Medicinal Value of Vegetables

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

Tuesday, March 7, 1911: Oh pshaw, it’s a hard task to write something, when you have nothing to write. We had onions for supper, and I can taste them yet. I am not very anxious for the morrow, for with it some questions to be answered, but they might be easier than what I think they really are.

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

In Grandma’s day onions were considered to be good for the nerves—though they don’t seem to have done much to calm Grandma’s anxiety. The October 1910 issue of National Foods Magazine listed 12 vegetables with medicinal value. (The list suggests that nervousness and constipation were frequent problems a hundred years ago.)

Medicinal Value of Vegetables

Watercress is an excellent blood purifier.

Lettuce has a soothing effect on the nerves and is excellent for sufferers of insomnia.

Tomatoes are good for a torpid liver, but should be avoided by gouty people.

Onions are a tonic for the nerves.

Spinach has great aperient qualities and is far better than medicine for constipation.

Beet root is fattening and is good for people who want to put on flesh. So are potatoes.

Parsnips possess the same virtues as sarsaparilla.

Apples, carrots, and Brazil nuts are excellent for sufferers from constipation.

Celery contains sulphur and helps to ward off rheumatism. It is also a nerve tonic.

Dates are exceedingly nourishing and also prevent constipation.

The juice of grapes is laxative but the skin and seeds are likely to cause constipation.

Bananas are beneficial to sufferers from chest complaints.

National Foods Magazine (October, 1910)

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