Sunday, April 15, 2018

Medicine in the Old West...

By day and for twenty-eight years I have been a Registered Nurse. In that role I've done patient care, Education and now I work as a Quality Analyst, and all these jobs have been in hospitals. When I started writing, I would talk to authors who were writing "Medical Romance" and who would often ask me why I wasn't doing the same. I thought about it, but when you do something everyday, it's hard to find the passion in it after that many years.

But what has always fascinated me was how Medicine was done in the 1700's and 1800's, some of which things make me cringe as what was no known as it is today. For this post I am going to focus on a bit of old remedies, short and sweet in hopes you will enjoy it if interested and if an author something you might use in your own stories.

From those arriving out West in the pursuit of their own land and new start, those hearing of GOLD for the taking, or those outrunning a past that had caught up to them, the journey there could be hard physically and mentally. What many didn't think about ahead of time were all the illness and danger along the way: Smallpox, Syphilis, Typhoid, Scarlet Fever, Cholera, Diphtheria, Scurvy, Pneumonia, Malaria and even Rabies. (Will talk about more of these in depth on my April Post coming up next month.)

It never fails as we read or watch a western, the loaded wagon of a "snake Oil" salesman ride up in town stirring all kinds of commotion about a remedy that will cure any ailment. In the end, no one is cured but got a good dose of alcohol, menthol, liniments, oils and vegetable compounds for the most part. Now days we all shake out heads that the townsfolk should have known better and not wasted the last penny they had in hopes of a cure. But hold on, let's think about that...the salesmen were likely crooked in one way or another but a lot of the remedies they produced did have healing effects sometimes.

Alcohol-long used as an anesthetic, to sooth a fussy baby's teething, mixed with honey and lemon to sooth the throat, given in large amounts to knock someone out for surgery or to set a limb--at times it was all a doctor out west could hope to do. Render the patient as drunk as possible and until passed out so the care could be rendered. Whiskey was used as a depressant, mood modifier, for pain and even as a packet to place on an abscess tooth prior to removal.

Menthol/minty herbs-often used to create a strong medicinal smell and to offer a bit of relief to ailments. Let's think about this. When I was a child and had a chest cold, my mother would pull out the small glass jar of Vicks Salve and smear it across my chest and on my upper lips so I could breathe as I slept. Yuck huh, but the idea was the menthol kept the breathing passages open letting me rest. Well it worked back in history just the same.

Liniments and oils-do we not still use these today? The biggest thing out there right now is essential oils and each one treating a certain issues for those trying them. Sports medicine today uses heat lotions, creams and oils to sooth muscles and take away pain. Well in it's "snake-oil" form back then it did much the same.

Vegetable compounds-good for digestion and stomach pain. But today's health food stores are full of all kind of plant compounds and emulsions that offer some kind of health or illness benefit. Back in the day, it was much the same though there was little way preserving many of the concoctions without the benefit of alcohols as a preservative.

There probably isn't a one of you that hasn't had Grandma tell you about or use on you some kind of old remedy. I've heard the horror tales from people a good bit older than me that talk about the once a month caster oil (Fletchers Castoria) dose that mothers gave to their children. While the taste was their biggest dislike, the end results, a good clean out did everyone some good and some mother's swore by it.

On the same note, many osteopathic/holistic doctors will tell you that using probiotics and helpful digestive enzymes will keep things more regular and thus your health. Maybe those mothers were onto something back then. My mother remembers as a child cutting her foot badly on something rusty and her open cut was rinsed in Kerosene. Yikes, this one seems scary but I imagine it would have in sorts killed any germs in the wound so that nothing would grow.

I grew up where when my sister or me coughed through the night, it wasn't unusual to be jolted awake by my father who stuck a spoonful of whiskey, honey and lemon right down your throat. You know what? It worked in that it cut the congestion which lessened the cough and the little bit of alcohol helped with sleep. Child abuse? Nope, but it was done that way back then. Another on the same mother remembers getting Turpentine mixed with a spoonful of sugar And might I also mention again a mom dipping her finger into whiskey and rubbing it on her fussy baby's gums. Hey, they didn't have a drug store and oral just down the street back then.

But some of Grandma's other remedies are some that came from generations back and still it used today would work.
  • Onion or other Poultices-draws out toxins/kills germs and kills germs
  • Cold Compresses-decreases swelling and lessens pain
  • Clay or mud Poultices-Draw out toxins/kill germs and purify
  • Boiled herb Poultices-Draw out toxins/kill germs
  • Herb/Plant Teas-helpful to a number of body and mind ailments
Many of the items above might simply mimic what we call RICE in emergency situations today. REST, ICE, COMPRESS, ELEVATE.

And there is more for some quick fun and thought.

Anemia could be treated in the 1800's by boiling rusty nails and drinking the water to gain the iron remnants. There were no vitamins in that time and this worked, or continuing to cook in a rusty iron skillet.

Consumption or Tuberculosis had no cure but patients were sent to places with drier air which we all know promotes better exchange of air and breathing. Some are sure, besides a bit of criminal past, that this is the reason Doc Holliday made his way further West, though he still succumbed to the disease.

Chills and fever were often treated by boiling Horehound to drink.

Colds and Pneumonia's and pain were often treated with mixture of Willow Bark Tea. It was said to have the benefits of pain relief and lessen the cough. It turns out the Willow Bark Plant is extracted of Acetylsalicylic Acid or into today's terminology--Aspirin. As it turns out Hippocrates studied the plant in 400 B.C.

Quinine Powder was also used mixed with liquids to lower the fever. It is derived from the cinchona tree and even today is used for the treatment of the symptoms of Malaria.

As I have done some reading and research over the years for my own historical writing, I had added to my notes and been brief here to share a bit of it. There is so much more to this and again I will post more on the illnesses Cowboys and Frontiersman faced as well as the treatment for pain and injury, so stay tuned.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Welcome back to Julie Lence! Check out this cover!

Julie Lence Guest Blog-2018
Managing the farm since her pa’s death hasn’t been easy for Jillianne Prescott. The list of repairs is long and money is scarce. To add to her burdens is the deal Ma struck up with the sheriff. In exchange for food and a warm bed, the sheriff sends his prisoners to work the farm. Never one to bother with men, Jillianne is nonetheless thankful for the help, until, one by one, they run off. This latest one won’t be any different. Heavily muscled and full of tomfoolery, she has no doubt he’ll sneak off to Mexico before the sun rises. But when he proves her wrong, and takes it upon himself to find the coyote prowling the farm at night, Jillianne can’t help but admit there’s more to Slade than sinew and tomfoolery.
Be the guest at a necktie social or work at the widow Prescott’s farm? He might be an outlaw, and have a lot of faults, but stupidity isn’t one of them. Slade Barlow will hide out at the farm until tempers cool and then leave Texas for good, have the spread he’s been saving for. But the widow isn’t the frail woman he expected. And her daughter does things to his gut best left ignored. Then again, Jill has an intriguing birthmark. And curves his fingers itch to explore. Sassy and pretty, she’s the type of woman a man marries. Never one to favor a woman’s long list of rules, he’ll keep his distance, track down her coyote, and steal more than one kiss from her.            
Excerpt:  (Long) Jill tossed aside the covers and shoved her arms through the sleeves on her robe. Slipping out the back door, she quietly made her way across the moonlit yard, her toes curling inward to ward off the chill of the damp grass. Tugging open the barn door, she paused a moment to let her eyes adjust to the darkness then headed for the first stall. Slade had forked a good amount of straw in there yesterday. With the blankets Ma had given him, he’d made a comfortable bed for himself.
“Don’t care if you are a woman,” a lethal voice hissed from behind before the barrel of a gun poked the back of her neck. “Take another step, stranger, and I’ll pull the trigger.”
Her heart thudded against her breast. “S-Slade,” she squeaked, her knees wobbling. “It’s me.”
“C-could you l-l-lower your gun?”
“Huh?” He breathed. “Oh, yeah.”
He removed the barrel from her neck and she let out the breath she didn’t know she held. Turned on her ankle to face
him but collapsed at his feet instead.
“Sonofa…” Slade thundered. “Jill, honey…”
And then his arms were around her, lifting her against him. He carried her to a bale of hay and sat, cradling her against
him as though she were a newborn.
“I’m sorry, darlin’. I’d never hurt you.” He hugged her tight. “I was out prowlin’ for your intru―coyote. Didn’t see
you leave the house. Heard you open the barn door and…” he crushed her closer to his thick chest of muscle.
Cocooned in his arms, feeling his heart beat as erratic as hers, she slid her arms around his waist and held tight to him.
Took comfort in the heat of his body seeping through her thin robe and nightgown into her skin. After a spell, her
heartbeat eased, but her pulse continued to race. Slade was a big man. She remembered thinking he could crush a body.
Or hold a woman tenderly. She couldn’t attest to her first thought, but the second was true. He held her gently, and
with care.
Mmmm, she closed her eyes and savored the feel of his sinew. To fall asleep nestled against him and wake up in the
same fashion… to taste his kisses and have him bestow on her the same reverence from this afternoon…
She snapped her eyes open, caught him staring down at her. With the aid of the moonlight shining behind her, she
noted the stubble along his jaw, but the expression in his gaze was unreadable.
“Your trembles have ceased.” He grinned wickedly. “Let’s disturb them again.”
Without warning, he shifted her to sit upright, rested a large, calloused palm against her cheek and lowered his head,
touched his lips to hers. Bright lights exploded behind her eyes. Moisture dampened her palms, and when she kissed
him back, her trembles returned. The kind that robbed a girl of breath and made her heart sing. The kind that made her
feel special. Wanted.
Excitement over these new sensations shimmied down her spine. But fast on its heels was scorn for her wanton
behavior and a sobering truth. She pushed away from him, scrambled off his lap and ran for the door.
“Jill!” His voice cracked like a whip as he grabbed her elbow, halting her escape. “If you don’t like my kiss, say so.
You don’t have to run away.”
“I…” she swallowed hard, felt her eyes mist. “Camille’s who you want to kiss. You settle for me because she’s sick.”
“Hardly.” He spun her around to face him. “I’ll keep Camille safe, because she’s your sister, but she isn’t who I favor.”
He trailed his knuckles along her cheek. “You are.”
She stared at him for a long spell then fled to the safety of her room.
Only a fool would believe an outlaw. She slid beneath the covers, her body trembling as her vision strayed toward the
open window.
A tall, handsome, muscular outlaw who held a woman tenderly.
And savored freedom.

Welcome to SherrieLea Morgan !!!


SherrieLea Morgan will be sending mailers to all who comment!!! 



A Heroes of Coweta County Paranormal Romance


About the Book





Literature and Fiction: Paranormal Romance, Mystery, Suspense

Contemporary: Paranormal, Romantic Suspense



The Wild Rose Press, Inc.


eBook Price: $4.99

Paperback: $14.99


Can a contingent of ghosts, a Marine Veteran, and a beautiful landlord overcome a murderer before it's too late?

Blurb: Marine Veteran, Marcus Lincoln, returns home after almost being blown to bits. His physical injuries are nothing compared to his mental state. He now sees the ghost of his best friend. In need of R & R he rents rooms from a landowner in small town Georgia. However, the landlord looks nothing like he imagined. Victoria Silvershade is a spirit seeker. She wants to start a foundation that will allow her to help spirits who have not crossed over. And it just so happens, she has her own troupe of ghosts residing in her home. To bring in money, she rents out part of her house to Marcus, but fails to tell him his new landlord is a woman. When her foundation sponsors begin to turn up dead, Victoria, Marcus, and their combined ghost family try to find the killer. But will they succeed before they

become deceased themselves?



He wasn’t ready for any kind of relationship and right now, given his condition, no woman would be interested in him either. Marcus snorted and then crept slowly into the woods. Victoria wouldn’t be difficult to track. Civilians never realized what they did when they tromped around. Her voice reached him in the darkness and while he didn’t understand the words, the musical pitch called to him. The cadence of her tone soothed and conjured up memories of warm summer nights at his cousin’s lake house.

By the time he reached Victoria, she was walking around a small pool of water carrying a bundle of burning leaves. Sage. He recognized it from his cousin’s house. Ah, so she’s Wiccan or Native American. His cousin explained both those cultures often used the herb to cleanse. She must be planning to do some kind of ritual, and it piqued his curiosity enough to keep him still. His gaze tracked her path around the pool as she sang.

The words became clearer when Victoria approached his side of the pond. The clearing gave a perfect view of the now beckoning moon. Pure moonlight, the lake, and her lilting words meant she was doing a special ceremony. He shook his head. His cousin also indicated this type of ceremony was meant to be private. He shouldn’t stay. Marcus prepared to leave but then she halted and dropped her robe.

Completely nude Victoria was by far the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.


About the Author



One of my goals while writing my stories is to encourage readers to see ghosts differently. I love to add in other paranormal elements and a twist of mystery suspense into my stories, as well.


I am an active member of Romance Writers of America and my local chapter Georgia Romance Writers. I live north of Atlanta, GA with my twin sister, three dogs and two cats. When not working my current manuscripts, I love spending time my family. Although family members refuse to join me in my paranormal movie thrills, they are supportive in my obsession of all things scary. Sherrie writes paranormal romance with a twist of mystery.