Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Mountain Remedies Part 1

I've wanted to write a post about "mountain backwood remedies" for quite a while now but I always seem to get distracted by another subject. Today, as I was pondering on some blog post topics, my husband's Aunt Carol sent me an exert from a book that she was thumbing through that was titled "Mountain Remedies." Great timing, huh? Because this is a lengthy topic, I've decided to make this a two part post (maybe 3) and will share the complete exert next week. 


Google Image

Before I share some of my findings, I must first post a legal disclaimer:
 This is a website/blog. The opinions expressed are my own and are shared as a source of information and entertainment. I am not a medical professional and do not recommend using any of these remedies without first consulting with your physician.

The exert is from "Smoky Mtn. Heritage circa 1920" and as I was doing a little more research on the subject, I came across Dave Tabler's website, Appalachian History:
"Big Pharma had not yet perfected the widespread manufacture of synthetic drugs in 1932. Instead, the industry relied on “western North Carolina, southwestern Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and eastern Tennessee [to] furnish 75% of the crude botanical drugs which the continent of North America supplies to the drug markets of the world,” according to an article in Economic Geography that summer."

So only 12 years after the information I'm going to share with you (next week) was published, the world still obtained the majority of their botanical drugs from Southern Appalachia. That's pretty incredible!

Interestingly enough, according to Folk Medicine In Southern Appalachia by Anthony Cavender, "by the 1920s commercial medicines had displaced much of the folk materia medica in most households." Here are some examples from the same book:

  • Burns: Traditional Medicines (TM)- potato slice/scrapings. Commercial Medicine (CM): Cloverine Salve
  • Constipation: TM - Mayapple, Epsom salts. CM - Black Draught
  • Cough: TM - Cherry bark, mullein. CM - Troutman's Cough Syrup
  • Diarrhea: TM - blackberry. CM - Pepto Bismol
  • Heat Rash: TM - parched flour, cornstarch. CM - Gold Bond Powder
  • Kidney Disorders: TM - corn silk, dandelion. CM - Doan's Pills
  • Liver Disorders: TM - ratsbane. CM - Carter's Little Liver Pills
  • Low Blood: TM - sulfur and molasses. CM - Geritol, Hadacol.
  • Muscle Ache: TM - turpentine and hog fat. CM - Watkins Red Liniment, Sloan's Liniment 
  • Upset Stomach: TM - goldenseal, calamus, peppermint. CM - Pepto Bismol, Rolaids. 
  • Worms: TM - pumpkin seed. CM - Fry's Worm Medicine

 A couple of years ago, I got to thinking about the fact that if my family's health and well-being were left solely up to me, the gravedigger could just go ahead and dig our spots. That's a very scary thought. 

Since then, I've read up on many different natural remedies. I make and can my own elderberry syrup which just so happens to be something that the people of Appalachia have used to boost the immune system and ward of things like the flu for many, many years. I love honey and happen to have family members who are beekeepers. Honey is good for everything! I've researched the different uses of oils and extracts and the benefits of them. I make, use, and sell organic insect repellent, lotions, and salves. I recently read about the benefits of turmeric and ginger and luckily found a local farm that grows both and now make a paste with both. I'm also hoping to grow some of my own now that I know it can be grown in this region. What I would love to learn more about it how to identify plants and how to use them. Luckily, I live in botanical heaven! 

As promised, I will share the complete list of "Mountain Remedies" (circa 1920s) next week. Hope y'all will come back to read it. Some of them are quite unusual! Until then, how about sharing some of your tried and true home remedies in the comment section below. I'd love to compile a list from all of my Appalachian Mountain Roots readers!   

1 comment:

  1. I just found this and can't believe there are no comments! Did you finish this project? If so, I'd to see it!

    ReplyDelete