Monday, October 10, 2011

Victorian Era Remedies

Skin Care

School holidays and second hand book stores are made for each other. At least on my calendar, they are. And last week was no exception. As soon as I could, I scoured the Phillip Island antique shops for holiday loot. As always, there's never a reason to hope for treasures. The dilemma remains... what to leave behind?

This time 2 Australian treasures made it to the counter. The Ladies' Handbook of Home Remedies and Grandma's Favourite Remedies. Anything with 'old remedies' really does belong on my shelf. I know it. The books know it. I'm sure the shop keeper sees me coming and dusts off all the 19th century books. Ah, who am I kidding. Since when would a little dust keep me from my finds? Crumbly, faded... it doesn't matter. The older the better. I love to pour over tricks used by resourceful Victorian Era woman.

Here's some wisdom I gleaned from Grandma's Favourite Remedies for eliminating spotty skin and making the complexion bright. And really, how could I not share this? Anything that starts with 'gather lavender' is worthy of a mention. So...

1. Gather lavender, elder flower or citrus blossom.
2. Boil in water.
3. Leave mixture to stand until cool. 
4. Strain the liquid and use it several times a day to bathe skin. 

Grandma from the United States made it into the remedy book too. Her wisdom came in a drink of equal parts wild indigo, echinacea and pulsatilla. They were boiled together, strained off and left to cool. Twice a day she would drink a small glass of this. If anyone knows what pulsatilla might be, please let me know.

And if drinking your medicine was not your thing, you could always make a viola tonic. Used to bathe the skin at night, it was prized for reducing inflammation and soothing the skin. I guess these Victorian women knew when they planted their flowers and herbs, they were not only making cottage gardens, they were stocking their medicine cupboard.

Do you have a home remedy for keeping skin clear? Are your remedies in a dusty book, or is the wisdom handed down from generation to generation?