Dr. Hoffmann described some of the traditional practices of the midwives he assisted at deliveries. Some, like putting an ax under the mother's bed to cut the pain, were of psychological benefit; if the patient believed the ax would cut her pain, she might actually feel the pain less. Others, like giving the mother "daubers nest tea", made from a boiled dauber hornet's nest, or greasing her abdomen with "mothers' friend", a combination of rendered animal fat and herbs, seem to have had actual therapeutic value.
Other South Carolina sources confirm the practices described by Dr. Hoffmann and also mention raspberry leaf
tea and viburnum bark tea as being effective at dulling the pain of labor contractions.