Choctaw Medicine

The Choctaw treat boils and ulcers with applications of salve made of pine pitch mixed with grease or tallow. This salve is applied also to wounds caused by splinters and thorns. Severe or deep cuts are filled with sugar and bandaged tightly.

Various remedies are employed for snake bites:

Smoke from strong tobacco is blown into the wound.

The bitten limb is inserted into a hole in the ground dug for the purpose, which is then filled with earth and water. The limb is allowed to remain thus, in thoroughly saturated earth, for several hours.

A quantity of the leaves and bark of the Carolina poplar (Populus angulata) is boiled in water; the vessel is then covered and the steam is caused to pass over the wound.

The Choctaw believe in sweating as a cure for certain diseases, but have no recollection of ever having seen a primitive sweat house. They merely wrap themselves in several blankets and drink a quan­tity of hot liquid.

These Indians seem to be very susceptible to cold and to changes of temperature.

As a remedy for severe pains in the stomach or rheumatic pains these Choctaw believe in the efficacy of a strong counter irritant. Their treatment consists in pressing into the flesh above the seat of the pain a piece of cotton or similar substance, about the size of a small pea, which is burned in that position. It is said that many of the older Choctaw bore numerous scars as a result of the frequent use of this treatment.

For broken bones in the arms or legs splints and bandages are employed, the injured member remaining wrapped until the bone unites.

Also See: Choctaw Medicinal Plants and Treatment


Bushnell, David I., Jr. The Choctaw of Bayou Lacomb, St Tammay Parish Louisiana. Washington Government Printing Office. 1909.

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