Day 75: Cures and Remedies: from Arthritis to Croup
Harley Carpenter holds a yellowroot plant he has just pulled up from a stream bank near his home.
Here’s the first part of some traditional Appalachian cures and remedies listed in “Foxfire One”:
ARTHRITIS Drink a mixture of honey, vinegar, and moonshine. Make a tea from either the seeds or leaves of alfalfa. Drink powdered rhubarb dissolved in white whiskey. A magnet draws it out of the body.
ASTHMA In one pint of gin, place several pieces of the heartwood of a pine tree. Leave them in the gin until they turn brown. Then take one teaspoonful of the mixture twice a day. Suck salty water up your nose. Smoke or sniff rabbit tobacco. Swallow a handful of spider webs rolled into a ball. Keep a Chihuahua dog around the house. Smoke strong tobacco until you choke. Drill a hole in a black oak or sourwood tree just above the head of the victim, and put a lock of his hair in the hole. When he passes that spot in height, he will be cured. (Another person told us that if the person died, the tree would also.) Drink a mixture of honey, lemon juice, and whiskey, using about a tablespoon of each. Gather leaves from ginseng, dry and powder them. Put the powder in a pan, place a hot coal on top of it, and inhale the smoke.
Harv Reid with one of the ginseng plants from the patch near his home.
BLEEDING Place a spider web across the wound. Apply a poultice of spirit turpentine and brown sugar to the wound. Apply lamp black directly to the wound. Use a mixture of soot from the chimney and lard. If the cut is small, wet a cigarette paper and place this over it. Use kerosene oil, but be careful not to add too much or it will blister the skin. Use pine resin.
BLOOD—BUILDERS When the sap is up, take the green bark of the wild cherry and boil it to make tea. Take leaves of the lady’s slipper, dry them, and beat them to a powder (you can wrap them in a rag to do this). Put this powder into a can, add water, let sit, and then give a spoonful three times a day. Take the young leaves of the poke plant, parboil them, season, fry, and then eat several “messes.” Make sassafras tea, using the roots of the plant. Put some yellowroot in a quart can of whiskey, and let the root soak it up. Add some cherry bark for flavor.
BROKEN ARM Make a mixture of red clay and water. Put splints on each side of the arm and plaster it up with the clay. When the clay dries, put the arm in a sling.
BURNS Put hot coals on the burned place and pour water over them. The steam will draw the fire out. Powder hot coals and put this warm powder on the burn. Boil chestnut leaves and place the resulting ooze on the burn. Take table salt and dissolve it in warm water. Wrap the burn in gauze and keep it constantly warm and moist with applications of the salt water. Bind castor oil and egg whites around the wound with a clean cloth. The scrapings of a raw white potato will draw the fire. Linseed oil will draw the fire out. Scrape the inside of a white potato. Put the scrapings on the burn and leave them there until they turn black and the sore turns white. Then add a salve made of talcum powder and Vaseline. If the person has never seen his father, he can draw the fire by blowing on the burn. Use lard and flour. Use a mixure of Sloan’s salve and Japanese oil and petroleum jelly. Put axle grease on the burned area.
CHEST CONGESTION Make a poultice of kerosene, turpentine, and pure lard (the latter prevents blistering). Use wool cloth soaked with the mixture. Place cheesecloth on chest for protection, and then add the wool poultice. Heat mutton tallow and apply it directly to chest. Place a large quantity of rock candy in a little white whiskey to make a thick syrup. Take a few spoonfuls of this several times a day. Apply a mixture of camphor, mutton tallow, soot, pine tar, turpentine, and lard to chest. Make an onion poultice by roasting an onion, then wrapping it in spun-wool rags and beating it so that the onion juice soaks the rags well. Apply these rags to chest. Eat raw honey. Render the fat of a polecat. Eat two or three spoonfuls. This brings up the phlegm. Mix up hog lard, turpentine, and kerosene. Rub it on chest. Rub groundhog oil and goose oil on chest. Then cover with a hot flannel cloth. Wear a flannel shirt with turpentine and lard on it all winter.
COLDS Make a tea from the leaves of boneset. Drink the tea when it has cooled. It will make you sick if taken hot. Leaves of this plant may also be cured out and saved for use in teas during the winter months. Make a tea from powdered ginger, or ground up ginger roots. Do not boil the tea, but add the powdered root to a cup of hot water and drink. Add honey and whiskey, if desired. Boil pine needles to make a strong tea. Take as much powdered quinine as will stay on the blade of a knife, add to water, and drink. Parch red pepper in front of a fire. Powder it, cook it in a tea, and add pure white corn liquor. Put goose-grease salve on chest. Drink lamb’s tongue and whiskey tea. Drink whiskey and honey mixed. Drink red pepper tea. Eat onions roasted in ashes (good for children). Eat a mixture of honey and vinegar. Make a tea by putting some pine top needles and boneset in boiling water. You can sweeten it with honey or syrup. Drink tea made from wintergreen fern. Make a combination tea from boneset leaves and horsemint leaves. Take a three-pound can of pine twigs and rabbit tobacco. Boil together and strain. Drink some every three hours, taking no more than one full juice glass within a twelve-hour period. Drink some of the brine from kraut put up in churn jars. It makes you thirsty, and you drink lots of water.
COLIC Tie an asafetida bag around a baby’s neck for six months to keep away six months’ colic. Take one pinch of soda in a spoon of water. Drink Sampson’s snake root tea. Feed the baby breast milk with one drop of kerosene or one drop of asafetida in it. Chew some camel root and swallow the juice. Massage stomach lightly with warm towels or warm castor oil. Chew ginseng root. Drink some asafetida and whiskey mixed in milk or water. Boil two or three roots of ginseng in a pint of water, then strain and drink.
CONSTIPATION Gather the roots of mayapple, cut out the joints, and dry the middle of the root. Place in a cloth and beat to a powder. Add a few drops of castor oil and roll into pills. They keep very well. You can also put a pinch of powder in food, or put in some syrup.
COUGH Mix one teaspoon of white whiskey with a pinch of sugar, heat over a fire, and drink. Eat a mixture of honey and vinegar. Put some ground ginger from the store in a saucer and add a little sugar. Put it on the tongue just before bedtime. It burns the throat and most of the time will stop coughs. Take some rock candy with tea. Take a teacup of roots and stems of red horsemint, boil in a pint of water for two or three minutes, strain, and drink. Dissolve four sticks of horehound candy in a pint of whiskey and take a couple of spoonfuls a day. This is also good for TB. Boil one cup of wild cherry bark in a pint of water. Add some syrup and cook until it gets thick. Make a cough syrup using the roots of about six lion’s-tongue plants. Boil them in about a teacup of water, sweeten with syrup, then simmer until thick. Take a spoonful a few times a day until your cough is gone. Boil a handful of mullen roots and leaves in a pint of water to make a light tea. Add sugar or syrup to sweeten. Take only a spoonful at a time. Parch leaves of rat’s vein and grind them to a powder. Put a pinch on your hand and snort it. Make a cough syrup by boiling a handful each of wild cherry bark, black gum bark, and whole rat’s vein plants in a half a gallon of water. Simmer for one to two hours; strain, add one pint of sugar, and boil again until it makes a thin syrup.
CRAMPS To cure cramps in the feet, turn your shoes upside down before going to bed.
CROUP Squeeze the juice out of a roasted onion and drink. Render out some mutton tallow, add beeswax to this, and place it on the back underneath the victim’s shirt. Add a little vinegar, lemon, or onion to honey and eat. Put a drop of turpentine in a spoonful of sugar and eat. Drink a thick syrup made of onion juice and honey. For a baby pour a mixture of turpentine and white whiskey into a saucer and set it afire. Hold the baby over the smoke until he breathes it deeply. This loosens him up. Take homemade lard, turpentine, and kerosene and make a poultice which is bound in a wool cloth over the chest and around the neck. Put some groundhog oil on some hot flannel rags and place the rags on the child’s chest. Boil an onion, some turpentine, and some lard together. Pour the juice on a cloth and put it on the chest. Get a pine knot, split it up fine, and light it. Hold fat meat over the fire. Take the resin and fat to cure the cough.
Green Drinks meetup for July.should be deadly. The talks going to be on the folklore of Irish plants n Herbs.
Tuesday 7th July in J.W. Sweetman at 7pm.
All the cures and superstitions in our trad are still there cos while the herbal trad used to be huge it was never commercialised. It was one of three areas targetted by the nationstate but it never happened.
Lucky us. Theres multiethnic folklore from scots, travellers n gaelic ethnicities goin to be discussed. A rare chance to share the trads n have the craic without the politics.
When I went to the mall yesterday I decided to splurge and get myself a scrub from Lush! I bought myself the Herbalism scrub. I was deciding between that and the Fresh Farmacy cleanser so the woman helping me gave me a sample of it to take home and try out. I used the scrub at night and it was so good!! My face felt clean and smooth, but without feeling dried out and even itchy like most face washes make me feel. I used a bit of the Fresh Farmacy cleanser this morning in the shower and not only did it smell fantastic but it cleaned so well and got rid of all the grossness while leaving my skin still moisturized and smooth. I’ll see how my skin looks and feels after a few weeks but I already really like these products.
Apple Blossom: Make a vinegar infusion with the blossoms, and use it to treat itchy, painful insect bites or stings.
Comfrey: Brew a comfrey tea to help with general healing, or use a juice from the pressed leaves for a poultice for minor cuts and abrasions.
Eucalyptus: Warm the leaves or oil, and inhale the vapors to clear clogged sinuses, stuffy noses, and other upper respiratory issues.
Chamomile: Brew into a tea to aid in problems such as morning sickness, digestive disorders, gastritis, and difficult bowel movements.
Goldenseal: Keep goldenseal handy in your medicine cabinet to clean out minor wounds and abrasions.
Feverfew: A decoction sweetened with honey or sugar is sometimes used to relieve light coughing or wheezing. It’s a great herb to use externally as well - make a tincture or ointment to apply onto insect bites to relieve itching or swelling.
Sandalwood: The wood can be ground down into a fine powder, and used for beauty treatments - add a bit of rose oil or camphor, and apply it to your skin for cleansing.
Peppermint: Peppermint is good for the skin - rub the leaves on yourself to freshen up. You can also chew them for a quick tooth-cleaning. Use the dried leaves in incense for workings related to healing magic.
Black pepper, like sea salt, is one of the oldest spices on Earth, and has extensive mythology behind it. It was given to Roman soldiers as payment and to help protect them in battle, the ancient Japanese believed it to be one of the strongest aphrodisiacs, and many Voodoo practitioners believe peppers will only grow hot if you’re angry when you plant them. Black pepper, in most ancient cultures, related to war, victory, battle, and their corresponding gods and goddesses.
Magical properties: black pepper, like salt, helps to enhance spells when mixed with other herbs, especially curses and dark magic. On its own, pepper is useful for warding off negative and dark energies.
Medicinal uses: like most other peppers, black pepper can be used to help clear the sinuses of mucous, and help nasal inflammation.
Black pepper spell: if someone at school, work, or home is gossiping about you and spreading untrue rumors, make a simple potion of about 1 cup natural water (rain, river, lake, etc), 1tbsp of whole black peppercorns, 1tbsp crushed red peppers, 1tbsp sea salt, and about a teaspoon of charcoal. After mixing well, place something personal of theirs in the container (a picture, hair, their name written in black ink on solid white paper, etc). Leave outside for three days and three nights, then dispose properly. This is a curse, please use responsibly.
Medicinal use: while you have a stuffy, runny, or clogged nose, eat extra black pepper, or drink it in water.
WARNING: Please do not use herbs or magic in place of proper medical care.