Snowblindness - If we got snowblind we used steeped out tea leaves. Take the tea leaves out of the tea pot and put it on your eyes. That was a good cure.

Nosebleed - The only thing we'd do for nosebleed was get ice and put it on your forehead, then lie back. A cold cloth is all right but ice is better. Have the ice in a cloth. It stopped nosebleeds.

Earache - All I ever knowed anyone to do for an earache was to put a hotwater bottle on the ear. We never used to put anything in our ears, not where I come from.

Toothache - The best cure we found for a toothache was Gillett's lye, that's pretty strong stuff. Get a little bit of cotton, put a little bit of Gillett's lye on the cotton and put that in your tooth (in the cavity). It would stop the toothache all right. You never had any more toothache. After about a month your tooth would get loose and come out. You had to be careful the lye didn't touch any other part of your mouth because that was awful stuff to burn.

Boil - If you had a boil you'd cut the rind of a juniper and get the inside, this was called juniper poultice. That would draw out the core and then the boil would get well.

Lewis Brown...1997
Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador

"Them times what was good for anyone with a sore throat or poor appetite was cream of tartar. You'd boil this cream of tartar and raisins together. The raisins were for healing and the cream of tartar was for cleaning out. That was really good."

Mary Dumaresque...1975
L'anse eau Clair, Labrador

Cuts - We'd just put iodine on a plain cut, but if it was a big cut we'd use turpentine. I never done it but I know it was done before I growed up enough to be on my own. I heard talk of people, years before I was born, I s'pose, someone might cut off his toe with the axe, probably cuttin' frankgum off a junk or something like that. The old fellers used to stick the toe back on, do it up with turpentine, and the toe would grow on again. They told us that, you know, the old fellers.

Pearl Pye...1997
Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador

"We used to use Indian tea, fever tea and dogwood for medicines, and St. Peter's tea. St. Peter's tea is something like Indian tea only 'tis smaller, grows lower on the ground. You just put it in a boiler and steep it out. When 'tis strong enough you take it off the stove and let it cold off, then put it in a bottle and drink it when you need it, like when you got a cold on the chest."

Elsie Blake...1977
Rigolet, Labrador


Excerpts from: Snowblind and Seal Finger...stories of early Labrador Medicine THEM DAYS 1998


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