Ann Parker here, Monday's child, sniffly, snuffly, shivery and achy with what I hope is merely the beginning of a nasty cold and nothing worse. I am moving about (albeit slowly) with the help of Advil and hot lemonade, wishing that there was a cure for this, but alas.
However, if this was 1877 instead of 2009, perhaps I'd be turning to Dr. Chase's Family Physician, Farrier, Bee-keeper and Second Receipt Book to discover that, yes, according to the eminent Dr. Chase, there is an "Ancient Method of Cure" which has been in use since 1340 (at least, according to the doctor):
As high as your thighes;
Wrappe your head up in flanelle,
As low as your eyes;
Take a quarte of rum'd gruelle,
When in bedde, as a dose;
With a number four dippe,
Well tallow your nose.
Concerning this cure, Dr. Chase says, "This will be found as valuable and practical, at the present time, except perhaps, as to the depth of the foot-bath, and the amount of "rum'd gruelle," perhaps a pint of that would be sufficient now-a-days, if made tolerably strong, repeating the treatment one, or two nights, until the cold is broken, i.e., loosened."
Rum with gruel? Would that be like... rum mixed with oatmeal? Sounds ghastly, but maybe enough of it and I wouldn't notice. But tallow on the nose?? Perhaps one of our medieval-ish authors can shed some light on what this is all about...