Colds and What to Do with Them

goose greaseA bad cough and cold snuck up on me this week, so as I sat at home recovering for a few days I had plenty of time to read up on the subject. These interesting cures are from Professor B. G. Jefferis’s and J. L. Nichols’s Household Guide. Needless to say, I quickly decided to stick with today’s over-the-counter medicines and a box of tissues. Does anyone know what “syrup of squills” is anyway?

1902: Colds and What to Do with Them

It would be well if we could begin by changing the name. The fact is that colds, so-called, are all poisonings, but are brought on in quite different ways. The nerves of the skin are shocked, and its excretory functions are arrested. The retained poison then causes the inflammation or ‘cold.’ Very commonly the skin has been put into an over-sensitive and inactive condition already by overheated rooms, over-dressing, neglect of bathing, or bad air; and then exposure too slight to be recognized as such at the time does the rest.

First Stage. ~ To treat a cold successfully no time should be wasted at its incipient stage. The herald of approach is usually noticed in heaviness of the eyes and a dull, particularly ‘big’ feeling of the head similar to the effect of quinine. Physicians say that one in perfect health does not contract a cold; it is only when some of the bodily organs fail to perform their regular duties that the cold makes attack upon the system.

Remedy. ~ Doses of oil, cod-liver oil, skunk’s oil, goose grease, and many other sorts, have been found to help certain persons when suffering from colds; but not all. It is probably a question of digesting them or not. But whatever further medication one may elect, do not let it divert attention from the one greatest remedy ~ cold, pure air.


The first thing necessary is to get up a free and copious sweating. The object is to get the blood in active circulation and open the pores so that the poisonous matter can be thrown out through the skin.


1. A hot foot-bath and a good dose of strong ginger tea just before going to bed. Retire and cover warmly.

2. A hot foot-bath and a pint of hot lemonade taken just before going to bed will produce good results.

3. Flaxseed tea or a mild cathartic will often break up a cold.

4. If the cold is accompanied by a cough, give the following prescription:
1 ounce of Compound Syrup of Squills.
1 ounce of Syrup of Wild Cherry.
Mix, and take a teaspoonful every two hours.

Source: Jefferis, Prof. B. G. The Household Guide, or Domestic Cyclopedia. Atlanta, Ga.: J. L. Nichols & Co., 1902.
~ pp. 141, 142, 143 ~