From: New Old and Forgotten Remedies – Ed. Dr. E.P. Anshutz
(Editor’s note: This article discusses the remedy Skookum Chuck, and then presents seven brief cured cases.)
Some readers may be startled at this name applied to a remedy, but under that name it came before the profession and the name has stuck. It is the Western Indian’s designation of the waters of what is now known as Medical Lake (Spokane Washington (U.S.) The following by Dr. W. D. Gentry appeared in the S. Medorrhinum Investigator 1889.
The water is of a deep amber and almost red in the sun light. The following is an analysis of the salts obtained by evaporation of the water; the proportion being in grains per U. S. gallon 231 cubic inches :
Sodium chloride – 16.570 , Potassium chloride -. 9.241, Sodium carbonate – 63,543,
Magnesium carbonate -233 , Ferrous carbonate – 516, Calcium carbonate – 186.
Aluminim oxide -175 , Sodium silicate – 10.63, Organic matter -.551
101.463 :Lithic carbonate , Potassium sulphate, traces of Sodium bi-borate.
The lake has no outlet, but is fed by two enormous springs. It contains no living things with the exception of axoloti, a kind of salamander, such as are found in the lakes of the Mexican Cordilleras.
The medical and curative properties of this remarkable lake was known to the Indians of the Northwest as far back as they have any legends or tribal history and it was held in such reverence by them that the country around this lake was called “Sahala Lyee Illihe,” or “Sacred Grounds”, and no matter how hostile the tribes were to each other, no Indians journeying to or from the Skookum Limechen Chuck or ‘strong medicine water’ were ever molested.
When the Indians were considering the transfer of their lands to the government, many years ago, it is recorded as a matter of history, that old Quetahlguin, father of the present Chief Moses, and ‘Old Joseph,’ father of Chief Joseph, lately a prisoner of war, with the broken remnants of his band, after weeks of deliberation and consideration, with the ‘Sahala Lyee,’ or Great Spirit, through their medicine-men, or prophets, firmly said :
“ We have talked with the Great Spirit and we have slept with his words in our ears. The Great Spirit is our father and the earth is our mother. We have a good home and it was made for us by the Great Spirit ; it is a part of us; it is our mother. In Wallowa Lake are an abundance of fish created especially for our tribe. None other of his red children have such fish. In the ‘ Skookum Chuck ‘ we have a remedy for all our ailments. We only have to bathe in and drink its water and we are made well.
If we sign the treaty we will forever offend the Great Spirit ; we will sign away our mother and she will cry. Her tears will dry up these lakes and we will be hungry and sick. We will go to the Skookum Chuck only to find that its waters have disappeared.’
The story is told of a Frenchman passing the lake many years ago, before the properties of the water became known to the whites, with a drove of sheep afficted with a skin disease called the ‘scab.’ As soon as the sheep saw the water they ran to it, but would not drink. They stood in the water for some time, and in a few days they were well of the ‘scab.’ The Frenchman was suffering with rheumatism. He concluded to try the water of the lake for his disease. He was speedily cured. The whites were soon attracted to this lake by the stories of marvellous cures reported by the Indians, and by seeing Indians return in health and vigor from the lake, who had been taken there on litters, appearing at the point of death. It is estimated that over 20,000 people have visited this lake since ‘Joseph’s Band ‘ were driven from that section of the country, and it is fast becoming as popular as any other of our great health resorts.
My attention was called to Skookum chuck some time since, and I procured some of tbe salts and triturated a quantity, making the first, second, third and sixth potencies. I partially proved the first potency by taking two grains every two hours. The first effect produced was a profuse coryza with constant sneezing, as in hay fever. This continued until the medicine was antidoted by tobacco. My appetite was greatly increased. Some rheumatic pains in limbs, and heaviness about the sacrum. The catarrhal effects were so severe I could not continue the remedy. I have used the third and sixth potency in my practice and have cured a number of cases of catarrh, and am confident that the remedy will be curative in hay fever.
Further investigation, however, demonstrated that the chief curative action of the salts was in skin diseases. Dr. D. De Forest Cole of Albion, N. Y., wrote the following to the firm from whom he procured the remedy:
“Some time since I received from you one bottle Skookum Chuck 3x trit. I had a very bad case of urticaria which resisted the usual remedies as Apis, Urtica ur. etc, and I gave her (a girl twelve years old) four powders of about four grains each of the Skookum chuck, instructing her to take one powder in one-half glass water, one teaspoonful ever two hours, and she returned in a week free from any urticaria. I gave her four powders more, and no appearance of urticaria since. Besides curing the urticaria, the patient’s health is in every way improving. I write this thinking you might desire to know of its value in urticaria, as well as eczema.
Five Skookum Chuck Cases
Dr. D. W. Ingalls, Bridgeport
(These cases were contributed to the N.Y Medorrhinum Times, 1894)
Case 1:Mrs. D. aged forty-eight years, suffered four years with eczema plantaris, fissured, red and painful, which gave forth a viscid secretion, drying into scales half an inch in thickness. For the past two years the patient had not been able to wear shoes nor walk any distance, owing to the excessive soreness of the feet. Patient consulted me March 1st, and the following treatment was given : Two-grain powders of the 2x trituration of Skookum chuck every two hours, and an ointment applied nightly consisting of Skookum salt one drachm to the ounce of Vaseline, In the morning the feet were washed with Skookum chuck soap. April 1st the patient walked to the dispensary in felt shoes. The fissures and greenish tinge of the crusts had nearly disappeared. The two-grain powders were then given every four hours, and the former treatment continued. On May 1st, patient walked to the dispensary wearing leather shoes for the first time, the ointment was stopped, the fissures and crevices being hardly perceptible.
The patient was advised to wash the feet night and morning with the Skookum chuck soap. June 1st patient presented herself, stating that she had very little trouble with her feet, except some tenderness upon a misstep. Appearence good. A powder of the 3X was given every night, together with the continued washing of the feet night and morning. July 1st the patient was discharged cured.
Case 2 : Mrs. B., aged twenty-eight, eczema of the nose of one year’s standing. The usual ointments were given, but without result. March 15th the following treatment was given : Five-grain powder of the 2x trituration Skookum chuck four times a day, together with the Skookum ointment applied nightly. This case was entirely cured in six weeks.
Case 3 : Mrs. H. aged twenty three, benign growth in left breast about the size of a walnut, first noticed about eight months previously. Upon strict inquiry no history of cancer or tuberculosis was given. One-grain powders of the 1x were given, the first week every four hours. Two-grain powders of the 2x were given every four hours the second week. Five grain powders of the 3X were given the third week and continued seven weeks, when the patient was discharged cured.
Case 4 :Mr. S. was afflicted with eczema of the scalp, which spread from back of the ears to the eyebrows, covering the entire scalp with a squamous or scabby eczema, accompained with a constant itching and shedding of scales. On March 18th the following treatment was given : Head to be washed four times a day with Skookum chuck soap. A five grain powder 2X trituration was given every hour during the first week, when Sulphur third decimal, was given for three days, and Skookum chuck second decimal, was continued for one week. One-grain powder of the 1x was given in water four times a day for two weeks; then the third decimal trituration was used until June 1st, when patient was discharged cured.
Case 5 : Mrs. D., aged thirty-six, prolonged suppuration due to abscess of the axilla, nine months’ standing. June 20th the following treatment was given: The abscess was washed four times a day with the solution of Skookum salts, five grains to one quart of water, and the 2x given internally every’ two hours until July l0th, when the abscess was healed. A two-grain powder was then continued, night and morning for one month, with no return of the abscess. To sum up, I have simply verified what Dr. Gentry and others have given us about the remedy. I have used it with gratifying success in all suppurating wounds. It evidently has a great sphere of action, and I hope someday to see a good proving.
Two Skookum Chuck Cases
Dr. B. F. Bailey
We have many remedies brought to our notice in an empirical way, which soon lose their prominence, first because we have no provings, and second, having no provings, clinical study is not close enough. When Skookum chuck was first written up, I began to use it and watch its effects, that it might be possible to find its proper niche in practice. The following two cases will, I think, give an idea of the cases in which it may always be depended upon.
Case 1: A married woman of 40 years of age. History and present condition show a lithaemic diathesis. For years has never been free from eczematous troubles. At times suffers much from rheumatism, not infrequently, rheumatism disappears to be immediately followed by hordeoli upon eye lids. Has been treated long and faithfully by Allopaths, and now for some years by our own school. Prescribed Skookum 3x— one powder every 4 hours. Improvement was soon evident Persisted in this treatment for three months, and now for two years patient has been perfectly well.
Case 2 : Patient is a married woman of about 26 years, comes to me with urine, specific gravity 1.030, marked uric acid deposits, flushed face upon a yellowish background — so often seen in lithaemic cases. Much difficulty of digestion. Great dryness of skin, especially of scalp, with great trouble from falling out of hair — in short a thoroughly lithemic case. Skookum chuck 3X every four hours. Satisfactory improvement. Has feared head will become entirely bald. Now no loss of hair, and a loss of the heated, congested feeling of face and head. In fact, a satisfactory recovery now of some weeks standing. These cases briefly stated ought to be of interest, in that they show it to be probable that we will find the sphere of action of Skookum to be in lithaemic cases, and for the treatment of these cases where we have but a few clearly defined reliable remedies.
Note : Skookum Chuck is available from: