Wednesday, January 4, 2017

1870: Briante's remedies for common respiratory ailments

John Goodale Briante published a book in 1870 listing natural remedies he said he learned from the Indians, and which are available to over "the whole surface of the earth." (1, page 10)

He said there was no need to see a physician, quack doctor or to purchase patent medicine.  He said: 
Any man'can tell when a medicine gives him relief, as well as a physician, and if he only knows the name and dose of the medicine, and the name of the disease he is enabled in many cases to defend himself from imposition.
At the present day, people have become so accustomed to patronizing Quack Doctors and Patent Medicines, that it has become proverbial that it is easier to cheat a man out of his life, than out of a dollar. This book is designed to meet the wants of the class referred to above, and is not the production of one who has a new system fo introduce, or a remedy for all aches and pains to sell, tut gives advice, founded on common sense, and Nature furnishes the remedy...
The best time to collect roots is late in the Fall, after the tops have died, or else in the Spring before they have started up. 
Herbs should be gathered when in full blossom, and should be dried in the shade. After they are well dried, they should be packed in something tight, as they will lose strength if exposed to the air. (1, page 17)
The following are some of his listed remedies for some of the most common ailments that a person might seek a physician or quack doctor for, or purchase patent medicine:

1. Cough:
Take one ounce of Elecampane, half an ounce of Hoarhound, an ounce and a half of Liquorice root, two ounces of Sulphur. Pulverize them, and add honey. Take a tea-spoonful, at intervals, as needful.
2.  Cough Mixture:
Take one ounce of Blood Boot, one ounce ot Senna leaves, one ounce of Anise Seed, one ounce of Senega Root; boil these together in one quart of water until half evaporated, then strain itand add four ounces of loaf sugar. Dose: one tea-spoonfid, three times a day. This is one of the best remedies ever used by any one, and should be kept in every family where there are children.
3.  Cough Mixture:
Take two ounces Tincture of Blood Root, one ounce Elixir Asthmatic, two ounces Hive Syrup; m:i thoroughly and give one tea-spoonful two or three times a day. The above ingredients can be obtained at any Drug Store.
4.  Cough:
Take 1 pound of Cumfrey, 1 pound of Spikenard, 1 pound Motherwort, 1/2 pound Oak of Jerusalem, 1/2 pound Balmonia, steap them together and give a wine-glassful, 3 times a day before eating. A half pound Hoarhound may be used in place of the Oak of Jerusalem. (1, page 31-32)
5.  Cough:
Take six drachms Tine. Bloodroot, six drachms Wine of Antimony, six drachms Wine of Ipecac, eight ounces Syrup Tolu, six ounces Mucilage of Gum Arabic, ten grains Sulph. Morphine. Mix these and giveone tea-spoonful three times a day. (1, page 47)
6.  Dropsy (edema):
Take blue or white Vervain, steep it and drink the decoction freely—this will carry away the water. Then give a Syrup made of the following:
Three pounds Sweet Fern, 2 ounces Pulsely, Yellow Dock; 1/4 pound, Pipsissewa or Wintergreen, 2 pounds: white Snake-root, 1/4 pound, or of the herb, 1 1/2 pounds; Bitter Sweet, 1/4 pound. Steep together, and, for an adult, give a wine-glassful, sweetened, 3 times a day or 5 times if it is a severe case. The above quantities are for one gallon, and it should be kept in a cool place. (1, page 29)
7. Whooping Cough
Take a quarter of a pound of Elecampane root, ground fine, mix with half a pint of strained Honey and half a pint of water—put them in a stone jar and place it in the oven with half the heat required to bake bread, let it remain till as thick as Honey. Dose for a child; one tea-spoonful before eating, for an adult, double that quantity. (1, page 32-33)
8.  Whooping Cough:
Take two ounces Wild Snow Ball park, and steep it in a quart of water. Dose:  One tablespoon, three times a day. (1, page 39)
9. Whooping Cough
Take three ounces of Chesnut leaves,'and boil in a pint of water for a short time only, then pour the whole into a teapot, without straining, and drink often, especially at bed-time, either cold or warm, with or without sugar.
10.  Whooping Cough:
Take one drachm Carb. Potass., ten grains of powdered Cochineal, one half pint boiling water, and refined sugar sufficient to form a syrup.
Dose: For an infant, one tea-spoonful, three times a day. In violent cases, the following Liniment should be well rubbed, morning and night, over the whole course of the Spine. One half ounce Aquai Ammonia and one half ounce Oil Amber, mixed.(1 page 53)
11.  Consumption:
Take Tamarack bark, without rossing, 1 peck; . Spikenard root, | pound, Dandelion root, J pound; Hops 2 ounces. Boil these together long enough to extract the strength, in two or three gallons of water —when it is lukewarm, put in 3 pounds of Honey, and 3 pints of good Brandy. Dose: a wine-glass three times a day before eating. It is not expected that all cases of Consumption can be cured, but many cases, called Consumption, have been cured by the use of this Syrup,and it is certainly worth a trial, and if the disease is not inherited there is great hope.
7.  Consumption:  Hoarhound—Very good in Coughs, Colds and all consumptive complaints. (1, page 91)

8.  Catarrh (common cold):
Take Red Clover blossoms, perhaps a double handful, put them in a pint and a half of water and steep very strong, strain off the liquor and boil it down very thick, till it is like wax, let it cool, then dry it in the sun or an oven till it is hard, then pound it very fine and use it for snuff.
This has cured many persons. (1, page 39)
These were all natural remedies available to all who had the wisdom to find and prepare them.  Prepare them for yourself and let us know how they work for you.

  1. Briante, John Goodale, "The Old Root and Herb Doctor, or the Indian Method of Healing," 1870, New Hampshire, Granite Book Company

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