At the time of the pioneers, even minor illnesses could cause death. One reason was because they did not know about germs. Many times they shared dishes and bedding.
There were very few doctors on the frontier. Many times the pioneers had to make their own medicine. They used herbs, which are plants, roots, and bark. They learned about the herbs from the Indians.
Below are some illness, pioneer cures, and why the cure sometimes did help.
|arthritic pain||alfalfa||good for pituitary gland|
|congestion||bayberry bark||prevents hemorrhages|
|allergies||bee pollen||energy food|
|sluggish liver||beet root||cleans liver and spleen|
|tape worms||black walnut hulls||good for nerves|
|impurities from blood||burdock root||soothes kidney|
|colic in babies||catnip herb||soothes nerves|
|bladder and kidney problems||dandelion root (raw)||prevents anemia (high iron content)|
|gas, gout, colic||fennel seed||takes away appetite|
|asthma, whooping cough, heart problems||garlic||stimulates digestive system|
|low blood pressure||ginseng||energy|
|(restores) heart muscle wall||hawthorn berries||heart disease|
|kidney stones||horsetail||youthful skin|
|(expels) gallstones||parsley||prevents growth
of cancer cells
|infection||red clover||blood purifier,
(high vitamin C content)
|wild lettuce||cleans ulcers|
|general pain||willow bark|
Pioneer Games, Toys, and Songs
The pioneers had fun on the trail and even when they worked. Children played games like skipping rope, chasing hoops, tag, and other games. Some of their games were like the string games we still play today. The children did not have many toys and most all of them were homemade. Their mothers taught them to make apple dolls and corn husk dolls. Fathers taught their children how to carve things from wood, such as a whimmydiddle, buzz saw, or mountain bolo.
After a long day on the trail they would gather around the campfire and listen to the fiddlers, sing songs, and dance. Some of their songs included “Cindy”, “Buffalo Gals”, and “My Darling Clementine.”
(source – written by nine and ten year old students at Floresville Elementary School in south Texas)