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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Nineteenth Century Medicine . . . and More

My love for the late nineteenth century has led me to collect an array of reference books. Today I would like to share with you some passages from DR. CHASE’S RECIPES OR INFORMATION FOR EVERYBODY. Quite a title, eh? That's only the short version. Inside the frontspiece says An Invaluable Collection of About Eight Hundred Recipes and he goes on. I make fun, but this is a helpful book published by Dr. A. W. Chase in 1866 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In it he covers everything from medicine to tanning hides. Dr. Chase has compiled a wealth of information on the times. I would think his book would have come in very handy for anyone in a remote area who had to be almost totally self-reliant.

Having had TB years ago, I was impressed and amazed at Dr. Chase’s advice on the disease. At a time when most TB patients were shut up in darkened rooms with no exercise or fresh air, Dr. Chase suggested a walk outside in a clear environment, beginning with a few yeards and working up to a half mile or so each day. He also suggested a diet which made total sense today. Let me share some other quotes with you:


Page 77 and 78 list several treatments for Ague. One is "Ague Medicine Without Quinine. Mrs. Wadsworth, a few miles south of this city, has been using the following Ague mixture over twenty years curing, she says, more than forty cases without a failure. She takes Mandrake root, fresh dug, and pounds it; then squeezes out the juice to obtain 1 ½ tablespoons, with which she mixes the same quantity of molasses, is divided into three equal doses of 1 tablespoon each to be given two hours apart, commencing so as to take all an hour before the chill."

I have no idea how you know the chill is coming an hour before it arrives.
Page 116 lists treatment for "Burns—Salve for Burns, Frost-bites, Cracked Nipples, Chapped Lips, etc. Equal parts of turpenine, sweet oil, and beeswax; melt the oil and wax together, and when a little cool, add the turpentine and stir until cold, which keeps them evenly mixed. Apply by spreading upon a thin cloth—linen is best."

Dr. Chase’s book contains food recipes, substitutions, calculating interest, tanning, dyes, training a horse, and building furniture. Some of his treatments sound worse than the disease. Others treat incurable diseases of the times, and I wonder if they merely offered hope to the hopeless. However, if one could only take one or two books on the trip West, I think this one would have been a good choice.

The ads on the inside cover interest me. I love reading old ads, though. Can't help myself. Imagine an all-night drugstore in 1866! And Walgreen's thought they'd come up with a new idea.

If any authors need a remedy from this book, just email me and I’ll check out what Dr. Chase says. My email is caroline@carolineclemmons.com and I'll be happy to explore for you.

4 comments:

Kathryn Albright said...

Caroline,
I found these two references just wonderful! Thanks for sharing. It always amazes me the concoctions that people come up with to cure and heal. So much trial and error that finally, finally comes to a point of working. I will keep your email handy--I'm sure I'll need some research help in the future. Thanks for the offer and the interesting post.

Sarah M. Anderson said...

What an awesome book! Thanks for sharing!

Jeanmarie Hamilton said...

Caroline,
Fascinating book. I always wonder if it was the snake bite or the cure that did in my great great great grandfather in central Texas. Not only are the concoctions interesting, but the dialect as well.

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