Home Cures

I was given brown paper steeped in vinegar to cure my headache.

Before the beginning of the National Health Service in 1948, working class people only visited the doctor if seriously ill. Minor ailments were treated at home with ‘Granny’s cures’ which were cheap and usually effective.

As a child I was given brown paper steeped in vinegar to cure my headache. Toothache meant dabbing pepper on the offending tooth. Infected wounds were treated with a mixture of soap and sugar. I used this on my children and it really works. Unfortunately some cures were decidedly smelly. For a persistent cough I was rubbed with camphorated oil, while anything more serious meant having a hot kaolin poultice on the chest which was very difficult to remove. The only remedy I remember which was entirely wrong, was the idea that burns should be covered in petroleum jelly.

At least we didn’t have to sit for hours in the doctor’s waiting room.

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