Days Gone By - stories from the past

RECIPE WEDNESDAY: Old Alabama Cough Remedies

Old Cough Remedies

(Submitted by Amanda Gallatin)

In the 19th century, common homeopathic cough remedies were mixtures of sugar and aromatics (like lemon or licorice) that were reduced to soothing syrups. These concoctions worked in the same way as modern cough drops, which often contain honey and peppermint to calm the throat.


The next time you feel a tickle in your throat, perhaps try one of these old “prescriptions” from an 1879 cookbook.

  • Drop a fresh, unbroken egg in lemon juice. When dissolved, sweeten and give a spoonful occasionally.
  • Boil one ounce licorice root in one-half pint of water until reduced by half. Then, add one ounce gum Arabic and one ounce loaf sugar. Take a teaspoon every few hours.
  • Boil three lemons until soft. Slice them and combine with a pound of brown sugar. Stew the lemons and sugar until they form thick syrup. When cool, add one tablespoon of almond oil.

Source: Recipes were adapted from the “1879 Cookbook” appendix of Calling All Cooks Two, 1988, Copyright by Telephone Pioneers of America Alabama Chapter No. 34

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Calling All Cooks Two

By (author): Telephone Pioneers of America Alabama Ch
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About Amanda Gallatin

Amanda Gallatin was born, raised, and currently resides in East Alabama. After graduating from The University of Alabama with a degree in Communication & Information Sciences, she worked for a non-profit teacher recruitment organization before launching a career in Information Technology. She is a believer in the "Go Local" movement, which encourages citizens to volunteer, support local merchants, and take pride in their community's culture and history. In her spare time, Amanda enjoys cooking, spending time outdoors, and tending to her chickens.

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  1. Donna Hale

    I use some of the old ways still today

  2. Jean Cox

    Wish my folks knew about that. They gave me sugar and kerosene. Tasted it for days.

  3. Good information, Cold and Flu season is just right around the corner.

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