A powerful purgative
One of the favorite treatments of physicians practicing in the Old West was the generous prescription of strong purgatives. He was of the opinion that the only way to cure disease was to literally get rid of it. Sometimes it worked, and the patient recovered from the homemade home remedy after sweating for hours or days in bed. However, in most cases, sick people became even sicker due to the severe side effects, including diarrhoea, severe vomiting, and, in particular, aches and pains. This was no fun, especially when you had dengue fever and the doctor showed up with a drink that made you vomit!
A practice so widespread and frequent, in fact, that it bordered on danger and could lead to predictable unpleasant results. One of these drugs, ipecac syrup, caused profuse vomiting. The idea was that purging the body would fight a disease. But as you can imagine, modern doctors certainly wouldn’t recommend doing this today. This time in the Old West taught the medical world a lot about what is and isn’t good for sick people. The mistakes made by doctors during this time period enabled future doctors to learn from the mistakes of others and provide better treatments. Patients in the modern era have almost nothing to complain about because health care is far better.