Home » Antiquities » A “Cure For Felon”

A “Cure For Felon”

Yikes! There’s a cure for felons? Why didn’t that information make it into the late 1900’s? A decrease in prison population could only be a good thing. And not having to worry about crime would be sooooo wonderful!

Thanks to this great old book,


Buckeye Cookery






“’Bad dinners go hand in hand with total depravity, while a properly fed man is already half saved.’”








 we can learn the cure together 🙂  And please bear in mind that this book was dedicated:

“To Those Plucky Housewives who master their work instead of allowing it to master them.”

“When a felon first makes it’s appearance,“take the inside skin of an egg-shell, and wrap it around the part affected. (Ohhhhh…a different type of felon…). When the pressure becomes too painful, wet it with water, and keep it on twelve hours.

Roast or bake thoroughly a large onion; mix the soft inner pulp with two heaping table-spoons of table salt, and apply the mixture to the affected part as a poultice, keeping the parts well covered. Make fresh applications at least twice a day, morning and evening, and a cure will follow in at least a week. (Perhaps because of the smell? It sounds like something that could keep me away for a week…)

Or, one tea-spoon of scorched salt, one tea-spoon of corn meal, one teaspoon of scraped hard soap, one tea-spoon of beet leaves pounded up, twelve drops of turpentine, and the yolk of one egg. Mix all ingredients together in the form of a poultice, in which bind closely the swollen finger.

Or, procure five or six lemons, cut off the end of one, thrust the sore finger into the lemon, and let it stay till the lemon is warm; proceed in the same way till all the six are used. Or, put a piece of Spanish-fly plaster over the spot affected, and that will draw the trouble to the surface, or , on the first appearance, apply a poultice of the common Fleur de Lis root well mashed.  It will cure in a short time.

Well…I guess we can all see why this didn’t move into the 20th century…hey! Homeland Security! are you reading this???  🙂

I think it is possible that this is referring to an infection of the finger which can be extrapolated outward to  show that perhaps the term ‘felon’ came from an infection of the hand (it seems I recall there being some link to infection and evil in ancient times) which could cause people to become thieves. Perhaps thieves who may have claimed they had no control over what their hands did, likened their affliction to ‘a felon’ and thus gave rise to the term we use today to describe someone no commits a crime. I am not a linguist, nor am I a student of the origins of words, but this recipe has me curious and thinking. One person I read it to, thought this was actually talking about criminals.

Understanding comes as much from having the same reference points as it does from education or speaking the same language. As shown above, even though I speak English and this was written in English, I did not have the same reference point for the term “felon” and had I not read the material that followed, I could have made many inaccurate assumptions. Again, this is why I think it’s important not to totally lose some of this old stuff.


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