The time has come for the next-to-last entry in the discussion of Magner’s Farm and Stock Book and Complete Instructor. Those who are unfamiliar with this title and would like to learn more about the book can visit the literature page. On that page, there are links to the complete original text in PDF format (subdivided into appropriate sections), as well as links to the previous discussions.
In the following sections, D. Magner covers the administration of medicines and supplements that knowledge with the correct usage of home remedies.
Who has not had an illness of his horse, cow, sheep, pig, or dog and not known how to treat it? With the information provided on pages 788-807, Magner ensures that this will never happen again. He covers 36 different concoctions and their applicability to various situations, including dosage for nearly all. Among those medicines explained are ammonia (790), opium (791), vinegar (795), mustard (797), and water (802). The disorders treated range from foot-rot to flatulence to typhoid fever.
In order to decipher Magner’s antiquated dosing regulations, one must recall that one drachm (or dram) is equivalent to 60 grains, or 3.888 grams. For easier reading, I have transcribed the numerous pages of text into a more modern chart with some key features of each medicine. For complete descriptions and more thorough dosing guidelines, the original text should be consulted.
Some quotes to note from this section include Magner’s description of the action of salt on page 793: “It obviates in a great measure the evil effects of damp and badly kept fodder, and prevents or retards the progress of liver-rot in sheep.” Also, purely for your information and surely not intended for your usage, Magner states of creosote on page 795 that “it is believed to have been the essential agent used in embalming the Egyptian mummies.” Finally, no discussion of medicines would be complete without the recipe for the “celebrated White Lotion,” given on page 799: “An ounce each of sulphate of zinc and acetate of lead, dissolved in a quart of water, forms the well-known white, or healing lotion, so generally employed in veterinary practise.” Indeed.
Magner moves from primarily livestock-based medicines to home remedies suitable for man. He begins with salt, then moves to hot water and a host of other remedies. Apparently, “hot water possesses more medicinal properties than almost any other liquid” (809). Hot water applied to the feet and back of the neck can cure headache (809), and dripping hot water from a towel onto the face can relieve toothache and neuralgia (809); it can also cure constipation, indigestion, sore throats/coughs, and asthma (810). Fortunately for pharmaceutical companies, these widespread effects are not well-known to the public.
Dosing guidelines are given for most substances, albeit less precisely than for the animal medications. Usually I trust Magner’s layout, but these pages, like those before, can be more easily summarized in a chart, so I have prepared a barebones table. For dosing and a description of how to use each concoction, one must visit the appropriate page in the book.
As seen in the table, remedies are included for colds, lack of appetite, and sore nipples, as well as numerous solutions for the ever-present rheumatism. While some of the ingredients may be difficult to procure in modern society, their benefits can certainly be appreciated, especially during a time of economic upheaval.
From pages 820-826, Magner completes his medicinal sections with common sense solutions to sickness. He gives many good tips for the home nurse on pages 820-821, including the use of non-squeaking slippers and the avoidance of overfeeding the patient. There are lots of good tidbits within these pages, such as the fact that a milk diet is “one of the best remedies for diabetes” (822), as well as cold cures involving lemon juice, hot water, and lots of sweating (822-823). There is then a discussion of various baths employed for the relief of different symptoms (824-827).
Wrapping It Up
For those who know someone suffering from colic (or a dog that is constipated), this has been a most beneficial entry in the Magner’s Farm and Stock Book and Complete Instructor series. Regrettably, but one more installment remains in our coverage of this great literary work. Readers familiar with Magner will know that the best is yet to come, however; the final post will discuss law without lawyers and all sorts of miscellany too important to be lost within the other pages.