1890s Home Remedies FASTFACTS

Me again, Renee Ryan. I’m deep in the middle of my latest work-in-progress. My heroine’s mother has taken ill, so I thought I would share some of my findings for home remedies of the 1890s.


DOG FENNEL in the wild
DOG FENNEL in the wild



For sore throat: Dog Fennel boiled with lard created a soothing tonic.





Elderberry Blossom Tea was thought the best treatment for fever. 

Elderberry Bush in the wild
Elderberry Bush in the wild








Peppermint Plant in the wild
Peppermint Plant in the wild

Pepperment was used for stomach aches








Turpentine (a fluid obtained by distilling resin obtained from pine trees) and sugar was believed to cure worms

Extracting resin from pine trees
Extracting resin from pine trees



Bottle and dropper
Bottle and dropper

For an earache, laudanum was dropped in the ear with a dropper






For colds: Onions were boiled to a concentrated solution and then sweetened with sugar.


Do you have any home remedies to share?  In honor of my book release this week, leave a message and you’ll be added into a drawing to win either HIS MOST SUITABLE BRIDE or a bood of your choice from my backlist.

+ posts

21 thoughts on “1890s Home Remedies FASTFACTS”

  1. I use peppermint for indigestion too! Putting some peppermint essential oil in my belly button works really fast- I know it sounds weird, but I was desperate enough to try it and so glad I did 🙂 It helps with carsickness as well. My go-to for a sore throat is hot lemon water with honey.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. There are a lot of ‘cures’ out there. My mom swears putting Vicks Vapo Rub on the bottom of you feet will cure a cold. I know using Vicks Vapo Rub on fungused toenails will heal them of the fungus. The doctors I worked with said that you have to be consistent day and night and within a year (it takes that long for toenails to grow out) you will have pristine toenails again.

    This one is yucky, but my grandma use to take ‘clean catch urine’ (because it is actually sterile) warm it up and put it in my mom, aunt and uncle’s ears when they were little and had earaches.

    Would love to win a book.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  3. I wonder how well these worked? I was told to help ear pain to mix equal parts vinegar and water and put a couple drops in the ear. Then a cotton ball. It is supposed to help draw out the fluid and the pain.
    Can’t wait for your new book. Sounds very interesting!

  4. Peppermint does work very well for stomach aches. And other things as well.

    Also, cayenne pepper helps stop bleeding. I’ve tried it before and it worked quite well. 🙂

  5. Renee, I love reading your post and the “cures” are so interesting. Thank you for sharing! I am a big believer in Vick’s myself!

  6. I wonder if we took those ideas to a doctor if they would have used them hahah? I love those ideas. My mom use to stick us in the bathtub with warm water and baking soda if we had rashes or some kind of infection on our bottoms. Or if we had been sick and couldn’t keep anything down she would give warm 7-up and it would always stay down.

  7. I have a good friend who’s a doctor and he believes antibiotics are grossly over prescribed.
    He said if a child gets an ear infection….and is given an antibiotic 80% of them are well ten days later.
    IF the child is given NO antibiotic 75% of them are well ten days later.

    The antibiotic does a negligible amount of good and yet they are doled out like candy.

  8. Mary, I have heard the same thing – no more antibiotics. Thankfully my doctor won’t prescribe them until after the 10 days or other factors. They ARE doled out like candy – that’s not good!
    My mom always gave us elderberry syrup for colds and coughs. It seemed to work.

  9. Some of those are new to me…
    Vicks on toes is also new…
    For ear aches, I have placed a drop of witch hazel…

  10. When my tummy is upset, I mince an inch or so of fresh ginger, steep in in almost boiling water for 5-10 minutes, and then add a squeeze of honey.

  11. I have a book called “in grandmother’s day” its filled with crazy home remedies that seem more dangerous rather than helpful. Some of them are funny too and many induce vomitting in silly ways which we qouldnt consider curative these days. It makes me wonder how I would handle serious illness out on the frontier.
    Peppermint tea is great for upset tummies so brownie points there. Great post.

  12. I have a book called “in grandmother’s day” its filled with crazy home remedies that seem more dangerous rather than helpful. Some of them are funny too and many induce vomitting in silly ways; one suggests using large amounts of simple syrup to do it. It makes me wonder how I would handle serious illness out on the frontier.
    I agree, peppermint tea calms upset tummies.

  13. I’ve heard of some of the remedies I’ve seen. My mother would add a drop of whisky to the hot lemon water for coughs and colds. I’ve used the ginger tea for upset tummies but added lemon wedges in the water while it boiled and then strained it. I’ve hear of mustard and onion poultices for colds and other problems. I’ve also used Epsom salts to help me move things along when I couldn’t go. It’s a good detoxifier.

  14. “September 1st, 1864. We had a change of surgeons a few days ago, and the new one said my liver was out of order and gave me calomel, salts, quinine, whisky, fever pills, sulphuric acid, etc., enough to kill a man with a less vigorous constitution, but I really believe it did me good. He has stopped all but the quinine and whisky now, and I feel a great deal better.” Oliver Willcox Norton, 83rd Pennsylvania Volunteers.

Comments are closed.