Grandma writes the following:
Epsom salts was an item found in every medicine cabinet, if you had a sticker from a rose bush in your finger, soaking it in a warm cup of Epsom Salts would draw it out. It was used internally as well, and a good dose of Epsom salts sent you to the outhouse fast.
Arm & Hammer baking soda was good for itching problems. A paste was made out of baking soda and water to rub on itching places (when children got chiggers from berry picking). It was also used for an upset stomach, a spoonful of baking soda in a glass of warm water usually would settle the stomach.
Salt was another item for first aid. If you had a sore throat, you gargled with hot salt water. When you had a loose tooth pulled, you washed out your mouth with salt water. When you had a sinus infection, you sniffed salt water up your nose and if you ran out of toothpaste, you used salt to brush your teeth.
Plants from the yard were also used for medicinal purposes. In the summer there were times when you ran to the outhouse often and there was a fern type weed with little white flowers that had yellow centers. We would pick four of those little flowers, take off the petals and eat the yellow centers. Never more than four centers but by the next day we were fine.
We also used several leaves from a broad leaf plant that grew at the edge of the hay fields to treat poisn ivy. We would wash the leaves, place them in a small pan, cover with milk and cook until it formed a paste and then apply to the poison ivy.
Time changes things, no longer does the cupboard hang on the kitchen wall with its shelves lined with bottles of oils, and tins of salve. No longer do you see a quarantine sign on your front door. But I wonder if Vicks, Epsom salts, and some of the other things we used were just as good as what we use today.
As I read grandma's accounts I find myself laughing a little inside. Because, I prefer some of the old methods myself. I also have a cupboard hanging on the kitchen wall and in it I have salves and tinctures we often use.
I believe the broadleaf plant that grandma was talking about was probably this one:
So, I would have to agree with grandma that probably the remedies from old did work just about as well as some of the ones we use today...they just didn't have a list of side effects and disclaimers that ran on for page after page!