Pioneers used plants to make medicine. Some of the plants they used were Ginseng and Jack-in-the-Pulpit. They used these plant medicines to treat colds, pneumonia and ague, an illness that was like malaria. Some believed that a bag of asafetida worn around the neck would keep them healthy. Asafetida was an herb that smells like garlic. Some believed that a dead spider worn around their neck would prevent ague. Some pioneers believed that a rattlesnake's heart could cure epilepsy.
They didn't have vaccinations during the pioneer times to protect them from things like the measles, mumps, and small pox. When someone in the village got a disease like this, they were usually kept away from other people because they could give the disease to other people. These kinds of diseases were spread easily.