Cecil Bragg, in his book, Ocracoke Island: Pearl of the Outer Banks, relates this story of an island home cure:
"It has been mentioned...what curative powers the elderly women had with herbs...from which they made poultices, salves, liquids and what-not made up for fever cures and all miseries of stricken people....
"[T]here was one particular case of a man with curative powers that seemed absolutely silly and preposterous, but his method, whatever it was, worked.... To give just one instance, the island has a growth called the sharp pointed rush [Juncus acutus].
It grows in low wet ground either in fresh or salt water. It reaches a height of three feet and is round and green and has a very sharp point. It doesn't seem to have any use whatsoever, but Jackson, as we'll call him here, found a use for it for a man who used to vacation on the island every summer until his passing on. This well-to-do gentleman, a banker from Washington, N.C., had an unsightly wart on his nose that was more than a half inch long and still growing.
"The oddity of the rush is that the root end is white, round and soft, if you go close to the earth and pull the single rush out of its bed of roots slowly and easily, you have an all green growth except the white end. Jackson told the gentleman to pull a rush as mentioned above, and to rub the white part on his wart and place the rush back in the hole it came from and the wart would disappear before he'd realize what happened. The gentleman, Mr. Bridgeman, by name, pooh-poohed the idea but went through with the advice given him by Jackson, without telling anybody he had done so. Mr. Bridgeman was staying at the home of my uncle, Winslow Sanderson Bragg, at which as a child I was then living. Uncle Winslow was staring at Mr. Bridgeman so hard that he quizzed my uncle, "What are you staring like that at me for?" "Feel your nose, your wart is gone," said Uncle Winslow. Then Mr. Bridgeman told my uncle what Jackson had told him to do, and how skeptical he was about doing it.
"Mr. Bridgeman set out immediately to find Jackson and pay him for the favor he had done for him, but when he offered him money Jackson said "Oh my goodness, no; if I took money my gift would be gone."
As it turns out, many natural ingredients may promote the removal of warts (at least according to Readers Digest) including garlic, dandelion, birch bark, and banana peel. According to Wikipedia, juncusol, a 9,10-dihydrophrenathrene which is found in Juncus species has antimicrobial properties. The next time you are plagued with a wart, consider rubbing it with the root of the sharp pointed rush. And don't forget to place the rush back in the hole it came from!!
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Water Tank Caper. This is the link: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032117.htm.