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folk remedies, baby lore, ailments, folk cures, Pow-wowing, plants, salves
A handwritten set of old folk remedies and cures of the 19th century South Eastern Pennsylvania Dutch community compiled by Alice Ziemer, dating from circa 1950. Within, Ziemer provides remedies for ailments such as pneumonia, whooping cough, epilepsy, warts and the common cold. The notes also contain folklore surrounding infants and rhymes in Pennsylvania Dutch dialect.
Packet 735-26 to 735-30
Contributed by Mrs. Alice Ziemer
1. Salve was made by frying jimsonweed or tea leaves in lard.
2. Years ago a woman in this section is said to have cured a severe case of pneumonia by applying pancakes baked with as many kinds of tea leaves she could find, on the chest of her child.
3. To keep a child from getting whooping cough a strip of leather from a pigs hide was tied around his neck when asleep. This had to be done without waking him.
4. Katzagraat (spelling?) (catnip) tea was supposed to be good for babies colic
5. Salwei (spelling?) tea was supposed to be good for colds.
6. Wann mer schmertsa (sidestitch) in die seid hot, solmer um es dishbee drei mal gradla.
En kindt sed net unich die fense gradla schunsch wakst es nimme.
Reita, Reita Geille
Alle stundt en Mille
Farhre mer ivver en blockhaus
Gucka drei bobba raus
Eene spinnt seida
Die anner flecht weida
Un die anner grabt en Brunna
Un hot en bubbli funna
Wie sol es hessa
Becky odder Maisie
Wer soldie winala wesha
Ei die Liza Dobberdesher
Contributed but definitely NOT Recommended by H. S. Ziemer M. D.
Home remedies and beliefs in the 19th century in Southeastern Penna.
1. When baby is born first wrap in silk shirt so that he will love his or her father.
2. When new baby first leaves room where it was born carry it upstairs (to attic if necessary) so that it will become "high minded" (intelligent). It will become “low minded” if carried down stairs first.
3. One shouldn’t cut fingernails of baby during its first year or it will become “long fingered” (thief)
4. When a woman is pregnant she shouldn’t be scared or crawl under a fence - for the child might be birthmarked.
1. Convulsions in babies. Place coarse salt in baby’s hands, sliced bacon on its feet and a Bible under its head
2. Epilepsy in Children
Cut hunk of hair off child’s head and bore a hole in an oak tree. Put hair in hole and put plug back in tree. As the tree grows the epilepsy will pass away.
Cut onion into four parts - rub on wart - put parts together and bury in ground - as onion rots the wart will disappear
1 Pow wow
2 Cobwebs taken from a barn and placed on bleeding
1. Place cow manure on wound.
2. Place plug of tobacco on wound.
6. Sore Eyes and Babies
The mother squirted milk from her breasts into the babies eyes to wash them.
7. Belly Ache
Either chicken or horse manure soaked in warm water - (this may have helped for the manure may contain ammonia and this would relieve gas)
8. Chronic Indigestion
Take the linings from the stomachs of chickens - dry them at low heat - grind them and eat them on bread after each meal. (The chicken stomach linings may have contained pepsin, depending on the temperature of drying, and that may have relieved the indigestion.
9. Stomach ulcers or severe abdominal pains
Some sections used a very fine blue clay before meals. This was also used by Indian Tribes.
10. Severe bodily pain
One pint of whiskey
11. Foreign body in eye
Place a flaxseed under eyelid
The following were taken from German clippings pasted inside front cover of old Bible belonging to my great grandmother from about 1800
1. Stomach Cramps
Three or four drops of kummel oil mixed with rum or strong burned wine (brandy)
2. Sour stomach and heartburn
Burn a cork and mix on plate with milk or water. Take every two hours (cork is charcoal so this remedy may have given relief)
3. Edema of body or legs
Make infusion of carrots, salt peter, and water drink quite a bit.
Epsom salt solution
Tea was made from [pipsissewa] leaves or from gentian leaves.
Poultices for wounds
1. Were made from Jimson weed (This contains an alkaloid related to belladonna)
2. Were made from rosin or wool fat or suet
Croton oil - made from croton beans.
Camphor was hung around neck to ward off disease
Asafetida was hung around neck to ward off whooping cough
The leaves were crushed and mixed with lard.
(This is the one I learned years ago)
Dat drivva, dat drovva, dat draus
Dat hocka so scheene meedlin hars
Sie sin so schee, sie sin so schee
Sie hen so scheene dicke bee
Wann du sie froogst fa mit dansa geh
Saga sie - Du bischt fer rickt mein kind
A favorite of my Great Grandmother Rachel Krick Kricktown
Der mann un der hund kerre naus
Der mann fer schaffe, der hund fer blaffe
Die frau un die katz karre ins haus
Die frau fer hausa, die katz fer mause.
(Miss) Alice Ziemer
English and Pennsylvania German
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Ziemer, Alice, "Old Home Remedies and Beliefs of Southeastern Pennsylvania" (1950). Alfred L. Shoemaker Folk Cultural Documents. 135.
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