Health & Beauty Recipes > Traditional Food Remedies


Although all the ingredients in these beauty recipes are natural, remember that it is still possible to be allergic to anything applied to the skin. DO NOT USE ANYTHING NUT BASED ON YOUR SKIN IF YOU HAVE A NUT ALLERGY. To test other ingredients make up a very small amount of the recipe you intend to use. Wash and gently dry a small patch of skin inside your elbow. Apply a little of the mix to the skin and leave for 48 hours. If you experience any redness or swelling DO NOT USE THE BEAUTY RECIPE AT ALL.

We strongly recommend that you do your own research before using any of the ingredients in these recipes since some ingredients should be avoided by certain groups of people. Mountain Rose Herbs' website has a wealth of information on herbs, their uses and possible side effects. Many essential oils and herbs should always be avoided by pregnant/nursing ladies. Always check with a qualified health advisor if in doubt.

Traditional Food Remedies:

Mountain Rose Herbs
Mountain Rose Herbs offers a wide range of dried herbs and spices.

Before the advent of widely available, patented medicines, those who could not afford the fees of the local apothecary had to rely on home-made cures. Inevitably, since all cures were based on naturally occurring substances, the boundaries between medicine and food were often blurred. Thus some comforting and tasty recipes were highly valued for their healing and restorative powers.

A Barley Drink

This drink was considered suitable for a patient with a fever.


5 pint of boiling water
1/2 oz liquorice root bruised
2oz raisins stones removed
2oz preserved figs sliced
2oz pearl barley


- Cook the pearl barley in 4pts of the water in a large pan.
- Simmer until the mixture is reduced by half.
- Strain through a piece of muslin.
- Put the barley back into the pan.
- Add the raisins and figs.
- Add the remaining pint of water.
- Simmer until reduced by about one half.
- Add the liquorice root.
- Strain.
- Bottle in sterilized bottles.
- Use neat or diluted as a cordial.

Nettle Syrup Drink

This unusual cordial was supposed to have blood purifying and tonic qualities.


4lbs young nettle tops shaken free of insects and washed
1 gallon of water
1lb sugar for every pint of strained juice


- Put the nettles and water into a large saucepan.
- Boil for 45 minutes.
- Strain.
- Measure the amount of liquid.
- Add one pound of sugar for each pint of liquid.
- Cool and bottle.

Rose Syrup

A drink which was held to be soothing for a sore throat and also regarded as a tonic.


1lb rhubarb
3/4 pint water
3/4lb sugar
petals from 7 red roses


- Put the rhubarb and water into a saucepan.
- Boil until all the juice has ruin out of the rhubarb.
- Strain.
- Add the rose petals and sugar.
- Simmer for 20 minutes.
- Strain.
- Boil until thick.
- Bottle.
- Use as a cordial.

Honey Remedy for Coughs

Even today honey is often included in cough and cold remedies as is lemon and cod liver oil is still looked upon as a preventative for colds and 'flu.


4oz cod liver oil
1oz glycerine
4oz runny honey
juice of 3 lemons


- Pour all the ingredients into a sterilized bottle.
- Put on the lid and shake well.
- Said to be good for coughs and colds.

Medicinal Jam

Prunes are well known for their laxative effect. This recipe is for a very pleasant sounding jam which was said to relieve mild constipation.


1lb prunes, stoned and chopped
1lb seedless raisins, chopped
1lb Demerara sugar
1/4lb blanched almonds
1pt water


- Soak all the dried fruit in the water for 12 hours .
- Add the sugar.
- Boil in a saucepan.
- Simmer for 30 minutes.
- Put in sterilized jars as for jam.
- Enjoy on wholemeal toast in the morning.

Treacle Posset

A posset is a drink made from hot milk and alcohol or some acid ingredient which causes the milk to curdle. Traditionally possets were taken by invalids or just as a restorative bedtime drink. Treacle posset was supposed to relieve the symptoms of a cold.


2 tablespoons treacle
1 pint milk
juice one lemon


- Put the milk into a saucepan.
- Heat to near boiling point.
- Stir in the treacle.
- Stir in the lemon juice.
- Simmer until a curd is formed.
- Strain and drink the liquid.

Wine Whey

Wine Whey is a type of posset which was given to invalids with poor digestion.


1/4 pint milk
1/2 a wineglass sherry


- Bring the milk to the boil in a saucepan.
- Add the sherry.
- Heat slowly until a curd forms.
- Strain mixture through a piece of muslin.
- Drink the liquid.