Garden Medicine— food and drink for the sick

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beef tea

Cut a piece of lean, juicy beef into pieces an inch square, put them into a wide-mouthed bottle and cork it tight. Set the bottle into a kettle of cold water and boil it an hour and a half. This mode of making beef tea concentrates the nourishment more than any other.

Another (furnished by a physician)

Take a piece of beef cut from the round; take off every particle of fat, then cut it into pieces about an inch square and put into cold water, in the proportion of a pint to the pound. After standing half or three quarters of an hour, set it on the fire and boil it slowly several hours. If the water boils away, add more cold water, so that there will be a pint of tea for every pound of beef. Strain it, add salt, and black pepper also if the case allows it.

another way

Choose a lean and juicy piece of beef, the size of your hand; take off all the fat; broil it only three or four minutes, on very hot coals. Lay it in a porringer or bowl, sprinkle it with salt, and pour upon it two or three gills of boiling water; then cut it into small pieces, as it lies in the water. Cover it close, and let it stand where it will keep hot but not boil. It is fit for use in half an hour, and does well where such nourishment is wanted immediately.

This is more agreeable to the taste than tea made by either of the two preceding rules, but it is not as good for a patient who is so sick as to take but very little nourishment at once.

the young housekeeper’s friend, published 1871, p. 243-244

chicken broth

If the weather is warm, use but half a chicken to make broth for one person. If it is cool take a whole one, as the broth will keep several days. Pull off the skin (because there is a good deal of oil in it) and allow two quarts of water for a chicken. Skim it in the neatest manner when it begins to boil. Put in a large spoonful of rice, and a teaspoonful of salt, and boil it slowly two hours. If onion and parsley are to be added, cut them fine; put in the onion when the broth has boiled an hour, and the parsley five minutes before it is served.

It is the best way to boil the chicken the day before it is wanted, and the next day take off the fat, add the rice, &c., and boil it another hour.

the young housekeeper’s friend, published 1871, p. 244

Chicken Tea

Take a leg and thigh of a chicken, lay it into a pint of cold water, and set it on the fire till it boils up long enough for you to skim it. Put in a little salt.

the young housekeeper’s friend, published 1871, p. 244

Chicken Panada

Boil a young chicken half an hour in a quart of water. Then remove the skin, cut off the white meat, and when cold, put it into a mortar with a spoonful or two of the water in which it was boiled, and pound it to a paste. Season it with salt, and a very little nutmeg; add a little more of the water, and boil it up three or four minutes. It should be of such a consistency that it can be drunk, though rather thick.

The bones which remain may be returned to the water in which the chicken was boiled; and with the addition of rice, a good broth be made of it.

the young housekeeper’s friend, published 1871, p. 244-245

Barley Water

Boil an ounce of pearl barley a few minutes to cleanse it, pour off the water, and put a quart of cold water and a little salt to it. Simmer it an hour.

the young housekeeper’s friend, published 1871, p. 245

Milk Porridge

Put to half a pint of boiling water, two teaspoonfuls of flour wet smooth in cold water, and add salt. Then put in half a pint of milk, stir it well, and let it boil up again. Vary the proportions of milk and water as the case requires. Made wholly with milk it is a very hearty dish.

the young housekeeper’s friend, published 1871, p. 245-246

Rennet Whey

Wash a piece of rennet an inch or two square, and lay it into half a gill of warm water for an hour. Warm a pint of milk. but do not make it hot; put it into a shallow dish, and stir the rennet-water into it. Let it stand undisturbed half an hour, then cut it across many times with a knife, and after an hour pour off the whey. Let the dish then remain several hours undisturbed, and more whey will be formed.

In cases of great debility of the stomach, consequent upon inflammation, or attended with it, rennet whey will be retained when everything else is rejected, and may be given, a teaspoonful at the time, very often, in order to prepare the stomach to receive and retain nourishment.

the young housekeeper’s friend, published 1871, p. 247

Apple Tea.

Roast sour apples and pour boiling water upon them. Let them stand till the water is cold.


Pare and slice thin three or four pleasant sour apples, pour a pint of boiling water on them, and boil them six or eight minutes. Let them stand till they are cold, then pour or strain off the water, and sweeten it a little, unless the invalid prefers it without. It is a refreshing drink.

the young housekeeper’s friend, published 1871, p. 247

Cinnamon Tea.

Break a stick of good cinnamon into pieces; pour enough boiling water upon it to make a cupful of tea. Boil it up only a minute or two. Do not steep it. For bowel-complaint take a teaspoonful many times a day. It is a safe and excellent remedy.

the young housekeeper’s friend, published 1871, p. 248

Black Currant dolly (for a sore throat).

When the currants are picked over and washed, put them in the preserving pan or kettle with a very little water. When they begin to simmer, stir and crush them. When all are done soft, squeeze them in a coarse linen bag, and, for a pint of juice, allow twelve ounces of white sugar. Boil the juice gently a few minutes, and set it off in order to remove the scum. This done, return it to the fire, and stir in the heated sugar. Boil it slowly ten or twelve minutes. Being used only as a remedy for the sore throat, it should not be put into a jar, but in small glasses, or jelly-cups.

the young housekeeper’s friend, published 1871, p. 249

Antidotes to Poison.

In cases where poison has been taken into the stomach, give immediately the whites of several eggs, — to a child, two or three; to an adult, six or seven. Or stir a large teaspoonful of mustard into a tumbler of warm water, to be drank all at once.

the young housekeeper’s friend, published 1871, p. 249

Blackberry Syrup.

Procure perfectly ripe high blackberries. The low blackberries have not so much of the medicinal quality as the high berries. Put them in a porcelain-lined kettle over a moderate fire. Let them remain till they break in pieces; then mash, and strain through a flannel bag. To each pint of juice put one pound of white sugar, half an ounce of powdered cinnamon, quarter of an ounce of mace, and two teaspoonfuls of whole cloves. Boil all together for fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally; then strain the syrup again, and to each pint put a wine-glass of best French brandy. Put into bottles, cork, and seal them tight, and keep in a cool place. This syrup, mixed with cold water in the proportion of a wineglass to two-thirds of a tumbler of water, is an excellent remedy for bowel-complaint.

the young housekeeper’s friend, published 1871, p. 249

How to make a Mustard-Plaster.

Take for a plaster the size of your hand a large teaspoonful of rye or Graham meal. Make it, with warm water, into a paste stiff enough to be spread smooth upon a piece of cotton cloth. Do not spread it nearer than an inch from the edge. Sprinkle fine mustard enough over it just to cover it; lay a piece of thin muslin over. In some kinds of sickness, the skin is torpid, and such a plaster has little effect. In such a case, the rye-meal should be wet with hot vinegar.

the young housekeeper’s friend, published 1871, p. 250

To Cure the Ear-ache.

Put boiling water with a little soda or laudanum in it into a teapot, and hold the spout as near the ear as can be endured. Keep a shawl or other covering around the head and over the teapot, so as to confine the steam. Another remedy is to take the heart from a roasted onion, cool it, and dip in sweet oil and laudanum. Press the onion into the ear, and tie a handkerchief around the head.

the young housekeeper’s friend, published 1871, p. 250

Food for a Young Infant.

Pour four spoonfuls of boiling water upon one of sweet cream, and add a very little loaf sugar. This receipt was given by an experienced physician, and has been proved, to be entirely suited to the stomach of the youngest infant. But care must be taken to secure good cream; and this can be done only by providing new milk every day, from one cow. Mixed milk cannot be safely used for a little infant.

the young housekeeper’s friend, published 1871, p. 251-252

food for an infant at successive periods

For the first three months: — 5 grains of gelatine; 25 grains of arrow-root; 2 gills of milk; 1 gill of cream; 1½ pints of water.

From three to six months: — gelatine, arrow-root, and water, as above; 3 gills of milk; 1 gill of cream.

From six to nine months:— gelatine, arrow-root, and water, as above; 1 pint of milk; 1½ gills of cream.

From nine to twelve months: — gelatine, arrow-root, and water, as above; 1¼ pints of milk; 1½ or 2 gills of cream.

If the child is feeble, use in each case one quart of water.

Put the gelatine into 1¼ pints of hot water, and when it boils add the arrow-root dissolved in a gill of cold water. When this has boiled five minutes, add the milk, and when it boils again pour in the cream. Take it from the fire, and sweeten with loaf sugar until it is slightly sweeter than cow’s milk. Strain if necessary, through fine muslin, and stir occasionally while cooling. If the child is constipated, use a little more cream, or sweeten with brown sugar. In the opposite case, use a little less cream. This food should be prepared once in twenty-four hours; in warm weather, twice, unless kept in a very cool place.

the young housekeeper’s friend, published 1871, p. 252-253

rules of health

Dr. Van Oven points out the good that may be accomplished by a proper regimen faithfully followed. This consists in certain general rules, which we give in his own words:—

  1. Do not take food except when the appetite demands it; that is, do not recruit the system but when the system has become exhausted.
  2. Let the quantity of restorative nourishment be proportioned to the degree of exhaustion which previous labors have induced.
  3. Select such food and drink as your own experience and the general usages of society point out as best suited to your habits, and easiest on digestion.
  4. Let the food and drink be varied and mixed; and when in health, do not torment yourself by too close an attention to any dietetic rules.
  5. Take vegetable infusions, as tea, coffee, and fermented liquors, in moderation; but avoid distilled spirits altogether, except under the guidance of the physician.
  6. Avoid active exertion or study immediately after taking food.
  7. Let prudence govern the passions.

To which may be added, that it is essential to the health and strength of all persons to have from six to eight hours of sound sleep. A steady observance of these simple laws will assure the highest health it is possible to attain.

Godey’s Lady’s Book, July through December, 1877, p. 79

to remove a bone, pin, or any other obstruction from the throat

Fasten a piece of fine dry sponge firmly, as large as a filbert, on a fine wire, sufficiently stiff to push the sponge past the obstruction without bending; then swell the sponge by pouring water down the patient’s throat, and pull up the sponge; the obstruction will come with it.

Godey’s Lady’s Book, July through December, 1877, p. 172

springing out of bed

Dr. Ham does not approve of the old doctrine which was formerly instilled into the minds of children—that they should spring out of bed the instant they awake in the morning. He says that “up to eighteen years every child should be allowed ten hours’ sleep, but time should be allowed to rest in bed, after the sleep is over, until they feel if they had rather get up than not. It is a very great mistake for persons, old or young—especially children and feeble or sedentary persons—to bounce out of bed the moment they wake up; all our instincts shrink from it, and fiercely kick against it. Fifteen or twenty minutes spent in gradually waking up, after the eyes are opened, and in turning over and stretching the limbs, do as match good as sound sleep, because the operations set the blood in motion by degrees, tending to equalize the circulation; for, during sleep, the blood tends to stagnation, the heart beats feebly and slowly, and to shock the system by bouncing up in an instant, and sending the blood in overwhelming quantities to the heart, causing it to assume a gallop, where the instant before it was in a creep, is the greatest absurdity. This instantaneous bouncing out of bed as soon as the eyes are open, will be followed by weariness long before noon.”

godey’s lady’s book, january through june, 1874, p. 375

of burns and scalds

There are three kinds of remedies generally employed in accidents of this nature. Cooling applications, such as pounded ice, snow, cold water, lime-water, and oil. Stimulants, as warm spirits of turpentine, and carded or raw cotton.

Any one of these articles that happens to be nearest at hand may be tried, although the preference is due to the lime-water and linseed or sweet oil, equal parts, applied on strips of soft linen or muslin, and laid over the parts burned, and covered with oiled silk. Raw cotton may be used if the burn is extensive but not deep. Sprinkling wheat, rye, or starch flour is preferred by some; fresh lard by others, or glycerin. Equal parts of lime-water and linseed oil, well mixed, form one of the most soothing of all applications. Should the system seem to sink, wine, bark, etc., must be employed.

godey’s lady’s book, january through june, 1874, p. 564