Medicines and cures from a Bygone Age

Before the National Health Service was introduced in 1948, research shows that for most people it was difficult to afford medicines.
Visiting a doctor in the early 1900’s was expensive and for the working class a doctors  fee was out of the question unless it was absolutely necessary.
For working class families, medicines handed down by family members would be the first choice, they were tried and tested remedies and people were able to buy the raw ingredients from their local chemist.

The  chemists shelves were filled with ingredients to make all kinds of remedies and cures, and they were affordable for most working class people.
Below are some of the remedies passed down to Grandma Sarah for her to use.
A Good Tonic
In a Pan or Jug add:
1 Bottle of raisin wine
1 gill of black beer
2oz of Bovril
1 teaspoon of ammoniated citrate of iron
Melt the iron in a little hot water then put in the Bovril, wine and beer.
Transfer into a bottle, this makes about a quart.
Grandma Sarah does not state the dosage but I would imagine it would be a dessert spoonful after meals.

A Good Tonic

1oz  Hypophosphites
1oz  Chemical Food
1oz   Extract of malt

Then fill up with cold water? (to what amount she doesn’t say) and take  one dessertspoonful after meals.

Once again Grandma Sarah would be familiar with these cures, they must have been used by the family on a regular basis, and the need for detail is sometimes left out.

Nerve Tonic

½ oz  Valerian Root
½ oz   Sarsaparilla Root
½ oz   Camomile Flowers
½ oz   Mistletoe Leaves
½ oz   Scull Cap.
Will make 2 qrts, brewed twice??
Taken at night and morning.
Grandma Sarah does not state how this tonic is made up, nor is she clear on the dosage. Most of these cures have been handed down by family from a long time ago so, by writing that the above ingredients will make a quantity of 2 quarts of liquid and stating the word Brewed,  I  can only guess that the above Nerve tonic was made up with water and drank as some sort of tea, but I couldn’t be at all sure of this.

Stomach Bottle

½  oz  Sodium bicarbonate

1  oz    Heavy Magnesium Carbonate

1  oz    Calcium Carbonate

2 drms Bismuth Oxycarbonate

Mix well together.

Dosage: teaspoonful in milk after meals.

I don’t advise that you use any of these mixtures today as I’m quite sure there are excellent modern remedies that are probably much safer.

Blood Pressure

I’m not sure whether this medicine is for high or low blood pressure, not only that,  how did people know if they had either?

1 oz Vervain Root
1 oz Valerion
1oz scull cap
1oz mistletoe

Mix together and then divide into 4 equal parts and make up to 1 pint for each part.  Grandma Sarah doesn’t say what the above is mixed with to make up the volume of 1 pint for each part I can only assume it is with water?

Cough Mixture

I do not know the equivalent amount in metric of 2d (two pennorth) of anything would be,  although I can remember buying 2d of sweets as a child. The amount of tuppence (2d) is a unit of what was then known as a shilling, and there were 12 pennies in the old imperial shilling. Therefore 2d would be a ⅙  unit of a shilling. The equivalent financial value of a shilling in today would be 5p.
Cough Mixture.

2d   Oil of aniseed
2d   Peppermint
2d   Laudanum
2d   White vinegar
2oz  Spanish
1lb   Black Treacle.

Boil the treacle and Spanish in a quart of water and reduce down to a pint, when cold, add the other ingredients and then bottle.

Dose: One Tablespoon in two tablespoons  of warm water.