Ozark Encyclopedia – H – Hornet’s Nest

Hung in cabin for good luck – “An empty hornets’ nest is hung up in the loft of nearly every old-time mountain cabin, and I have seen such a nest tied to the rafters of a new house that had not yet been occupied; some people say that this brings good fortune to the whole household, particularly in connection with childbirth and other sexual matters.” ~Randolph OMF 75

Used for sore eyes – “I have known old people who went to a great deal of trouble to obtain pieces of hornets’ nests, which they used to wipe their spectacles. Not only does this stuff clean the lenses better than the finest cloth or paper, they say, but it is somehow good for sore and tired eyes.” ~Randolph OMF 189

Hung up to ease birth pains – “There are some old people who always make sure that an empty hornets’ nest is hanging in the loft of the cabin where a woman is to be confined. I have heard of granny-women who refused to deliver a child until they saw the hornets’ nest for themselves but have never met one who would admit this. It is a fact, however, that there are few really old cabins in which one cannot find a hornets’ nest suspended under the eaves, or attached to one of the rafters.” ~Randolph OMF 199-200

Smoked for asthma – “A hornet’s nest is good. Just dry it and pulverize it up and put it in a pipe and smoke it. That’ll loosen you up. There used to be a woman who had asthma so bad she couldn’t hardly live and that’s what she did. You hardly ever see any of it anymore.” ~Carter and Krause HRIO 27

Tea made for asthma – “For asthma, get a hornet’s nest, then boil it to make a tea and drink it. This is to help you start breathing steadily again.” ~Parler FBA II 1415

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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