HomeViews From The CottageViews From The Cottage by Melanie Martyn

Views From The Cottage by Melanie Martyn

Views From The Cottage by Melanie Martyn

Views from the Cottage by Melanie Martyn


It seems like forever that we’ve been fighting the common cold. Lately, though, not so common? There seems to be a common thread of symptoms of course, but is it always the dreaded Covid or is it one of the many, many, different variants of a respiratory virus we have been experiencing for thousands of years? I don’t know, but thankfully there are many experts out there that address those investigations. I am considering myself extremely fortunate to be like my grandmother in that I never seem to get colds or flu. At least not in a very, very, long time. Touch wood!

I inherited my grandmother’s small library of books and amongst them was Dr. Footes ‘Plain Home Talk’ which covered the gamut of disease and misfortune of the body from head to toe, including the proper lifestyle etiquette that should be followed. This 1890’s book of ‘common sense’ is a fascinating read and had many good observations and practices that might even help today. He did not have much to say about fighting colds but did discuss Consumption at length. Today we call it Tuberculosis and there is a course of treatment but as many as a million die each year still, mostly in developing countries.

Everyone has their own way of dealing with the symptoms of a cold and in the 1800’s a mustard plaster was one of the most popular methods of alleviating an aggravating cough.

For more persistent coughs, there were even stronger remedies. The 1886 Family Physician recommends solutions of morphia or tinctures of belladonna. As the manual states:

“A drachm of tincture of belladonna is to be added to an eight-ounce bottle of water, and of this a tea-spoonful may be taken every two hours, with an additional dose when the cough is very troublesome.”

There were even suggestions of using a small amount of chloroform as an inhalant. I am awfully glad that suggestion does not come up in Google searches today!

I remember my mother eating raw onion sandwiches. An elderly Aunt of mine would put garlic on the soles of her feet and cover them with wool socks for the night. My father swore by putting Vicks Vapo-Rub in a bowl of hot water. He’d put his face down over the bowl, cover his head and the bowl with a towel and breathe in the vapours for as long as he could stand. I also remember that camphorated oil was extremely popular as a chest rub. Buckley’s Mixture is still used to this day, and you must love the taste of that camphor and pine oil concoction, surely!

As children, the four of us would often be sick at the same time. My mother would pile us into the same room and fire up the vaporizer and load it with Eucalyptus oil. Oh, how we whined and sweated in that room! I am not so sure it had any significant effect other than to give us the chance to assign blame as to who had brought this bug into the house. I’m sure we’ve all had this discussion to this day!

I tend to think prevention is a not so easy but certainly the preferred way to treat a cold or any virus. Unfortunately, you cannot avoid what you can’t see so the next best thing is to keep a positive attitude, breathe fresh air and boost your immune system any way you see fit.

Personally, I love my Sacred Frankincense essential oil and I breathe in its gummy aromatic oil at the first sign of trouble lol. Maybe there is a reason it was one of the gifts of the Magi, so very, very, long ago. It is certainly worth its weight in gold whenever I feel something trying to get a ‘grippe’ on me! Stay healthy and happy shopping out there as the Holiday season is here!

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