John Silas Scalf

Medicine books

John Silas Scalf was a self-taught mountain medicine man. He was always addressed as Doc Scalf. In addition to raising huge fields of watermelons and cantaloupes for sale at roadside stands and to his neighbors, he operated a small laboratory in his home. In this laboratory he produced many different kinds of ointments, salves, and herb tonics for all the aliments that plagued his neighbors. The most famous herb tonic produced by John Scalf in the 1930s was renamed, mass produced, and marketed on a large scale throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia by his brother, Dawrity Scalf, as “Scalf’s Indian River Medicine". The medicine books were provided to Virgil Scalf by Leo "Skip" Scalf II, the great-grandson of John Silas Scalf.

Listed below are the recipes from the medicine books for many different kinds of  medicines.


Alum Healing Salve Dropsy Hand Lotion 1 Paralysis Remedy Salve
Asthma Dropsy (page 2) Hand Lotion 2 Periods Scrofula (form of Tuberculosis)
B Tonic Dropsy(edema) & Flux Hair Tonic Pellagra 1 Shingles
Black Hall Tonic Eczema 1 Hair Tonic (page 2) Pellagra 2 Skin Tonic
Bladder Irritation Eczema 2 Healing Oil Pellagra 3 Soap
Bladder Tonic Eczema & Blood Medication Healing Salve 1 Pellagra & Eczema Sore Eyes
Bladder Tonic (page 2) Eczema & Blood Medication (Page 2) Healing Salve 2 Pellagra Tonic Sore Leg Remedy
Blood Purifier Eczema Ointment Healing Salve 3 Phthisis (Tuberculosis) Sore Mouth & Throat
Blood Tonic 1 Eczema Tonic & Blood Purifier Healing Salve 4 Piles (Hemorrhoids) Stomach Remedy
Blood Tonic 2 Eczema Wash Healing Salve 5 Piles Remedy Stomach & Fever Remedy
Blood Root Tonic Erysipelas (skin infection) Heart Desease Piles Salve 1 Stomach Powder
Boils Erysipelas (page 2) Herb Tonic Piles Salve 2 Stone Tonic
Bowl Pellagra Erysipelas (page 3) Hiccup Remedy Piles Salve 3 Stone Root Healing Salve
Bowl Pellagra (page 2) Erysipelas (page 4) High Blood Pressure 1 Piles Salve 4 Stone Root & Dandelion Root Tonic
Brava Tonic 1 Female Tonic High Blood Pressure 2 Piles Salve 5 Sugar Diabetes
Brava Tonic 1 (page 2) Flux 1 High Blood Pressure 3 Piles Salve 5 (page 2) Sweaty Feet
Brava Tonic 1 (page 3) Flux 2 High Blood Pressure 4 Piles Salve 6 Thrush & Goiter
Brava Tonic 2 Flux2 (page 2) Hosh Root Tonic Piles Salve 7 Tonic
Brava Tonic 2 (page 2) Flux 3 Illinois Liver Tonic Piles Salve 8 Tonsillitis
Brava Tonic 2 (page 3) Flux 4 Indian River Tonic  Pleurisy Whitening Recipe
Burdock Tonic Flux 5 Iron Weed Tonic (For blood) Pneumonia Oil Worm Remedy 1
Burn Salve Flux 6 J. S. Scalf Cough Syrup Pneumonia Salve Worm Remedy 2
Burns & Chapped Hands Flux 7 Kidney Tonic Pock Yellow Root Tonic
Calumet Laxative Liver Syrup Flux 7 (page 2) Liver Tonic 1 Pock Bloat  
Cancer Flux Remedy Liver Tonic 2 Poplar Tonic  
Cancer Cure Flux & Diarrhea Remedy Liver Tonic 3 Poplar Tonic #2  
Catarrh Salve Flux Herb Remedy Liver Tonic 4 Queen of Meadow Tonic  
Change of Life Tonic 1 Frostbite Liver Tonic 5 Red Clover Treatment  
Change of Life Tonic 2 Gallstones Liver Tonic 6 Red Liniment 1  
Chronic Diarrhea Gallstones (page 2) Marney's Gravel Remedy Red Liniment 2  
Clak Tonic Gallstones (page 3) Menses Red Pepper & Red Liniment  
Constipation Gallstone Remedy Mountain Tea Liniment Rheumatism 1  
Constipation & Cold Syrup Gasoline Liniment New Life Tonic Rheumatism 2  
Consumption (Tuberculosis) General Tonic New Life Tonic (page 2) Rheumatism 3  
Corn Salve 1 Goiter New Life Tonic (page 3) Rheumatism 4  
Corn Salve 2 Golden Seal & Dandelion Tonic New Life Tonic (page 4) Rheumatism 5  
Cough Syrup 1 Golden Seal & Mountain Tea Tonic New Life Liver Tonic Rheumatism 6  
Cough Syrup 1 (page 2) Good Health Tonic 1   Rheumatism 7  
Cough Syrup 2 Good Health Tonic 2   Rheumatism 8  
Cough Syrup 2 (page 2) Good Health Tonic 2 (page 2)   Rheumatism 9  
Cough Syrup 3 Gonorrhea   Rheumatism Liniment  
Cough Syrup 4 Green Tonic   Rheumatism Remedy 1  
Cough Syrup 5 Green Brack Tonic   Rheumatism Remedy 2  
Cough Syrup 6     Ring Worm Cure  
Cough Syrup 7     Rocky Mountain Herb Tonic  
Croup Oil & Pneumonia Remedy