5 Old-Time Cures That Can Kill

By Lauren Gelman

5 Old-Time Cures That Can Kill
As RD’s health editor, I’m always on the lookout for clever home cures for everyday aches and pains. So I was shocked to uncover some of the doozies on this Mental Floss list of wildly dangerous home remedies from a book published—by a doctor!—in 1910.

Next time you experience the following symptoms, be thankful for a century’s worth of scientific advances (and, of course, file these under “don’t try this at home”).

Stuffy nose: Spritz it with a spray of a 4 percent cocaine solution, or soak a cotton ball in a stronger solution and place it in the nostril.

Croup: Give your baby a spoonful of sugar soaked in kerosene (to help induce vomiting).

Hair loss: Rub into your scalp a blend of almond oil, rosemary extract, wine, distilled water, and mercury bichloride each morning (yes, the same mercury that can poison and kill you).

Sunburn: Soothe reddened skin with a mix of cornstarch, oat flour, and lead carbonate (!!!)

Sore throat: Mix together a half-pint each of olive oil, ammonia, and turpentine, plus one egg. Shake until thick, then apply to your neck until it blisters.

For some smarter, safer home cures, give one of these a whirl:

8 Natural Recipes for Amazing Skin…from a Plastic Surgeon

7 Healthy Uses for Cold Water

15 Harmless Folk Remedies Worth a Try

Photo Credit: © iStockphoto/Thinkstock

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