Victorian-American Headaches: Part 6

Victorian-American Headaches: Part 6

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Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Headaches: Part 6. Quote from The Indianapolis Journal of Indianapolis, IN on January 6, 1901: "Some are born with headache. Some acquaire headache. Some have headache thrust upon them. Yet there are a favored few who never have the headache, so they say."

Quote from The Indianapolis Journal of Indianapolis, IN on January 6, 1901.

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Is this summation true? Do you fit tidily into one of these three categories? (Born with, acquired, or thrust upon?) Feel free to scroll down and comment.

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Home Remedies

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We’re halfway through this 11-part series of blog posts about headaches in Victorian U.S.A. As promised, Victorian-American Headaches: Part 6 explores at-home remedies. Whether from newspapers or recipe books, each source comes from the late nineteenth century United States. And each one was available to mothers at home. Note that none of them required a doctor. (One could send a child to the corner pharmacy to buy various chemicals.)

Late Victorian-era American home remedies ranged from what to eat and drink, or to what to apply to one’s aching head. Where to rub, what to limit, what to avoid.

I’ve listed them here by order of date originally published.

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Brown Paper Steeped in Vinegar

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Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Headaches: Part 6. Headache Treatment: Brown paper steeped in vinegar and applied to the aching head... or any wild guess, such as the physician's hot mustard water. From Wisconsin State Journal of Madison, WI on Sept. 4, 1883.

Headache Treatment: Brown paper steeped in vinegar and applied to the aching head… or any wild guess, such as the physician’s hot mustard water. From Wisconsin State Journal of Madison, WI on Sept. 4, 1883.

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Drink Salted Water, or Hydrate Chloral and Bromide Potassa (with Sugar)

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Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Headaches: Part 6. Headache Treatments at Home, published in Health and Beauty, 1884. Publisher suggests a tumbler of hot water, salted as an efficient remedy for sick headache (if taken early). Also, hydrate chloral and bromide potassa with sugar in water.

Headache Treatments at Home, published in Health and Beauty, 1884. Publisher suggests a tumbler of hot water, salted as an efficient remedy for sick headache (if taken early). Also, hydrate chloral and bromide potassa with sugar in water.

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Live Laws for Eating: No Unwelcome Food

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In other blog articles, I’ve shared various vintage “Rules of Life,” or “Rules for Eating,” and the “Ordinary Rules of Life.” Victorian attitudes encompassed a wide range of such “wisdom,” and while many of these tidbits amounted to extra etiquette lessons, many were aimed directly at avoiding the constant dyspepsia of the age.

Here’s another to add to those lists. Don’t miss “Laws for Nature” (1887), below, in a segment from Wilburn Argus.

Now, the wise writer says, “Live Laws for Eating: No Unwelcome Food.” Why? Because “the radical cure is to be found only in strict attention to the diet.”

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Kristin Holt | American-Victorian Headaches: Part 6. Headache Treatment: Live Laws for Eating: No Unwelcome Food. From The Linden Reporter of Linden, Alabama. Published on October 31, 1884.

Headache Treatment: Live Laws for Eating: No Unwelcome Food. From The Linden Reporter of Linden, Alabama. Published on October 31, 1884.

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Many Fewer Hair Pins

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Now, this one, I can understand. Like the unfortunate mademoiselle mentioned herein, I once more a bazillion hair pins to keep my “princess hair” (barrel-roll curls) in place. I agree with the good doctor. Too many pins tugging on your scalp (and all the extra weight) can certainly contribute to headaches. Too bad ditching all those hair pins did nothing to alleviate my Brain Fire.

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Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Headaches: Part 6. Headache Treatment: Sixty Hair Pins Too Many. From Chicago Tribune of Chicago, IL on Nov. 27, 1879: "Apropos of hairdressing: a French doctor had a patient who compalined greatly of headaches. He examined the lady's hair, and found some sixty hairpins used in keeping up the structure. On taking away the pins the headache ceased."

Sixty Hair Pins Too Many: from Chicago Tribune of Chicago, Illinois. Published on November 27, 1879.

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Nightcaps

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Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Headaches: Part 6. Bald Men Need Nightcaps. Image: Illustration of Ebenezer Scrooge, from Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, (Illustration by John Leech). Image Public Domain, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Illustration of Ebenezer Scrooge, from Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, (Illustration by John Leech). Image Public Domain, courtesy of Wikipedia.

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Bald men need nightcaps. The vintage endorsement, below, (nearly) proves it! After all, “…a bald head upon a cold pillow is one of the terrors of a vigorous winter.”

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Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Headaches: Part 6. Headache Treatment: Bald Men Need Nightcaps. From Hamilton County Democrat of Noblesville, Indiana on January 25, 1884.

Headache Treatment: Bald Men Need Nightcaps. From Hamilton County Democrat of Noblesville, Indiana on January 25, 1884.

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Limit Caffeine

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Really?

Folks in 1886 did know enough about caffeine in their well-loved coffee and tea to know a headache might be aggravated by the molecule. I’m amazed how far medical science had advanced.

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Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Headaches: Part 6. Treatment- Limit Caffeine by laying off tea and coffee. From Wilburn Argus of Wilburn, Kansas on August 25, 1887.

Treatment– Limit caffeine by laying off tea and coffee. From Wilburn Argus of Wilburn, Kansas on August 25, 1887.

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Foot Massage (rubbing or stroking the sole of the foot)

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Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Headaches: Part 6. Recommended treatment: rubbing or stroking the sole of the foot. From The Iola Register of Iola, Kansas on April 12, 1889.

Recommended treatment for severe nervous headaches: rubbing or stroking the sole of the foot. From The Iola Register of Iola, Kansas on April 12, 1889.

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Nux vomica or Pulsatilla, Ignatia, Belladonna and Ignatia, or Ipeccacuanha

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Nux vomica comes from the Strychnine tree. Migraine headache is still one of nux vomica‘s target purposes today.

Pulsatilla is used today for painful conditions in the reproductive organs of both men and women, though apparently predominately a female homeopathic remedy.

People today still treat headaches with Belladonna and Ignatia.

Ipecacunha: the South American puke-up-your-toenails root.

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Kristin Holt | American-Victorian Headaches: Part 6. The Century Cook Book and Home Physician, published 1884, lists the types of headaches and the specific tinctures for each. Listed: Nux vomica or Pulsatilla, Ignatia, BElladonna and Ignatia, and Ipeccacuanha. Dose is 1 drop of teh tincture in one tablespoon of water at intervals of six hours.

The Century Cook Book and Home Physician, published 1884, lists the types of headaches and the specific tinctures for each. Listed: Nux vomica or Pulsatilla, Ignatia, Belladonna and Ignatia, and Ipeccacuanha. Dose is 1 drop of the tincture in one tablespoon of water at intervals of six hours.

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Live Laws of Nature: fresh air, sunshine

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Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Headaches: Part 6. Illustrates the Victorian-American's belief in 'laws of nature', and the importance of fresh air and sunshine on health. From Wilburn Argus of Wilburn, Kansas. Published August 24, 1887.

Illustrates the Victorian-American’s belief in ‘laws of nature’, and the importance of fresh air and sunshine on health. From Wilburn Argus of Wilburn, Kansas. Published August 24, 1887.

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Purely Imaginary… so imagine it away

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Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Headaches: Part 6. From Detroit Free Press of Detroit, MI on October 20, 1895. "The average headache is purely imaginary." Talk yourself out of it.

From Detroit Free Press of Detroit, MI on October 20, 1895. “The average headache is purely imaginary.” Talk yourself out of it.

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Smells of Cooked Roots

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Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Headaches: Part 6. Smells of Cooked roots (horse radish and potatoes). treat headaches. From The Paxton Record of Paxton, Illinois on December 29, 1898.

Smells of Cooked roots (horse radish and potatoes) treat headaches. From The Paxton Record of Paxton, Illinois on December 29, 1898.

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Hot Lemonade, Bathing Head with Cold Water

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Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Headache: Part 6. Old Practitioner's Wisdom, Part 1 of 3.

Headache Treatment- An Old Practitioner’s Notes: hot lemonade, bathing head with cold water, etc. From The Indianapolis Journal of Indianapolis, Indiana on January 6, 1901. Part 1 of 3.

Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Headaches: Part 6. The Old Practitioner's Wisdom, Part 2.

(2 of 3) Headache Treatment- An Old Practitioner’s Notes: hot lemonade, bathing head with cold water, etc. From The Indianapolis Journal of Indianapolis, Indiana on January 6, 1901.

Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Headaches: Part 6. Headache Treatment- An Old Practitioner's Notes: hot lemonade, bathing head with cold water, etc. From The Indianapolis Journal of Indianapolis, Indiana on January 6, 1901.

Headache Treatment- An Old Practitioner’s Notes: hot lemonade, bathing head with cold water, etc. From The Indianapolis Journal of Indianapolis, Indiana on January 6, 1901. Part 3 of 3.

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Invitation

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Do you have thoughts to add?

Questions?

Please scroll down and comment.

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Related Articles

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Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Headaches: Part 1

Kristin Holt | Victorian American Headaches, Part 2

Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Headaches: Part 3

Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Headaches: Part 4

Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Headaches: Part 5

Kristin Holt | Curling Colds, 1881 to 1901

Kristin Holt | Victorian Coffee

Kristin Holt | L-O-N-G Victorian Hair

Kristin Holt | Victorian Hair Augmentation

Kristin Holt | Styling Ladies' Hair, American 19th Century

Kristin Holt | Victorian Ladies' Hairdressers

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