Victorian Remedies

Finally here in England the sun is shining, the rain has stopped and the weather looks promising and yet typically I am full of cold, I’m sneezing non stop, high temperature and I have a very red nose.

My only savior is plenty of hot lemon and paracetamol, but what did our ancestors use?

So I had a little look; there is plenty of information online about this subject and it returned surprising and very shocking results, including this little remedy for a runny nose.

Remedy for a Runny Nose

Either sniff an old mouldy sock or a generous handful of wet salt. Alternatively, drink hot whisky.

The following adverts I wanted to share, two of which are aimed at children. I imagine most of us have ancestors who would have used such remedies.

Cocaine Toothache Drops

An advert for cocaine toothache drops, marketed at children, which cost just 15 cents in 1885


Godfrey’s Chloride of Ammonium Inhaler

This mainstream medical product enabled the inhalation of vapour for the treatment of asthma, hay fever, coughs, colds and other respiratory problems.


Dr Seth Arnold’s Cough Killer

contained morphine, from the late 1800s was claimed to cure coughs, asthma, pneumonia, malaria and many other diseases.



3 thoughts on “Victorian Remedies

  1. I know that whiskey works well for a cough, not so much for stuffy noses. Nice, hot chicken soup does a good job of clearing things out. Ginger tea, with or without lemon, eases the achy body. Watch that paracetamol, acetaminophen here in the U.S., it’s hard on the liver.
    As late as 1980 in some places here in the U. S. it was possible to get codeine tablets for headache without a prescription. I remember my grandmother telling me about some of the patent medicines around when she was a girl. Ignorance, evidently, was bliss.

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