Anon, published by G. Tregear, 123 Cheapside, London, 1833
In this print, the main figure follows popular medical advice to cure himself of a severe cold. The most common medical reference guide found in many Briton's homes was Domestic Medicine, written by a Scottish physician, William Buchan (1729-1805). Buchan wrote the book in order to, “render the medical art more generally useful, by showing people what is in their own power both with respect to the prevention and cure of diseases.”3 Domestic Medicine, first published in 1769, ran through 142 English editions and was reportedly used in poorer Scottish families until 1927.4
Buchan theorized that colds were the “effect of an obstructed perspiration.”5 The caricature demonstrates the different ways to induce sweating to relieve the symptoms of a cold. First, the man dresses warmly. He wears a huge bulky coat over his nightshirt, ties a scarf around his neck, and wraps his head in flannel. Buchan also suggested, “bathing the feet and legs every night in warm water” to “restore the perspiration.”6 In this print, the man plans on soaking his feet in hot water for 20 minutes. He also stirs a bowlful of gruel. Buchan instructed reducing the quantities of solid food, and instead suggested light bread-pudding, veal or chicken broth, and gruel. He wrote:
"His drink may be water-gruel sweetened with a little honey; an infusion of balm, or linseed sharpened with the juice of orange or lemon; a decoction of barley and liquorice with tamarinds, or any other cool, diluting, acid liquor. ABOVE all, his supper should be light; as small posset, or water-gruel sweetened with honey, and a little toasted bread in it. "
Buchan doesn't mention rubbing tallow, an animal fat, on the nose. Perhaps tallow was thought to assist the opening of the sinus cavities and provide relief for a stuffy nose.