

Laurel.-The shrub known as mountain or sheep's laurel is a poisonous plant, the leaves of which are sometimes used in medi­ cine. It has been employed in hemorrhage from the bowels and in dysentery. An ointment made of the leaves stewed in lard is often employed in the household in the treatment of itch.

Black Briony.-Briony root was formerly used in medicine.

An infusion of the dried root - half an ounce to a pint of boiling water-may be given in wineglassful doses, three or four times a day. It may be used in treating dropsy, and in inflammations of the joints. It is an active purgative, producing watery stools.

Aloes.-The dried juice of the plant is used in medicine. It is one of the best purgatives which we have for promoting and improving the action of the large intestine. By securing a flow of blood to the organs of the pelvis, aloes is often valuable in promoting the menstrual flow; in these cases it is usually combined with iron and myrrh.

Aloes is of use in habitual c apation, but should not be employed by persons suffering from piles. Because of its tendency to increase the menstrual flow, it should be avoided during the monthly period, especially by women who flow profusely at such times ; it should not be employed during pregnancy.

The dose is from five to fifteen grains, usually in pill form, combined with other drugs.

Assafaetida.-The dried juice of this plant is a powerful stimulant in many nervous affections, of females especially. Its most frequent use is in the treatment of hysteria.

The ordinary dose is five to ten grains ; fifteen to twenty drops of the tincture may be given at a dose.

Black Cohosh (Black Snake Root).-This plant was extensively used in the treatment of rheumatism before the introduction of salicylic acid. It has also been employed to promote menstruation.

From fifteen to thirty drops of the tincture constitute a dose.

Blood Root.-This is an excellent expectorant, and is frequently employed in bronchitis and other affections of the lungs, as an ingredient in cough mixtures. In large doses it is a powerful emetic, and has even produced death.

The dose of the tincture is twenty to thirty drops.

Buchu.-This remedy is one of the best known agents for relieving irritation of the urinary organs. It has been used in catarrh of the bladder and in cases of painful urination. It is best given in the form of an infusion, made by adding one ounce of the leaves to a pint of boiling water. Two or three tablespoonfuls of this should be taken four or five times a day. A fluid extract is also made, the dose of which is one-half to one teaspoonful.

Calabar Bean.-This is one of the most powerful and poison­ ous remedies used. The plant grows in Africa, where the bean is said to be used as an ordeal in detecting criminals : The person suspected of having committed a crime is compelled to eat these beans ; if vomiting ensue, the individual's life may be saved, and he is then declared innocent; otherwise death occurs, a result which is regarded as a proof of guilt.

Calabar bean has been employed in the treatment of lockjaw, and as an antidote in cases of belladonna poisoning. One-tenth of a grain of the extract is the ordinary dose. This remedy should, however, never be given except upon the prescription of a physician, since serious results may follow its incautious use.

Camphor.-This is obtained from a tree in the East Indies.

Camphor is a sedative for the nervous system in many disorders, especially the hysterical affections of women. It is often useful in quieting the restlessness of fevers. The dose of the tincture is from ten to thirty drops.

Cascara Sagrada.-This remedy, which has been recently introduced, is now recognized by the medical profession as the best known laxative for the relief of habitual constipation. By its constant use the bowels are strengthened rather than weakened. When other laxatives are used habitually, torpidity of the bowels is aggravated, so that constantly increasing doses of the remedy are required to secure the desired effect; the complaint is rendered worse rather than better by the laxative. Cascara, on the other hand, seems to strengthen the bowels, so that the constipation gradually becomes less. By its use the torpidity of the bowels is diminished.

In administering cascara, it is necessary to conceal its objec­ tionable taste in some way, as well as to secure the genuine drug.

Both of these objects can be best attained by using the cascara cordial manufactured by Parke, Davis & Co.

Catechu.-This is a powerful astringent, which is used largely for the relief of diarrhea. It can also be employed with advantage in discharges, such as the whites. As a gargle, it has been used in relaxed conditions of the throat.

Cinchona Bark.-This familiar drug is now less extensively employed than formerly. It has been replaced by quinine and the other alkaloids obtained from the bark.

These alkaloids are the best of the vegetable tonics, as well as the most reliable remedies for the relief of malarial fevers. Quinine is also extensively employed for reducing temperatures in fevers and inflammations. The prejudice which many persons have against the use of quinine, seems to be based upon the fact that an excessive amount of the drug causes headache, buzzing in the ears and other unpleasant symptoms. These effects are, however, transient, and do not constitute any objection to the proper use of the remedy.

Copaiba.-This balsam is obtained from trees found in South America. It is chiefly used to relieve the irritation in inflammations of the urinary passages, especially in gonorrhoea.

Elaterium.-This is a powerful cathartic, which is often used to carry away the water in cases of dropsy.

Ergot of Rye.-This is chiefly used to promote contractions of the womb; hence it is especially valuable to arrest the floodings which occur after delivery, and to check the flow in excessive men­ struation. It is also used for the removal of fibroid tumors of the womb.

Ergot is sometimes employed to assist the expulsion of the child in cases of protracted delivery. This should never be at­ tempted, however, except by a physician, since the injudicious use of the drug may result in the death of the child and in serious danger to the mother.

The only reliable preparations of ergot are a fluid extract and the so-called " normal liquid ergot. " The dose varies according to the object desired - from ten to forty drops.

Ipecac. - Ipecac is chiefly used as an emetic and expectorant.

It is used as an ingredient of cough mixtures in order to loosen the phlegm or mucus. It has also been used in large doses as a remedy for dysentery.

Jaborandi. - This remedy produces profuse perspiration, usually attended with an increased flow of saliva. It is therefore useful when the kidneys are inactive, and is accordingly employed for the relief of dropsy and in cases of uræmia. It is generally administered in the shape of pilocarpine, half a grain of which constitutes a dose.

Kousso. - This plant, found in Abyssinia, is one of the most certain remedies for expelling tape­worms. An infusion is made by adding two drachms to four ounces of boiling water. This is allowed to cool and then swallowed.

Mandrake {Mayapple). - The active principle of this plant, podophyllin, is an excellent cathartic, especially in cases of torpidity of the liver. It is often employed as a substitute for preparations of mercury. The dose is one-fourth to one-half of a grain.

Male Fern. -This is one of the best remedies for tape­worm. Half a teaspoonful of the oil should be taken in a little mucilage or in capsules.

Nux Vomica. -This is one of the most valuable tonics as well as dangerous poisons which we possess. These properties depend chiefly upon the alkaloid, strychnia, which it contains.

Nux vomica is a good bitter tonic, and an especially good tonic for the nervous system. It is frequently used in the treatment of constipation and dyspepsia.

Pumpkin Seeds. -These are largely used for the purpose of expelling tape­worms from the bowels. To accomplish this purpose the patient should take no other food for twenty-four hours than pumpkin-seeds and milk, eating the seeds freely whenever hungry.

At the end of this time a dose of castor oil should be taken.

Rhubarb. - This is employed as a tonic and purgative. In the latter capacity it is useful in cases of habitual constipation attended with piles, and for the constipation of pregnancy.

Senna. - This is a violent cathartic, producing watery stools ; an objection to its use is a tendency to cause griping pains. Hence some aromatic is usually given with it. The most serviceable form for administering this remedy is what is known as the " compound licorice powder. "

Turpentine. - This is used largely for controlling bleeding from the nose, stomach, bowels and bladder. It is occasionally employed, in combination with other remedies, in various diseases of the intestine.

Locally turpentine may be used for the same purposes as mustard- that is, to cause an irritation of the skin. A piece of folded flannel should be saturated with hot water, wrung dry, and then sprinkled with spirits of turpentine.

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