GOOSE GREASE – SURELY NOT !

  • 16 May, 2010 at 12:25 #552
    anne

    Between approximately 1870 and 1890 in order to ward of colds and chills, the children of poorer classes were covered over their upper bodies with grease (goose-grease I have been told) They were then sewn into a brown paper vest which in a large proportion of cases was left on all winter and of course that could amount to 6 months.
    That is hard to imagine these days, how uncomfortable those poor children must have been, the state of their skin and body odour. How times have changed.

    17 May, 2010 at 05:39 #662
    Martin
    Keymaster

    ..But what was the origin of this remedy? Our Victorian ancestors must have had some reason to believe that such treatment worked. And although it may seem abhorent to our modern minds (and noses)We have to remember that infant mortality was so high, families would have been desperate to try anything which it was believed could be effective.

    How many of todays treatments will be seen as abhorent in 150 years time?

    21 May, 2010 at 08:41 #663
    anne

    Families would use materials for home remedies that were readily available to them. Goose grease would have been one of the materials, and mothers would have hoped their children were kept warm by covering their chests and backs with this, the grease acting as an insulator. An alternative method was a thick piece of fatty bacon between muslin fabric and attached with tape.

    Goose grease also had an alternative use as a skin protector from a mustard poultice, yet another home-made remedy using common household ingredients. The poultice helped to clear the airways of the respiratory system. Mustard powder was mixed with flour and water (or egg white) into a paste which was spread on to cotton, muslin etc. If goose grease had not been used underneath the poutice, the skin could have been blistered.

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