Old Old Cures
Here’s an old folk cure cure for boils or carbuncles:
Put a small bottle in a pan and boil it for a few minutes. With a pot-holder or tongs, pick it up and dump the water out. Then place the neck of the bottle over the boil. The suction pops it! Of course, you will need to be careful not to burn the patient with the hot bottle… Not quite sure how that’s accomplished.
Note: This sounded a little bit like the technique of “cupping” to me, and I think that might also be worth a try. Seems less likely to burn the skin.
Cupping therapy is a treatment in which a cup sucked to the skin to create local stimulation for disease treatment and prevention. The secret is the negative pressure created by consuming the air inside the cup with fire or other methods.
Cupping therapy, also known as “Jar Suction Therapy” or the “Horn Method” in ancient China, was recorded as early as in Fifty-Two Prescriptions, a silk book unearthed in Emperor Ma’s tomb during the Han Dynasty. Cupping was primarily used to drain stagnant blood and pus from carbuncles and ulcers during surgery.
The ‘Fire Twinkling Method’ uses cups made of clear glass. This classical method creates suction in the cup by using a flame to consume the air within it.
Here’s how it’s done:
Light an alcohol soaked, cotton ball held with a clamp or forceps or use a strip of paper; place it inside the cup, quickly turn it around in one to three circles and take it out immediately and press the cup on the selected area; the cup will attached itself to the skin. Presently, this is the most common used method and since no fire is retained in the cup it is relatively safe. However, caution should be taken to avoid scalds or burns by over-heating the mouth of the cup.
Cinnamon is one of the all time great “go to” spices when it comes to old herbal remedies, however it is rarely used alone. Most often, cinnamon is used as an added ingredient to herbal teas or other preparations. Because of that, most of the entries here are recipes with many other ingredients. It is likely that the addition of cinnamon is often for flavor, however it does have a warming effect on the body and may add punch to the prescription.
Some of these remedies are benign and might actually work, for example: cinnamon tea for a cold and the lovely tea for indigestion. Others might be downright dangerous – check out the cures for Blindness and Syphilis. As always, if you decide to try one or more of the following remedies, please use common sense and educate yourself beforehand. Remember, these cures are old and were used in an era of ignorance and superstition.
- Abortion (cure for): Use salve (like Mentholatum) on your womb, vagina, back, seat and in your arches and stay in bed for thirty days and take tea with cinnamon, herbs, oils, bocanic oil and fat of a chicken, some lard.
- Abortion (induce): Some women try to cause abortion with wild ginger or rosemary with cinnamon mixed in wine.Alternatively, an unwanted pregnancy can be aborted by having the girl chew on cinnamon bark.
- Amenorrhea: Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Zeylanicum) is taken in infusions for amenorrhea.
- Anemia: Quinine root 100 drams Sugar 100 drams Cinnamon 50 drams Fvouda kara-gats 100 drams Quinine extract 1 dram The above are boiled in three okes of water and three glasses of the liquid are taken daily.
- Baby pacifier: Place sugar, cinnamon, ground cloves and nutmeg in gauze, form into a nipple just large enough for a baby’s mouth and fasten with thread. This will help to keep the baby quiet while the mother is busy.
- Bee stings: “Seeing different remedies recommended for bee stings, I wish to say that I have tried alkalies, soda, ammonia, liquor, potassa, hone, rub with an onion, bruised tobacco, etc., and with 30 years experience can say that a small amount of oil of cinnamon, applied with a small straw, end of knitting needle or small splinter, is worth more than all the rest. Use only a little, for it will blister.”
- Blindness: To cure blindness, blow a mixture of cinnamon and white bird manure into the eyes
- Blood: Cinnamon will dry up your blood. (My father said that this is what his grandmother would say to him whenever they started to make cinnamon toast. I don’t know if this was a common belief at the same time or if she just made it up on the spot to discourage us from eating too many pieces of cinnamon toast.)
- Blood (to cool it): Take eight ounces or sarsaparilla, three ounces of root licorice, six ounces of wild cherry bark, one-half ounce of mandrake, one ounce of gentian, one-half teaspoonful each of red pepper and cinnamon. Boil in three gallons of rain water till (? sp.) reduced of one-half. Sweeten a very little. This is a fine drink for cooling the blood. Abstain from sweets while using it.
- Bowel Complaint: A teaspoonful of turkey rhubarb, a teaspoonful of cinnamon, a teaspoonful of peppermint. Boil the rhubarb and cinnamon in a pint of water until the strength is out, then add the peppermint [and] a piece of saleratus the size of a bean. Sweeten with loaf sugar. Take a swallow frequently until it operates.
- Breach or burst (in the body): Take four or five snails that crawl about on old rotten wood; you may find them under loose bark that is moist, or on old logs or stumps. Collect a parcel of them, enough to cover the breach, lay them on a linen cloth, bind them on, and repeat it as often as the snails are dry. Let the patient drink turkey root, cinnamon, cloves and maize, made in tea, or steeped in wine, three or four times a day. This well attended to, will perform a cure.
- Cankers: To heal a canker, put cinnamon on it
- Catarrh: For the catarrh in the head. Take yellow dock root, split it and dry it in an oven, blood root and scoke root, four ounces of each, cinnamon one ounce, cloves half an ounce, pound them very fine, let the patient use it as snuff eight or ten times a day. Every night smoke a pipe full of cinnamon mixed with a little tobacco, and sweat the head with hemlock, brandy and camphor. Pour a little camphorated spirits and brandy into the hot liquor to sweat. Modern patients would not be happy with this treatment, but the inclusion of considerable quantities of antiseptic substances in the form of cinnamon, cloves and hemlock as well as astringent and antiseptic substances in the form of yellow dock (Rumex) probably made the prescription quite valuable in controlling the underlying infection of the catarrh. The local irritation may be well conceived of as stimulating defensive forces locally.
- Childbirth (recovery): As soon as labor is over the mother is given one of three concoctions, the one considered the most efficacious being made of the juice of a roasted calabash, a piece of Cassia fistula, albucena (the flower of a species of white lily), native chamomile, anise, cinnamon, sweet oil, castor oil, and burned cane syrup, which have been mixed together nine days before the child is expected. Warm cinnamon water taken every morning the first week after childbirth.
- Cold: For a cold take this drink: warm wine with lots of sugar and a cinnamon stick.Or you could drink a mixture of whiskey, cinnamon, and hot tea. The “Hat Cure” – for a cold, heat strong wine with sugar and cinnamon in it. Get in bed with a hat at the foot of the bed. Drink a mug or two of hot wine, and when you see a row of hats, go to sleep and wake up cured.
- Colic: Cinnamon
- Congestion and Colds: Use a mixture of ginger, cinnamon, and flour mixed in lard; apply this as a pack around the chest and throat. Or there’s this testimonial – whenever my father had a congested nose, would boil cinnamon sticks. He put a towel over his head and inhaled the steam. It really clears you up.
- Convulsions: Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Zeylanicum) is taken in infusions for convulsion
- Cough: Boil gordo lobo with a stick of cinnamon and lemon, then strain, and add honey or sugar. Drink it to loosen the phlegm.
- Cure-all: Grind 8 lumps of charcoal, add a raw egg yolk, 1/2 cup vinegar, some parsley leaves, ground cinnamon stick, and 2 tablespoons of bacon fat. Mix and make into a roll. Refrigerate and then eat a 1/2 inch slice a day. This looks like meatloaf, but it is a cure-all. Informant learned this from her grandmother who is Swiss and takes it every day religiously.
- Deafness: Castoreum (substance used to trap beavers; made of nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, whiskey stirred to consistency of mustard, sealed five days for potency) considered remedy for deafness. This one even has a testimony: Father Charlevoix, bitter enemy of fable, declared that castoreum is efficacious against deafness.
- Delivery: La comadroma (midwife) brings te de canela (cinnamon tea) for strength in delivery.
- Diarrhea: Put one tablespoonful of flour into a glass. Add water until it is a thin solution. Add a lot of cinnamon and cloves. Pour it back and forth until the mixture foams, then drink. Alternatively: Take boiled milk and cinnamon toast for diarrhea. And again: One quart of blackberry juice and one pound of white sugar; one tablespoonful each of cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Boil together for fifteen minutes, add a wineglassful of whiskey or brandy. Bottle while hot, cork tight and seal. For adults take one wineglassful. May be taken tree or four times a day in severe cases.
- Diarrhea due to teething: When a baby begins to teeth and they get diarrhea you make (a tea) with three Andean roses with a some chamomile flowers and a cinnamon stick. That stops their diarrhea.
- Digestion: Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Zeylanicum) is taken in infusions for digestive intolerance.
- Dropsy: Take green or dried elderberries, or in want of them, the middle bark of elderberry- a handful for an aged person. Put in wine over night., The following morning, drink the whole lukewarm on an empty stomach. If desired a half ounce of cinnamon may be added, which will make it so much better tasting. if this is repeated several times the water will be driven away through the stool and vomit.
- Dysentery: Raspberry leaves for diarrhoea. Stew the leaves, add milk and a teaspoon of cinnamon; scald together and let stand. Testimonial: This is a real cure. A fisherman very ill with fever and dysentery was cured this way; he was so ill he was passing blood.
- Earache: For an earache, put hot cinnamon in the ear. (ouch!!)
- Edema: Take green or dried elderberries, or in want of them, the middle bark of elderberry- a handful for an aged person. Put in wine over night., The following morning, drink the whole lukewarm on an empty stomach. If desired a half ounce of cinnamon may be added, which will make it so much better tasting. if this is repeated several times the water will be driven away through the stool and vomit.
- Fainting: There are many persons who while walking, faint and fall. Pound the patient, make a stomachic of cinnamon, wine, wormwood, partially baked ham and mutton, toast thoroughly soaked in wine containing rosemary, and put it on the pit of his stomach. You will find that he comes to. Have him eat simple food, give him a drink of wine boiled with rosemary leaves and blossoms, and he will surely recover.
- Fever: Canela is cinnamon. In those times, they used to put about a teaspoon of canela in the palm of your hand and also about a teaspoon of saliva. They would mix it into a little cake. Then they would put this on your temples and bind it, put[ting] a rag around your head to keep it there. And they used to claim that this would take bad headaches and fevers and dizziness away from you.
- Food poisoning: Sticks of dry cinnamon were boiled in hot water. Decoction was drunk.
- General Healing Methods: Take a good handful of cardobenedict herbs, same quantity of wormwood centitolium cut fine and put into a dish, sprinkle these well with some good old wine. Let it stand and soak for four days; then take a drachm of cinnamon, a whole lemon put into a glass, pour again good old wine over it, and let stand again for four days, cut it into fine pieces and distill in the alembic. The result will be an excellent water for sweating the patient.
- Germs: Burn a plate of cinnamon on the stove to kill the germs in the house when someone is sick.
- Hangover: Mix cinnamon in wine and sip on it. Any kind of sweet wine will do.
- Headache: Take a teaspoonful of cinnamon with water. Alternatively: apply to forehead two thin slices of white potato, sprinkled with cinnamon and covered with red bandanna.
- Hemoptysis (spitting of blood): The first thing necessary is to produce that regular action of the lungs that nature requires, this may be done by astringent medicines such as the following: — Take half an ounce of pulverized cinnamon bark, the same of gum kino, the same of cubebbs, add these articles together in one pint of alcohol, let it stand for three days, the patient should take of this half a teaspoonful three times a day combined with honey…also a teaspoonful of sweet oil every morning…if the bowels are costive the patient should use the tincture of aloes, or a strong tea of peach tree leaves, should there be any fever bleeding will be also necessary….A small pill of opium may at times be taken.
- Hysteria: Ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves are mixed with honey to cure hysteria, and the one who is so afflicted is to eat a spoonful of the mixture every morning.
- Illness (unspecified): “Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels. And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of olive oil an hin [sic]; and thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, and ointment compounded after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy ointment oil.” Exodus 30:22-25
- Impotence: Cinnamon mixed with horse flesh increases coition. (No directions on how it is to be applied)
- Indigestion: An excellent tea for indigestion can be made of dry or green mint leaves, boiling water, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, strained and taken hot.
- Insanity (a sudden fit): poultice of Laurel leaves (Bay tree), some nutmeg, cinnamon, olive oil, boiled together and put on the head. It starts abundant perspiration. Change poultice when it begins to cool; soon patient awakes as from a deep sleep.
- Labor pains: Rosemary tea, bay leaf, yerba buena (mint), and a cinnamon stick (canela) will ease labor pains.
- Laxative: Boil cinnamon bark, pour the water in a jar. Give this cinnamon water, one tablespoon at a time.
Lung disease: In Algeria native plane remedies for lung disease mentioned by Hilton-Simpson are Sonchus martimus and cinnamon mixed with sugar.
- Measles: Drink hot drinks, such as boiled cinnamon bark tea or black pepper tea, every one or two hours. When you begin to clear, switch to cold drinks.
- Melancholy: Weakness or melancholy may be dispelled by playing softly unto people on pipes made of cinnamon bark.
- Menopause: Chew cinnamon bark through the period of the menopause or for excessive bleeding when younger.
- Menstrual Ailments: For an excessive menstrual flow, take a little cinnamon, or drink cinnamon tea.
- Morning Sickness: The extract of chamomile peppermint or cinnamon with a little bit of wine will prevent vomiting of pregnant women during first half of pregnancy.
- Nausea and Morning Sickness: Cinnamon tea is good for “green sickness.”
- Nerves: Beat one egg a day. You may mix with milk and add cinnamon. This will help settle nerves
- Polypus. Take two ounces of bloodroot, dry it, pound it fine, quarter of an ounce of calix cinnamon, two ounces of scokeroot, snuff it up the nose, it will kill the polypus. Then take a pair of forceps, and pull it out, and use the snuff until it is cured. If the nose is so stopped that it cannot be snuffed up, boil the same and gargle it in the throat, and sweat the head with hot liquor until it withers so as to use the snuff.
- Prevention: Give the children a teaspoonful of cinnamon and sugar and cream of tartar mixture before they leave for school in the morning. Also: Burn a plate of cinnamon on the stove to kill the germs in the house when someone is sick. Or this: To keep diseases away, wear a string of fruits from the cinnamon vine around your neck
- Protection: Now yo’ go – ah go to de drug sto’. Yo’ know oil of cinnamon? Ah go git dat. Dat cost a dime, oil of cinnamon – ten cents. An’ ah go, ah’ll git de oil of cinnamon, yo’ see, an’ yo’ takes dat an’ rub it on yore hands all de time. Well, dat will keep yo’ out all de trouble in de world.
- Quincy: A child with quinsy is made to swallow a potion of twelve centipedes boiled in white wine with cinnamon, in the hope that the diseased membranes will walk down to the stomach, be digested and expulsed.
- Rabies: Cinnamon
- Rashes: To bring out a rash, drink tea made from ginger with butter, cinnamon, and peppermint added.
- Seasickness (prevention): To a paste of sugar and gum dragagant add powdered cinnamon, ginger, and musk; make up into pills.
- Sexual appeal: There are many women who feel it is important to dust the sexual parts of their newborn daughters with a powder of cinnamon and sugar, with the belief that this will make the girl seem sweet to her husband on the day of her marriage.
- Sickness: For sickness drink a mixture of paregoric, water, flour and cinnamon.
- Sneezing: Bromide of soda 120 grains Tr. Hyoscyamus 120 drops Oil of Cinnamon 10 drops Elixer Lactopeptine 120 drops mixed To be taken in 4 doses at one hour intervals.Or you could simply say the word “Cinnamon” and it will stop you from sneezing.
- Sore Throat: Get some cinnamon and sugar. After they are mixed well, swab them down around your tonsils. Alternatively – Take two ounces of brandy or rum, three tablespoons of honey, juice of 1/2 lemon, a pinch of cinnamon; put them in a large mug and pour in enough scalding hot and very strong tea to fill the mug. Drink
- Stomach Ache: “Trukman”, a famous healer of Cestona (Guipuzcoa) at the turn of the century, cured stomach aches by applying a plaster of three rotten eggs, cinnamon, and remoyuelo. Alternatively, you could drink a warm tea made of avocado put boiled in water with a few drops of lemon juice, cinnamon, and yerba buena (mint). Another cure is as follows: Cinnamon, pepper and ginger are boiled and the water is drunk.
- Stomach Ailments: For a sick stomach use a poultice made of equal parts of ginger, cloves, pepper, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon. Mix with molasses, make stiff and place on the stomach.
- Stomach Cramps: Eating too many cherimoyas (cold) causes cramps which can be relieved by drinking tea made of manzanilla, corn tassel, cinnamon, and hinojo.
- Stye: To cure a stye, use a cinnamon pack.
- Syphilis: The formula for inunction for rich patients contains pig fat, cow fat, theriac, mercury oxide, litharge, ginger, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, rose, amber, and musk. Thus the rich man received not only salubrious mercury and the spices of the Orient but he might also develop lead poisoning because of the litharge (lead monoxide). ~Austin Farfan, writing in 1579
- Toothache: Chewing gum strongly impregnated with cinnamon was obtainable at stores. Packing a tooth cavity with this alleviated the ache. Alternatively: apply oil of cinnamon to tooth.
- Tooth Powder: A recipe to assure white teeth: Crush in powder eggshells, burn in a new container threads of white silk, mix everything with a little bit of powdered cinnamon and clove. Use the powder for cleaning of your teeth every morning and evening.
- Tuberculosis: Make a tea from donkey drippings combined with cinnamon bark. Boil this in a cloth and drink the tea as dictated by uncomfortableness.
- Veins: If you eat cinnamon, it will stop up your veins.
- Vomiting and stomach upset: Give water in which flour and cinnamon have been boiled. To cure a badly upset stomach, drink cinnamon tea without sugar, to which bicarbonate of soda has been added.
- Warts: Use oil of cinnamon to take off a wart
- Weakness: When people are very weak, put cataplasmas on their bodies. Cataplasmas are a mixture of meat, eggs, grease, cinnamon which will give strength to the person if applied to the skin.
- Weak Stomach: Get a loaf of bread, take the inside of the bread (white) and put cinnamon or cloves with a slice of quince, and alcohol all wrapped in a cloth and place over the pit of the stomach for one night.
- Whooping Cough: They told me to cook borage with cinnamon and raisins and give them (the sick children) that water (tea) to drink. I was told to give it to them regularly, up to three (cups) four times a day. With that they started getting better and better until they were cured. Another remedy: Take milk of gum ammoniac, and of small cinnamon water. Tincture of castor, syrup of balsam. Mix.
- Worms: For worms boil Jerusalem-oak leaves, mix with syrup and cinnamon.
- Wounds and Sores: Wash with a tea made of Yerba buena (the mint plant), cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
Note: This post was compiled by shirleytwofeathers specifically for Gypsy Magic and has been moved here to it’s new home on Folk Medicine Remedies and Cures. Do not share or repost without giving me credit and a link back to this site.
For information on the individual herbs visit: The Encyclopedia of Herbology