Ozark Encyclopedia – C – Corn

Corncob burned under bed for typhoid – “Some yarb doctors treat typhoid by administering large doses of slippery-elm ooze, forbidding the patient to eat any solid food, and finally building up a great smudge of corncobs under the bed.” ~Randolph OMF 96

Used in wart curing – “Some hillfolk prefer to lose their warts at a crossroad, or better still at a place where the road forks three ways. Take a grain of corn for each wart and place each grain in the road under a small thin stone. The warts will be taken over by the person or animal that moves the stones and uncovers the grains of corn.” ~Randolph OMF 127

Feeding to chicken to cure warts – “An old man in Pineville, Missouri, told me as a great secret that he could cure any wart by squeezing a drop of blood out of it on a grain of corn and feeding the corn to a red rooster. According to another version of this story, it is best to rub the wart with two grains of corn, feed one to the rooster, and carry the other in your pocket. When you lose the grain from your pocket, the wart will be gone. The losing must be accidental, but that is not difficult; most cabins are full of rodents, and a grain of corn in the pocket of one’s overalls will soon ‘turn up missin’.’” ~Randolph OMF 129

“…prick the wart until it bleeds, then take a piece of corn and rub on it, then throw the piece of corn over your left shoulder in the chicken pen and if you can’t see which chicken ate the corn the wart will go away.” ~Parler FBA III 3696

“Take a needle and prick the wart until it bleeds, then rub three grains of corn in the blood. Throw the corn to the chickens. If a rooster eats them the wart will go away, but if a hen eats them you’ll just have to try something else.” ~Parler FBA III 3698

“Feed yellow corn to a Red rooster and if he eats it your wart will dissappear…” ~Parler FBA III 3705

In water to cure hiccups – “As recently as 1942, in a modern hospital at Springfield, Missouri, a patient insisted upon treating his hiccoughs by naming three grains of corn for three friends, and then putting the corn into a vessel of water which was to be suspended above his head.” ~Randolph OMF 149

Corncob burned under bed to ease childbirth – “In cases of difficult childbirth, many hillfolk burn corncobs on the doorstep, or even under the bed. There is an old story to the effect that red cobs are much more effective than white cobs, but this is not taken seriously.” ~Randolph OMF 200

Connection to childbirth – “There is some connection, however, in the hillman’s mind, between corncobs and child-bearing. J once knew a fellow who was outraged because his wife gathered a great many red cobs and burned them in the fireplace at night; he thought that she did this because she was unwilling to have any more children.” ~Randolph OMF 200

Burning corncobs for colds and pneumonia – “You took and surrounded them with a steamin’ hot blanket and put smoking corn cobs around them to smoke out the fever. Once’t a lady tol’ a doctor that she had tried smokin’ ‘em with the cobs, he asked what color she used, and she replied white. He tol’ her next time to use the red cobs.” ~Pompey GG 10

Corncob ash for pyorrhea – “Lots of folks used to have pyorrhea of the gums back in the early days. We used red corncobs for that. Youen’s burns a red corn cob to cinders and either brushes it on the gums with a tooth brush or rubs it on with a rag.” ~Pompey GG 12

Used to cure corns – “At gray of dawn go to the cornfield, get a partly dead and partly red that’s wet with dew. Hold the blade and say:

Corny morny, bladey dead,

Gory, sorey, rusty red,

Go bathe my corn in the gray of the morn.

(This will get rid of a sore corn.)” ~Parler FBA II 1942

Corncobs under bed for sweating – “If nine red corn cobs are put under the bed of a person who has some sickness that makes him sweat a lot, this will keep him from sweating.” ~Parler FBA III 3372


Parler, Mary Celestia Folk Beliefs from Arkansas (FBA)

Pompey, Sherman Lee Granny Gore’s Ozark Folk Medicine (GG)

Randolph, Vance Ozark Magic and Folklore (OMF)

Source: Ozark Encyclopedia – C – Corn

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