Clay County Remedies

Before Dr. Paul Killian came to Clay County my people got along with a midwife, home remedies and prayer. Relatives died from typhoid fever, snake bites, TB and gastric troubles.

Whiskey and a wad of tobacco were used for disinfectant. Sulphur and molasses, followed by dandelion greens and sassafras, made fine healing teas.

Mama used Cherokee traditional medicines. Each summer she canned blackberries for medicinal purposes, mainly for settling stomachs. Syrup made from the roots healed my sore throat.

Ol' Doc Killian practiced without all the scientific refinements we have today. He swabbed Gentian Violet on the inside of my mouth for infection. It tasted dreadful. His favorite remedy for most anything was a vile mixture of quinine, iron and strychnine.

The year 1940 marked the beginning of a new period in medicine for Ol' Doc. Research efforts produced penicillin and the sulfonamides. He was able to use these miracle drugs the last 10 years of his practice.

Barbara Ledford Wright, Shelby

Share this article

top