Texas Folk Medicine: 1,333 Cures, Remedies, Preventives, & Health Practices is now available as a free e-book at the UNT Digital Library and The Portal to Texas History.
Many of these folk medical practices are older than scientific medicine. Some reflect a belief in magic. Seldom written down, this oral lore has been passed down from generation to generation from the time of the first settlements in this country. Some of these cures and remedies work because the items used have medicinal properties, as modern science has shown. Many have no known therapeutic value, but for those who believed in them the power of suggestion was enough.
The list of cures from "Acne" to "Whooping Cough" will bring to mind your grandparents’ method for removing warts, stopping hiccups, or relieving the aches of rheumatism.
Acne: Wash your face with a wet diaper. (Jefferson County)
Cuts and Wounds: Soak in coal oil and then tie up with a piece of fat bacon. (Brazos County)
Styes: Go to a crossroad and shout, "Sty, sty, leave my eye; catch the first one passing by." Wait until someone passes and your sty will be gone. (Bexar County)
Whooping Cough: Take a white weed and make a tea out of it and drink it. (Bastrop County)