According to "The Merck Manual Home Health Handbook of 1899," the most common treatment for earaches in the 19th Century was "leeching," behind the ear. Doctors also recommended flushing the ear with water as "hot as can be borne."
Nowadays, doctors may recommend rest, a pain reliever like Tylenol to bring down the fever and an antihistamine to stop the itching associated with the chicken pox, but, in 1899, the most recommended treatment was laxatives, according to the Merck Manual. At least constipation wasn't an issue.
Characterized by a shortness of breath or in severe cases an inability to breathe all-together, asthma is hardly a disease that benefits from respiratory constricting activities such as smoking. But, in 1899, the most recommended treatment for the condition was tobacco, as "smoking is sometimes beneficial," the 19th Century Merck Manual says. Cannabis Indica, also known as marijuana, was recommended for severe cases.
Referred to as nymphomania in 1899, doctors recommended sex addicts turn to tobacco to combat this condition. The reason? To cause nausea, said to be effectual but depressing.
Apparently doctors in 1899 thought vomiting during pregnancy was a reason to celebrate as the recommended treatment for this condition was Champagne. If Champagne didn't quite hit the spot, vomiting moms-to-be could also try cocaine.
Now, for those who are simply nauseous, whether pregnant or not, treatment consisted of electricity, leeches or cocaine.
Can't sleep? In 1899, doctors would have told you to try some alcohol - considered very useful - or cannabis. Worst case scenario, try a cold douche, according to the old Merck Manual.
Among the bizarre treatments recommended for this condition were - Urinating: with penis in hot water; Warm Baths: lasting 1/2 to 2 hours in early stage; Cocaine: injection to relieve pain; Cannabis Indica: to relieve pain and lessen discharge.
Struggling with your weight? In 1899, it was recommended you try a cold bath with "laxative fruits and purges" to take off those extra pounds.
If you were suffering from an alcohol addiction back in the 19th Century, it was recommended you try some other vices. Specifically, doctors recommended cocaine to remove the craving for alcohol, and opium to "produce sleep" and "relieve the chronic pain of gastritis and the want of appetite."
Have you ever thought of taking laxatives to cure the chickenpox? Or how about drinking Champagne to ward off morning sickness? Back in 1899, those were just some of the bizarre remedies prescribed by the medical community.