Old-Time Cold Remedies

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, November 6, 1911: It rained nearly all day and I had no rubbers along at school and Pa didn’t come for me either. I didn’t like the idea of walking home, but there was no alternative. Such a day of tribulations as it was, also had a time with the cows getting them to go where I wanted them to go. Have a cold now.

Recent rainy day at the building that once housed the McEwensville School.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Yuck— It sounds like Grandma had a rough day.  First she got soaked coming walking home from school; then she had to deal with contrary cows. By the time she wrote this diary entry—probably in the evening—she was sick.

I wonder how Grandma treated her cold symptoms.  Here are some old-time central Pennsylvania remedies:

Cough syrup: Mix together 1 tablespoon each of whiskey, glycerin, honey, lemon. Give 1/2 teaspoon for young ‘ums, 1 teaspoon for adults.

For sore throat: Take equal parts of honey and vinegar, gargle often.

For sore throat: Gargle with warm salt water several times a day. DO NOT swallow the salt water!

Recipes, Reminiscence, & Remedies: Mooresburg Bicentennial Cookbook (2006)

These old remedies are from a cookbook that was published by the bicentennial committee of a town about 20 miles from McEwensville, and are probably similar to the remedies that Grandma might have used.

One Response

  1. One of the things about the old cold remedies — they tended to be administered with lots of TLC — not so much with ZiCam.

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