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Old-Time Medical Remedies that Actually Work

Modern medicine is fantastic, but it’s all too easy to forget the old remedies. While some of them did nothing, others did actually work as they were supposed to.

Willow Bark

The willow tree was traditionally used as a painkiller by chewing on a piece of bark. Nowadays that bitter taste is more conveniently packaged up as the more palatable aspirin tablets, but the substance is the same – willow is a great natural painkiller.


For years, oatmeal was recommended to soothe itching from insect bites. It turns out there is a biological basis for this. Mix equal parts oatmeal and water until they form a paste, then apply this to the affected area to get rid of the inflammation and itching.


Old-Time Medical Remedies that Actually Work

The old remedy for a burn was the application of aloe juice. That still holds true, with aloe offering patients more relief than modern remedies. Simply cut open a leaf and apply the juice from inside, or use a pure aloe gel. Although you should still seek medical attention for severe burns, aloe is great for minor ones.


The thyme plant has long been used as a remedy for coughs. The scientific basis behind this is that thyme is a natural expectorant which loosens mucus and opens the airways. To take advantage of this, mix two tablespoons of fresh thyme with hot water to make herbal tea.


Another old remedy for pain, comfrey was traditionally used for patients with backache. Although a poultice was used then, you can now buy concentrated comfrey cream which is clinically proven to relieve joint and muscle pain.