Some of these old home remedies are completely out there, but some could be used today. Think of living in a place where traditional medicines are not available; suddenly these remedies sound less unusual. People used what they had to cure themselves and their families.
My dad always talked about how his mother would cure a chest cold. She would rub goose grease (had to be goose fat) on Dad's chest then cover it with red (had to be red) wool felt. He had to sleep with this at night until his chest congestion cleared. Dad was very happy when Vick's Vaporub became available.
My grandpa would make hot toddys for anyone (children included) with a cold. He mixed whiskey, honey, lemon and hot water in a mug. We slept very well afterward. He had nine children, so I've always felt that he did this just to survive cold season.
Another remedy for earaches is to mix garlic and olive oil, let it steep, then warm the oil and put a few drops in the affected ear. My daughter's pediatrician just recommended this remedy sans the garlic. The warmed oil is also helpful for softening ear wax.
Grandpa also swore by sucking on horehound candy when he had a cough. Horehound is best in candy form because of it's strong taste.
There are so many interesting folk remedies out there that make for fun reading. Such as using stump water to cure warts: find a stump with a puddle of water on it, soak wart. I enjoy rereading the Foxfire books to see the old Appalachian remedies.