There are a lot of things that you wouldn’t consider ingesting, or putting on your skin. Today, metals like titanium and stainless steel are used in medicine for hip replacements and prosthetics. In the past, a lot of metal compounds were actually recommended to be ingested or used on wounds. Many of these chemicals, metals and acids are irritants and damage the body. Ingredients now used for cleaning or hardening aren’t exactly suitable for sensitive areas like the eyes.
Venus or Venice turpentine may seem innocuous after the long list of plants and herbs before it, but it’s now used to harden horse shoes which suggests that it’s not something you’d want to consume. It’s also now used as a sealing wax and varnish in artwork. Adder’s tongue is, surprisingly, not actually the tongue of a snake but a type of fern.
A mixture of lead and vinegar probably isn’t the ideal combination to bathe your eyes with. Exposure to too much lead around the eyes can result in redness, pain and blurred vision. This remedy is more likely to exacerbate inflamed eyes, not reduce it.
White copperas is a form of iron also called ferrous sulphate. Widely used in the manufacture of iron gall ink, it’s commonly used to fix dyes and black leather. It’s definitely not something you would want to put in your eyes.
Alum is a kind of compound, usually referring to potassium alum. It’s commonly used to purify water, to tan leather, and to fireproof textiles. It can be used as an antiseptic because it’s so astringent and is still used in dentistry today.
There were many different compounds and mixtures used in the past to treat and cure ailments. Some of them, like those noted above, would not be used today in the same way.