Buckeye – Aesculus pavia (Red Buckeye)

Parts used: nut

Traditional uses: Nut carried for rheumatism. Crushed nuts used externally in salves for tumors, sores, and infections. Pounded roots and nuts used to stun fish. Infusion of roots used as bath for dyspepsia. Cold infusions used to stop bleeding during delivery. Used in eye washes.

*** Cautions: Fruit and plant mildly toxic ***

Nut used for luck and protection – “There is an old saying that no man was ever found dead with a buckeye in his pocket, but this is not to be taken seriously. Most people who carry buckeyes regard them as a protection against rheumatism, or hemorrhoids.” ~Randolph OMF 153

“To some people the buckeye means more than mere protection from piles and rheumatism. I once saw a young fellow with a very old truck, about to attempt the crossing of Bear Creek, in Taney county, Missouri. The water was high, and the ford was very bad. The boy looked the situation over carefully, then set his jaw and climbed into the driver’s seat. ‘Well, I’ve got a buckeye in my pocket,’ he said quite seriously. ‘I believe I can make it!’” ~Randolph OMF 153

“A shining new buck-eye carried in the pocket is suppose to prevent sickness or bring good luck.” ~Parler FBA II 1347

“Carry a buckeye to live longer.” ~Parler FBA II 1225

Nut used against witchcraft – “Another ancient method of discouraging witches is to take a buckeye and stand facing the rising sun. Then, while repeating a certain old sayin’, you bore a hole in the buckeye with a sharp pointed flint-rock. The old sayin’ is a secret, of course. ‘I wouldn’t be allowed to tell,’ one woman said to me, ‘and there’s some dirty words in it, anyhow.’” ~Randolph OMF 287

Nut carried for nosebleeds – “Carry a buckeye…for a nosebleed or sometimes a small potato.” ~Parler FBA III 2805

Nut carried for piles – “A buckeye in the hip pocket will heal the piles.” ~Parler FBA III 2852


Moerman, Daniel E. Native American Ethnobotany (NAE)

Parler, Mary Celestia Folk Beliefs from Arkansas (FBA)

Randolph, Vance Ozark Magic and Folklore (OMF)