Old Time Cures & Remedies

Note: These are just for fun! While these were actually published in old books, we do not recommend that you try them! They actually could be dangerous!

Sore Eyes

  • Catch some bedbugs and crush them. Mix with salt and human milk. Rub this mixture on the eyes night and morning.
A Sick Chum, 1908

A Sick Chum, 1908. Click for prints, downloads and products.

Sore Throat

  • Take a black thread, tie nine knots in it, and wear it around your neck for nine days.
  • Heat coarse salt in a cast iron frying pan; fill hand knit wool stocking with heated salt. Sew top of stocking together. Hold around the neck with large safety pin.
  • Tie a piece of fatback on a string and swallow the fatback, pulling it up again by the string. Repeat several times.
  • To prevent catching strep throat, burn orange peels on the damper and inhale while they are burning.
  • Mix turpentine from a fir tree with sugar and swallow it.
  • Eat molasses candy made with a small amount of kerosene oil. Some people just boiled molasses and kerosene oil (or Minard’s Liniment) and took a couple of spoonfuls every few hours.
  • Rub kerosene oil and butter on the throat and chest.


  • Take a dirt dauber’s nest and make a mud out of it with vinegar. Daub it on the sprain and wrap a stocking around it.

Stomach Ache/Cramps

  • Cut some hair off from behind the right ear in the light of the moon. Then throw it over your right shoulder
  • .Lie across a barrel and roll until your hands touch the ground on one side, then push with your hands and roll back until your feet touch the ground on the other side. Repeat several times.
  • A teaspoon of ground ginger in a glass of sweetened boiling water, sipped while very hot is a cure for stomach pain.


  • Hit the person stuttering in the mouth with a chicken gizzard.

Warts (Warts were obviously a problem, because there are lots of these.)

  • Make a paste of baking soda and spirits of camphor and apply every night. Cover with a bandage. Remove in morning. Removes all kinds of warts, even stubborn planter’s warts that resist every “medical” treatment. This is from another Edgar Cayce reading.
  • Rub the wart with a rock. Put the rock in a tobacco sack and throw it over your left shoulder.
  • Rub the wart with a piece of bacon that has been stolen from a neighbor.
  • Catch a frog and rub him on the wart
  • Walk out into the road after dark when you can see the moon. Run around three times and spit over your right shoulder.
  • Take a tick from a dog and let the tick bit the wart. In two or three days the wart should be gone. Then put the tick back on the dog.
  • Cut bark from a tree and rub it on the warts. Then tape the bark back on the tree. By the time it grows on again, the warts should have gone.
  • Rub fatback on your warts and give it to a dog. If he eats the fat back, the warts will go away
  • Tie a horse hair around each wart and within a week all the warts will fall off
  • Rub fatback over the warts and throw it over your left shoulder. Don’t look to see where it goes. If an animal eats the fatback, your warts will disappear.
  • Apply chalk to warts; with same piece of chalk mark X over the oven door for each wart. As the chalk burns off, the warts will disappear.
  • Bathe warts occasionally for a week or so in water in which potatoes have been boiled.
  • When you go to church, make the sign of the cross over your warts three times.
  • Light a match , let it burn a little, then blow it out, touch the burnt end to wart and get someone to hid the match
  • Put butter on wart and have a cat lick it.
  • Warts can be cured by touching each one with a piece of string and then tying knots in the string — one knot for each wart. The string is buried in the ground, and when the string rots the warts disappear.
  • Another cure for warts is the bathe them in water found in a depression in a rock, at the same time saying “In the name of the Father, son, and Holy Ghost.” This only works if you come across such a rock accidentally — it’s no good if you go out looking for the rock.
  • Apply snail to warts.
Frontier Slang, Lingo & Phrases Book by Kathy Weiser-Alexander

More Terms, Expanded Definitions + Reverse Lookup + More Pictures

Whooping Cough

  • Put some hair from the person on a piece of bread outside the kitchen door where the moon can shine on it. If a dog comes along and eats it, the cough will be cured in five days.
  • Grab hold of a table leg when coughing.
  • Place a pan of fresh chicken droppings under the bed.

Compiled and edited by Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated July, 2016.

Note: These are just for fun! While these were actually published in old books, we do not recommend that you try them! They actually could be dangerous!

For “real” old fashioned remedies, check out:

Native American and Other Ancient Remedies

Herbs & Healing Properties

You may also like: 

Frontier Recipes – The ‘Real’ Old Stuff from the Old West


5 thoughts on “Old Time Cures & Remedies”

  1. Grizzly salve was used on my boils to bring to a head. What was the salve made of It came in a thick round stick & was melted in drops onto RisonGranny(boil)

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