This is the first article for Arborfield in the Berkshire Local History Recording Scheme,
Old-fashioned remedies are always quaint and curious. Our forefathers believed strongly in the value of herbs for their curative properties. An old soldier who fought in the Crimea lived in Barkham. He had a bad wound which could never be cured, but in the summer time he used to go into the fields and gather some particular herb which gave him relief from his sufferings. He never told me what it was, and in the winter time, when he could not get the soothing herb, his pains were great.
The following is an interesting collection of old remedies which Miss Simonds, of Newlands, Arborfield, has gathered from the villagers. Some will doubtless be familiar, but others are curious and strange. Perhaps some of the readers of this column will send others.
· White lily leaves in brandy for a cut.
· Broom tea for clearing the blood; also for dropsy.
· Spider’s web for a cut finger.
· Fourpence worth each of hartsorn, sweet oil, opodeldoe and laudanum; an excellent lotion for rubbing on the chest for chest trouble or bronchitis, but for a baby to be rubbed very lightly, as it is very strong.
· Cinder tea for baby’s stomach ache: Drop red hot cinders into hot water.
· Rub earth in the spot for a bee or wasp sting.
· Cut onion and rub on for the same stings.
· To cure warts rub common soda on the wart every morning.
· For earache: Roast onion and put on the ear.
· Toothache on the right side: Get a stinging nettle, pick fourth leaf down, roll it in a ball, and put in left ear.
· Dropsy or bladder trouble: Roast and eat a mouse.
· Cure for eczema: Bathe in sea water for some considerable time; stew leek and celery in milk and drink; drink the juice of all vegetables steamed – not boiled.
· For clearing the blood: Steep agrimony in hot water, strain and drink; steep stinging nettles in hot water, strain and drink.
(Agrimony can be dried and used as above).
Alongside the newspaper cutting is the note: "Extract from the Reading Mercury
With acknowledgements to Reading Local Studies Library and to Berkshire Newspapers
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