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.


Indian River Tonic 

Chronic Diarrhea

Liver Tonic Thrush & Goiter Hand Lotion Iron Weed Tonic (For blood)

Cancer & Flux(diarrhea)                       

Tonic Piles (hemorrhoids) Dropsy(edema) & Flux Stomach Power & Frost Bite Flux

Herb Tonic

Alum Healing Salve Periods Boils Stomach Remedy Flux

Constipation & Cold Syrup

Bladder Irriation Piles Paralysis & Croup Flux High Blood Remedy


Sweaty Feet & Worm Remedy Pleurisy Sugar Diabetes Change of Life Tonic Scrofula (form of TB)

Healing Salve

Stomach & Fever Remedy Sore Mouth & Throat Rheumatism Liver Tonic Pellagra
Soap Burns & Chapped Hands Hiccup & Burns Sore Eyes Female Tonic Cough Syrup
Hair Tonic Liver Tonic Healing Oil Skin Tonic Red Liniment Cough Syrup (page 2)
Hair Tonic (page 2) Hand Lotion Rheumatism Rheumatism Stone Root Healing Salve Liver Tonic
Rheumatism Illinois Liver Tonic Poplar Tonic Rheumatism Constipation Brava Tonic
Flux Golden Seal & Mountain Tea Tonic Poplar Tonic #2 Marney's Gravel Remedy Rheumatism Brava Tonic
Blood Root Tonic Tonsillitis Liver Tonic New Life Liver Tonic Rheumatism Brava Tonic
New Life Tonic Mountain Tea Liniment Burdock Tonic Clak Tonic Stone Root & Dandelion Root Tonic Cough Syrup
New Life Tonic Numona Oil (pneumonia oil) Healing Salve Pile Remedy Flux Cough Syrup (cont)
New Life Tonic Pile Salve Flux Herb Remedy Corn Salve Flux Rheumatism
New Life Tonic Change of Life Tonic Pock Bloat Stone Tonic B Tonic Healing Salve
Menses High Blood Pressure Gasoline Liniment Phthisic Cough Syrup Brava Tonic
Brava Tonic Liver Tonic Whitening Receipt Pellagra Salve Brava Tonic (page 2)
Rheumatism Good Health Tonic Pile Salve Cancer Flux Dropsy
Golden Seal & Dandelion Tonic Emeen Tonic Catarrh Salve Healing Salve Goiter Dropsy (page 2)
General Tonic Green Tonic Consumption (tuberculosis) Pock Asthma Pellagra & Eczema
Gallstone (page 1) Eczema Bowl Pellagra Good Health Tonic Erysipelas (skin infection) Blood Tonic
Gallstone (page 2) Cough Syrup Bowl Pellagra (page 2) Good Health Tonic (page 2) Erysipelas (skin infection) (page 2) Healing Salve
Gallstone (page 3) Pile Salve Green Brack Tonic Eczema & Blood Medication Erysipelas (skin infection) (page 3) Pneumonia Salve
 High Blood Pile & Corn Salve Flux Eczema & Blood Remedy Erysipelas (skin infection) (page 4) Heart Desease
Black Hall Tonic Eczema Flex (page 2) Sore Leg Remedy Yellow Root Tonic Cough Syrup
Cough Syrup Kidney Tonic Shingles Blood Purifier Flux & Diarrhea Remedy  Pile Salve
Hosh Root Tonic Blood Tonic Calumet Laxative Liver Syrup Bladder Tonic Pile Salve Rocky Mountain Herb Tonic
Pile Salve Rheumatism Remedy Pellagra Bladder Tonic (page 2) Pile Salve (page 2) Eczema Wash
Worm Remedy Gall Stone Remedy High Blood Eczema Ointment Red Liniment Pellagra Tonic
Eczema Tonic & Blood Purifier Ring Worm Cure Cough Syrup Rheumatism Liniment Red Pepper & Red Liniment Rheumatism Remedy
Red Clover Treatment J. S. Scalf Cough Syrup