Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Medicines of the Old West

Image result for old west doctorsImage result for dr. Quinn

Medicines in the Old West

It’s easy enough to establish while watching a movie or television series about the “Old West” there was limited access to any kind of Healthcare. Just watch a few episodes of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman or something of Doc Cochran from Deadwood and you will see their hands were often tied due to lack of resources. Medical care in the 1800’s was growing fast in the civilized eastern cities such as Boston and New York, but even there some of the care would be viewed today as widely lacking even in the best facilities at that time. But take it out west, and if a doctor could be found, it was more likely he’d given better care to animals and had little access to anything that might be considered modern at the time.

As I write my historical novels and because I am a Registered Nurse, I get into a bit of trouble with my editor because I can get a little too graphic at times when someone in my stories is injured. But I have found as I write, I constantly have to think about the year a medication or treatment was discovered and even if it was available in the Eastern cities didn’t mean it was something that could be found with physicians out west. So I had to come up with a cheat sheet on a few things and thought I would share.

Whiskey-used as a mood depressant for pain-sometimes it was the only thing that could be given to dull pain for an injury.

Cognac-was often used to pack the sockets of tooth extractions to dull the pain.

Opiates/Opium-was used prior to 4000 b.c. and was extracted from the Poppy Plant as it is now. Many medications were derived from this medication including: Laudanum, Tincture of Opium, and eventually Morphine (1803-oral and injected). The concern with any of the pain relieving medications and given how the medications were made was dosaging. Many a cowboy lost his life or suffered ill effects of overdosing of opiate medications. Laudanum was a more stable product and commonly used in the Old West for pain relief, colds, insomnia, childbirth, nausea, vomiting, cough suppression, hysteria in women and heart ailments. Demerol and Codeine came along in 1930, so be careful of your history and the hypodermic needed was invented in 1803. Heroine was a boiled Morphine in the 1870s. This medication had a brief used as an accepted pain medicine in the 1900’s but only for a short time. It was discovered to cross the blood-brain barrier making it highly addictive with adverse effects.

Image result for early hypodermic needles

In the 19th Century and with the commonality of Opiates available and shipped in from the Orient or brought in with Chinese immigrants after 1850, Opium Dens grew in some western towns. The active ingredient was smoked or sipped in “medication” form and abuse was common. Lawson against Opium Dens came along about 1870 but were highly enforced by the 1900s.

Cocaine/Coca plant-(1885)-the leaves of the plant were chewed for energy and strength. The leaves were also wrapped around injured or broken limbs for pain relief and was thought to reduce festering of wound. It was sold in various forms in stores and was also prescribed for depression or melancholy. It wasn’t until years later that it was discovered that it held addictive properties.

Cannabis/Hemp/Marijuana: Has been used for centuries and is often a common news debates as the drug has become legal in some states. In the 1830’s it was used for medical spasms, seizures and for relaxation of a patient. It wasn’t until 1937 that the drug became controversial and still remains so.

Aspirin/Willow Bark Extract- First used by the Indians, this tree bark tea was known widely for it’s pain relieving properties. The active ingredient was Acetylsalicylic Acid or what is known today as Aspirin. Indians commonly chewed the stalks or boiled the bark for a pain relieving tea. Interestingly enough Hippocrates studied this medicine in 1850.

Image result for willow bark tea

Peyote (Cactus)-Was used by many tribes of American Indians for religious ceremonies. The highly potent extracted drug was known to cause hallucinations.

This list is by far not complete as to what might have been used in the “Old West” when relief was needed, but it’s a good start if you are a writer. My best advice would be to look up the medications before writing about them and to make sure of the years they were actually in use and then verify they would have made their way to the area where your story takes place. As any writers know, do you research and keep a notebook or typed file of your findings.

And stay tuned as next month I bring you a bit of modern medicine info for authors and writers. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Wyatt's Bounty: A Maggie Award of Excellence Finalist!

It's official, Wyatt's Bounty is a Maggie Finalist! The winners will be announced at Ga. Romance Writer's annual Moonlight & Magnolia's event in October of this year.

So excited about this as Sawyer's Rose was a Golden Heart and Maggie finalist as an unpublished work and an IDA finalist as a published work. I was beginning to wonder if Wyatt's Bounty would final in anything, so this comes as a great surprise. Two for two I guess and I'll take it!


Monday, May 7, 2018

Clint Clay keeps pumping out these western stories we all adore!

An exciting new release from Clint Clay that combines two of his biggest hits from 2017!

These are exciting westerns in the style of Robert J. Thomas, WL Cox, and Duane Boehm filled with action, adventure and plot twists such as C. K. Crigger, Chet Cunningham, and Paul L. Thompson! Two westerns filled with crime, corruption and a deadbeat criminal gang to bring to justice!

Bounty Hunter For Hire

What’s a young man going to do when a war ends? One young soldier returning from the Civil War finds himself thrown into a world of danger, corruption and crime as he struggles to reinvent himself. When his neighbors' farm is burned to the ground and all are killed—he finds his new destiny as a Bounty Hunter.

This exciting new action-adventure Western from Clint Clay takes the reader on one man's journey as a boy who went to war—and survived to come home as a man. But will he claim the ultimate reward he wants so badly—a new life?

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

And SherrieLea Morgan returns with her Trinkets series!

a hushed favor

The Lost Trinkets Series Book Four


About the Book


Literature and Fiction: Paranormal Romance, Mystery

Contemporary: Paranormal, Romantic Mystery



Village Publishing, Inc.


eBook Price: $ 1.99 (Amazon)

Paperback: Not available


When you take the next step, hold on tight—the ride could get rough.



BLURB: Shannon Pryce thought that once she left Birmingham, her past would stay behind. Instead, it’s nipping at her heels and tearing holes in her plan to live a quiet, normal life in Petrie’s Crossing.


Things are still hot and spicy with Mitch, but with a tell-all book hitting the shelves—and Mitch ready to take the next step—how long can she stay off the town busybodies’ hot topics list?


Her emotions grow even more tangled when she touches a locket from her late aunt’s box of trinkets. The impression of love and loss is almost too much to bear. Worse, as Shannon’s psychic power grows stronger, the ghost of her twin sister, Stephanie, seems to be growing weaker.


Yet as she pushes herself to discover the locket’s story, her quest to start over with a clean slate doesn’t seem like such a high priority. Not when there’s an injustice to make right…even if it turns her own house of cards into a ton of bricks.





Her ability will help a box of trinkets find their way home to heal broken hearts.


Lost Trinkets, Vol. 1 (Books 1-3): A Psychic Paranormal Series


A Timed Wager

When the gloves come off, the truth comes out…

When Shannon Pryce inherits an antique store in a small town, she discovers a hidden cache of seemingly unrelated objects, each with a mystery to untangle. She resolves to return them to their rightful owners, though even this small, hesitant use of her psychic gift reopens a Pandora’s Box of nightmares.


A Ring of Truth

Sometimes, the ghosts of the past talk back.

Shannon sets out to unravel a heartbreaking mystery in order to return a ring to its rightful owner—hopefully keeping her psychic power a secret. But with a reporter hounding her for an interview, the town gossips could ruin everything: her new shop, her new life…maybe even her new love.


A Secret Escape

When the past is unlocked, no telling what will come out…

When Shannon touches the next object in her late aunt’s box—a brass key—it transmits disturbing impressions of fire, smoke, and pleas for help. Can she dig deep enough to find the key’s rightful owner, and find the strength to confront the ghosts of her own past?