Day 77: Cures and Remedies: from Kidney Trouble to Salves

Here’s the third and last part of some traditional Appalachian cures and remedies listed in “Foxfire One”. NOTE that all cures and remedies using turpentine, kerosene, pokeweed, and sulfur are not recommended as these items are toxic. 

Make a tea from dried trailing arbutus leaves.
Eat one or two pokeberries a day for a couple of days.
Drink some red alder tea.
Take one root from a queen-of-the-meadow plant. Boil it in one pint of water until it makes a dark tea. Strain and drink a cup a day until you are well.

Make a tea of lion’s tongue leaves by boiling a few leaves in water, then straining. Add syrup if you want to sweeten it.
Wash a couple of roots from the spignet plant, boil them for a few minutes in a pint of water and strain. Drink about a cup a day when your liver is acting up.

Any herb tea will break them out.
Make a tea of sheep dung to break them out.
Boil red alder branches and drink the tea.
Keep the person home and out of the cold. Then give him some whiskey to drink. Use a few drops for tiny children and a tablespoon for adults. It will make the person sweat.

Put some old wool rags into an old tin can, pour kerosene over the rags and light. Then smoke the wound.
Take a hammer and draw the nail out. Grease the nail and put it away somewhere to prevent lockjaw.
Pour kerosene oil over the cut, or soak it in same three times a day. This will also remove the soreness.
Mix lard with soot from the chimney, thin with turpentine, and pack around the wound.
Pour pine oil over the wound.
Mix biscuit flour with buttermilk until a dough forms. Pack this dough in a poultice of sugar and turpentine.
Tie it up in a poultice of sugar and turpentine.

Take a small piece of lead and bore a hole in it. Put a string through the hole, tie it, and wear it around your neck. Your nose won’t bleed again.
Place a nickel directly under the nose between the upper lip and the gum and press tightly.
Lie down and put a dime on your heart.
Sniff devil’s snuff box or some puff balls, and it will stop.
Hang a pair of pot hooks about your neck.
Place scissors, points up, on your neck.

Roast some poke roots by the fire. Scrape them clean with a knife and grind up. Make a poultice out of the powder and apply to the bottom of the foot. It will draw pain out of anywhere in the body.

To bring down the fever, put some quinine and hog lard on a cloth and put it on your chest.
Give the person two teaspoonsful of oil rendered from a skunk.
Make an onion poultice to make the fever break. Then give the person whiskey and hot water.
Make a tea of butterfly weed, add a little whiskey, and drink it.

Roast a poke root in ashes in the same manner as you would roast a potato. While it is still hot, apply it to the inflamed joint.
This eases the pain and reduces the swelling.
Drink a mixture of pokeberry wine and whiskey.
Let rattleroot, ginseng, red corn root, wild cherry bark, and golden seal root sit in one gallon of white whiskey. Drink small portions of the resulting liquid as needed.
Rub some wildcat oil on the skin.
Drink a tea made from the seeds or leaves of the alfalfa plant.
Cook garlic in your food to ease the pain.
Carry a buckeye or an Irish potato until it gets hard.

Place an elm bark poultice over the bump.
Scrape the white of an Irish potato and place the scrapings on the bump. Bind them on with a clean cloth. This will draw the risin’ (boil) to a head.
The inside surface of the bark of the lind tree (basswood) will draw it to a head.
Take raw fat meat (the fattest you can get), cut a thin slice of it, and bind it over the bump with a cloth bandage. This draws it to a head, and when you pull the cloth off, a tiny hole is left in the center of the lump. Make a thread loop and ease this loop into the hole and twist several times; then yank the core of the risin’ out with a swift motion.
Eat sulfur mixed with honey.
Take the skin out of eggshells, and place it on the risin’s.
Put a wilted running briar leaf on it, wrap with a cloth, and leave on overnight.
Scrape some bark from a sevenbark (wild hydrangea) bush, grind it up, boil it in enough water to cover for a few minutes. Make a poultice of it, put it on the risin’, and it will draw it out very quickly.

Put butter around the sore so a dog will lick it. The dog’s saliva will cure it.
Put a little lard or something equally greasy on the sore. Then dust the sore with sulfur. The grease will hold the sulfur on.
Make a salve of white pine resin and mutton tallow.
Don’t ever burn the cloth bandage from a sore; you must bury it for the sore to heal.
Mash up yellowroot and put it on the sores.
Use a salve made from mutton tallow, balm of Gilead buds, and fresh turpentine from pine trees.

Bake onions in an open fireplace; then tie them around your throat.
Make a poultice of kerosene, turpentine, and pure lard (to prevent blistering), and place this on your neck. In five minutes you will be able to taste the kerosene in your throat, and the cure will have begun. Then take two or three drops of kerosene oil in a spoon with a pinch of sugar and swallow this to complete the treatment.
Gargle with honey and vinegar.
Rub pine oil on your throat.
Gargle with salty water.
Put a drop of kerosene on a lump of sugar and eat it.
Gargle with a half cup water, two tablespoons vinegar, and a half teaspoon of salt.
Take a sock you have worn inside a boot and worked in for almost a week so that it has a bad odor. Tie it around your neck.

Make a tea of wild peppermint and drink it.
Drink some blackberry juice or wine.
Drink some juice from kraut left over after cooking.
Chew calamus root or yellowroot and swallow the juice.
Make a tea of golden seal roots and drink it.
To stop vomiting, grind up some peach trees leaves in a rag.
Put the rag with the ground leaves in it on the person’s stomach.
To settle the stomach, place five small flint rocks in a glass of water. Let it sit for a few minutes and drink.

Gargle with tan bark tea made from chestnut leaves.
Smear balm of Gilead salve all over the person’s chest.
Gargle with salt water.
To burn out tonsils, paint them several times a day for several months with iodine and turpentine.

Make a small amount of wine from pokeberries, and mix one part of the wine with eight parts white whiskey. Take a small spoonful just a couple of times a day. It’s also good for rheumatism and muscle cramps.
Put drops of vanilla straight from the bottle on the tooth.
Buy some Bluestone in a store and put a drop of it on the tooth.
It kills the nerve.
Use burned alum.
Put some homemade tobacco in a corncob pipe. Light it, and draw the smoke over the tooth.
Hold whiskey or turpentine on the tooth.
Put some damp ashes on a cloth, and hold against the sore tooth.
Put a few ashes in an old rag and dampen it with hot water.
Sleep with your head on it.

Stick the hand which has warts on it into a bag and tie it up.
The first person who opens it will get your warts.
Get something like a penny that someone would want to pick up.
Put some blood from the wart on it and throw it into the road.
When someone picks it up, the wart will go away.
Wet your finger and make a cross on the wart.
Take a persimmon stick and put as many notches on it as you have warts. They will go away.
Count them, touching each one as you do, and say a verse which is secret and known only to you, the conjuror.
Tie a horsehair around it.
Rub the wart with the skin of a chicken gizzard, then hide the skin under a rock. The wart will disappear.
Count the warts. Tie as many pebbles as there are warts in a bag and throw this bundle down in the fork of a road. They will soon go away.
Steal a neighbor’s dishrag. Wipe it across the warts and bury it in the woods.
Wash the affected area with water from a rotten chestnut stump for nine mornings in a row before breakfast.
Rub the warts with a rock and put it in a box. Whoever opens the box will get the warts.
Rub a flint rock three times over the warts and put it back where you got it from. They will disappear.
Cut the wart, make it bleed, and put one drop of the blood on a grain of corn. Feed the grain of corn to a chicken or rooster and the wart will disappear.
Put the juice from a milkweed on it every day for two weeks.
Put a small piece of bacon or salt pork on the wart. Wrap it up and sleep with it that way. In the morning the wart will be gone if you have faith.
Pick the wart with a needle, and put a few drops of the blood on some fat meat. Bury the meat, and when it rots the wart will go away.

Take a half cup of brown sugar, the juice of three lemons, two egg whites, and one bottle of olive oil. Mix these up together and give one teaspoonful of the mixture.
Drink mare’s milk.
Boil chestnut leaves in water, drain, add honey, and drink.

In the early spring, pick the small tender leaves of the poke plant.
Boil the leaves, drain them, and cook in grease from fatback. Eat a mess of these.
Take “worm syrup” which is made by boiling Jerusalem oak and pine root together.
Take the shells of a hen’s egg and bake them until they turn brown and brittle. Crumble them up fine and mix the particles with syrup and butter. Feed this to the sick person every morning for one week. The particles cut the worms to pieces. This remedy also works for dogs and other animals.
Eat tobacco seeds.
Eat a head of garlic every day until they are gone.
For ringworm, crack open green walnut hulls, crush, and apply the juice to the affected area with cotton.
Put three or four drops of turpentine in a teaspoon of sugar and eat it.
Put some charcoal in a quart of water and drink it.
For tapeworm, starve it. Then hold some warm milk up to your nose and sniff deeply. The tapeworm will stick his head out of your nose to get the milk. Hold the milk farther and farther away from him, thus drawing him out.

Scrape a cow’s horn, boil the scrapings, and drink.

SPRING TONICS—Take wild cherry tree bark, yellow poplar bark, and yellowroot boiled, strained, and mixed with white liquor.
Mix together some sulfur and molasses, and eat it.
Eat rhubarb once a week.

SALVES—Take about two tablespoons of mutton tallow, and heat it up in a frying pan with about six balm of Gilead buds. Mash the buds up while the mixture cools, and when the grease is all out of the buds, strain the mixture. Put it in a jar and cover it. The salve is clear, and will keep for years.
Take one cup of pine resin, about one ounce of camphor-phonique, one cup of mutton tallow, and ten to fifteen balm of Gilead buds. Put it all in a frying pan and heat until liquid. Mash the buds until all the juice is out of them. Strain and put into jars and cover. Makes about a pint.
For bed-wetting, feed the child a couple of elderberries or red sumac (“shumate”) berries before bedtime.
For any serious child illness, take some blood from the child’s arm, put it on a grain of corn, and feed it to a black hen.
To prevent taking contagious diseases, tie asafetida around the neck.
A piece of nutmeg tied around the neck will prevent neuralgia.
Place a Bible under your pillow, and you will never have nightmares.
Give a grouchy person a tea made from violet blossoms.
To help hair grow, break a section of a grape vine, set in a bottle, and let the juice drain. Rub the juice in your hair.

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