A Dubious Scrofula Cure

I found this "remedy" on "Jeff Kacirk's Forgotten English" calendar from October 3rd, 2013.

In 1896, George Wood published a health manual called Vitalogy: Food Remedies for All Diseases, in which he mentioned his theories on what caused and cured scrofula. He writes:

"There can be no doubt that hereditary predisposition goes before all others, occasioned by tobacco-smoking on the part of the father."

Well, there's something that they can put on cigarette packs to reduce sales: Smoking can cause your babies to have nasty-ass skin conditions.

For a cure, he writes, "A few years ago, a distinguished western millionaire wrote of a favorite remedy for scrofulous ulcers [well, if a western millionaire says it, it must be medically sound]. I have never heard of a case where it did not effect a speedy cure, and it can in no case do any injury. In several cases where it has been put to old sores, it has also speedily effected perfect cures.

"Put one ounce of aquafortis [nitric acid] in a bowl or saucer; drop in two copper cents; it will effervesce, leave the cents in; when the effervesence ceases, add two ounces of strong vinegar. The fluid will be of a dark green color. It should and will smart [NO KIDDING]. If too severe, put in a little rain-water [yeah, that will do a lot]. Apply to the sore morning and evening with a soft brush [I guess a soft brush will keep the nitric acid from eating your face off]."

Guys, if someone tells you to put something so corrosive on your face that it is typically used to remove impurities from the metal of industrial equipment . . . don't do it.

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