Old Old Cures

Figs – A Cure For What Ails You

Here we have an impressive collection of old folk remedies using figs – the fruit, juice, milk (sap), and/or leaves – to cure everything from diseases of the breast to open wounds. As with all old remedies and cures, some actually work really well, others are ineffective and harmless, while some are downright dangerous. So, use common sense before trying any of these.

In General: Fig milk (or sap) is so commonly prescribed for ringworm, skin irritations, warts, and insect bites, that I think it must have some healing effect although wikipedia warns that the sap of the fig’s green parts is an irritant to human skin. Figs (made into syrups or decoctions) are universally popular when it comes to treating coughs, colds, and and upper respiratory problems. Figs also appear to have a soothing effect on the teeth and gums. Possibly it has a drawing effect, pulling out the infection thus reducing the inflammation.

Abscess: A poultice made of barley meal or flour boiled in vinegar and honey, and a few dry figs put in them, dissolved all hard imposthumes (a collection of pus or abscess). Onion and figs beaten together help to ripen and break… sores (abcesses).

Angina: Anthimus (5th century Greek physician) employed fig emulsion in cases of angina.

Baldness: Two yolks of egg are added to powdered dry fig leaves. This paste is put onto the hair. It cures baldness and dandruff.

Bee stings: To avoid being stung by a bee, eat one dry fig on the first of May.

Birthmarks: To remove a birthmark, place an opened-up fig on the mark.

Bite of a mad dog: (This one is very old, and wierd – I wouldn’t try it) For tear of mad hound, take the worms which be under a mad hounds tongue, snip them away, lead them round about a fig tree, give them to him who hath been rent; he will be soon hole.

Bloody flux: The decoction of fig leaves, being drunk, is good for the bloody flux.

Boils and furuncles: Put fresh figs on boils to draw out the poison. That is definitely the truth. It works. Alternatively, for a boil, use white foam from stem of a fig tree, rubbed on the boil. And if you want to get really complicated you can always make a poultice of honey, malt, eldershoots, figs, parsley, cabbage and groundsel (also urine and cow dung can be added if you are so inclined).

Breast problems: A syrup made of the leaves or green fruit of the fig tree is good for all diseases of the breast.

Breastfeeding (agalactia): A mother may warm herself with firewood from a fig tree to speed the drying up of her milk.

Cancer: If you have a cancer, eat plenty of figs.

Cure for Cancer: Boil turkey figs in milk and let them thicken. When they are tender, split and apply them to part affected. The part must be washed every time the poultice is changed with some of the fig milk. Change to a fresh poultice every night and every morning, and at least once during the day. Drink a quarter of a pint of the fig milk twice in 24 hours. Repeat for three or four months. [This item found written in a neighbor’s old Home Book of Health, where she had inserted it, handwritten, on the inside front cover. She claims a man of 105 years of age had been cured of “mouth cancer, with six pounds of figs.” ] Here’s another report of a cancer cure from long ago – Cancer is cured by one doctor by cutting away the growth and binding on green figs with other herbs.

Canker under the tongue: Figs (Hippocrates VII-49).

Chest ailments: Cooked figs are taken for chest ailments. In the East figs are boiled in milk or barley water and used for pains in the chest.

Chilblains: The ashes of the wood of the fig tree, made into an ointment with hog’s grease, helps chilblains.

Childbirth, delivery, labor: Figs should be eaten before childbed so that the delivery will be easier.

Colds: The liquid of boiled toast, figs, oregano and rosemary is good for colds.

Constipation: Eat figs. See also Laxatives.

Consumption: Liquorice boiled in fair water, with some maidenhair and figs, is good for consumption. From London, 1737 comes ‘an infallible cure for the galloping consumption . . . And if this will not cure you, the Lord have mercy upon you” (a mixture of raisins, figs, honey, Lucatellus’s balsam, powder of steel, flour of elecampane, grated nutmeg, and sugar).

Corns: Rubbing the corn with fresh cut garlic or the juice of figs was said to work well.

Cough: Boil up a decoction of dried figs and drink it. In the East figs are boiled in milk or barley water and used for coughs. In Siberia yellow figs are boiled in milk to cure a cough. For a chronic cough boil hyssop with honey and figs in a half measure of wine.

Cough syrup: Mash mustard seed in a cupful of stewed figs, add a little water, cook, strain, and drink when needed. Here’s another cough syrup recipe – Boil one pound of figs, one pound of dates, one pound of sage, four quarts of water until one quart remains, bottle and keep for use.

Cough medicine: 3 lemons; 1/2 cup flax seed; handful mullein leaves or boneset. Boil for three hours in 2 quarts of water; strain and add honey, 1/2 pint, and 1 pound sugar and 1 pound figs boiled in wild flax seed. Can boil the boneset in a cloth.

Dandruff: Two yolks of egg are added to powdered dry fig leaves. This paste is put onto the hair. It cures baldness and dandruff.

Deafness: Dry mustard mixed with oil on a fig leaf, applied to the ears is a good remedy for hardness of hearing. The juice of the fig eases pain and noise in the ears and deafness.

Diarrhea: To stop diarrhea use decoctions of the flower of the Indian fig. To cure diarrhea, include the use of Chinese figs and sardines in your diet.

Dropsy: Fig; an excellent food, an invaluable aid in all complains of the liver, also for dropsy, scurvy, etc.

Eczema: Use the milk from fig leaves for eczema.

Epilepsy: A syrup made of the leaves or green fruit of the fig tree is good for falling sickness.

Eye ailments: In Palestine, for eye diseases, the eyelids are rubbed with a figleaf.

Fertility: In early Roman times, switches from the (male) wild fig tree were used by women to lash one another ceremonially, the fig being believed to impart its fruitfulness to the woman struck.

Fever: (I like this one.) Figs in brandy, drunk in morning.

Gums: To cure a gum boil, take a thin strip of dried fig, dip it in milk, toast it, then apply it hot to the swollen gum.

Headache: The decoction of fig leaves is good to wash sore heads with.

Hemorrhoids: Fig leaves were once used to massage afflicted area. When you want them to come down, rub the orifice with powdered fig leaves. Wild fig carried on body or sewn into clothing prevents hemorrhoids. Figs should be eaten to cure hemorrhoids, according to the Prophet. See also Piles.

Hoarseness: A syrup made of the leaves or green fruit of the fig tree is good for hoarseness.

Illness prevention: After putting 3 leaves in a small cut made in a fig tree, no one will ever become ill under the shade of that tree.

Indigestion: A few drops of sap from a fig tree pounded and squeezed through a piece of cloth when mixed with water will stop indigestion.

Inflammation: A poultice made of barley-meal or flour boiled in vinegar and honey, and a few dry figs put in them, dissolves all assuages inflammations being thereto applied.

Jaundice: Go to a fig tree when all the fruit is ripe, put one’s arms around the trunk, bite off a piece of bark, and eat two inches of it.

Laxatives: Equal amounts of chopped raisins, figs, and senna leaves. Add honey to make into small balls and roll in sugar. (These are delicious but potent.)

Leprosy: There is no better remedy for the leprosy than the decoction of fig leaves.

Liver problems: Fig; an excellent food, an invaluable aid in all complains of the liver, also for dropsy, scurvy, etc. Here’s a somewhat cruel cure for liver aches involving a wolf fed on figs – Wolf’s liver wrapped in laurel leaves, dried in sun, unwrapped, pulverized, and stored in clean vessel. Administered: 2 spoonfuls with 10 crushed pepper seeds and honey on empty stomach as drink warmed up with piece of hot iron.

Lungs: Liquorice boiled in fair water, with some maidenhair and figs, is good for all the griefs of the breasts and lungs.

Menstruation: Wild figs and collected from a tree growing on rocks, dried or used fresh, wrapped into goat’s hide, tied together with a thread removed from clothing, and placed on bleeding organ checks effectively nose bleeding of the men and menstruation of women.

Mental ailments: To remove doubts, temptations and mental distractions, verses 15-17 of the third sura [of the Koran] should be read over a dish of sugar, the sugar is blown upon, and then melted in dew which has been collected from the leaves of trees. For four days on half-teaspoonful of this is taken as medicine along with figs, which should be the total diet for the time. The mind will be set free and all tasks will be made easy.

Mosquito bites: One should eat dried figs during the first days of May in order to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes in summer.

Mumps: For mumps, wrap your throat in fig leaves.

Nosebleed: Wild figs and collected from a tree growing on rocks, dried or used fresh, wrapped into goat’s hide, tied together with a thread removed from clothing and placed on bleeding organ checks effectively nose bleeding of the men and menstruation of women. Here’s something a lot easier – the skins of figs are used to stop nosebleeds.

Piles (hemorrhoids): A mixture of a pound of figs and an ounce of senna, an herb long known for its physicking qualities, when taken three times a day before meals, will relieve piles.

Pimples: Treated with juice squeezed from a fig leaf.

Peptic ulcer: Dried fig broken up and soaked in olive oil overnight, and then eaten.

Poison Oak: Hot water and the juice of a fig leaf will cure poison oak on the body.

Pregnancy: If you touch a fig leaf when you are pregnant, you will have a baby boy.

Purge: Garlic in a split fig is used as an effective purge.

Quartan fever: The patient grasps the branch of a fig tree and says. “Fig, little fig, I have a quartan fever; may it leave me and enter you.”

Quinsy: Hyssop is an excellent medicine for the quinsy, to wash and gargle it, being boiled with figs. Figs boiled in milk, and swallowed whole, will cure the quinsy.

Rheumatism: Milk of the fig tree rubbed on for rheumatism.

Ringworm: Fig Juice (Ficus). This is also reported as an Indian remedy. Apply the juice (or milk) from the bruised fig leaf directly to the ringworm. The juice from an unripe or green fig can also be applied. A poultice made from green fig leaves will cure ringworm. Alternatively, fig leaves and milk (ingested) is also said to be a cure.

Scabs: The decoction of fig leaves clears the body of scabs.

Scorpion bites: Apply fig juice.

Scurvy: Fig; an excellent food, an invaluable aid in all complains of the liver, also for dropsy, scurvy, etc.

Skin erruptions: Ox’s glue, thinned in vinegar, admixed, cooked on low fire until honey-like, stirred with fig twig. Applied as ointment 2 times daily. Effective remedy.

Snakebite: For a snake bite: first burn or cut out the wound, then wash it with seawater, then with lye and vinegar, and finally squeeze the juice of wild figs and onion onto it. To protect against snake bite one should eat three dried figs on the 3rd of May.

Sores: Onion and figs beaten together help to ripen and break… sores. (I assume this is applied as a poultice). For any suppuration (infected sore), a mixture of dried figs, yeast, bacon fat, salt and soap may be used.

Sore Throat: Cook figs in milk. Hold them in the mouth and then spew them out. Or you can drink water in which a fig leaf and an olive pit have been boiled. If you’re really desperate you could always try this – Dove dung, triturated (ground to a powder), mixed with dry figs and soda, triturated again and applied to throat. Or this ancient Egyptian cure – Centipedes bruised with pigeons’ dung were taken as a gargle with raisin wine or applied externally with dried figs and nitre.

Soul loss: A number of plants, including rice, a species of fig, and garlic, are supposed by the Battas to possess soul-compelling virtue and are used in rites for the recovery of lost souls.

Spleen: For an aching spleen here’s a speedy and “simple” remedy – 3 dry figs steeped in vinegar from evening till morning, removed. Administered mornings on empty stomach for 3 days. And in addition, 3 clots of hot iron pieces extinguished in wine daily for three days drunk. Alternatively, Hyssop being taken with figs and nitre, helps the spleen.

Stomach ailments: Hyssop taken with fresh new figs bruised, helps to loosen the belly, and more forcibly, if the root or flower-de-luce and cresses be added thereto.

Stye: In Styria figs are applied and the stye is stroked with a black snail.

Supernatural illness: It was customary in Silesia “to mix together figs, sweet wood, and carob” cure of koltun (a supernatural cause of illness). The mixture is not ingested, but acts as a lure and a trap because it is believed that “koltun likes to go after sweets.”

Toothache: For a toothache, hold figs in one’s mouth. Fried figs in milk are not to be beaten for the cure of a toothache. Fig juice being put into an hollow tooth, also is said to ease pain. To cure neuro-tooth aches, cook figs in hot milk and then put them between your teeth and the pain will go away. If all else fails, place hot bricks on the feet and apply fig tree sap to the tooth. Alternatively, a 16th century German physician advises against eating figs and dates to avoid toothache.

Ulcers (on the skin): If the decoction of fig leaves be dropped into old fretting ulcers, it cleanses out the moisture and brings up the flesh.

Warts: Use fig leaves. On a night when the moon is full, cut a fig from a tree. Put the juice of the fig on a wart, and the wart will go away. Alternatively, apply the juice of an unripe fig. The milky juice of the fig leaf is a wart remedy, although reportedly not as effective as spurge. Or you can cut off the top of the wart and apply fig juice.

Wheezing: Liquorice boiled in fair water, with some maidenhair and figs, helps wheezing.

Wounds: A fig cut open is placed on the wound. Wounds can also be treated with unsalted lard covered with a fig leaf.

Disclaimer: Most of these cures are very old, passed down through generations from a time when proper medical care was nonexistent – so please use common sense – and if medical attention is needed by all means visit your physician.

Source: UCLA Folk Medicine Database

Holly – A Cure All Herb

Here we have an extensive collection of old folk remedies using holly leaves, branches, and bark – to cure everything from Brights Disease to Whooping Cough. As with all old remedies and cures, some actually work, others are ineffective and harmless, while some are downright dangerous. So, use common sense and know what you’re doing before trying any of these.

In General: I did notice that there was a fair amount of thrashing with holly branches to cure chilblains, arthritis, and rheumatism. A good holly thrashing was even said to induce a long life. Teas were routinely concocted from the leaves for fevers, colds, flu, and even measles. Some of these remedies use holly berries which is not recommended – see caution below.

CAUTION: The berries of the holly tree are poisonous to children. They are purgative and often cause nausea and vomiting.

Arthritis: Beat arthritis with a holly spray.

Bright’s Disease: To cure Bright’s disease, put into a half-gallon of apple brandy a handful of cherry bark, persimmon bark, red holly bark, and dogwood root, and drink the solution.

Broken bones: The bark of a holly, and also the leaves, are good in fomentations for broken bones.

Bronchitis: Holly leaves are used for chronic bronchitis. (I assume as a tea.)

Chilblains: A Derbyshire cure for chilblains is to thrash them with holly. Some sources recommend keeping your feet, or legs, crossed while doing so, and the chilblains will disappear. The “crossing” is pure superstition – an ages-old antidote to the menacings of the Evil One who has thus afflicted the sufferer. But there is a sound medical basis for the thrashing, since it must cause blood circulation in the affected part, and lack of proper circulation is the primary cause of chilblains.

Cold feet: Swishing sprigs of holly over chronic cold feet relieves these.

Colds: Medicine compound for colds. The following ingredients are compounded to make a cough syrup-mullen root, wild plum bark, wild cherry bark, holly bark, green pine needles, catnip, life everlasting leaves, sourwood bark. The compound is boiled for ten or fifteen minutes until it is reduced to a thickness described as “cooked until it strings.” It is next strained through a cloth to clear it. Sugar is added. The syrup is taken regularly until the cough is better.

Cold prevention: Holly leaves gathered St. Barthelemy’s day (August 24) and drunk in a potion will protect you against colds the coming winter.

Diarrhea: If one dries holly berries and beats them into powder, they bind the body.

Fever: The leaves of holly contain ilicine, ilexanthine, ilex acid and tannic acid. A decoction of the leaves and ilicine are said to be useful in the treatment of intermittent fever. Alternatively, in 16th century France, to cure a fever, one could simply rub oneself against the first holly encountered.

Flux (including the bloody flux): If one dries Hollyberries and beats them into powder, they stop fluxes.

Gout: Holly leaves are used for gout.

Health: He-holly (spiked leaves) tea made from leaves is good for boys; she-holly (smooth edged leaves) tea for girls.

Hernia (Ruptured): In Limpfield, if an infant were badly ruptured, he would be passed naked several times backwards and forwards through a slit made in the stem of a holly tree.

Influenza: Drink holly tea. Holly bark tea is also given for influenza.

Jaundice: Decoction of holly.

Joints: The bark of the holly tree, and also the leaves, are good in fomentations for such members as are out of joint.

Lithiasis: Holly leaves are used for lithiasis.

Longevity: At Hogmany a boy, whipped with a branch of holly, may be assured that he will live a year for every drop of blood he loses.

Measles: For measles, use holly leaf tea, as Holly leaf tea will cure measles.

Menstruation: If one dries holly berries and beats them into powder, they stop the terms (menstruation) in women.

Mouth Sores: Burn holly leaves and take the ashes left and put them on the little white sores that sometimes come in the mouth, and they will get well.

Phlegm: If one eats a dozen holly berries in the morning when they are ripe and not dried, they purge the body of gross and clammy phlegm.

Protection: Sprinkle an infusion made with Holly on newborn babies to protect them.

Rheumatism: Ground holly (leaves?) made into a tea will cure rheumatism. As will beating it with a holly spray.

Rickets: To cure a child of the rickets, pass it through a cleft holly bush.

Thrush: Give doses of honey mixed with ashes of burnt holly leaves for thrush. Alternatively, you could make a salve of the ashes of a limb of holly, berries and leaves, with honey, sulphur, borax, and alum. Use after nursing.

Tonic: Holly was used as medicine and tonic. In the Southern coastal region of the United States, the Indians imbibed enormous amounts of their famous ‘black drink’ which they brewed from the leaves of yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria). The drink was a violent emetic – the Indians often drank it for days so that they were scarcely able to walk. They then departed for home feeling certain that they had been fortified against disease for another year.

Tooth worms: If a worm eat the teeth, take holly rind over a year old and root of carline thistle, boil in hot water, hold in the mouth as hot as thou hottest may.

Ulcers: During the Civil War, the southern people are said to have used a tea made of the berries and bark of the yaupon (Ilex vomitoria), or holly, in the treatment of ulcers.

Whooping cough: Drink new milk out of a cup made of the wood of the variegated holly.

Disclaimer: Most of these cures are very old, passed down through generations from a time when proper medical care was nonexistent – so please use common sense – and if medical attention is needed by all means visit your physician.

Source: UCLA Folk Medicine Database

Easy Cure for Boils

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.

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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 Cures and Remedies

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.

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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

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