Ancient Tuscarora Remedies: Part 3

TURTLE ISLAND – Sometime before 1888, an aged Tuscarora shaman, who went by the English name Joseph Williams, was interviewed about ancient remedies of the Tuscarora for a wide range of ailments.

The handwritten manuscripts from that interview were translated from the Tuscarora language, collected by J.N.B. Hewitt and filed with the Bureau of American Ethnology Catalogue of Manuscripts under number 435 — Iroquois, in the year 1888. There were 31 remedies for various diseases handwritten on 15, 8×12 pages.

We publish these traditional remedies for historical interest only and do not in any way endorse or promote these remedies as safe for use today.

For dysentery, another remedy is used, namely, Choke Cherry, or Virginiana. The bark of the root of this shrub is used being made into an infusion and being drunk.

For dysentery, still another remedy is in vogue being the bark from the roots of the White Oak. The bark must be taken from the root, which runs directly eastward, and an infusion made from it by steeping and taken inwardly.

For prolapses ani, common among small children, the ashes from a snail’s shell, Helix, or Paludina Vivipara, are administered.

The shell used must be empty and not occupied by a snail. If a shell that is still occupied is reduced to ashes and this taken fatal results must be expected.

The empty shell is cast into the fire and when reduced to ashes, these must be given in a small quantity of water to the patient. To reduce the prolapses, the patient is kept in bed for several days to allow the patient to gain strength.

Rectal prolapse often used to mean complete rectal prolapse (external rectal prolapse), where the rectal walls have prolapsed to a degree where they protrude out the anus and are visible outside the body. However, most researchers agree that there are three to five different types of rectal prolapse, depending on if the prolapsed section is visible externally, and if the full or only partial thickness of the rectal wall is involved.

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