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Many times when reading an obituary or a death certificate, the cause of death is somewhat a mystery because medical terminology has changed over the decades. At times the fatal affliction has become obsolete with medical science achieving great strides in preventative medicine and vaccines, the development of effective medicine and treatment regiments and, in some cases, an improvement of living conditions in society as a whole. Below are the more commonly used medical terms, their definitions, and old-time remedies and cure-alls.

NOTE: These remedies and cure-alls are NOT recommended for use but offered as an insight as to how our ancestors and their physicians treated afflictions and disease prior to the development of modern medicine and acceptable safe medical treatment. Some of these old-time remedies and cure-alls gave credibility to the saying "the cure is worse than the disease."


"Victorian Doctor" by Sir Samuel Luke Fildes, 1891

  • Ablepsy Blindness.

  • Acne Remedy #1: Wash affected area with a wet diaper.
    Remedy #2: Wash affected area with urine from a pregnant woman.

  • Ague Malarial fever.

  • Alcoholism Remedy: Scrape the dirt from under the patient's fingernails, then place the scrapings into his/her whiskey.

  • American Plague Yellow Fever.

  • Anasarca Generalized massive edema.

  • Anemia Remedy: Eat raw liver and drink fresh blood.

  • Ant Bites Remedy: Take a dip of snuff and rub the fresh dipped snuff on the bite site.

  • Aphonia Laryngitis.

  • Aphtha The infant disease thrush.

  • Apoplexy Paralysis due to stroke.

  • Appendicitis Remedy: Tie a leather thong around the waist of the patient and the appendicitis will enter the thong, then, tie the thong around a tree and the illness will enter the tree.

  • Arthritis
    Remedy #1: Dissolve 3/4 teaspoon of powder pectin in a glass of purple grape juice and drink once a day.
    Remedy #2: Take a dead cat into the woods to a hollow stump, twirl the cat overhead and then toss the cat's carcass to the south, then walk away to the north but do not look back.
    Remedy #3: Carry a potato in your pocket. It will not rot but will harden as it absorbs the arthritis.

  • Asphycsia/Asphicsia Cyanotic and lack of oxygen.

  • Asthma
    Remedy #1: If the patient is a child, stand the child against a tree and then drive a nail into the tree an inch above the child's head. If the child grows to stand an inch in the following year, the asthma will disappear.
    Remedy #2: Break up a hornet's nest into the bowl of a pipe, then smoke it.

  • Atelectasis Defective expansion of the pulmonary alveolia at birth.

  • Athlete's Foot Remedy: Apply your own urine onto the foot, then rinse off with water.

  • Atrophy Wasting away, diminishing in size.

  • Bad Blood Syphilis.

  • Bags Under the Eyes Remedy: Place used and still warm tea bags under the eyes for a few minutes.

  • Baldness/Thinning Hair Remedy #1: Smear your head with fresh cow manure. Remedy #2: Comb a solution of salt and water through thinning hair every day.

  • Beard Growth Remedy: (For Young Men) Boil an old boot in water, then rub the liquid (cooled down I assume) onto the cheeks and ching daily.

  • Bee Stings
    Remedy 1: Mix honey and dirt dauber's nest, then rub on the sting.
    Remedy 2: Make a poultice of flour and cider vinegar, then apply on the stings.

  • Bilious fever Typhoid, malaria, hepatitis or elevated temperature and bile emesis.

  • Biliousness Jaundice associated with liver disease.

  • Black plague or death Bubonic plague.

  • Black fever Acute infection with high temperature and dark red skin lesions and high mortality rate.

  • Black Pox Small pox.

  • Black Vomit Vomiting old black blood due to ulcers or Yellow Fever.

  • Blackwater Fever Dark urine associated with high temperature.

  • Bladder in the throat Diphtheria.

  • Bloody flux Bloody stools.

  • Blood Poisoning Bacterial infection, septicemia.

  • Bloody sweat Sweating sickness.

  • Boils
    Remedy #1: Catch a chaparral bird (roadrunner) in the early morning. Kill and eat it and the boil will go away. (NOTE: Road trip if you don't live in an area where roadrunners roam freely.)
    Remedy #2: Soak a small section of a heel of homemade white bread in boiling water. Squeeze with back of spoon. Lay on sterile gauze or boiled cloth. Add pinch (1/4 teaspoon) baking soda. Mix with soaked bread, wrap in gauze and apply to affected area.
    Remedy #3: Apply affected area with a poultice made from warm cow dung which will draw the boil to a head (and a guarantee that house guests will stay away during the period of convalescence).
    Remedy #4: A poultice of homemade soap, sweet milk and cornbread will bring a boil to a head quickly.

  • Boils, prevention of Due to their iron content, eating raisins prevent the formation of boils.

  • Bone shave Sciatica.

  • Brain Fever Meningitis, sometimes refers to sun stroke.

  • Breakbone Dengue fever.

  • Bright's Disease Chronic inflammatory disease of the kidneys.

  • Bronze John Yellow Fever.

  • Bruise Remedy: Apply a poultice of homemade soap and sugar to a bruise.

  • Bule Boil, tumor or swelling.

  • Burns
    Remedy #1: Apply ice wrapped in damp washcloth until pain stops. No scaring will occur.
    Remedy #2: Go the lot and make a calf get up and defecate. Put the feces in a flour sack and cover the burn with it. Leave it on until the next morning.
    Remedy #3: Apply strong tea to the burned area.
    Remedy #4: Juice obtained from the tip of an Aloe verde plant helps soothe and heal a burn. (I've used this and found it to work.)
    Remedy #5: Soothing properties for a burn may be found in linseed oil and/or homemade soap lather.


  • Cachexy Malnutrition.

  • Cacogastric Upset stomach.

  • Cacospysy Irregular pulse.

  • Caduceus Subject to falling sickness or epilepsy.

  • Camp fever Typhus, a.k.a. Camp diarrhea.

  • Cancer Prevention Prevention Remedy: Eat three almonds a day and you will not die from cancer.

  • Canker Ulceration of mouth or lips; herpes simplex.

  • Canine madness Rabies, hydrophobia.

  • Catalepsey Seizures, trances.

  • Catarrhal Nose and throad discharge from an allergy or a cold.

  • Cerebritis Inflammation of cerebrum or lead poisoning.

  • Chilblain Swelling of extremities caused by exposure to cold.

  • Child Bed Fever Infection following the birth of a child.

  • Chills
    Remedy #1: Take a new broom and sweep across the patient's back in the sign of a cross. (Also works as an early version of a lint roller.)
    Remedy #2: Bring peach tree leaves to a boil and let steam for a while prior to drinking the resulting tea..

  • Chin cough Whooping cough.

  • Chlorosis Iron deficiency anemia.

  • Cholecystitus Inflammation of the gall bladder.

  • Cholelithiasis Gall stones.

  • Cholera Acute severe contagious diarrhea with intestinal lining.

  • Cholera morbus Characterized by nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, elevated temperature, etc. Could be appendicitis.

  • Chorea Disease characterized by convulsions, contortions and dancing-like movements.

  • Cold plague Ague which is characterized by chills.

  • Colds, curing of
    Remedy #1: In the Fall of the year, catch the leaves which are falling from the trees in your hand and this will cure a head cold. (But what about the rest of the year?)
    Remedy #2: Boil mint leaves and then drink the resulting tea.
    Remedy #3: Ingest a mixture of sulphur and sorghum.
    Remedy #4: Rub a mixture of Turpentine, kerosene, quinine, and castor oil on the patient's chest. The castor oil prevents the mixture from blistering the patient's skin.
    Remedy #5: For an infant or a small child suffering from a cold, mince an onion and add from two to three teaspoons of sugar, then feed the extracted juice to the patient.

  • Colds, prevention of Remedy: Eat an onion sandwich and wash your hair.

  • Colic Abdominal pain and cramping. Remedy: Close the windows and doors of the baby’s room and have the father keep smoking a pipe or cigar.

  • Commotion Concussion.

  • Congestion Any collection of fluid in an organ, such as the lungs.

  • Congestive chills Malaria with diarrhea.

  • Congestive fever Malaria.

  • Consumption Tuberculosis.

  • Corns Remedy: Rub a wax candle on a corpse and then rub the same wax on the corn.

  • Corruption An infection.

  • Coryza A cold.

  • Costiveness Constipation.

  • Coughs, Coughing Spells
    Remedy #1: Put some cow dung in water and bring it to a boil. Gargle with the water three times a day and your cough will be gone. (But what sort of disease will take its place?)
    Remedy #2: Bake onions and pour all the juice from the baked onions into a glass, then drink the liquid. (Okay, this makes better sense to me.)
    Remedy #3: Mix black pepper and sugar with a teaspoon of water, then swallow slowly.

  • Cramp colic Appendicitis.

  • Cramps or a Crick in the Neck Remedy: Go down to the hog pen and find where a hog has rubbed his neck against the fence, then rub your neck in the same spot.

  • Crop sickness Overextended stomach.

  • Croup Remedy: Pack sheep droppings into a tobacco sack and soak in warm water. Apply the sack to the patient's neck and wear it until the choking spell is over. (But don't expect to the patient to be surrounded by friends when going out in public.)

  • Cuts, treatment of
    Remedy #1: Pack the cut in axle grease.
    Remedy #2: Take a large army ant and apply him to the cut, so that he takes hold of each side of the wound with his pincers. Cut his head off from his body, leaving his head to hold the cut together.
    Remedy #3: Apply spider’s web to a bleeding cut. (Some of the pioneers used this treatment and proclaimed it stopped the bleeding.)
    Remedy #4: Apply flour to the wound to stop the bleeding. (I have used this treatment not only only myself but with farm animals and found it to work well.)

  • Cynanche Throat Disease.

  • Cystitis Inflammation of the bladder.

  • Dandruff
    Remedy #1: To one quart of water, add one ounce of sulphur. Shake very well very two hours and saturate the head every morning with the liquid. Dandruff will disappear, leaving hair bright and glossy.
    Remedy #2: Rinse shampooed hair and scalp with a solution of water and cider vinegar.

  • Day Fever Fever lasting one day; sweating sickness.

  • Debilitas Weakness of the body.

  • Debility Lack of movement or staying in bed.

  • Decrepitude Feebleness due to old age.

  • Delirium Tremens "DT's", hallucinations due to alcoholism.

  • Dentition Cutting of teeth in infants.

  • Deplumation Tumor of the eyelids which causes hair loss.

  • Devonshire Colic Exposure to lead.

  • Diarrhea
    Remedy #1: Eat several coconut cookies.
    Remedy #2: Eat a couple of bananas.
    Remedy #3: Eat a combination of applesauce and a banana.

    Note: Some people proclaim any of these remedies really do work.

  • Diary fever A fever that lasts one day.

  • Diphtheria Contagious disease of the throat.

  • Dock Fever Yellow Fever.

  • Dropsy Edema (swelling), often caused by kidney or heart disease.

  • Dropsy of the Brain Encephalitis.

  • Dry Bellyache Lead poisoning.

  • Dyscrasy An abnormal body condition.

  • Dysentery Inflammation of colon with frequent passage of mucous and blood.

  • Dysorexy Reduced appetite.

  • Dyspepsia Indigestion and heartburn, symptons of a heart attack.

  • Dysury Difficulty in urination.

  • Earache Remedy: While someone blows tobacco smoke into the afflicted ear, the patient must say, "Hurt, hurt, go away; go into a bale of hay."

  • Eclampsy Symptoms of epilepsy; convulsions during labor.

  • Ecstasy A form of catalepsy characterized by loss of reason.

  • Eel thing Erysipelas.

  • Edema Nephrosis; swelling of tissues & Edema of lungs is congestive heart failure, a form of dropsy.

  • Edema of Lungs Congestive heart failure, a form of dropsy.

  • Elephantiasis A form of leprosy.

  • Encephalitis Sleeping sickness, swelling of the brain.

  • Enteric fever Typhoid Fever.

  • Enterocolitis Inflammation of the intestines.

  • Enteritis Inflations of the bowels.

  • Epitaxis Nose bleed.

  • Erysipelas Contagious skin disease, due to Streptococci with vesicular & bulbous lesions.

  • Extravasted blood Rupture of a blood vessel.

  • Falling sickness Epilepsy.

  • Fatty Liver Cirrhosis of the liver.

  • Fever Remedy#1: Gather a supply of rabbit dung and make a strong tea of the dung in hot water. Strain and drink the tea every half hour until the sweating stops. Remedy #2: Tie onions to the wrist of a patient who is suffering from a high fever.

  • Flu Remedy: Put sulphur in the shoes of the patient to cure the flu. (Does this work if the patient is bedfast? Or does it matter?).

  • Fits Sudden attack or seizure of muscle activity.

  • Flux An excessive flow or discharge of fluid like hemorrhage or diarrhea.

  • Flux of Humour Circulation.

  • Foot Gone to Sleep Remedy: Wet your finger with spit and put the sign of the cross on the sole of your foot.

  • Foreign Particles in the Eye Remedy: Place a flax seed in the afflicted eye. (Now you have two foreign particles in the eye!)

  • Freckles
    Remedy #1: To get rid of freckles, get up at five-thirty on Sunday morning and go outside. If there is a lot of dew get your hands really wet in the grass. Rub the dew on your face and turn around nine times, saying, “Dew, dew, do, do, take my freckles; wear ‘em on you; dew, dew, thank you.” Say this nine times while turning around. Do not wash the dew off and do not wash your face until the next day.
    Remedy #2: To remove freckles or skin spots, take a small flatfish fresh from the sea and hold it firmly against the skin until the fish dies. This will also cure the whooping cough.


  • French pox Syphilis.

  • Galloping Consumption Pulmonary tuberculosis.

  • Gathering A collection of pus.

  • Glandular Fever Mononucleosis.

  • Gravel Kidney or Gallstones.

  • Great Pox Syphilis.

  • Green Fever or Sickness Anemia.

  • Grippe Influenza like symptoms.

  • Grocer's Itch Skin disease caused by mites in sugar or flour.

  • Hallucination Delirium

  • Headache
    Remedy #1: Sleep with a pair of scissors under your pillow. The next morning the headache will be gone.
    Remedy #2: Place a buckwheat cake on the head to remove the pain.
    Remedy #3: Pour boiling water over one teaspoon of crushed sage leaves, let the mixture brew off the stove, then drink the strained liquid.

  • Heart sickness Condition caused by loss of salt from body.

  • Hectical complaint Recurrent fever.

  • Hematemesis Vomiting of blood.

  • Hematuria Bloody urine.

  • Hemiplegy Paralysis of one side of the body.

  • Hernia Remedy: Drive a forged nail into a piece of wood, then keep the wood dry.

  • Hiccups
    Remedy #1: Hold your arms above your head and pant like a dog.
    Remedy #2: Take a drink of water while standing on your head.
    Remedy #3: Stick your head under water and count to twenty-five.
    Remedy #4: Put your head between your legs and look at the sun.
    Remedy #5: Blow into a brown paper bag.

  • Hip gout Osteomylitis.

  • Homesickness Prevention: Sew salt and crumbs of bread into the petticoat of the female or in the seam of the suit coat of the male.

  • Horrors Delirium tremens.

  • Hydrocephalus Enlarged head, water on the brain.

  • Hydropericardium Heart dropsy.

  • Hydrophobia Rabies.

  • Hydrothroax Dropsy in chest.

  • Hypertrophic Enlargement of organ, like the heart.

  • Hyperthrophy Excessiver development of an organ, such as the thickening of muscle fibers, withut multiplication of parts.

  • Icterus Jaundice.

  • Ictus Solis Sunstroke.

  • Impetigo Contagious skin disease characterized by pustules.

  • Inanition Physical condition resulting from lack of food.

  • Infantile Paralysis Polio.

  • Inflamation Remedy: Apply affected area with a poultice made from warm cow dung. (But don't expect the patient to be the most popular person in town.)

  • Ingrown Toenail Remedy: Tie a lizard’s liver to a leather string. Take the leather string and tie it around your left ankle. The ingrown toenail will disappear in nine days.

  • Insomnia Remedy: A sedative consisting of one cup of milk and two tablespoons of honey will quickly combat insomnia (unless the patient is lactose intolerant.)

  • Intestinal Colic Abdominal pain due to improper diet.

  • Jail fever Typhus.

  • Jaundice Condition caused by blockage of intestines.

  • King's Evil Tuberculosis of neck and lymph glands.

  • Kruchhusten Whooping cough.

  • Lagrippe or La grippe Influenza.

  • Lice Remedy: First, put your clothes on an anthill. Then wash your head in kerosene. Spring your head with sea salt and then, parting the hair, pour raw whisky on your scalp. Let it stay for 48 hours. Do not smoke or go near the fire. NOTE: Many people died when using kerosene in the treatment of lice when the kerosene caught on fire.

  • Liver Trouble Remedy: Take one-half of a white turnip and one-half of a purple turnip and tie together with a white string. Urinate on it. Hang this on the bedpost of the bed on the first night, then on the foot post the second night until you circle the bed.

  • Lockjaw Tetanus or infectious disease affecting the muscles of the neck and jaw if untreated, it is fatal in 8 days.

    The Nurse.jpg

  • Long sickness Tuberculosis.

  • Lues Disease Syphilis.

  • Lues disease Venereal disease.

  • Lumbago Back pain.

  • Lung fever Pneumonia.

  • Lung sickness Tuberculosis.

  • Lying in Time of delivery of infant.

  • Malignant sore throat Diphtheria.

  • Mania Insanity

  • Marasmus Progressive wasting away of body, like malnutrition.

  • Measles Remedy: Put burned cornmeal in a tobacco bag and hang it around the neck.

  • Membranous Croup Diphtheria.

  • Meningitis Inflammation of brain or spinal cord.

  • Metritis Inflammation of uterus or purulent vaginal discharge.

  • Miasma Poisonous vapors thought to infect the air.

  • Milk Fever, Undulant Fever Disease from drinking contaminated milk or brucellosis.

  • Milk Leg Post partum thrombophlebitis.

  • Milk Sickness Disease caused by drinking milk from cows which had eaten poisonous weeds.

  • Mirasmus Emaciation.

  • Morbus Disease.

  • Mormal Gangrene.

  • Morphew Scurvy blisters on the body.

  • Mortification Gangrene of necrotic tissue.

  • Mumps Remedy: Tie a black sock around your neck. To keep mumps from going down on a boy, tie a red cloth around his waist.

  • Myelitis Inflammation of the spine.

  • Myocarditis Inflammation of heart muscles.

  • Necrosis Mortification of bones or tissue.

  • Nephrosis Kidney degeneration.

  • Nephritis Inflammation of kidneys.

  • Nervous Prostration Extreme exhaustion from inability to control physical and mental activities.

  • Neuralgia Discomfort such as a headache.

  • Nosebleed
    Remedy #1: Every night pour a bucket of cold water over your head. Keep this up for fourteen days and you will be cured.
    Remedy #2: Take a piece of string and make nine knots in it.

  • Nostalgia Homesickness.

  • Pain Remedy: Find a rock that is partly covered with dirt. Remove the rock from its resting place and spit on the bottom or covered side. Replace the rock in the same hole exactly as you found it.

  • Painter's Colic Exposure to lead.

  • Palsy Paralysis or uncontrolled movement of controlled muscles.

  • Paroxysm Convulsion.

  • Pemphigus Skin disease of watery blisters.

  • Pericarditis Inflammation of heart.

  • Peripneumonia Inflammation of lungs.

  • Peritonotis Inflammation of abdominal area.

  • Perspiration, excessive Remedy: Use a teaspoonful of ammonia in bathwater. Alum or borax added to bathwater is also affective.

  • Petechial Fever Fever characterized by skin spotting.

  • Phthiriasis Lice infestation.

  • Piles Remedy: The patient should carry horse chestnuts in his/her pockets.

  • Plague An acute febrile highly infectious disease with a high fatality rate.

  • Pleurisy Any pain in the chest area with each breath.

  • Pneumonia Remedy: Apply a poultice made from dried tansey (a yellow flower that blooms on a leafy stem about two feet tall and grows wild) blossoms and stems on the back and chest of the patient.

  • Podagra Gout.

  • Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Poison Sumac Remedy: Make a paste from fels naptha soap and apply. Do not cover. Let it dry and flake off by itself. One application usually does the job. (circa 1930's)

  • Polio.

  • Poor Eyesight
    Remedy #1: Pierced ears help cure poor eyesight. (This didn't seem to work for me - or may it has and my eyesight would be worse if I didn't have pierced ears?)
    Remedy #2: Apply some of the first snowfall to the patient's eyes.

  • Poliomyelitis or Potter's Asthma Fibroid Pthisis, Chronic wasting away or another name for tuberculosis.

  • Pott's Disease Tuberculosis of the Spine.

  • Pox Syphilis

  • Puerperal Exhaustion Death due to childbirth.

  • Puerperal Fever Elevated temperature after giving birth.

  • Puking Fever Milk Sickness.

  • Putrid Fever Diphtheria.

  • Quinsy Tonsillitis.

  • Rabies Remedy: Sear the bite with a hot iron to keep from going crazy.

  • Rash Remedy: Apply the juice of the Aloe Vera leaf to the rash. If it is a bull nettle rash, all you have to do is urinate on it.

  • Remitting Fever Malaria.

  • Rheumatism Pain in the joints. Remedy: Wash the part of the body affected in the water in which potatoes have been boiled.

  • Rickets Disease of the skeletal system.

  • Ringworm
    Remedy #1: Find a black-headed girl between the ages of twelve and sixteen and have her remove her right shoe. Then rub her big toe well over the ringworm for about one minute. Within a week the ringworm will have disappeared.
    Remedy #2: Take the best Cuba cigars; smoke one a sufficient length of time to accumulate about an inch of ash upon the end of the cigar. Wet the whole surface of the ringworm with saliva then rub the ashes from the cigar thoroughly into and over the sore.
    Remedy #3: Circling ringworm with one’s wedding ring and crossing it three times will surely cure it.

  • Rose Cold Hay fever.

  • Rottany Fever A form of child's fever.

  • Rubeola German Measles.

  • Sanguineous Crust A scab.

  • Scarlatina or Scarlet Fever A disease characterized by a red rash.

    medicine bottles.jpg

  • Scarlet Rash Roseola.

  • Sciatica Rheumatism of the hips.

  • Scirrhus Cancerous tumors.

  • Scorbutus Scurvy, lack of Vitamin C in diet.

  • Scotomy Dizziness, nausea & dimness of sight.

  • Screws Rheumatism.

  • Scrivener's Palsy Writer's cramp.

  • Scrofula Tuberculosis of the neck lymph glands.

  • Scrumpox Skin disease or impetigo.

  • Scurvy Lack of vitamin C in the diet.

  • Senile Gangrene Hardening of the arteries.

  • Septicemia Blood poisoning.

  • Shakes Delirium tremens (DT's).

  • Shaking Chills or ague.

  • Shingles Viral disease with skin blisters.

  • Siriasis Inflammation of the brain caused by sun exposure.

  • Ship fever Typhus.

  • Siriasis Inflammation of the brain due to overexposure to the sun.

  • Sloes Milk sickness.

  • Smallpox Contagious disease with fever & blisters.

  • Softening of the brain Stroke or hemorrhage in the brain resulting in softening of the tissue in that area.

  • Sore Eyes
    Remedy #1: Catch some bedbugs and crush them, then mix with salt and human milk. Rub this mixture on the eyes night and morning.
    Remedy #2: Melt snow from the first snowfall and then wash eyes.

  • Sore Throat Remedy #1: Tie nine knots in a black thread, and wear it around your neck for nine days.
    Remedy #2: Heat coarse salt in a cast iron frying pan; fill hand knit wool stocking with heated salt. Sew top of stocking together. Hold around the neck with large safety pin.
    Remedy #3: Tie a piece of fatback on a string and swallow the fatback, pulling it up again by the string. Repeat several times. (And just HOW do you conquer that gag-reflex?)
    Remedy #4: To prevent catching strep throat, burn orange peels on the damper and inhale while they are burning.
    Remedy #5: Mix turpentine from a fir tree with sugar and swallow it.
    Remedy #6: Eat molasses candy made with a small amount of kerosene oil. Some people just boiled molasses and kerosene oil (or Minard’s Liniment) and took a couple of spoonfuls every few hours. Rub kerosene oil and butter on the throat and chest. (Not recommended for those smokers among us, I assume.)
    Remedy #7: Have the patient slowly dissolve a piece of crystalled alum in the mouth.

  • Sore throat distemper Diphtheria or quinsy Spanish influenza.

  • Spanish Influenza Epidemic influenza.

  • Spotted fever Typhus or meningitis.

  • Sprains Remedy: Take a dirt dauber’s next and make a mud out of it with vinegar. Daub it on the sprain and wrap a stocking around it.

  • Sprue Tropical disease characterized by intestinal disorders and sore throat.

  • St. Anthony's fire Named because the affected areas of the skin are bright red in appearance.

  • St. Vitas or Viper's Dance Involuntary rapid jerking movements that don't cease.

  • Stomach Ache/Cramps
    Remedy #1: Cut some hair off from behind the right ear in the light of the moon. Then throw it over your right shoulder.
    Remedy #2: Lie across a barrel and roll until your hands touch the ground on one side, then push with your hands and roll back until your feet touch the ground on the other side. Repeat several times.
    Remedy #3: A teaspoon of grounded ginger in a glass of sweetened boiling water, sipped while very hot is a cure for stomach pain.

  • Stomatitis Inflammation of the mouth.

  • Stranger's fever Yellow Fever.

  • Strangery Rupture.

  • Stuttering Remedy: Hit the person stuttering in the mouth with a chicken gizzard.

  • Stye Remedy: Rub the stye with a gold wedding ring.

  • Sudor Anglicus Sweating sickness (see below).

  • Summer Complaint Diarrhea, usually caused by spoiled milk.

  • Swamp Sickness Malaria, typhoid or encephalitis.

  • Sweating Sickness Infectious & fatal disease common to United Kingdom in the 15th century.

  • Tetanus Infectious fever characterized by high fever, headache and dizziness.

  • Thrombosis Blood clot inside a blood vessel

  • Thrush Childhood disease characterized by spots on the mouth, lips, and throat.

  • Tick Fever Rocky mountain spottted fever.

  • Toxemia of Pregancy Eclampsia.

  • Trench Mouth Painful ulcers along the gum line caused by poor nutrition and poor oral hygiene.

  • Tumor Remedy: Take the right hand of a corspe and rub it over the patient's tumor.

  • Tussis Convulsiva Whooping Cough.

  • Typhus (Typhoid Fever) Infectious fever characterized by high fever, headache and dizziness.

  • Ulcus Ulcer.

  • Variola Smallpox.

  • Venesection Bleeding.

  • Viper's Dance St. Vitus Dance.

  • Warts Warts were obviously a problem, because there are a lot of cures and remedies for them.
    Remedy #1: Make a paste of baking soda and spirits of camphor and apply every night. Cover with a bandage. Remove in morning. Removes all kinds of warts, even stubborn planter's warts that resist every "medical" treatment.
    Remedy #2: Rub the wart with a rock. Put the rock in a tobacco sack and throw it over your left shoulder.
    Remedy #3: Rub the wart with a piece of bacon that has been stolen from a neighbor. (But don't get caught or you may have a bigger problem than a wart!) Remedy #2: Catch a frog and rub him on the wart
    Remedy #4: Walk out into the road after dark when you can see the moon. Run around three times and spit over your right shoulder.
    Remedy #5: Take a tick from a dog and let the tick bit the wart. In two or three days the wart should be gone. Then put the tick back on the dog. (Does this mean the tick will "pass" the wart on to the dog?)
    Remedy #6: Cut bark from a tree and rub it on the warts. Then tape the bark back on the tree. By the time it grows on again, the warts should have gone.
    Remedy #7: Rub fatback on your warts and give it to a dog. If he eats the fat back, the warts will go away. (If your warts don't go away, the dog will be grateful for the "treat.")
    Remedy #8: Tie a horse hair around each wart and within a week all the warts will fall off.
    Remedy #9: Rub fatback over the warts and throw it over your left shoulder. Don’t look to see where it goes. If an animal eats the fatback, your warts will disappear.
    Remedy #10: Apply chalk to warts; with same piece of chalk mark X over the oven door for each wart. As the chalk burns off, the warts will disappear.
    Remedy #11: Bathe warts occasionally for a week or so in water in which potatoes have been boiled.
    Remedy #12: When you go to church, make the sign of the cross over your warts three times.
    Remedy #13: Light a match, let it burn a little, then blow it out, touch the burnt end to wart and get someone to hid the match
    Remedy #14: Put butter on wart and have a cat lick it.
    Remedy #15: Warts can be cured by touching each one with a piece of string and then tying knots in the string — one knot for each wart. The string is buried in the ground, and when the string rots the warts disappear.
    Remedy #16: Bathe warts in water found in a depression in a rock, at the same time saying “In the name of the Father, son, and Holy Ghost.” This only works if you come across such a rock accidentally — it’s no good if you go out looking for the rock.
    Remedy #17: Apply a snail to warts.
    Remedy #18: Cut either an apple, or a turnip, or an onion in half, then rub over the wart.
    Remedy #19: Drip the juice from a milkweed plant onto a wart.

  • White Swelling Tuberculosis of the bone.

  • Whitlow Boil.

  • Whooping Cough
    Remedy #1: Take a small flatfish fresh from the sea and hold it firmly against the skin of the patient until the fish dies.
    Remedy #2: Put some hair from the patient on a piece of bread outside the kitchen door where the moon can shine on it. If a dog comes along and eats it, the cough will be cured in five days. (What happens if a cat eats the bread?)
    Remedy #3: Grab hold of a table leg when coughing.
    Remedy #4: Place a pan of fresh chicken droppings under the bed of the patient.
    Remedy #5: Obtain a piece of bread covered with apple butter from a person who has the same married surname as the patient's surname. (And then what? Who eats the bread?)

  • Winter Fever Pneumonia.

  • Womb Fever Infection of the uterus.

  • Worm Fit Convulsions associated with teething, worms, elevated temperature or diarrhea.

  • Wounds Remedy: The afflicted person should urinate on the wound to heal it.

  • Yellowjacket Yellow fever.


    sick in bed.jpg

    I smile to think of what they used
    To help us kids survive,
    But I am "going on" 69
    And very much alive.
    My sorest throats were eased, and I
    Still hold no bit of rancor
    To think of sucking sugar lumps
    With a drop or two of camphor.

    And camphor mixed with goose grease for
    A winter chest congestion;
    Baking soda cleaned my teeth
    And helped my indigestion.
    Because of Mother's tender heart
    I hereby sing a Gloria!
    She never gave me castor oil,
    Just syrupy Castoria.

    Salt for all mosquito bites,
    Cobwebs on the scratches,
    The sickroom fumigated with
    Our sulphur kitchen matches.
    Somehow there's quite a bunch of us
    That never had a shot,
    But here we are still kicking
    And enjoying it a lot.
    - Author Unknown

             SMITH, Elmer L., Pennsylvania Dutch Folkore. Applied Arts, Lebanon, PA. 1960

    Complied and submittted by Sharon R. Becker, 2008


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