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Memories of home remedies

[These are excerpts from the former mailing list]

What I can remember about the days of being ill when a child, was when on a winter's morning, while lying in bed feeling very sorry for yourself, you could hear the bath tub being filled up. Then your mother coming and telling you to hop in the bath and have a soak. The bath water was always deeper when you were ill, so that you could slide down into it and get warm in the lovely water. When you got out a nice warmed fluffy towel was waiting for you and a clean pair of jammies that had been placed in front of the heater to warm up. Your bed had been stripped and nice clean linen sheets were on the bed. When you laid down your head on the clean pillow slip, which was lovely and cool against your fever cheek and smelt of sunshine. When you were ill you were also given two pillows to prop you up. If is was a chest cold then Vicks, which had been sitting on top of the heater to warm it up, would be rubbed into your chest.

Then I would be given my favourite, a bowl of Oxo cube soup with bread broken up in it so it would go down a sore throat easy. A couple of aspirins to help fix up the high temperature, the aches and pains. A damp cloth being place over my forehead. Then a sleep in a darkened room. I remember that in the afternoons, when my mother went down the street to do the shopping at the local corner store she would carry back for me an ice cream, and this would go down so easy if you had a sore throat.


Try these...

Got a cold?

  • boiled onions with butter & pepper - TASTE: wonderful
  • Scott's Emulsion, with the fisherman with the large salmon or tuna over his back - TASTE: hated it!
  • castor oil - TASTE: yuk! - even when mixed with orange juice
  • paraffin oil - TASTE: a little easier than castor oil
  • drops of eucalyptus on sugar on a small teaspoon
  • eucalyptus in hot water as a steam bath for a head cold
  • the honey and vinegar mixed together - TASTE: loved it!
  • lemon wedge dipped in sugar
  • Bonnington's Irish Moss
  • Vicks rubbed into the chest - and on the soles of your feet??
  • Every winter mum would make these little white bags, just big enough to hold a block of camphor. She would pin it to our singlets. I loved the smell of it. I don`t know whether it was to ward off the flu or the moths.
  • Sulpher and Molasses, mixed together, for whatever might be ailing ya...... double YUK!!!


  • honey
  • Condy's crystals
  • Gentian Violet
  • Dr Mackenzies' Menthoids
  • enema - considered an emetic to "cleanse the system"
  • bi-carbonate soda in cold water - to make you sick - another emetic
  • In 1942/43 Summer I scratched a mozzie bite on my foot and it became infected. There were no antibiotics around in those days and the doctor gave Mum something to give me for it but it got no better. Dad went out into the backyard and picked some Marshmallow leaves. (I thought it was a weed.) He put them on the stove and boiled them. I had to bathe my foot in the water and sleep with the leaves made into a poultice and wrapped around my foot. (Needless to say I had to sleep on the floor, not in the bed.) The following morning the swelling in my foot had gone down and it was on the mend. The Marshmallow did the trick. Big red marks were going up my leg and Dad decided he had better do something about it. So he used his old bushy's remedy.

Sore throat?

  • brush tonsils with kerosene
  • butter rolled in sugar and placed in the mouth to melt
  • I was about 5 when an epidemic of Diptheria broke out. Dad had hurricane lanterns and he gave me one with a feather out of my bantam rooster's tail and showed me how to take the lid off the lantern and dip the feather in and then I had to paint my tonsils with the kerosene. Many years later I went to a doctor because I had a sore throat he examined my throat and said, "Well, you have had your tonsils removed." I had not had my tonsils removed - the kero must have shrunk them!

Cuts or burns?

  • My Grandfather used to use axle grease from the buggy whenever there was a cut, burn any injury.... it worked!!!...... and it did not leave big scars!!
  • goanna oil
  • butter for a bump on the head [This was an Agnes (Logan) Roy practice, I remember - Bruce Roy]
  • bread poultice to get a splinter out


  • kerosene rubbed into the scalp, wrapped and washed next morning!!!......ugh!!


  • Camphor blocks, put at the bottom of the bed to stop cramps in the legs
  • burning sulphur to get rid of flies!!!!!!!!! Oh gawd!!!!




From the "Atlanta Constitution" (Atlanta, Georgia), 10 February 1894, page 3:

A Prominent Professor Speaks about the Threatening Things Abroad at This Time of the Year.

"It is surprising how many people are suffering today from so-called coughs, colds and influenza."

The remark was made by a very priminent [sic] professor connected with one of the leading New York hospotals [sic]. Continuing, he said:

"It is not these things that are troubling people, but it is an advanced form of our old enemy, the grip. People feel out of sorts, sneeze, have pains in the muscles and bones, have no appetite, lose all interest in the world and wonder what is the matter. It is the grip; nothing else.

"Now, all such symptoms need to have prompt treatment. The attack must be met and repelled at once, or it is certain to run into something serious. I know of but one way to certainly avoid these troubles which are now so common, and that is to immediately counteract them by using a good, pure, strong stimulant. Nothing of the ordinary kind, but something pure and scientific. For this purpose, nothing has ever equaled Duffy's Pure Malt Whisky, which is acknowledged today by physicians and scientific people to be the only pure medicinal malt whisky upon the market."

Owner of originalBruce Roy

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