I’ve had the most miserable cold recently and it got me thinking about what treatments my characters might have used for my condition (this research also falls into line for my WIP, since I want to have some scenes of the heroine in the stillroom). First things first, did they call it a cold? Yes, the OED assures me they did, as far back as the 16thC. What I had might also have been called rheums or catarrh or influenza depending on the actual symptoms.

Recommendations for treatment include doing nothing (and avoiding sudden changed in temperature), bleeding (of course), the administration of “blisters” to the chest (for lung congestion; this sounds worse than bleeding), and sometimes modern-esque treatments which can be found in the period treatises as well.

In Modern Domestic Medicine (1827), there are lots of recipes and treatment suggestions, some of which sound truly terrifying (like ammonia-based liniments) and some of which sound like basic modern homeopathy (honey for a sore throat).

cold 2

Treatment suggestions for a common cold

cold 4

This is quinine, which reduces fevers and dulls pain.

cold 8

Yes, I’m willing to bet honey and opium made you feel a whole lot better.

cold 6

Some less drastic cough treatments

cold 5

This seems actually civilized as a treatment for a cough.

cold 11

Pre-eucalyptus being introduced this is probably the best you could hope for.

cold 10

I really don’t think I want a liniment of ammonia on me.

Anyone have any favorite sickroom romances? I mean, aside from the Restorative Pork Jelly of Frederica?