John Wesley is known for two things: co-founding Methodism and his tremendous work ethic. He was a natural organizer and approached everything diligently, especially religion. In late 1740 , John Wesley, published a book that offered a simple and natural way to treat most diseases. This book was intended for regular people to be able to quickly and effectively cure most illnesses in their own homes.

When in doubt, Welsey thought that drinking cold water or taking cold baths could cure most illnesses, including breast cancer; some of his suggestions, like using chamomile tea to soothe an upset stomach, have survived today. Other cures he whipped up, though, are decidedly strange. Here are a few of them.

Note: Do not try at home! 

1. Remedy  for malaria 

There are many natural remedies to treat malarial fever, but Wesley describes  malaria/ague as “an intermitting fever, each fit of which is preceded by a cold shivering and goes off in a sweat.” There are many natural remedies for curing it, but all must be preceded by taking a “gentle vomit,” which, if taken two hours before the fit, Wesley says will generally prevent it, and may even cure the ague. If the vomiting fails, Wesley suggests wearing a bag of groundsel, a weed, “on the pit of the stomach, renewing it two hours before the fit.” Should this not work, Wesley suggests a remedy that requires a stronger stomach: “Make six middling pills of cobwebs, take one a little before the cold fit: Two a little before the next fit: The other three, if need be, a little before the third fit. I never knew this fail.” And arsenic was used for everything from Victorian cosmetics to an 18th century cure for Malaria. Because toxic metalloid poisoning is fun.

2. Remedy for cuts

Wesley suggests holding the cut closed “with your thumb for a quarter of an hour”, then dipping a rag in cold water and wrapping the cut in it. Another method: “Bind on toasted cheese,” Wesley writes. “This will cure a deep cut.” Pounded grass, applied fresh every 12 hours, will also do the trick.

3. Cure for toothache 

The cure for toothache, Wesley suggests being electrified through the tooth. If that’s too extreme for you, try “rubbing the Cheek a Quarter of an Hour … Or, putting a Clove of Garlick into the Ear.”

4. Remedy for headaches

Headache in which Wesley thought known today as the “peritonsillar APSC”, or complications during tonsillitis. His remedy was quite simple: “A big toast of white bread soak whiskey, and then put it on top of the head and leave it there until it is completely dry.” Creepy, right!

5. Remedy for the pleurisy

This illness is characterized by “a Fever attended with a violent pain in the Side, and a Pulse remarkably hard.” It’s caused, we now know, when the double membrane that surrounds the lungs inside the chest cavity becomes inflamed. Wesley’s first suggested remedy involves applying “to the side onions roasted in the embers, mix it with cream.” Next up is filling the core of an apple with frankincense “stopping it close with the Piece you cut out and roasting it in ashes. Mash and eat it.” Sounds delicious?!

6. Remedy for  jaundice 

Wesley suggests curing jaundice—which turns the skin and whites of the eyes yellow—by wearing “leaves of Celandine upon and under the feet.” Other possible cures include taking a small pill of castile soap in the morning for eight to 10 days, or “as much lies on a shilling of calcin’d egg-shells, three mornings fasting; and walk till you sweat.”


7. To cure ” White speck in the eye”

It is unclear exactly what Wesley had in mind when he wrote about “white speck in the eye”, most likely it was a Muscae volitantes (small, oddly shaped spots that sometimes appear in your vision, usually when you look into the sky on a sunny day) — eye floaters, maybe—Wesley suggests that, when “going to bed, put a little ear-wax on the Speck.”— Actually this has cured many.

8. Remedy for a “Cold in the head”

Getting rid of this common ailment is easy, according to Wesley the disease called “Cold in the head „ is best treated, just “pare very thin the yellow rind of an orange,” he writes. “Roll it up inside out, and thrust a roll inside each nostril.”

9. Remedy for nose bleeds

Drinking whey and eating raisins every day, Wesley says, can help prevent nose bleeds. Other methods for preventing or curing the phenomenon include “holding a red hot poker under the nose” and “steeping a linnen rag in sharp vinegar, burning it, and blowing it up the nose with a quill.”

10. Moldy Bread

Going back as far as Ancient Egyptians, moldy bread was used as a disinfectant. Well, mold does inhibit bacteria growth, so maybe this wasn’t so crazy. Penicillin, anyone?