Growing up in Alder Point in the 1940’s if I recall correctly there seemed to be three levels of sickness. The first level was you got sick from some virus or other were bedridden, took medication either prescribed or home remedy concoction and got better after seven to 10 days. The second level was more serious and normally required either a visit to the doctor’s office or a visit from the doctor, you were confined to bed for a period of days and eventually recovered. The third level a much more serious level, you were either hospitalized or confined to your bed, went into a coma and died especially if you were elderly. You rarely heard of being sent to a specialist or going to Halifax or flying you some place for treatment. You received what was available by way of medical attention and you either got better or were buried with a blessing and a minimum of ceremony. You were normally waked at home and visited by many relatives and friends. These wakes were all night vigils where you were obliged to ‘baby sit’ the dearly departed.
We had the benefit of Dr. Brittan from Bras d’Or who visited weekly and delivered Rawleigh’s Products. The gentleman was not a real doctor but that is what we called him. He was an orator of note and once an audience was available stood in the middle of the floor and talked politics until interrupted. He had beautiful horses and harness and a sleigh in winter and a wagon in summer both were decorated with fancy lettering and designs – beautiful to look at.
The nearest hospital was Harbour View in Sydney Mines – a long distance away in the middle of winter with the roads blocked with snow and no reliable transportation available except for a horse and sleigh. As a result most people relied upon neighbours and home remedies that were readily available from the older people who swore by the remedies described below:
- Midwives were available to assist in the birth of a child and for daily visits after the birth. Mrs. Annie Devoe, Edie Mae Fraser, Bertha O’Shea and Zenobie Theriault, I recall as some of the angels that visited expectant and nursing mothers and walked the roads in all hours and in all kinds of weather assisting folks for very little compensation if any.
- We had locally produced cod liver oil to prevent coughing. ‘It was foul.’ Foul smelling and foul tasting. To take it you had to have a candy handy.
- Mare’s milk was said to cure whooping cough.
- Balsam buds were stewed in water and used as a cough medicine.
- To get rid of warts people rubbed the wart with a piece of meat and then buried the meat. When the meat rotted your warts were gone.
- People smoked tobacco in the belief it prevented tooth decay.
- Balsam from trees was used on cuts to heal them and prevent the wound becoming infected.
- Lard and mustard was rubbed on the chest to help cure a cold.
- Rawleigh’s ointment was used to rub on your chest, was put on wounds and sores and even swallowed for a sore throat.
- Sheep manure (if you could get it in Alder Point) was boiled and drank as a tea to cure measles.
- People drank boiled blackberry root or cherry bark for diarrhea.
- Ground juniper bark was used to treat boils.
- Pneumonia was cured by rubbing turpentine on the chest and covering the chest with black wool.
- Turpentine could be used to get rid of worms: a drop or two mixed with a teaspoon of sugar taken for a week would expel worms.
- People used a roasted onion covered in cloth placed on the ear which was said to cure an earache.
- You could cure or sooth an earache by blowing hot tobacco smoke into the ear.
- Raw potatoes and nutmeg were cures for arthritis.
- Tea from birch bark mixed with sugar or syrup cured asthma or a cold.
- Headaches could be cured by putting sliced potatoes in a cheese cloth and wrapping it around the head.
- Sulfur and molasses was used for “the itch” – it tasted awful.
- Garlic – healing infections and for clear skin.
- Rose water for acne.
- Senna leaves were used as a laxative.
- Bread poultice for boils and carbuncles.
- Mustard baths for feet to cure a cold.
- Flannel cloths with a poultice of lard laid on the chest for colds.
- Melted ointment poured into ear for earache
- People used kerosene to get rid of head lice.
- Linseed oil was used for massage, facial cream and for constipation.
- Passion fruit used in teas as a stimulant with calming properties.
- Poultices were used to cure a variety of ailments:
- A mixture of bread and milk was used to draw out the infection of a wound or boil;
- Bran was dampened with water and heated, a person with pneumonia would leave this poultice on until it became cold at which time it was replaced;
- Raw grated beets were used as a poultice for blood poisoning.
- If you were attacked by scarlet fever, tuberculosis or smallpox for example you and your home would be quarantined to prevent the spread of the disease. It was so restrictive that even the dead were passed out through the window in order to prevent the spread of the disease.
Rawleigh Medicated Ointment
Then there was Rawleigh Medicated Ointment concentrated with ingredients such as camphor, menthol, and oil of eucalyptus. Used for blisters, boils, chapped hands, chicken pox (to stop itching), insect bites, hives, sore muscles (used as a massage ointment), pierced ears (to prevent soreness and infection), prickly heat rashes, rheumatism, neuropathy (tingling in the feet) sciatica, and sinus problems.
Rawleight Antiseptic Ointment
Our mothers used this for just about anything that ailed us. And not only that but all these years later it is still on the market and being sold 5 oz container for $6.50.
More Cures (Provided by Norma Day)
Tape this inside medicine cabinet
Did You Know That? Drinking two glasses of Gatorade can relieve headache
pain almost immediately — without the unpleasant side effects caused by
traditional “pain relievers.”
Did you know that Colgate toothpaste makes an excellent salve for burns?
Before you head to the drugstore for a high-priced inhaler filled with
mysterious chemicals, try chewing on a couple of curiously strong Altoids
peppermints. They’ll clear up your stuffed nose.
Achy muscles from a bout of the flu? Mix 1 Tablespoon of horseradish in 1
cup of olive oil. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, then apply it as amassage oil, for instant relief for aching muscles.
Sore throat? Just mix 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1/4 cup of honey and take 1
tablespoon six times a day. The vinegar kills the bacteria.
Cure urinary tract infections with Alka-Seltzer. Just dissolve two tablets
in a glass of water and drink it at the onset of the symptoms. Alka-Seltzer
begins eliminating urinary tract infections almost instantly — even though the
product was never advertised for this use. ( Note : Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold
Medicine is not the same..and contains aspirin, which can cause stomach
bleeding if you have ulcers.)
Honey remedy for skin blemishes … Cover the blemish with a dab of honey
and place a Band-Aid over it. Honey kills the bacteria, keeps the skin sterile,
and speeds healing. Works overnight.
Listerine therapy for toenail fungus … Get rid of unsightly toenail fungus
by soaking your toes in Listerine mouthwash. The powerful antiseptic leaves your
toenails looking healthy again.
Easy eyeglass protection … To prevent the screws in eyeglasses from
loosening, apply a small drop of Maybelline Crystal Clear nail polish to the
threads of the screws before tightening them.
Coca-Cola cure for rust … Forget those expensive rust removers. Just
saturate an abrasive sponge with Coca Cola and scrub the rust stain. The
phosphoric acid in the coke is what gets the job done.
Cleaning liquid that doubles as bug killer … If menacing bees, wasps,
hornets, or yellow jackets get in your home and you can’t find the insecticide,
Smart splinter remover …just pour a drop of Elmer’s Glue-All over the
splinter, let dry, and peel the dried glue off the skin. The splinter sticks to
the dried glue.
Hunt’s tomato paste boil cure ….cover the boil with Hunt’s tomato paste as
a compress. The acids from the tomatoes soothe the pain and bring the boil to a
Balm for broken blisters …To disinfect a broken blister, dab on a few
drops of Listerine … a powerful antiseptic.
Heinz vinegar to heal bruises … Soak a cotton ball in white vinegar and
apply it to the bruise for 1 hour. The vinegar reduces the blueness and speeds
up the healing process.
Kills fleas instantly . Dawn dish washing liquid does the trick. Add a few
drops to your dog’s bath and shampoo the animal thoroughly. Rinse well to avoid
skin irritations. Goodbye fleas.
Rainy day cure for dog odor … Next time your dog comes in from the rain,
simply wipe down the animal with Bounce or any dryer sheet, instantly making
your dog smell springtime fresh.
Eliminate ear mites …. All it takes is a few drops of Wesson corn oil in
your cat’s ear. Massage it in, then clean with a cotton ball. Repeat daily
for 3 days. The oil soothes the cat’s skin, smothers the mites, and accelerates
Quaker Oats for fast pain relief ….It’s not for breakfast anymore! Mix 2
cups of Quaker Oats and 1 cup of water in a bowl and warm in the microwave for
1 minute, cool slightly, and apply the mixture to your hands for soothing
relief from arthritis pain.
Happiness keeps you Sweet,
Trials keep you strong,
Sorrows keep you Human,
Failures keep you Humble,
Success keeps you Glowing,
But only God keeps you going!