Ozark Encyclopedia – G – Greases


Goose grease for earache – “Others prefer to pour sweet oil, or skunk oil, or goose grease strained through silk into their ears.” ~Randolph OMF 108

Goose grease rubbed on chest for cold – “Everybody had geese and when they killed geese, they saved the grease. You get a cold and they’d rub your breast with a flannel cloth with that goose grease.” ~Carter and Krause HRIO 3

Goose grease and pine resin for colds – “Goose grease boiled with pine rosin rubbed on the face is good for colds.” ~Parler FBA II 1801


Skunk oil for the croup – “Many Ozark youngsters are dosed with large quantities of skunk oil for throat ailments, particularly croup. This stuff is rendered from the fat of skunks trapped in the winter a strong stinking mess which makes many children vomit.” ~Randolph OMF 93

Skunk oil with peppermint for rheumatism – “The grease from skunks or civet cats, mixed with peppermint leaves, is highly praised by some hillfolk as a lubricant for rheumatic joints.” ~Randolph OMF 108

Skunk grease, turpentine, and kerosene for colds – “Skunk grease, kerosene, and turpentine mixed together is good for bad colds.” ~Parler FBA II 1802

Skunk oil used internally and externally for colds – “Catch a skunk, cook the skunk for oil. Rub the skunk oil on the body, and drink some of it to cure cold.” ~Parler FBA II 1803

“Skunk oil is supposed to be good for a cold. You take a skunk and skin it, be careful that you do not bust the stink bag. After skinning the skunk, you take the fat and then you render it out. The oil you get from this should be given to children for a cold.” ~Parler FBA II 1820

Pole cat grease for croup – “Give one teaspoon of pole cat grease every hour until relieved.” ~Parler FBA II 2004

Pole cat oil for earache – “When you have an earache, just have someone render polecat oil and put a drop in each ear.” ~Parler FBA II 2115

Skunk oil for throat – “An old Arkansas belief is that a good dose of skunk oil will cure most any throat ailment.” ~Parler FBA III 3406


Possum grease in compound applied to chest for colds – “Take kerosene and turpentine and camphor and possum grease if you have it…take this and warm it and put it on a cloth, put that on your chest.” ~Carter and Krause HRIO 2

Possum grease and goose grease in compound for colds – “We used goose grease or possum grease and my father would mix powdered quinine, coal oil, or kerosene and turpentine and camphorated oil and made a thing for our chest or to put around out necks.” ~Carter and Krause HRIO 3

Possum grease for chapped hands – “Possum fat was used for chapped hands and feet.” ~Parler FBA II 1690


Bacon grease for chigger bites – “Bacon grease rubbed on chigger welts will kill the chigger.” ~Parler FBA II 1718

Hog penis grease for colds and rash – “Take the fat from a butchering hog’s penis and render it and strain it through a clean cloth. This salve is used for rash, cold on the chest, and such (everything).” ~Parler FBA II 1805

Boar hog penis grease for croup – “Take the fat from the penis of a bore hog that had been casterated a few weeks before and rinder it into a grease. This grease will cure the croup.” ~Parler FBA II 2006

“Pizzle Grease is good for the croup. Pizzle grease is fat from the penis of a hog – the part of the penis that is inside the body.” ~Parler FBA II 2009


Rattlesnake oil for earache – “Cure for earache. Drop warmed rattlesnake oil into the ear.” ~Parler FBA II 2117

Rattlesnake oil to keep from going grey – “Rattlesnake oil is good to keep you from getting grey headed. We killed a rattlesnake and I rendered it, just opened it up, took the fat out and rendered it. But you want to watch what you’re getting. You get that oil and put that in and rub your scalp good. It’ll keep you from getting grey. It did me.” ~Carter and Krause HRIO 35

Snake oil for rheumatism – “Snake oil (fat rendered out of a snake) is a remedy for rheumatism.” ~Parler FBA III 2998


Church bell grease for deafness – “Grease from the mountings of a church bell, put into the ears at intervals, is believed to cure deafness.” ~Randolph OMF 148

Owl grease for colds – “For a cold rub owl grease on the bottom of the feet.” ~Parler FBA II 1807

Carter, Kay & Bonnie Krause Home Remedies of the Illinois Ozarks (HRIO)

Parler, Mary Celestia Folk Beliefs from Arkansas (FBA)

Randolph, Vance Ozark Magic and Folklore (OMF)

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