Weird Appalachian Medicine

A guest post by Nurse Practioner, and Appalachian History Researcher, Sherry L. Perry.

fried micegarlic

Some deliciously fried mice for your intestinal issues!   Garlic played a large role in Appalachian Medicine
All photos used under share and share alike agreement from wikimedia

The Appalachian culture is steeped in folklore and superstition. The rural people of Appalachia often had no access at all to health care and depended on the matriarch of the family to advise them on their health care needs. It might take them hours or days to travel to the nearest doctor, and this was just not practical unless it was an extreme emergency and everything that they had tried had already failed. As you can imagine by the time it got to that point the likelihood of survival was nil.

Here is a list of some of the conditions that the matriarch would treat:

Acne: eat two apples first thing in the morning for six weeks.

1. have a cat sit on your knees when the pain is bad.
2. mix one large thimbleful of gunpowder with a spoonful of milk. Drink. Then drink 1/2 pint more of the milk. Then go to bed and pile on all the covers and sweat a lot all night.

Bad Dreams: rub the child’s feet with garlic

Bleeding: put a spider web on the cut

Bronchitis: take the dirty sock you wore all day and put it around your neck and wear it to bed all night. Make sure the foot part is across your throat.

Drunkenness: eat coleslaw before you drink, and you won’t get drunk

Smallpox: eat fried mice

If you lived through these remedies you might also see Granny take care of these conditions:

Ague: high fever or malaria

Bad Blood: syphilis

Flux: severe diarrhea

Goomered: being spelled by a witch

Grippe: flu

Loss of courage: impotence

Liver growed: A baby is not acting right, so they decided they were liver growed which means a small portion of their liver attached to the body wall. They believed this was caused by being jostled in a wagon or carriage. It was cured by shaking the baby.

So the next time you get sick, just be sure to take the medicine your doctor gives you and be thankful you aren’t eating fried mice!!

Works Cited

Published by TheOddPast by Matthew A. Perry

Writer, teacher, broadcaster, and podcaster from West Virginia. I write about and discuss the wacky and weird side of history on my website and my podcast "The Odd Past Podcast" available everywhere

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