Manuscripts/Mixed Material [Southern Customs]
A strange cure that the Darkies had for headache was to take the revenue stamp from a sack of tobacco and paste it on the forehead. It advertised the fact that the Darkey was suffering from headache, and he would get a lot of sympathy anyway.
As a cure for mumps I have seen a negro rub the oil from a 3¢ can of sardines on his cheeks, and then eat the sardines. The swelling would usually go down, too. Probably the massaging helped.
The Darkies believed that a toothache could be relieved by taking the “stinger” from the tail of a Sting-ray fish, and inserting it into the cavity.
A popular cure for warts, practiced by both blacks and whites, was to gather as many pebbles as you had warts, rub one pebble on each wart, take them to a crossroads and throw the pebbles over your left shoulder. The warts were supposed to go with them.
Of course, there was one always effective way to stop hiccoughs. Just swallow nine gulps of water while standing on one foot.
A common negro cure for corns was this: Procure before breakfast a white feather from the left wing of a chicken. Spit on it and mark a cross over the corn. Throw the feather over your shoulder, not looking where it falls. The wind will carry the feather away, and the corn with it.
There was an interesting superstition about curing Yellow Jaundice. And that reminds me of a story I once heard, about an old Darkie who had jaundice very badly. And he sent his wife to find something made of pure gold to place against his body. A piece of gold was supposed to attract the disease away from the patient and draw the yellow color out of his skin.
Well, she finally managed to borrow a gold wedding ring from a white lady. And they let it lie on the sick man's chest for several days. When he got worse instead of better, his wife toted the ring back to its owner, and reproachfully informed her that 'this ring ain't no real pure gold — your husban' done give you a just gold-plate ring!' KNIPE'S CURE: Dr. Knipe was a man known all over Tennessee fifty years ago