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Encyclopedia of Folk Medicine

Encyclopedia of

Folk Medicine
Old World and New World Traditions

Gabrielle Hatfield

Santa Barbara, California

Denver, Colorado

Oxford, England

Copyright ᭧2004 by Gabrielle Hatfield All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review, without prior permission in writing from the publishers. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Hatfield, Gabrielle. Encyclopedia of folk medicine : old world and new world traditions / Gabrielle Hatfield. p. ; cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 1-57607-874-4 (hardcover : alk. paper) ISBN 1-57607-825-6 (eBook) 1. Alternative medicine—Encyclopedias. 2. Traditional medicine—Encyclopedias. [DNLM: 1. Medicine, Traditional—Encyclopedias—English. WB 13 H362e 2004] I. Title. R733.H376 2004 615.8'8'03—dc22 2003022101 08 07 06 05 04 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

ABC-CLIO, Inc. 130 Cremona Drive, P.O. Box 1911 Santa Barbara, California 93116-1911 This book is printed on acid-free paper. ϱ Manufactured in the United States of America

To my husband, John, with love.

Contents

Guide to Related Topics, xi Acknowledgments, xv Introduction, xvii

Encyclopedia of Folk Medicine
A Abortion, 1 Abscesses, 3 Acne, 4 African tradition, 5 Alder, 7 Aloe vera, 9 Amber, 10 Amulet, 10 Anemia, 13 Apple, 14 Arthritis, See Rheumatism and arthritis, 287 Ash, 16 Asthma, 17 B Backache, 21 Bad breath, 23 Baldness, 24 Balm of Gilead, 25 Bartram, John, 26 Beans, 27 Bed-wetting, 28 Bee, 29 Birch, 31

Bites and stings, See Insect bites and stings, 211 Black, William George, 32 Black cohosh, 32 Blackberry, Bramble, 33 Blacksmith, 34 Blackthorn, 35 Bleeding, 35 Blisters, 38 Blood, 39 Bloodroot, 40 Bogbean, 41 Boils, 42 Boneset, 44 Bread, 45 Breast problems, 46 Bruises, 49 Bryony, 52 Burdock, 53 Burns, 54 Buttercups, 57 Button snakeroot, 57
C Cabbage, 59 Cancer, 61

135 Elder. 159 Fish. See Toads and frogs. 159 Flax. 67 Chamomile. 86 Concepts of disease. 72 Chilblains. 120 Doctrine of signatures. 109 Dead man’s hand. 341 Frostbite. 154 Fevers. 352 Contraception. 142 Erysipelas. 116 Diarrhea. 174 Gold. 115 Diabetes. 113 Dew. 91 Corn. 153 Felons. 139 Eryngo. 78 Colic. 181 Hand. 122 Dog. 119 Dock. 65 Cayenne. 129 Earth. 101 Cricket. 122 Dropsy. 181 Headache. 65 Caul. 131 Echinacea. 118 Dizziness. 69 Cherry. 164 Freckles.viii . 136 Elm. 145 Excreta. 138 Epilepsy. 80 Colonists. 71 Chickweed. 160 Forge water. 143 Evil eye. 124 Drunkenness. 187 Healer. 85 Comfrey.. 102 Croup. 165 Frogs. Contents Catnip. 175 Golden seal. 126 Dysentery. See Hair problems. See Tuberculosis. 178 H Hair problems. 133 Eggs. 104 D Dandelion. 87 Constipation. 185 Head lice. 163 Fractures. 82 Color. 172 Ginseng. 66 Celtic tradition. 146 Eye problems. 162 Foxglove. Wayland D. 167 G Garlic. 111 Depression. 95 Coughs. 169 Ginger. 83 Columbo. 103 Cuts. 155 Figwort. 111 Deafness. 183 Hawthorn. 190 . 73 Childbirth. 132 Eczema. 89 Consumption. 127 E Earache. 100 Cramp. 93 Corns. 68 Chapped skin. 176 Gravel and stone. 175 Gout. 148 F Fat. 97 Cowslip. 74 Colds. 184 Hay fever.

339 Josselyn. 237 Milk. 273 Poppy. 281 Q Quinsy. 203 Houseleek. 235 Migraine. 241 Moon. 209 Insect bites and stings. 274 Potato. 209 Hemlock. See Tuberculosis. See Colic. 238 Mistletoe. 255 Otter. 276 Poultice. 332 Nosebleed. See Piles. 299 Sarsaparilla. 287 Rickets. 244 Mouse. 204 Hunger. 281 Puffball. 252 O Onion. John’s wort. 223 Lumbago. 200 Hops. 280 Prickly ash. 300 Sassafras. John. 196 Hives. 211 Insomnia. See Sleeplessness. 197 Holly. Poison oak. 215 Jimson weed. See Backache. See Thornapple. 231 Menstrual problems. 225 Mallow. 251 Nettle. See Indigestion. 257 P Palsy. 191 Heartburn. 301 . 352 L Lobelia. 291 Ringworm. 206 I Indigestion. 310 Ivy. 245 Mugwort. 296 S St. 232 Mexican tradition. 263 Pine. 219 K King’s Evil. 195 Hemlock spruce. 230 Menopause. 269 Poison ivy. 239 Molds. bite of.Contents : ix Heart trouble. 265 Plague. 195 Hemorrhoids. 263 Hiccups. 248 N Native American tradition. 285 R Renal colic. 295 Rowan. 279 Pregnancy. 198 Honey. 201 Horehound. 267 Plantain. 260 Piles. 259 Peach. 226 Mandrake. 292 Rose. 242 Moss. 235 Midwife. 21 M Mad dog. 228 Medicine man. 271 Poke. 251 Nausea. See Stinging nettle. 213 J Jaundice. 246 Mullein. 80 Rheumatism and arthritis.

349 Transference. See Acne. 345 Toothache. Samuel. 335 T Teething. 305 Shakers. 320 Soda. 393 . 339 Thyme. 367 Willow. 309 Sleeplessness. 382 Index. See Felons.x . 369 Witch. 385 About the Author. 357 V Valerian. 381 Yew. 4 Sprains. 292 Thomson. 371 Worms. 360 W Warts. 363 Water. 315 Snake. 349 Tuberculosis. 359 Vinegar. 318 Snow. 154 Whooping cough. 316 Snake bite. 349 Traill. See Ringworm. 332 Sunburn. 308 Skull. 352 Scurvy. 323 Specialist. 344 Tonic. 373 Wounds. 306 Shingles. 376 Wrinkles. 337 Tetters. 321 Sore feet. 303 Seventh son. 341 Tobacco. 328 Spots. 365 Whitlows. Contents Scrofula. Catherine Parr. 310 Smallpox. 325 Sphagnum moss. 346 Tormentil. 321 Sore throat. 352 U Urine. 334 Sympathetic magic. 329 Stinging nettle. 340 Toads and frogs. 306 Silverweed. 378 Y Yarrow. 311 Snail. See Tuberculosis. 326 Spider. 338 Thornapple. 327 Spit.

Samuel Blacksmith Colonists Healer Medicine man Midwife Seventh son Specialist Witch Ailments Abortion Abscesses Acne Anemia Arthritis Asthma Backache Bad breath Baldness Bed-wetting Bites and stings Bleeding Blisters Boils Breast problems Bruises Burns Cancer Chapped skin Chilblains Childbirth Colds Colic Constipation Consumption Contraception Corns Coughs Cramp Croup Cuts Deafness Depression Diabetes Diarrhea Dizziness Dropsy Drunkenness Dysentery Earache Eczema Epilepsy Erysipelas Eye problems Felons Fevers Fractures Freckles Frostbite Gout Gravel and stone Hair problems . Josselyn. Wayland D. William George Hand.Guide to Related Topics People Bartram. John Black. John Thomson.

Guide to Related Topics Hay fever Headache Heart trouble Heartburn Hiccups Hives Hunger Indigestion Insect bites and stings Jaundice King’s Evil Lumbago Mad dog. Anthony’s fire (Erysipelas) Scrofula Scurvy Shingles Sleeplessness Smallpox Snake bite Sore feet Sore throat Spots Sprains Sunburn Teething Tetters Toothache Tuberculosis Warts Whooping cough Worms Wounds Wrinkles Healing Agents Acorn Alder Aloe vera Amber Apple Ash Balm of Gilead Beans Bee Birch Black cohosh Blackberry Blackthorn Blood Bloodroot Bogbean Boneset Bread Bryony Burdock Buttercups Button snakeroot Cabbage Catnip Caul Cayenne Chamomile Cherry Chickweed Columbo Comfrey Corn Cowslip Cricket Dandelion Dead man’s hand Dew Dock Dog Earth Echinacea Eggs Elder .xii . Poison oak Pregnancy Quinsy Rheumatism Rickets Ringworm St. bite of Menopause Menstrual problems Migraine Nausea Nosebleed Palsy Piles Plague Poison ivy.

John’s wort Sarsaparilla Sassafras Silverweed Skull Snail Snake Snow Soda Sphagnum moss Spider Spit Stinging nettle Thornapple Thyme Toads and frogs Tobacco Tonic Tormentil Urine Valerian Vinegar Water Willow Yarrow Yew Ideas Amulet Color Concepts of disease Doctrine of signatures Evil eye Moon Sympathetic magic Transference Cultural Traditions African tradition Celtic tradition Mexican tradition Native American tradition Shakers .Guide to Related Topics : xiii Elm Eryngo Excreta Fat Figwort Fish Flax Forge water Foxglove Garlic Ginger Ginseng Gold Golden seal Hawthorn Hemlock Hemlock spruce Holly Honey Hops Horehound Houseleek Ivy Jimson weed Lobelia Mallow Mandrake Milk Mistletoe Molds Moss Mouse Mugwort Mullein Nettle Onion Otter Peach Pine Plantain Poke Poppy Potato Poultice Prickly ash Puffball Rose Rowan St.

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the name of the owner is given. Not least. NOTES ON SOURCES Each entry is provided with a full bibliography. and to Simon Mason for seeing the project through to completion. In the case of manuscripts in private hands. . and my family for their encouragement and support. patience. John. I wish to thank my husband. I am grateful to Jennifer Westwood for initiating the idea. I also wish to acknowledge gratefully financial support from the Author’s Foundation. The amazing resource of the Folklore Archives at the University of California at Los Angeles includes a vast database of North American folk remedies. and encouragement. to my editor Bob Neville for his help. These are referred to as UCLA Folklore Archives.Acknowledgments I would like to thank all those who have helped in the preparation of this work. Manuscript sources are given reference numbers where these exist.

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there is much more to folk medicine than this. Since the practice of folk medicine is. or the cure of disease. The fact that folk medicine embraces a wide variety of disciplines. However. which were and are practiced by the more superstitious and oldfashioned” (Black 1878). at least in many parts of Britain. but at any given time in history and any given place. and such social condescension would not be acceptable to most people today. sometimes peacefully and sometimes at war with each other. and he defined it as “meant to comprehend the subjects of charms. It seems safe to assume that empirical knowledge of plant and animal foods and medicines was passed on from one generation to the next as oral tradition within any one community. incantations. it should be regarded as the origin of all types of medical practice. particularly in Britain. may be another reason why it has been understudied as a subject. zoology. Thus began what Stuart has called the “longest clinical trial in human history” (Stuart 1979: 10). Far from representing an ignorant version of orthodox medicine.Introduction Examples in this book are drawn from the folk medicine of Britain and Ireland and from that of North America. Although folklore studies have moved on. fast becoming obsolete. Its being based largely on oral traditions accounts in part for the relatively slight attention it has received from students of the written word. Any attempt to define folk medicine is fraught with difficulty. and folk medicine far predates any kind of official medicine. it is almost too late now to attempt to record the whole corpus of information for posterity. In Britain rivalry between official and folk medi- . The subject that we now call ethnobotany was born when the first human huntergatherers discovered that certain plants were toxic and could be used to man’s advantage. Systems of official medicine began once recognized healers emerged within a community. William George Black was the first person to use the term in print. they have concentrated instead on the history of official medicine. and pharmaceutical science. This was long before written records existed. official and folk medicine have coexisted. in the words of the highly respected historian Singer. assuming that. It predates any form of official medicine and includes self-treatment as well as treatment by community healers. and those habits relating to the preservation of health. from anthropology and religion to botany. it is surprising to find how neglected this particular area of folklore has been. Historians of medicine have on the whole neglected it as a subject hardly worthy of mention. To modern ears this sounds patronizing. folk medicine is “usually medieval or renaissance medicine misunderstood” (Singer 1961: xlvii). Yet much of orthodox medicine has had its roots in folk medicine.

there are many that have been forgotten. In every field it is only the educated and the literate who have recorded their theories. Over the centuries. All these are reasons for preserving such knowledge as we still have of all forms of folk medicine. Introduction cine was so extreme that it led during the eighteenth century to the abandonment of many native plant remedies by the medical profession. Wart remedies in particular are rich in examples of transference. Unfortunately. An example is the doctrine of signatures. When such remedies were used by our forebears they were hedged around with practical limitations. It is still sometimes possible to trace a particular remedy to one tradition of healing. where we are no longer self-reliant in treating even minor illness and depend instead on pills for all ills. In this secondary “return to nature” we lack our forebears’ detailed knowledge. Folk medicine has had no scribes to record it in the past. One of these is the idea of transference of disease to an inanimate object (such as a stone or water [see entry]). Reaction against technological medicine and an increasing awareness of side effects of modern drugs has produced a resurgence of interest among the middle classes in so-called natural remedies. communities have obviously borrowed information from each other. Confusing the picture further. as the chain of oral tradition has been snapped. the warty toad [see entry] can be a cause of warts. and this process has culminated in our modern society. Medicine in all its forms is a risky business and doubtless has always been. Increasing levels of education led to devaluation of the “old wives tales” of earlier generations. For all these reasons. a disease may be “left behind” by a “passing-through ceremony. too much of written history is “a description of social relations as they may be seen from above” (Thompson 1991: 21). But knowledge of exact methodology. this interest is often ill informed. and what was for them a safe remedy can be lethal in ignorant hands. such as the idea of sympathetic magic and of like curing like. such as the Native American tradition or the Celtic tradition. A British example is to cut as many notches in an elder stick as you have warts and dispose of the . which involves passing under a blackberry arch. so that distinctions between disparate traditions have become increasingly blurred. There is probably no such thing as a perfectly safe remedy. As Thompson has pointed out. In folk medicine this has sometimes led to misleading attribution to folk medicine of ideas that were actually formulated by the learned rather than the folk. Any collection of folk medicine is kaleidoscopic in nature. official medicine has borrowed from folk medicine.) Many folk remedies involve some kind of measurement or counting. Wayland D. has often been lost. Within our incomplete reservoir of information on folk medicine it is possible to detect some recurrent themes.” such as the cure for hernia. The picture in British folk medicine is complex. We have no clear idea of past folk concepts of disease but are forced to infer these from the remedies used and their manner of use. and vice versa. They also illustrate several other themes common in folk medicine. never written down. it is even more so. In North America. and attempts retrospectively to interpret it are destined to failure. For every folk remedy that we have today on record.” (Thus. or to a plant (such as an apple [see entry] tree). natural or otherwise. The best we can do is to attempt to record for posterity what is left. In an extension of this idea. or to an animal (such as a dog [see entry]).xviii . sometimes described as “homeopathic magic. Hand gives numerous examples from North Carolina (Hand 1961: xxix–xxx). the fragments of information within it making different patterns depending on the viewpoint. generalizations in folk medicine are largely meaningless.

These books include some British orthodox medical texts. in North America it is even more so. to attempt to separate treatment by healers from domestic folk medicine. They brought with them orthodox medical books of their day and depended on these in conditions where little else was available by way of medical help. such as John Wesley’s Primitive Physic (London. which allow the “folk” to speak for themselves. indeed. have a built-in time element: rub the wart with meat and bury the meat. and folk practitioners are almost impossible to draw precisely. The Native American tradition is a vast subject in its own right. Samuel Thomson. Many. official medical help. profoundly influencing not only North American but also British herbalism (Griggs 1997: 166–187). Some of the Shaker practitioners went on to become orthodox practitioners. by a misunderstanding on the part of the recorders who are rarely themselves the users of folk medicine. became a famous herbalist. or too remote from. there is a danger that the subject is misrepresented by an emphasis on the bizarre and. and partly because the roots of folk medicine are so dispersed in time and place. many folk remedies can only be described as “miscellaneous. the role of printed information in American folk medicine is a difficult one to define. and one in which it is difficult. The numerous printed books on do-it-yourself medicine occupy a position intermediate between folk and official medicine. The contrasting strands of practicality and credulity that characterize folk medicine are fascinating. As in Britain.Introduction : xix stick. Gunn’s New Family Physician (New York. herbalists. Every subsequent wave of colonists to North America took with it its own folk medical traditions. 1652). and the “book” medicine of official practitioners. whose experience began in folk medicine. 1869) were written by doctors but became immensely popular and ran into numerous editions. Nolan in Ireland and Hufford in Pennsylvania have both emphasized the community aspect of folk medicine. As with all aspects of folklore. In Britain these would not be regarded today as folk medicine in the strict sense. Some. when the child grows beyond it. Indeed. 1781) and Culpeper’s English Physician (London. but there is much in folk medicine that does not lend itself to this treatment. The origin of folk medicine in Britain is complex. as it decays. the warts will disappear. emphasis has been placed on actual recorded folk remedies. Nolan describes “healing and helping taking place every day” in rural communities (Nolan . practiced on the whole by those too poor to afford. such as J. whereas in North America they have all gone into the giant melting pot of introduced traditions and information that has become today’s North American folk medicine. Partly because our recorded information is so incomplete. it is even more difficult in North America than in Britain. in North America the dividing lines between “trained” doctors. In fact. the asthma will disappear. too. For a child suffering from asthma. It is in the nature of human study to categorize information. some of which have become incorporated into what we might call “general” folk medicine. C. and perhaps meaningless. Almanacs and books of domestic medicine abounded during the nineteenth century.” In British plant medicine it is nevertheless possible to distinguish between the truly traditional. These were a mix of official and folk medicine. plug some of its hair into a hole bored in a tree above their head. orally preserved folk medicine. such as Thomas Phaire’s The Boke of Children (first published in London in 1553 and subsequently reprinted) and texts of domestic medicine. since many colonists came from backgrounds where they would have depended on official medical aid. In this book.

Thompson. is an art form in its own right. Edited by James Kirkland. and London: Duke University Press. William George. London: Orbis. Collected and edited by Rev. Suffolk: Merlin Press. Black. Stuart. Peter W. Holly F. P. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore. is something more than the sum of its parts. Introduction to Leechdoms. 1961. London: Vermilion. Doctrine of signatures. C. Dog. “Folk Medicine in Rural Ireland. A whole quilt. This caring aspect of folk medicine is another cogent reason for preserving our knowledge of it. Toads and frogs. British folk medicine can be compared to a fabric composed of several interwoven strands. In North America. Introduction of Western Herbal Medicine. 1961. Transference. Concepts of disease. Wayland D. Water. while Hufford describes folk medicine as “community resources for dealing with illness” (Hufford 1992: 15). 1988: 55). Healers. with its contributions from many cultures and eras. Nolan. Celtic tradition. 1997. London: Holland Press. Samuel. Hufford. Just as with a quilt it is sometimes possible to recognize from a scrap the source of the original material. NC: Duke University Press. Wortcunning and Starcraft of Early England. Durham. Native American tradition. and Karen Baldwin. 1992. Matthews. Durham. 1979. W. Similarly. Barbara. ed. Malcolm. the corpus of folk medicine. Blackberry. Introduction to The Frank C. Griggs. Thomson. New Green Pharmacy: The Story See also Apple. Singer. Charles. Wayland D. Hand. Hand. William George. Shakers. Customs in Common. Thomas Oswald Cockayne. NC. composed of scraps. The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism.. Sympathetic magic. Warts. Sullivan III. Asthma. 1991. folk medicine is more like a patchwork.xx . Elder. Journal of the British Archaeological Association 34 (1878): 327–332. David J. . Folk Medicine in Contemporary America: In Herbal and Magical Medicine. so in folk medicine the origin of a particular remedy may be traceable to one tradition. E. Colonists. References Black. It is hoped that this book will arouse further interest and curiosity in this once undervalued aspect of human culture.” Folk Life 27 (1988–1999): 44–56. It is a rich mosaic worth preserving for posterity.

Encyclopedia of Folk Medicine .

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In parts of Britain. this. SRO). legal and ethical issues involved have led to secrecy. writing in 1694. says of this plant that it “forces the courses.). Upon which Account they are too well known. in poor country areas of Britain girls “in trouble” would resort to strong laxatives or jumping off walls or stairs in an attempt to abort. Other plants used in British folk medicine as abortifacients include raspberry. Used in the later stages of pregnancy. It has been used successfully as recently as twenty years ago in the United Kingdom (Hatfield MS). Probably such remedies were used. this has remained such a delicate matter that few people are ready to provide information. More picturesquely. Religious. John Pechey. Interestingly. such remedies were employed to “bring down the flowers” (Leven and Melville Papers. and too much used by wenches” (Pechey 1694: 164). was the plant she used to try to bring about an abortion (Child 1965: 379). Actual records of its use are very rare. but in the early stages of pregnancy it has been used to procure an abortion. in the eighteenth century. and she was executed in the Tolbooth. the plant is known by the uncompromising name of “bastard killer” (Grigson 1955: 24). they were used to bring about abortions. it is difficult to know what “the folk” actually did about such matters. Even within living memory. at least unofficially. This is native to Britain and has probably been one of the more secretive remedies handed down (usually by women) from one generation to the next.” When one of Mary Queen of Scot’s ladies in waiting was found to be pregnant by the king. including savin. Mentha pulegium. as stated. . that we can discover with any certainty the means used. . often gin was the next resort. . a tea made from the leaves has been found to strengthen the uterine muscles and speed delivery. Her attempts failed.. Edinburgh. Another plant used similarly is pennyroyal. It is not until we come to recent times. Although these remedies are listed freely in the herbals from the sixteenth century onward. Under this name it appears in the traditional ballad of the “Queen’s Maries. and it is still rarer to know the . Juniper was known by a number of names. If this failed. Apart from purely mechanical means of destroying the fetus. the folk medical practices are almost certainly underrepresented in the records. A: Abortion In this highly sensitive area. within living memory. but probably also. Such terms as “emmenagogue” (meaning an agent that provokes menstruation) are in many cases likely to be euphemisms for abortion. according to the ballads. gin is flavored with juniper (Juniperus spp. to regulate menstruation. one of the few plants that we know was almost universally used for abortion.

the plant was apparently often used to cleanse cows of the afterbirth. was unusual in apparently being able to gain women’s confidence on such matters (Beith 1995: 96). The Cherokee. are known to have used this plant as an abortifacient (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 48). include this subject? The plant called pennyroyal in North America is different from the British pennyroyal. of course. Among them are Juniper (Juniperus virginiana) and Polygala seneca (both used by the Cherokee [Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 55]). Three native plants that we know were used in the Scottish Highlands to procure abortions are meadow-rue (Thalictrum minus). Apart from plant remedies. Other plants recommended for regulation of menses are smartweed (Polygonum sp. The amount of information about abortifacients used by Native Americans. so vast and extensive in many respects. fairy flax (Linum catharticum).” use that probably included contraception and sometimes abortion. and fir clubmoss (Huperzia selago). ceremonial means of procuring abortions among the Native Americans. Species of Artemisia were used very widely. European colonists to North America doubtless brought with them some knowl- edge of unofficial abortifacients. This. and was used by the Native Americans. as Beith points out. Artemisia franserioides is used by New Mexico Spanish Americans for abortion (Kay 1996: 106). who. native to North America. An Ozark belief is that country women should never expose their naked bodies before a flowering hawthorn. as listed in Moerman’s Ethnobotany (Moerman 1998). more than once. is truly amazing and suggests few of the taboos surrounding the subject that we have noted in Britain. It is interesting that the UCLA folk medicine archive.) and seneca snakeroot (Polygala senega). Meyer’s collection of folk remedies for “suppressed menses” almost certainly includes some that were used to procure abortion (Meyer 1985: 171–173). See also Hawthorn. juniper appears here. has few records on this subject.). or “redhaw” (Crataegus sp.” a medicine that “may be found upon almost any farm in New England” (Capron and Slack: 1848). there were other. and perhaps by colonists too. also called squaw mint. as this tree was associated with “rape. In general North American folk medicine it is equally difficult to find out about abortifacients. For example. All were recorded in use in the seventeenth century in the western Highlands by James Robertson. to regulate the menstrual cycle and to procure abortions. as well as the herb called “female regulator” that Meyer identifies as Senecio aureus (Meyer 1985: 171–173). This genus has been used all over the world as a “woman’s herb. Collections of folk medical cures rarely address the subject at all. The medicine men of the Blackfoot claim to use the power of the moth for this (Wissler 1905: 260). by nine different tribes (Moerman 1998: 765). and for the same reasons. unfortunate pregnancies and disastrous abortions” (Randolph 1953: 336).2 . It had official sanction as a menstrual regulator and was described by two nineteenthcentury doctors as among the “best and most powerful medicines for the regulation of retained or obstructed menses. for example. Did their learning from Native Americans about unfamiliar plants. a use that would have suggested the secondary use as an abortifacient. could reflect unwillingness on the part of recorders as well as of informants to discuss such matters. . There is an oral history record of the use of houseleek (Sempervivum tectorum) in Ireland to procure abortion (Vickery 1995: 198). In this instance. Houseleek. Abortion outcome. More than a hundred genera are listed as abortifacients (Moerman 1998: 765–766). but their use is unlikely to have been recorded. American pennyroyal is Hedeoma pulegioides.

1955.). Sphagnum moss. OR: Timber Press. IL: Meyerbooks. Paul B. a bread poultice applied hot was often used. Beith 1995: 172–173). George. including vegetables such as onion. Mary. Edinburgh: Polygon 1995. such as poke. or flaxseed was common. 1882–1898. smartweed (Polygonum punctatum and P. a decoction of the root being mixed with bran or Indian meal (Meyer 1985: 204).. or a poultice made from flax seed. Page 379. Mary. 1997. In North American folk medicine poultices were used in a similar way. London: Vermilion. Scottish Records Office. 1995. Interestingly. Compleat Herbal of Physical Plants. London: 1694. Vance. Edinburgh. Healing with Plants in the American and Mexican West. and chickweed (Stellaria media) were some of the most frequently used in British folk medicine. References Beith. Glenwood. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. Barbara. and again the use of bread or of cornmeal. J. Cow pats were used in this way in Britain as recently as the twentieth century. catnip. and black alder (Alnus glutinosa). Grigson. Hatfield MSS. Less drastically. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. 1985.” Journal of American Folklore 66 (1953): 333–339. Alter- natively. NC: Herald. and immediately applied to the abscess. Sphagnum moss was also used as a poultice by the Native Americans (Souter 1995: 128) and was adopted as a remedy by settlers as well. 1998. 1995. SRO GD 26. Leven and Melville Papers. 1975. cabbage. New York: Dover Publications. Child. as well as fenugreek seed (a German remedy) and a wide variety of North American native plants not found in Britain. and carrot. hydopiper). John. and David Slack. Portland. Manuscript notes in private possession of Gabrielle Hatfield. Wissler. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. and houseleek (as in Britain). New England Popular Medicine. The Englishman’s Flora. Poultice. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. 1848. slippery elm (Ulmus fulva). Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Clark. emptied. and Mary U. London: Phoenix House. Among plant poultices. Volume 3. 1996. Native American Ethnobotany. New Green Pharmacy. Nine bark (Physocarpus opulifolius) was a Native American remedy for abscesses. houseleek (Sempervivum tectorum). North American folk medicine used a wide variety of plants for poulticing abscesses and these included cabbage. many of these North American plants were imported into British and European herbalism in the nineteenth century (Meyer 1985: 200–205. Capron. Catnip. common mallow (Malva sylvestris). Moerman. Griggs. English and Scottish Popular Ballads. a glass bottle was filled with very hot water. Clarence. . the combination of heat and suction was apparently painful but often effective. Vickery. Kay. Oxford: Oxford University Press.” Journal of American Folklore 18 (1905): 257–268. 1985. and their effectiveness has been vouched for in treating humans and animals (Hatfield 1994: 11. Daniel E. Edinburgh: Polygon. Margarita Artschwager. Quoted in Meyer. carrot. “Nakedness in Ozark Folk Belief. Houseleek. “The Whirlwind and the Elk in the Mythology of the Dakota. Roy. F. Griggs 1997: 188 ff. Sylva. Chiltoskey. Hamel. 1965. but a large variety of other plants were also used. See also Boils. Meyer. Geoffrey. American Folk Medicine. Randolph. Poke. Pechey.Abscesses : 3 References Beith. Abscesses Many folk remedies for these were used in the form of poultices and depended on heat to bring the abscess to a head.

and the root of Iris (Hatfield 1994: 53). tridentata. In the Highlands of Scotland. Poultices of chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) or of red clover (Trifolium sp. Rubbing the baby’s face with a recently wet nappy was practiced in the Highlands of Scotland to prevent the child developing acne later and to give it a good complexion (Beith 1995: 188). was recommended for skin disorders (Beith 1995: 240). the crushed leaves of wood violet (Viola sp. Saffron Walden: C. and one species of violet. Among Native American remedies. The commonest of these were an infusion of nettles and a decoction prepared by boiling the roots of burdock. It has been suggested that masturbation (Cannon 1984: 91). Perhaps because acne is associated with puberty. Anthon S. bathing the face in earlymorning dew was held to be good for the complexion (Hatfield MS). Daniel. In addition. Perry 1952: 40). various species of Artemisia. Application of water from natural springs or simply drinking plenty of cold water was recommended in the Highlands (Beith 1995: 133). 1995. Henrichs and Archer 1941: 40–42). or water in which sulphur had been boiled (UCLA Folklore Archives 6_5446). Clarence. Keith. In North American folk practice. on the other hand. having sex has been claimed by one teenager in Arizona to clear up acne! (UCLA Folklore Archives 14_5255). including Achillea species (Densmore 1928: 350. Houseleek. has been used by the Iroquois to treat spots (Herrick 1977: 387. also the juice of watermelons (Citrullus lanatus). or even thinking about sex (UCLA Folklore Archives 13_5255). 474). . dulse soup. A remedy from Norfolk was prepared from oak tree gall. IL: Meyerbooks. strong vinegar. Dew. See also Burdock. or of the juice of the ice plant. Edinburgh: Polygon. 1995. Acne In British folk medicine various plant infusions were drunk to improve the complexion. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. Less pleasantly. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. Other remedies featured in North American folk medicine include sulphur and molasses (UCLA Folklore Archives 15_5255). burdock root was used for treating pimples. such as A. a huge number of other plant species have been used. many similar remedies have been used. also called houseleek (Prince 1991: 93). causes acne. Nettle. W. used by Havasupai (Weber and Seaman 1985: 246). Glenwood. Urine was widely recommended (UCLA Folklore Archives 8_8446). Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. Cannon. and an ointment made from elder flowers (Sambucus nigra) boiled with almond oil and lard (Beith 1995: 215). Mary. 1994. 1985.4 . References Beith. Edited by Wayland D. Water that collected in old tree stumps was used to wash the face (Micheletti 1998: 21). Acne Hatfield. Alnus serrulata (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 22).) were used by early settlers. Gabrielle. prepared from seaweed. Viola pubescens. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. External applications to clear spots include juice of marigold leaves (Calendula officinalis) (Hatfield 1994: 53). used by the Paiute (Train. ludoviciana. as well as helping to remove freckles. flowers of sulphur.). a face pack made from oats and lemon (Souter 1995:131). urine was much used in folk medicine for treating and preventing acne (Souter 1995: 131). Meyer. American Folk Medicine. Souter. there have been some strange ideas as to its cause. A. Woodbridge: Boydell. Freckles. both these remedies mirroring ones found in Britain.

At least one slave owed his freedom to imparting a remedy for gravel and stone to a white man. Pods of Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus). There were parasitic worms different from those in Africa. and never represented a single tradition. and P. Micheletti. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. and kola imported to feed them cheaply were probably among the few familiar items. Keith. Grandmother’s Cures: An A-Z of Herbal Remedies. David Seaman. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. Talley. to find that some of their folk medical remedies were based on these. plantation owners soon found that the remedies known to the slaves were at least as good as anything they could offer themselves. dysentery. Smithsonian Institution-Bureau of American Ethnology Annual Report 44. Percy. PhD thesis.. Experimentation with the local flora led to use of a large number of native plant species. 1985. Paul B.. Enza (ed. 1998. Prince.). 2: 61). yet there still remain many distinctive features. Chiltoskey. Souter. boiled. Herrick. was treated with snakeroot (Aristolochia serpentaria). 1995. “Ethno-Botany of the Indians in the Interior of British Columbia. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Hamel. London: Fontana. Although to their owners black slaves represented a valuable investment. which it was in their interest to keep well and working. Use of Plants by the Chippewa Indians. Sylva. Medicinal Uses of Plants by Indian Tribes of Nevada. : 5 African tradition Every oral tradition is as extensive as its community. 1991. and W. Train. 88). Densmore. Iroquois Medical Botany. 1977. all the fragmentary communities have become gradually absorbed into the wider patchwork of North American traditions. Daniel.” Museum and Art Notes 2(2). NC: Herald. James William. F. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. 1984. North American Folk Healing: An A-Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. The seeds of avocado (Persea americana) were ground to treat diarrhea. Albany: State University of New York. and whitlows (Heinerman 2001: 72. formed a nutritious broth for invalids (Heinerman 2001: 70). it must have been a daunting task indeed for slaves to find their own remedies. and kola nuts (Cola acuminata) were used to treat stomach pain (Sloane 1707–1725. In the case of the many thousands of black African slaves imported from the seventeenth century onward into North America. therefore. 1928. Perry. Ringworm was treated with a wash prepared from the so-called ringworm bush (Cassia alata). Andrew Archer. Not only was the flora unfamiliar. Henrichs. 1941. Saffron Walden: C. okra. Woodbridge: Boydell. and it is not surprising. Whiting’s Ethnography of a Traditional Indian Culture.African tradition Hand and Jeannine E. Pneumonia. Gabrielle. As displaced people with no rights and no wealth. Faced with a completely unfamiliar flora. to which the slaves of South Carolina were apparently particularly susceptible. Since emancipation of the slaves. but some of the diseases that afflicted the slaves were unfamiliar too. Frances. Washington. Hatfield. F. and indeed today’s folk medicine is indebted to African slaves for some of its remedies. Barton in his early nineteenth-century journal recorded the use of persimmon fruit (Dios- . 1994. DC: US Department of Agriculture. Havasupai Habitat: A. Dennis. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. Food items such as yams. slaves must have been even more self-dependent than their forbears in times of illness. 1975. and Mary U. these traditions were drawn from all over West Africa. 1952. Weber. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. Steven A. too. James R. W.

African tradition pyros virginiana) among the black African slaves (Barton 1802. was used by the Cherokee as well as by slaves to treat consumption (Hamel and Chiltoskey . It is ironic that the very plant. according to Bancroft in the eighteenth century. An infusion of holly berries (Ilex obcordata) was successfully used as a wash for treating the sores of yaws (Heinerman 2001: 85). It consisted of the root of Indian turnip (Arisaema triphyllum) boiled in milk (Barton 2001. quoted by Micheletti [ed. cotton (Gossypium herbaceum). mixed and modified by religious and Western medical systems. which was seen by them as caused by a loss of balance between forces for good and evil. it was necessary to have recourse to magical healing.” characterized by weight loss. The overlook bean. Some plants were directly associated with spiritual healing and magical powers. if untreated. including so-called rattlesnake’s master (Aralia spinosa). and they could be cured only by someone with magical powers. Plantation owners sometimes dosed slave children with a plant called cowitch (Macuna pruriens). taken during the first two months of pregnancy. 1: 110). It was never cut down. The fruit of papaya (Carica papaya) was used to treat sores and stomach ache. or horse bean (Canavalia ensiformis). slaves have also bequeathed a legacy of their fundamentally different approach to illness. in their turn. A decoction of the roots of the cotton plant was found to be an effective abortifacient. this was of benefit to the slave owner. Among them the cotton tree (Ceiba pentandra) was regarded as consecrated to spirits. Apart from the empirical folk remedies they used. Cayenne pepper was used to treat a condition described as “cachexia. The planters. while it was claimed that “inoculation” with boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) could actually render a snake bite harmless (Descourtilz 1833. 3: 214). Some illnesses were regarded as natural. these unnatural illnesses were often thought to be caused by an enemy. and. anxious to see his human investment multiply). but there are examples of remedies used in common. The roots of the lime (Citrus aurantifolia) were used in treating this condition. for which their freedom had been sacrificed was in some cases able to afford relief from unwanted pregnancy (especially unwanted where this was a result of rape by the plan- tation owner. Pregnancy among slaves represented another child born into slavery. The Indian turnip (Arisaema triphyllum). 1898. tried to prevent the effects of this plant by forcibly administering black haw (Viburnum prunifolium) to their female slaves (King’s American Dispensatory. was regarded as a watchman and was planted around valuable crops to protect them from plunder (Macfadyen 1837.6 . For the latter category. and it seems that their own remedies for it were fairly effective. for example. but women would often go to extreme lengths to avoid pregnancy and childbirth under these circumstances. death (Heinerman 2001: 74).] 1998). Remnants of these folk beliefs. was remarkably successful in expelling worms (Bancroft 1769: 39). as described in an eighteenthcentury account by Du Pratz (Du Pratz 1774: 378–380). Indeed. The disease known as yaws was especially prevalent among black slaves. others as having supernatural causes. still persist among black Africans today (Matthews 1992: 68–98). religious ceremonies were often held under it. Lime was also used to treat scurvy and sores on the feet. administered usually by a respected voodoo healer. fall in body temperature. Barton records the cure of a black slave suffering from consumption. Snake bite was treated with various plants. which. The extent to which there was an exchange of information between Native Americans and the black slaves is difficult to establish. 1: 179). 2: 52).

Paris. 1774. S. Paul B. sore feet and also have been used in treating burns (Salhouse. 1990). Hawaiian Herbs of Medicinal Value. 1833. in much the same way as the slaves used them (Akana 1922: 43). Macfadyen. Durham. Alder (Alnus spp. Native American Ethnobotany. London. Tuberculosis. Sloane. Bancroft. and English descent. NC: Duke University Press. and papaya fruit were used to treat cuts by the Hawaii. Red alder bark is recorded as a References Akana. 1707–1725. Holly. John. Portland. B. for treating chills has been reported in Carolina (Brown 1952–1964. 1992. pers. H. Holly F. E. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. 1922. Journal of Benjamin Smith Barton on a Visit to Virginia in 1802. and Mary U. In North America the picture is quite different. ing: An A-Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. See also Caul. 1998. Micheletti. Snake bite. For coughs a tea was made from swamp alder bark (Brewster 1939: 35). The use of the “tags” (conelike fruits) of tag alder. Norfolk. European. North American Folk Heal- . Folk Medicine in America Today: A Guide for a New Generation of Folk Healers. There are reports of using alder cones boiled in water for the treatment of gout (Vickery 1995: 2). a fact that has probably enhanced his reputation as a healer (Micheletti 1998: 179). E. com. He combines empirical treatment with herbs with spiritual divination. Enza (ed. 71). Flore Pittoresque et Me ´dical Des Antilles. in his diary for March 7. Irish. Hamel. Cayenne. Akaiko. Sylva. M. He was born with a caul. Barton. Daniel E. 1975. Descourtilz. J. NC: Herald.) The British species of alder. while in the nineteenth century a piece of alder wood was carried as a preventive against rheumatism (Gomme 1884: 134). Becket. Edited by James Kirkland. New York: Kensington. Alnus serrulata. alder bark was used to prevent scarring from smallpox (Lick and Brendle 1922: 233–234). Honolulu: Pacific Book House. Matthews. Its leaves have been placed in shoes to prevent tired. He is of mixed Lumbee. 3. and African folk medicine is John Lee of Moncure. Natural History of Jamaica. British uses of alder are nonmedicinal. L. 1837. Otherwise.). History of Louisiana. Quoted in Heinerman 2001: 72. and recommended it as a springtime tonic. African. Cherokee. 6: 145). London: T. Alnus glutinosa. 1998. has not been prominent in folk medicine. Sullivan III and Karen Baldwin. Heinerman. in the North Carolina Piedmont. Gravel and stone. Matthews. London: 1769. To help teething in children. “Doctors and Root Doctors: Patients Who Use Both. Du Pratz. The range of uses for them in folk medicine is wide.Alder : 7 1975: 41).” In Herbal and Magical Medicine: Traditional Healing Today. Ringworm. 1767. Flora of Jamaica.. In colonial days. Parson Woodforde. Alder bark ointment has been used for treating itching (Brendle and Unger 1935: 61) and burns (Bergen 1899: 110). The water in which alder buds have been steeped was drunk for rheumatism (Bergen 1899: 110). W. Essay on the Natural History of Guiana in South America. C. London: Longmans Green. OR: Timber Press. a necklace was made from threaded pieces of alder twig (Browne 1958: 25). One healer who today combines the heritage of Native American. 2001. M. reported using alder bark steeped in water for his unspecified ailment (Woodforde Society 1985. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. or of the Western Parts of Virginia and Carolina. Scurvy. P. Chiltoskey. There are ten species of alder native to North America. Moerman. The snakeroot (Aristolochia serpentaria) was used among numerous Native American tribes to treat snake bite (Moerman 1998: 92).

” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45. Fanny D. Smallpox. Coughs. More generally. Victoria: Royal British Columbia Museum. Black. Browne. “Folk Cures and Preventatives from Southern Indiana. and Mary U. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Rheumatism.” Proceedings and Addresses of the Pennsylvania German Society 33 (1922). The use by Native Americans of alder leaves for sore and aching feet echoes that in Britain. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Unger.8 . and Thompson et al..). Childbirth. The inner bark was used for wounds and skin ulcers (Willard 1992: 67–69). Clarence. 1980. IL: Meyerbooks. Brendle. Teething. jaundice and diarrhea. Mercury Series 65. 1899. As in Britain. Constipation. In the Native American tradition. Algonquin Ethnobotany: An Interpretation of Aboriginal Adaptation in South Western Quebec. NC: Duke University Press. Hamel. 1935. . 1958. 1990. Black 1980: 153. Terry Thompson et al. Folklore Studies 9. Tuberculosis. Daniel E. Thompson.. Sore feet. Jaundice. Willard reports a wide range of uses in the Rockies and neighboring territories. Sylva. Brown. alders have had a reputation in North America as blood purifiers (Meyer 1985: 41). including that from poison ivy. American Folk Medicine. Frank C. 1952–1964. Frances. Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 22). 1884. alder has been used to help childbirth (Densmore 1928: 358). Lick. Wounds. Thompson Ethnobotany: Knowledge and Usage of Plants by the Thompson Indians of British Columbia. NC: Herald. Portland. Moerman. Alder treatment for leucorrhoea (Meyer 1985: 164). 1985. Boston and New York: Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society 7. Laurence C. Animal and Plant Lore Collected from the Oral Tradition of English Speaking Folk. in addition it was used for constipation. Brendle. Ottawa: National Museums of Canada. References Bergen. 1998.” Smithsonian InstitutionBureau of American Ethnology Annual Report 44 (1928): 273–379. the uses of alder have been very numerous (Moerman 1998: 60–64). Brewster. Nancy J. Meyer. Glenwood. Four different species of alder have been recorded in use for treating toothache and for cleaning teeth (Turner. and Claude W. Native American Ethnobotany. 7 vols. and by the Blackfoot for treating tuberculosis. and M. a decoction of the bark was used by the Kutenai Indians to regulate menstruation. Thompson. “Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans. combined with elder bark and wild cherry bark. Alder bark has also been used. Thomas R. The Non-Occult Cures. 1990: 188. London. Gomme. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. OR: Timber Press. to be taken as a springtime tonic (Meyer 1985: 258). Ray B. and Thomas R. G. In addition. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. Durham. “Uses of Plants by the Chippewa Indians. Poison ivy. for eczema (Meyer 1985: 106). Chiltoskey. The bruised leaves of the tag alder are reported to have been used by Native Americans as a poultice on the breasts to stop the flow of milk (Meyer 1985: 47). Turner. David E. The Gentleman’s Magazine Library: Popular Superstitions. Meredith Jean. Diarrhea. the fresh bark to treat rashes. “Plant Names and Plant Lore among the Pennsylvania Germans. Mixed with dried bumblebees. Tonic..” Southern Folklore Quarterly 3 (1939): 33–43. (ed. Paul B. Paul G. alder leaves were used in treatment of burns. 1975. the alder tree in North America has yielded remedies for a very wide range of other complaints: the leaves were used to deter fleas. Densmore. L. See also Burns. The leaves were placed by a wife under her husband’s hat as a cure for grumpiness and hangover.

(Historical Picture Archive/ CORBIS) both North America and Britain. Ansford Diary. As its popularity has increased. Parson James. Along with many other people. L. Parson Woodforde Society. Winstanley. Although most of these uses belong to modern herbalism. It is one of a number of plants to achieve fame in the modern secondary return to herbalism among the middle class. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. 1995. warts. Its main use in official medicine was as a purgative. . Willard. The aloe now thrives throughout North and South America. used in official medicine by the ancient Egyptians as well as in classical Greek and ancient Chinese medicine. when Hernandez reported that the Aztecs used it in treating various skin conditions. and boils. It has been claimed to be one of the most widely used healing plants in the world (Bloomfield 1985: 2). Aloe vera has been used primarily to treat a variety of skin conditions. It was introduced into North America by missionaries and gradually became a familiar plant of domestic medicine throughout North and South America. Woodforde. At least some of these claims are justifiable in the light of modern research (Chevallier 1996: 57). Recently Aloe vera has become a popular constituent of many cosmetic as well as herbal preparations in Britain as well as in North America. insect stings. and taken internally for stomach ache (Anderson 1970: 70). The true aloe reached Mexico shortly after the conquest (Valde ´s and Flores 1984: 86). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1985. It has been applied to rashes. the plant has been used to some extent in folk medicine too. dermatitis. but in folk medicine it has been used primarily as a skin healer. In modern times in the American and Mexican West it has been used for treating a variety of skin conditions. Roy. Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains and Neighbouring Territories. 1992. and its fame has spread for the treatment of burns (the gel from the scraped leaves is used). It has even been used in the treatment of radiation burns (Meyer 1985: 54). Calgary: Wild Rose College of Natural Healing. burns. : 9 Aloe vera This is an African plant. such as dermatitis and boils (Kay 1996: 91). such as burns. Edited by R. extravagant claims have been made for the plant as a panacea. which he found growing as a native in the New World. and it is now widely used by herbalists and as an over-the-counter medication in Claimed to be one of the most widely used healing plants in the world. Columbus confused aloe with the rather similar-looking but unrelated agave. Terry.Aloe vera Vickery.

” Folk-Lore 53 (1942): 95–103. Cannon. has been worn to prevent rheumatism (Mundford Primary School. Frank C. Miracle Plants: Aloe Vera. In North American folk medicine amber beads were worn both to prevent and cure a range of ailments. unpub.). and weak eyes (Hoke 1892: 117). Other ailments for which amber was used include asthma (Brown 1952– 1964. Comentarios a la Obra de Francisco Herna ´ ndez. John Q. Depression. Valde ´s. 1920. “Folk Customs and Folk Belief in North Carolina. Rose hips were carried against piles (Hatfield 1994: 44). American Folk Medicine. and Caroline Canfield Bullock. and asthma (Gardner 1942: 98). Daniel. It was also considered to be an aphrodisiac. to make her irresistible to her new husband (Souter 1995: 176). made by a child who has never suffered from rheumatism. and Hilda Flores. Teething.10 . Kay. Chevallier. 1985. N. Edited by Wayland D. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. In contrast to the belief in Scotland. William E. W. “Folk-Lore from Maryland.) was worn by teething . IL: Meyerbooks. A necklace of horse chestnuts. in the eighteenth century in Scotland the potato was used as an actual remedy for rheumatism. References Brown. A necklace of pieces of figwort (Scrophularia sp. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Clarence. Souter. Healing with Plants in the American and Mexican West. London: Century. 1996. Amber This is the translucent golden resin obtained from coniferous trees now largely extinct. potatoes were carried in the pocket to ward off rheumatism in twentieth-century Norfolk (Hatfield 1994: 47). Amber References Anderson. NJ: Princeton University Press. Amulets and Talismans. especially goitre (Koch 1980: 94). Anthon S. 1980. For instance. In England necklaces of amber beads were used as amulets to prevent whooping cough. Hand and Jeannine E. Croup. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day.” Journal of American Folklore 5 (1892): 113–120. London: Dorling Kindersley. teething (Thomas and Thomas 1920: 118). 1970. Whitney. Norfolk. 6: 119). Folklore from Kansas: Beliefs and Customs. Margarita Artschwager. 1985. 1984. 1952–1964. Andrew. Keith. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. Meyer. NC: Duke University Press. For toothache. In Scotland amber beads were a traditional gift by the parents to a bride. Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Auto ´ noma de Me ´xico. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. C. Frena. Annie Weston. Asthma. Princeton. Javier. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. Bloomfield. it has been reported from Salt Lake City that an amber bead necklace will prevent desire (Cannon 1984: 158). Lawrence: Regent Press. and Lucy Blayney Thomas. Glenwood. In folk medicine it sometimes represents the vestiges of an earlier remedy. Hoke. “British Charms. Amber was also rubbed onto a stye to heal it (Souter 1995: 190). Thomas. Daniel Lindsay. Saffron Walden: C. 1996. Kentucky Superstitions. Koch. See also Amulet. Austin: Encino Press. Gardner. Vol. Durham. Texas Folk Medicine. Talley. It was credited with the power to ease depression. 1984. Amulet An object that is carried to avert illness or misfortune. croup (Whitney and Bullock 1925: 92). Gerald Brosseau. 1995.” Memoirs of the American Folklore Society 18 (1925). croup. 7 of Obras Completas. or an acorn has been carried (Hatfield 1994: 46). carrying an amulet of a hazelnut with two kernels was recommended in Suffolk. 7 vols. when worn next to the skin.

For lumbago. opp. 13). Asafoetida has been frequently used as an amulet. An alternative was to wear an arsenic-containing amulet around the neck (Miller 1933: 473). Various amulets have been used against rheumatism. was practiced for toothache (Porter 1974: 46). Nine pieces of elder cut from between two knots was used as an amulet against epilepsy (Black 1883: 120). A necklace of amber was worn by a child to ward off croup. p. whooping cough. or a hedgehog’s skull. In Cambridgeshire. a pregnant woman was advised to wear asafoetida around the neck and put rabbit’s foot under the head when she slept (Brown 1952– 1964 6: 7). were prized until the late eighteenth century in official Western medicine as well as folk medicine. Jasper has been worn as an amulet against drowning (UCLA Folklore Archives 14_7584). A stone was in some cases regarded as a specific cure for one ailment—for instance. an onion worn around the neck (UCLA Folklore Archives 8_6345). either to protect health in general (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_6344). or sow’s teeth or owl’s claws have all been recommended (Puckett 1981: 272). Beads made from peony root were used in Sussex as an amulet against epilepsy and to help in teething (Thiselton Dyer 1889: 284). carrying a paw cut from a live mole was recommended (Black 1883: 161). 302). Birthstones have traditionally been given to a child according to its birth month to protect it against illness and other evil (Souter 1995: 37–38). or a string of garlic (UCLA Folklore Archive 6_6345). In Sussex during the Great Plague. Eel-skin garters were regarded in Suffolk as a preventive and treatment for rheumatism (Porter 1974: 52). Small stones credited with healing powers were handed down from one generation to another in Scotland. and asthma (Gardner 1942: 98). see entry) carried in a pocket (UCLA Folklore Archive 3_6345). known as bezoar. A tooth-shaped stone might be valued as a cure for toothache (Guthrie 1945: Plate VI. Samuel Pepys reported in his diary for March 1665 the success of the hare’s foot amulet he carried against cramp (Radford and Radford 1974: 183). red and white silk threads were recommended (Wright and Lovett 1908: 299. while in Sussex. Teething children were given necklaces of the bean called Job’s tears (Coix lacrymajobi) (Meyer 1985: 248). To bring on labor. amulets of toad poison were carried (Souter 1995: 124). The stump of the umbilical cord was used in East Anglia as an amulet (Newman and Newman 1939: 185). in Scotland. In North American folk medicine. they were used as amulets against cramp (Black 1883: 161). In 1633 the countess of Newcastle was offered an aetites stone to wear to ease labor pains (Thomas 1973: 224). a dime. carrying rabbit teeth or bones. Spiders were worn for ague (Black 1883: 59). Colored threads served as amulets. Stones with holes through them are widely regarded as “lucky” in general and as likely to avert misfortune. the wearing of a gold chain or a copper chain. Copper amulets have been claimed to reduce blood pressure (UCLA Folklore Archives 17_5290). An old lemon carried in the purse has also been suggested (UCLA Folklore Archive 7_6345).Amulet : 11 children in Essex (Hatfield MS). Black threads were used for treating sprains (Black 1883: 79). An example from the 1960s of the use of the “cure of the threads” is cited by Beith (Beith 1995: 198). the adder stones of the Scottish Highlands (Beith 1995: 152–155). to ward off illness in general. in this way they overlap with talismans. or to help with a particular ailment. a potato carried in the pocket has . As in Britain. Carrying a shell during labor was another recommendation (De Lys 1948: 92). Other amulets worn to preserve health include a buckeye (chestnut. The concretions from goat intestine.

Durham. Newman. Daniel. Puckett. worn to protect against illness and evil. A. Thiselton Dyer. The Alasakan eskimo medicine man sometimes carried the soul of a sick child in an amulet for safekeeping (Frazer 1923: 679). Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. and M. “Mundford Primary School Project. or of wood. Porter. A History of Medicine. In Newfoundland.. Fevers. Amulet Frazer. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. E. W. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. Anna Casetta. Cure Craft. 1985. 296). Thomas R. New York: Philosophical Library. made into costume jewelry. North American Folk Healing: An A-Z Guide to Traditional Remedies.” Norfolk. American Folk Medicine. 1945. London: Thomas Nelson. Gardner. “Christina Hole.. St. Examples of amulets still in use today are copper bracelets. F. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett.12 . and Claude W. References Beith. Enza (ed. Newbell Niles. T. 1994. and M. London: Batsford. 1974. 1952–1964. Sondra B. Edinburgh: Polygon. Gerald Brosseau. “Some Birth Customs in East Anglia. Boston: G. Caul. 3 vols. 1883. London: Book Club Associates. In the Native American tradition. Brown. Epilepsy. 1995. Dyfed. worn against rheumatism. Miller. or of maize. Souter. See also Amber. Thiederman. Encyclopedia of Native American Healing. Mary. 1995. 1923. Radford. A Treasury of American Superstitions. De Lys. In Lebanon County. amulets made of bone and shell.” Papers and Addresses of the Lebanon County Historical Society 3 (1905–1906): 252–294. and hare’s paws. Rheumatism. “Folk-Lore and Superstitions Beliefs of Lebanon County. Enid. Denver and Oxford: ABC-CLIO. An ivory doll was held by Inuit women in labor (Micheletti 1998: 326). Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion.) (Brendle and Unger 1935: 83) and Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum sp. F. Meyer. . John’s: Newfoundland Tourist Development Division. William S. ed. William George. Radford. Hatfield. “Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans: The Non-Occult Cures. Frank C.).” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45. Amulets used for fevers include birch catkins (Betula sp. been recommended (Wintemberg 1918: 137). Amulets and Talismans. Sir James George. 1994. 175.” West Virginia Medical Journal 29 (1933): 465–478. E. Hall. Joseph L. 1981. Black. The Folklore of East Anglia. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. unpublished. Hand. IL: Meyerbooks. were used by Shamans during healing ceremonies (Lyon 1996: 99. Facsimile reprint of 1889 edition by Llanerch. Plague. Newman. Edited by Wayland D. the cents placed on the eyelids of the dead to keep them shut were subsequently used as amulets for rheumatism (Grumbine 1905– 1906: 274–275). Saffron Walden: C. 1974. K.) (UCLA Folklore Archive 11_6235). “British Charms.” Encyclopaedia of Superstitions. E. 1996. English. Brendle. 7 vols. NC: Duke University Press. London: Macmillan. Micheletti.” Folklore 50 (1939): 176–187. Keith. Grumbine. Barbara. Douglas. Claudia. 1980. “The Healing Gods or Medical Superstitions.” Folk-Lore 53 (1942): 95–103. Glenwood. Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. Woodbridge: Boydell. 1968. Gabrielle. A. L. 1998. 1935. Lyon. Teething. Historic Newfoundland. Unger. Clarence. Elder. a haddock fin has been used as a rheumatism amulet (English 1968: 443). The Folk-Lore of Plants. London: Folklore Society. 1948. Guthrie.

See also Burdock. above). The most widely used plant remedy for anemia is nettle (Allen and Hatfield. Until fifty years ago. Mary.. Dandelion leaf tea was used to treat anemia in West Virginia (Mason 1957: 29). Forge water. Dandelion tea (Taraxacum officinale). Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth. children suffering from what was then called pernicious anemia were given raw liver to eat (J. Portland..).” Journal of American Folklore 31 (1918): 135–153.Anemia Thomas. “Folk-Lore Collected in the Counties of Oxford and Waterloo. Carrot has traditionally been recommended for anemia (Souter 1995: 132). and E. 1973. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition: An Ethnobotany of Britain and Ireland. R. 6: 117).. E30. David E. Privately published pamphlet. East Grinstead. Ontario. Lovett. Barbara. pers. In Ireland too. Oregongrape (Mahonia repens) was taken to “enrich” (Hart 1992: 18) or “thicken” the blood (Nickerson 1966: 47). still recommended today by herbalists for its high iron content.. is reported by Brown (Brown 1952–1964. References Allen. as was sarsaparilla. : 13 Anemia This was not always recognized as a distinct ailment but a number of remedies for blood disorders in general clearly involve anemia. n.” Folk-Lore 19 (1908): 288–302. for example. Many of the tonics used in folk medicine were described as blood purifiers. 1935. Wright. Healing Threads Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. OR: Timber Press. Keith. and Gabrielle Hatfield. was used in the East Anglian fens for anemia (Chamberlain 1981). 1995. One lady in Cambridgeshire made pills for anemia consisting of dust from the anvil and powdered dandelion root rolled in butter (Porter 1964: 9–11). a large number of plants were used “for the blood” (Moerman 1998: 775–776). . In Dumfriesshire.and Seventeenth-Century England.d. “Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans: The Non-Occult Cures. Thomas R. Water out of a rusty can was recommended in New Mexico (Moya 1940: 74). and some of these too were probably useful in treating anemia. “Specimens of Modern Mascots and Amulets of the British Isles. Some at least of these were targeted specifically at anemia. Grandmother’s Remedies.C. beetroot was used to treat anemia (Brew. Herrick 1977: 478) for this purpose. A strange ritual of bleeding an anaemic child. Harmondsworth: Penguin. com. Beith. In Native American practice. generally regarded as a tonic. Water from the forge. was used widely (e. Edinburgh: Polygon. W. Unger. diluting the blood with water. there is a well whose water was particularly recommended for “women’s ailments” (Beith 1995: 132). Stinging nettle. 1960). In North American folk medicine. Dandelion. and Claude W.” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45. This remedy can be traced back to the writings of Hippocrates (Raycroft 1940: 125– 131). Red beets were regarded in Pennsylvania as blood “makers” (Brendle and Unger 1935: 39) (compare with the remedy from Sussex. Wintemberg. Copy in Folklore Society archives. some of the same remedies for anemia have been traced. A. Scotland. Sarsaparilla. Yarrow. Blackstrap molasses was held to be good for anemia (UCLA Folklore Archives 17_5461).. and giving it back as a drink. Into this category come burdock (Arctium lappa) and yarrow (Achillea millefolium). Water from a so-called chalybeate well (rich in iron salts) was one such remedy. England. for example. in press). Brew. chalybeate waters were valued for anemia (Logan 1972: 142).g. Dandelion tea. J. in which iron had been quenched was another folk remedy for anemia (Souter 1995: 132). in press. Brendle. In Sussex.

Keith. or “any sore place” (Hatfield 1994: 52). 1972. In the Appalachians. Rotten apples have been used to poultice sore eyes (Gunton Household Book). weak eyes (Black 1883: 201). “Some Data on Plains and Great Basin Indian Uses of Certain Native Plants.” Tebiwa 9(1) (1966): 45–51. sores and warts. Warts too have been “transferred” to an apple (Lafont 1984: 8). Using his right hand. apple bark had a reputation for treating stomach ailments . In New England. Daniel. Superstitions and Beliefs among the Spanish-Speaking People of New Mexico. James. They have been found to regulate the bowels.W. (Sarah Boait) Apple Folk medicine does not usually distinguish between different kinds of apple. Herrick. 1995. Joseph E. the type of apple is not specified. 1952–1964.” West Virginia Folklore 7 (1957): 27– 32. Frank C. University of New Mexico. 1981. and styes (Vickery 1995: 13). Cider vinegar has many varied uses on both sides of the Atlantic. In Lincolnshire the method was further refined: the apple was cut into nine pieces and rubbed nine times over the warts (Black 1883: 42). B. Moya. he should then tie his left hand loosely to the tree. Daniel E. Iroquois Medical Botany. “Home Remedies in West Virginia. or “verjuice. Master’s thesis. 1998. Apple Brown. Portland. OR: Timber Press. Helena: Montana Historical Society Press. “Some Old Fenland Remedies. Mary. Souter. Emerson (1887: 15) reports the use in Suffolk of crab-apple juice for treating bruises. 1940. the following remedy was reported in 1879 as a cure for an ague (fever): the patient should take a piece of yarn made of three colors and go by himself to an apple tree. Moerman. Gifford S. Apples have treated bruises. In general. It was reported in Cambridgeshire that an apple was placed in the bedroom of a smallpox patient and that the disease then transferred to the apple (Vickery 1995: 13). Chamberlain. boils (Gutch 1908: 69). 1977. Strictly speaking. Dublin: Talbot Press. Durham. Enid M. London: Virago. Saffron Walden: C. Nickerson. Montana Native Plants and Early Peoples.” Education Today (July 1964). Jeff.” Bulletin of the Medical Library Association 28 (1940): 125–131. Raycroft. though. In Britain raw apple has been rubbed on warts (Hatfield 1999: 148. as well as chilblains (Vickery 1995: 13). cultivated varieties of apple belong to a separate species (Malus domestica). Porter. Mason. Allen 1995: 179). Benjamin S. “Old Wine in New Bottles. Making the Cure: A Look at Irish Folk Medicine. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Essex 1991). Old Wives’ Tales. Patrick.. NC: Duke University Press.14 . State University of New York. 1992. Withering reported that apple juice. 7 vols. PhD thesis. Hart. James William. Logan.” was extensively used in England for treating sprains (Withering 1787–1792: 296). Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. only crab-apple (Malus sylvestris) is native to Britain. Native American Ethnobotany. sprains. then slip his hand out and run from the tree without looking back (Black 1883: 38). Albany. Apple juice has been used to treat constipation (Mrs.

1990. The same wart remedy using an apple reported from Britain figures in North American folk medicine too (Hyatt 1965: 291). 1965. In American folk medicine raw apple is recommended for diarrhea in older children and adults (Meyer 1985: 90). Smallpox. London: Sampson Low. 1977. Herrick. A “cure” for cancer has been recorded involving visiting an apple tree three mornings in succession and saying special words (Thomas and Thomas 1920: 98). 2nd rev. as an aid to weight loss. Norwich. References Allen. London: Pan Books. to relieve lameness. it is claimed that apples regulate the bowels.. P. A Reference Guide to Medicinal Plants. Woodbridge: Boydell. Gabrielle.” Papers and Addresses of the Lebanon County Historical Society 3 (1905–1906): 252–294. See also Asthma. Durham. Albany: State University of New York. 1994. . Apple-cider vinegar has been regarded as a cure for a very wide variety of ailments. night sweats. 1961. An infusion prepared by pouring boiling water on apple slices has been drunk for asthma (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_5266). Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. 1958. Wisdom. County Folklore. William George. Chilblains.Apple : 15 (Crellin and Philpott 1990: 185). Lincolnshire. Black. Hyatt.” Various species of apple have been widely used in Native American medicine (Moerman 1998: 333–334). Memory. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. in Britain its use for chilblains. D. Pictures of East Anglian Life. Hatfield. His books underline the old proverb that “An apple a day keeps the doctor away. whose books on folk medicine in Vermont have run into numerous editions. Harry Middleton. Jarvis. H. Gunton Household Book. a rotten apple is recommended as treatment for sore eyes (Browne 1958: 61). varicose veins. above) (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_6834). an alternative has been the bark of the crabapple steeped in whisky (Meyer 1985: 212). It has been used to staunch bleeding (Browne 1958: 500) and to treat the rash of poison ivy (UCLA Folklore Archive 4_5453). Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. and even for blindness (Herrick 1977: 350). Cancer. John K. Phoenix Mill: Sutton. and to treat poison ivy rash. Rheumatism. As in Britain. impetigo and ringworm (Jarvis 1961). PhD thesis. Transference. 1995. “Folk-Lore and Superstitious Beliefs of Lebanon County. Vol. Constipation. C. Boils. Iroquois Medical Botany. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. and Jane Philpott. A treatment for a drunkard is to eat an apple held by a dying man (Grumbine 1905–1906: 280). A poultice of rotten apples has been used to treat mumps (Parler 1962: 783). burns. Emerson. earache. Seventeenth/eighteenth century manuscript in Church of St. Malus sylvestris has been used for hoarseness (Taylor 1940: 29). Warts. shingles. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. Crellin. Peter Mancroft. Browne. Gutch (Eliza). Andrew. 1999. Apple has been used in the treatment both of diarrhea and of constipation. 5. Grumbine. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Bleeding. Newbury: Countryside Books. James William. for kidney inflammation. Hatfield. ed. Folklore Studies 9. Ray B. Eating the core of a green apple has been recommended for arthritis (Puckett 1981: 309). Jarvis recommends apple-cider vinegar for diarrhea and vomiting. London: Folk-lore Society. E. This has also been a treatment for frostbite (cf. Poison ivy. Gabrielle. Folk Medicine. 1908. and Mabel Peacock. black eyes and bruises. 1887. It has been made famous in particular by Jarvis. and Healing: The History of Domestic Plant Medicine. London: Folklore Society. Eye problems. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. NC: Duke University Press. 1883.

American Folk Medicine. Hernia in children was thought to be curable by splitting open a growing ash sapling and passing the child through the opening. A Somerset proverb recorded in 1912 reflects this belief (Tongue 1965: 35). In the Scottish Highlands. where it was left (Grieve 1931: 67). Boston: G. Newbell Niles. made famous by Gilbert White in the eighteenth century (White 1789–1822. One custom. Anne-Marie. This remedy can be traced back to Saxon Britain (Black 1883: 197). Other folk medicinal uses for the native British ash include a poultice of the leaves to treat snake bites (Beith 1995: 203). Smoke from burning ash was used to treat ringworm (Vickery 1995: 20). burned ash bark was used as a treatment for toothache (Beith 1995: 203). In West Somerset. Roy. 2nd ed. Meyer. and also in England right up to the present day (Hatfield MS). 1995. and as it healed. ash sap was traditionally given to a newborn baby as its first nourishment (Beith 1995: 203)—a practice that it has been suggested. Plants Used as Curatives by Certain Southeastern Tribes. so would the child. Another use for the ash was as an aid to weight reduction. Bideford: Badger Books. there was a custom of hanging a wreath of flowers on an ash tree near a farm to protect the animals and people against snake bites (Tongue 1965: 28). K. including whooping cough (Vickery 1995: 19) and paralysis (Grieve 1931: 67). Swinney. Arthritis Lafont. 265). Hand. and University Student Contributors. MA: Botanical Museum of Harvard University. Arthritis See Rheumatism and arthritis. Ash (Fraxinus spp. 15 vols. 1984. and Lucy Blayney Thomas. Withering. In one method. Thiederman. Clarence. 1962. Kentucky Superstitions. Cambridge. Oxford: Oxford University Press. and Sondra B. 1787–1792. William. Such trees were used as “cures” for a variety of ailments. Daniel E. the dried leaves were used as a tea (Meyer 1985: 101. 3 vols. Thomas. Warts were “transferred” to ash trees in a variety of ways. Taylor. Moerman. 1920. Portland. Vickery. 1940. . In North American folk medicine. could originate in Persia. by imprisoning a live shrew in a hole bored in an ash tree. In the Scottish Highlands. 1998. 1: 344). OR: Timber Press. Birmingham: M. Glenwood. Princeton. A preparation of ash bark tea was used in the treatment of snake bite. Ash sap has been used to treat earache in Ireland. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Anna Casetta. Puckett. This custom has been recorded in use in Sussex as recently as the 1920s (Allen 1995: 162). a pin was stuck in each wart and afterward in the ash tree. Mary Celestia. Folk uses of the ash involve some clear examples of the transference of disease. ash sap was used to treat earache. as in British and Irish.) The British native species of ash. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Native American Ethnobotany. 1985. Fraxinus exclesior has had numerous uses in folk medicine and folklore.16 . Both Pliny and Gerard claimed that there was such a strong antipathy between the ash and the snake that a snake would pass through fire to avoid the tree (Black 1883: 196). 3 vols. was to make a so-called shrew-ash. Linda Averill. where the sweet sap of the so-called manna ash (Fraxinus ornus) was dried and eaten for its food value and its action as a gentle laxative. for this purpose. Edited by Wayland D. NJ: Princeton University Press. Hall. A Botanical Arrangement of British Plants. A Herbal Folklore. 1981. Daniel Lindsay. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. Parler. This tree then maintained its medicinal virtue for its lifetime. IL: Meyerbooks. The tree was then bound up.

Black.. 172). 1985. pers. K. Rousseau. In Britain. OR: Timber Press. The Natural History of Selbourne.E. Black.. Ringworm. Toothache. Brendle. This is the thornapple (Datura stramonium). 1931. Clearly the remedy was imported from North America. Leyel. Vickery.” Archives de Folklore 11 (1947): 145–182. 1995. 1998. Edited by Wayland D. Mary. Clarence. but the type of tree is not specified (Black 1883: 68). G. and Claude W. or ash. 1995. and the method of obtaining the sap is identical to that described for Scotland (Black 1980: 218). Jacques. White. Asthma In acute phases this can be life threatening. The plant is not native to Britain but turns up as a weed of recently disturbed land. oak. “Ethnobotanique Abe ´nakise. Going back farther in time it becomes increasingly difficult to separate asthma remedies from those of bronchitis. 3 vols. Anna Casetta. C. Beith. Newbell Niles. Portland. folk medicine has over the centuries developed a large and miscellaneous range of remedies. 1883.Asthma : 17 again reflecting the claim of an antipathy between snakes and ash. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. A Modern Herbal. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. T. 1980. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. Puckett. Tongue. Edited by Mrs. “Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans: The Non-Occult Cures. References Allen. New Jersey. Daniel E. Algonquin Ethnobotany: An Interpretation of Aboriginal Adaptation in South Western Quebec. and Sondra B. See also Earache. Grieve. 1965. the dried leaves were smoked as a treatment for asthma (e. Hall. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited Katharine Briggs. London: Folklore Society. Andrew. Black ash (Fraxinus nigra) has been used as a tonic and an antirheumatic (Moerman 1998: 239). London. Unger. F. Thomas R. County Folklore 8. Fraxinus americana was also used as an emmenagogue (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_5605). Ash sap was widely used to treat earache. (First edition 1789). Somerset Folklore. Glenwood. Boston: G. Ottawa: National Museums of Canada.” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45 (1935). Meredith Jean. A child could be passed through a split holly. Moerman. Snake bite. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Ruth L. also known in North America as Jamestown weed or Jimson Weed. Native American Ethnobotany. Thiederman. for the cure of hernia (Puckett 1981: 396). In Native American medicine there were numerous uses for various species of ash (Moerman 1998: 238–239). Whooping cough. Meyer. 1822. but it is unusual in that it was adopted not only by medical herbalists but by the folk tradition as well. London: Jonathan Cape. 1988). One plant remedy stands out in recent times as being used in folk medicine on both sides of the Atlantic. There is an echo of the British folk remedy for hernia in a report from Burlington County. IL: Meyerbooks. com. by the fishermen of the North Norfolk coast. . London: Folklore Society... Other uses of ash in North American folk medicine include wound treatment (Brendle and Unger 1935: 75). of children being treated for ruptures by being passed through a split in a tree. Roy. Mrs. Transference. 1995. Edinburgh: Polygon. 1981. Hand. William George.g. American Folk Medicine. White ash (Fraxinus americana) was used to provoke menstruation and as an abortifacient by the Abnaki (Rousseau 1947: 154. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. and as one would expect. M. Newbury: Countryside Books. Both roots and flowers of this species have been used in snake bite treatment (Moerman 1998: 238). Mercury Series 65.

The story of a lifesaving poultice made from hot. reminiscent of the Scottish use of dogfish oil. sugar maple. 1990) we have an early example of the now-popular complementary medicine of aromatherapy (Miss N. In the English early twentieth-century use of honeysuckle for treating asthma (Miss N.. Another transference remedy is to sleep with a chihuahua (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_6828). Among plant remedies used. com. 223. snuff made from the dried leaves of ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea). In some parts of Scotland. Other plants native to North America but not to Britain used in asthma treatment include Aloe vera. coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) was recommended by Pliny for the treatment of bronchitis and has continued in herbal and in folk medicine to be used for coughs ever since. an infusion of horehound (Marrubium vulgare) and a decoction of the roots and bark of the sloe (Prunus spinosa) have all been used in the Scottish Highlands for treating asthma (Beith 1995: 215. the skin of a hare. A romantic-sounding remedy was recorded in the 1950s by Beith from Inverness-shire in Scotland. com. while the skin of a muskrat worn against the lungs echoes the British use of hareskin (Meyer 1985: 31). The sufferer had to row alone across a lake and back before sunrise (Beith 1995: 135). An infusion of bramble root (Rubus fruticosus) and pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium). or the hope.. Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata) was recommended in the Isle of Lewis (Beith 1995: 207). such as a stew containing badger and jackdaw (Bourke 1894: 120). England (Hatfield 1994: 75). 1980). birch. pers.18 . placed over the chest during sleep. the patient must find a frog by moonlight and spit into its throat (UCLA Folklore Archives 24_6176). that children often “grow out of” asthma. Hampshire. as well as so-called asthma weed (Lobelia inflata) (Meyer 1985: 32– 35). Three nights in succession. or eating bees’ honey and sulphur (Welsch 1966: 360). Hampshire. For example..g. There are records for the use of oil from a goose and of the fat from a chicken. willow. swallowing a teaspoonful of sea sand (UCLA Folklore Archives 24_6175). 221. Some of the child’s hair is cut off and placed into a hole in a tree bored above the child’s head. Also in the Scottish Highlands. Some of the remedies are clearly related to the observation. Puckett 1981: 312). cooked potatoes was told by a lady now in her nineties who has lived all her life in Norfolk.. Miscellaneous remedies include drinking goat’s milk (UCLA Folklore Archives 6_5263). In North American folk medicine the remedies used for asthma reflect those in Britain. Among a large collection (almost eighty) of different asthma remedies in the UCLA Folk Medicine Archive there are several bizarre ones. A good example of transference comes from the African American tradition. the smoking of jimson weed has already been mentioned (UCLA Folklore Archives 1–5263). The Inverness-shire method to relax the patient is echoed in a remedy from Rochester: the patient is advised to walk alone three times round the house at midnight when the moon is waning (Black 1883: 125). bloodroot. Asthma in folk medicine the two complaints seem to have been linked together. Ash. 242). This plant became celebrated for its . wine made from elder berries (Sambucus nigra). the asthma will be cured (see e. When he or she grows above the hole. dogfish oil was given to asthma sufferers (Beith 1995: 174). pers. skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) and licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra). and hickory all feature in versions of this remedy. was apparently used to ward off asthma attacks (Souter 1995: 136). This use has extended to asthma in the Scottish Highlands (Beith 1995: 212) and in England (Prince 1991: 11). 6: 119). 232. Amulets worn to prevent or to cure asthma include amber beads (Brown 1952_1964.

Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Black. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. long before that it was known to and used by the Native Americans (Grieve 1931: 495). In the Native American tradition. Franz. 3 vols. Edited by Mrs. “Current Beliefs of the Kwakiutl In- dians.” A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. American Folk Medicine. 1995. NC: Duke University Press. Dennis. Lobelia. Browne. Bourke. and Superstitions of the Rio Grande. 1883. 1991. Amber. Roger L. 1958. Keith. Boston: G. Ash.) have also been used (Browne 1958: 32). 7 vols. and Sondra B. See also African tradition. .1995. 1966. Boiled chestnut leaves (Castanea sp. Meyer. Ray B. M. K. Thiederman. “Popular Beliefs and Superstitions.” Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Americanists (1917): 303–321. Boas. “Medicine Practices of the Northeastern Algonquians. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Leyel. Mary. and horehound (Marrubium vulgare) (Meyer 1985: 31–35). London: Folklore Society. IL: Meyerbooks. Edited by Wayland D. Glenwood. William George.” Journal of American Folklore 45 (1932): 177–260. wild cherry (Prunus sp. Samuel. London: Jonathan Cape. 1985. Saffron Walden: C. Brown. Thomson. Honey. Frank G. References Beith. Customs. wild plum (Prunus spinosa). Hall. Grieve. Birch. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. 1931.Asthma : 19 fame in treating a wide range of conditions. willow bark (Salix lucida) was smoked for asthma (Speck 1917: 309). Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. John G. Daniel. Clarence. Puckett. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Transference. Frank C. Prince. However. W. Speck. mullein (Verbascum thapsus). elecampane (Inula helenium). Plants common to both Britain and North America that were used in American folk remedies for asthma include daisy (Bellis perennis). F. elder (Sambucus nigra). Edinburgh: Polygon. 1994. Grandmother’s Cures: An A-Z of Herbal Remedies. C. London: Fontana. Amulet. Bloodroot. Welsch. Willow. Native American tradition. Hand. 1981.” Journal of American Folklore 7 (1894): 119–146.). A Modern Herbal. “Popular Medicine. Cottonseed water was a remedy from the African tradition (UCLA Folklore Archives 21_5263). Woodbridge: Boydell. Hatfield. Anna Casetta. Gabrielle. Souter. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. Among the Kwakiutl a recommendation for asthma was to eat part of the heart of a wolf (Boas 1932: 184). 1952–1964. Aloe vera. after it was promoted by Samuel Thomson. Mrs. Durham. A Treasury of Nebraska Pioneer Folklore. Folklore Studies 9. Asthma. Newbell Niles.

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the patient lay down. The other half of the potato was to be carried in his trouser pocket at all times. backache has attracted a wide variety of folk remedies. In the Highlands of Scotland potatoes carried in a pocket had a reputation for preventing rheumatism (Beith 1995: 235). An intriguing cure for severe backache was related by a retired carpenter from Essex. Oil of juniper (from Juniperus sp.. was an East Anglian remedy for lumbago (Rider Haggard (ed.. pers. the usual procedure again was to walk on the part afflicted.. The man was cured of his pain and always carried the dried-up potato (A.G. Other plants used in folk medicine for the treatment of back pain and sciatica include ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria)..T. The treatment sometimes involved the healer walking along the patient’s spine. ironing with a flat iron was a traditional if drastic treatment used in East Anglia until very recent times. England. S. When the healer was a large man.” He was to lie in a warm bath and then rub the sorest part of his back with the newly cut surface of a raw potato. Reputedly in the northeast of Scotland it was believed that a child born feet first had the power of healing lumbago. Horse oils were often used by farm laborers in East Anglia before the advent of the National Health Service. and he was ironed! (D. and sprains. there was a belief that a person suffering from lumbago could be relieved by rolling on the ground when he heard the first cuckoo of the spring (Allen 1995: 42). com. used in healing at least since Anglo-Saxon times. this must have been a heroic procedure! (Beith 1995: 168). On St. rheumatism. as in the case of Neil in the Inner Hebrides. and a painter working with him on a building site one day told him about “the potato cure. his back was covered with red flannel. His pain was so bad it made work almost impossible. In Cornwall. Another approach was to seek a cure from a local healer with a reputation for curing bad backs and other skeletal problems. For the lower-back pain often known as lumbago. 1974: 16). These had a very wide variety of constituents but often contained turpentine. Plantain. 1980). 1991).) was used to . Norfolk. this special power extended to the mother of a child born feet first (Black 1883: 137). which was crushed and made into a poultice to treat sciatica in the Scottish Highlands (Beith 1995: 215). Kilda the fat of black-throated divers was used to relieve sciatica (Beith 1995: 165).).B : Backache Still one of the commonest causes of lost working days. In Sussex. Age Concern Essays. The comfort provided by heat is exploited in the use of various “rubs” that increase the local blood circulation and give rise to a feeling of warmth.

They include bugleweed (Lycopus virginicus). both by Native Americans and later by European settlers. confusingly also called winter- . (National Library of Medicine) treat low back pain in humans and in animals (I. Oil of wintergreen was adopted for use in domestic medicine both in North America and in Britain. N. The sufferer is instructed to lie down and roll over three times when he hears the whippoorwill call! (Brown 1952–1964. Backache A treatment approach for backache was to seek a cure from a local healer with a reputation for curing bad backs. has been widely used. The evil spirit passes out through the hole (UCLA Folklore Archives 15_5273). In addition. it was combined in a poultice with rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) (Moya 1940: 47). a similar array of remedies for back pain exists. Red flannel features. Carrying a chestnut (buckeye) in the pocket was said to help backache (Brown 1952–1964.22 . Trampling on a sore back was also practiced in North America (Cannon 1984: 92). 1980). In one. also known as checkerberry (Gaultheria procumbens). and bull thistle (Carduus lanceolatus) (Meyer 1985: 220). In New Mexico. wintergreen. pers. 6: 120). In North American folk medicine. as in Britain. 3: 443a). Various plants native to North America but not to Britain have been used to treat backache and sciatica. Norfolk. There is even an American counterpart for the Sussex remedy mentioned above. com. in backache cures. 66: 121). black cohosh.. and it still forms a constituent of some “rubs” for painful joints and backs. Other plants used by Native Americans in the treatment of backache include pipsissewa. Turpentine features in backache cures in North America as well as Britain. a piece of red flannel with a hole in it is positioned so that the hole is on the small of the back. Other miscellaneous folk remedies for backache include wearing a snakeskin belt (Parler 1962. The treatment sometimes involved the healer walking along the patient’s spine.

1985. London: Folklore Society.). Durham. W. Allen. Cannon. American Folk Medicine. Bad breath This must have been a common problem when teeth decayed and no dental treatment was available. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Benjamin S. This remedy also appears in a book of North . Souter. Newbury: Countryside Books. N. The Cherokee Indians used a mouthwash made from foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) to clean a coated tongue (Micheletti 1998: 42). Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. 1940. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Mary. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. Entered in Library of Congress. IL: Meyerbooks. Black cohosh. See also Amulet. Prince. Oliver. North American Folk Healing: An A-Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. American Folk Medicine. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. Grandmother’s Cures: An A-Z of Herbal Remedies. a variety of cultivated plants were and are traditionally chewed to sweeten breath. Edited by Wayland D. Parler. Both chamomile and raspberry (Rubus idaeus) tea were used in North American folk medicine. mannagrass (Glyceria obtusa). Meyer. and University Student Contributors. and horsemint (Monarda punctata) (Speck 1944: 41. Mary Celestia. NC: Duke University Press. 1998. William George. To remove the smell of garlic on the breath. Dennis. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Woodbridge: Boydell Press. Chewing spice from the spice wood tree (? Styrax sp. 7 vols. 1952–1964. Rider Haggard. Rugby: G. including parsley (Petroselinum crispum) and cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) (Souter 1995: 164). Compiled by Dr. References Meyer. England. Washington. 1985. 1974. & F. or a cubeb (Piper cubeba) was also recommended (Meyer 1985: 177). A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. References Age Concern Essays. 1991. 1995. Frank G.” Journal of American Folklore 57 (1944): 37–50. Brown. In both Britain and North America. Clarence. Hand and Jeannine E. T. Andrew. 1991. 1995. Talley. Wilkes. DC. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. 15 vols. Black. Chewing cloves (buds of Syzygium aromaticum). Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. Stockton. Lilias (ed. I Walked by Night. Saffron Walden: C. One simple British folk remedy was to drink and gargle with a solution of salt (Prince 1991: 15). Glenwood. 1895. London: Fontana. Beith. Daniel. Speck. 1962. 1995. Frank C. Plantain. wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens). Wilkes’ Priceless Recipes. 1984. University of New Mexico. Baking soda was used similarly (Micheletti 1998: 43). Micheletti. Keith.) is another suggestion (UCLA Folklore Archives 14_5299). Held in Suffolk Record Office. Moya. myrrh (Commiphora myrrha). Edinburgh: Polygon. Glenwood. and fennel (Foeniculum vulgare). Other plants used to sweeten the breath include peppermint (Mentha piperita). Superstitions and Beliefs among the Spanish-Speaking People of New Mexico. 1883. American household remedies first published in 1895 (Wilkes 1895: 94). Master’s thesis. Anthon S. See also Chamomile. Rheumatism.). Enza (ed. cardamom seeds (Elettaria cardamomum). “Catawba Herbals and Curative Practices.Bad breath : 23 green (Chimaphila unbellata). IL: Meyerbooks. chewing parsley is particularly recommended. 45). Clarence. Snake. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah.

Kavasch. olive oil. dandelion flowers. Bear’s grease rubbed on the head is recorded from Alabama (Puckett 1981: 315) and rattlesnake oil from the central Midwest (UCLA Folklore Archives13_5277). but as Beith (1985) points out. It consists of hartshorn shavings mixed with oil (Robertson 1960: 6). the hindquarters of hedgehogs were cooked and mixed with the inner fat of the pig to produce an ointment for baldness (Allen 1995: 81). nettle. In Roman times. In Sussex folk medicine. lemon juice. quoted in Beith 1995: 65). Drinking a decoction of burdock root was also claimed to be effective (Prince 1991: 31). red clover. A recent compilation of folk remedies from North America includes the use of Aloe vera juice. Beith. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. Among a collection of “Old Settlers’ Remedies” from Nova Scotia. and hedgehog fat were made into an ointment to rub into the scalp to stimulate hair growth (Souter 1995: 164). Edinburgh: Polygon. including mouse dung and hedgehog dung. a remedy recorded from California but apparently originating in England (UCLA Folklore Archives 24_5579). various species of Yucca have been used to produce a hair tonic to treat baldness (Kavasch and Baar 1999: 100). 1995. Newbury: Countryside Books. one wonders how far such remedies were given tongue in cheek (Dewar MS. the ashes from the burned genitals of an ass were mixed with one’s own urine and rubbed onto the scalp to prevent baldness (Souter 1995: 164). Baldness Baldness At a time when the human genome is being unraveled for the first time and the hunt for the gene controlling baldness is now possible. See also Hair problems. A “miracle ageing brew” recorded in the twentieth century from Shropshire claimed to restore hair. As well as recommending hedgehog fat mixed with bear’s grease as a baldness remedy. Rubbing the scalp with the cut surface of an onion is recorded (UCLA Folklore Archives 13_5650). and lemon. This plant. burdock “oil. Onion rubbed on the head was considered a cure for baldness in both England and Ireland (Vickery 1995: 267). American In- . References Allen. E. Eating kelp and horseradish is also recommended. fermented overnight with yeast (Prince 1991: 10). Mary. Rosemary. In Native American practice. Andrew. sugar. a poultice on the scalp of chicken dung or cow manure is suggested (Trent 2000: 45. Rubbing on the dung of various animals was recommended not only in folk medicine but also in the official pharmacopoeia at least until the eighteenth century. for the treatment of baldness (Salmon 1693: 356). onion juice. there is one for increasing hair growth. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Sarcobatus vermiculatus. “gas-water” (the water through which coal gas is passed during purification) was rubbed into the scalp as a hair restorer (Prince 1991: 31).24 . Bat’s blood was recommended for treating baldness in both England and North Carolina (McCracken 1992: 14). the physician William Salmon also lists a great variety of other animal products. Barrie. is a native of western North America and known mainly for its hard wood used as fuel and in tool making (Moerman 1998: 518). and Karen Baar. it is interesting to see the variety of weird and sometimes revolting home remedies tried for treating baldness. 1995. and roots. Drinking very dark tea is said to prevent baldness. A Mexican Native American remedy for baldness was to use greasewood root as a hair rinse. It was composed of nettle. 46). honey. Less pleasantly. More bizarrely.” or vinegar to treat baldness. Well-rotted mice were recommended by a healer in the Highlands of Scotland.

3 vols. 2000. however. McCracken. Oxford: Oxford University Press. sores (Black 1980: 148) and eczema (Smith 1933: 80). Robertson. Coughs. Piles. K. Dennis. tuberculosis (Train. Native American Ethnobotany. Hand. References Ansell. and worms (Herrick 1977: 291) to broken bones (Turner et al. The sticky resin from its buds has formed the basis for many home remedies. 1990: 276). The Compleat English Physician. Eczema has been treated with an ointment prepared from balm of Gilead and lard (UCLA Folklore Archives 17_5368). Portland. 1998. Barrington. New York: Bantam Books.Balm of Gilead dian Healing Arts. Prince. It was used for a large range of skin conditions. Newbell Niles. Roy. Edited by Wayland D. Thiederman. Vickery. It was an ingredient of a tonic taken for “female weakness” (Meyer 1985: 124). : 25 Balm of Gilead (Populus balsamifera) This tree is native to North America. The resin has been used to treat burns (Clark 1970: 14). NS: Cape Sable Historical Society. Black. Salmon. Henrichs and Archer 1941: 121). “Recollections of a Knotts Island Boyhood. Meredith Jean. it has formed an ointment for treating chapped hands (Meyer 1985: 225). Anna Casetta. Early Settlers’ Remedies. 1981. London: 1693. 1991. Rheumatism. excessive bleeding during childbirth (Densmore 1928: 358). Colossus of Folk Medicine: An Encyclopedia. and a wash for sore eyes (Gunther 1973: 26) or sore throat (Train. Moerman. wrinkles (Oklahoma Folklore: 57). It was an ingredient of a tonic for a weak stomach (Meyer 1985: 242) and has been used to treat piles (Brown 1952–1964: 249). These uses may have been passed on from Native Americans to the settlers. The sticky resin has been used as a basis for cough syrups (Meyer 1985: 82) and for treating colds (Browne 1958: 87) and earache (Dykeman 1955: 253). Worms. “Bats in Magic. W.” Bats 10(3) (1992). The resinous buds have provided a cough medicine (Smith 1929: 54). Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. Souter. its uses in Native American practice have been very numerous and diverse (Moerman 1998: 427–429). Gary. 1995. Grandmother’s Cures: An A-Z of Herbal Remedies. It has. OR: Timber Press. Wendell Campbell. Along with other species of poplar. Steeped in alcohol. Mixed with sheep’s tallow and beeswax. Saffron Walden: C. The bark of the tree reputedly cures leprosy (Hatcher 1955: 150–155). Fractures. Hall. Puckett. the buds have provided a tincture for treating sores and ulcers (Meyer 1985: 229). It has been used in official medicine and herbalism in Britain (Chevallier 1996: 252) but not in traditional folk medicine there. Daniel E. and boils (Ansell 1959: 9). 1960.” North Carolina Folklore 7(1) (1959): 1–13. London: Fontana. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Henry B. William. First Books Library. 1999. The bark of the balsam poplar and its root are also widely used in Native American practice. Earache. a salve for wounds. Algonquin Ethnobotany: An Interpretation of Aboriginal Adaptation in . for uses ranging from rheumatism (Reagan 1928: 231). and Sondra B. Trent. It was named after the balm of Gilead mentioned in the Bible. Henrichs and Archer 1941: 210). although that reference is to quite a different plant. Tuberculosis. Keith. Daniel. 1995. Marion. played a significant role in North American folk medicine. Potions and Medicinal Preparations. See also Colds. Boston: G. but not to Britain.

Terry Thompson. 1973. Erna. Thompson Ethnobotany: Knowledge and Usage of Plants by the Thompson Indians of British Columbia. Victoria: Royal British Columbia Museum. OR: Timber Press. Ph. Ray B. Medicinal Uses of Plants by Indian Bartram.” Southern Folklore Quarterly 19 (1955): 150–155. Washington. Frances. Percy.D. the importance of his work was recognized by induction as one of the original members of the American Phil- . Train.” National Museum of Canada Bulletin 56 (1929): 47–68. Though he was selftaught as a botanist. New York: Rinehart.26 . and W. Department of Agriculture. Glenwood. Nancy J. Moerman. Portland. John Tribes of Nevada. “Ethnobotany of the Forest Potawatomi Indians. Thompson. rivers. 7 vols. Henrichs. and Annie Z. White. 1990. Chevallier. Andrew. Frank C. made by John Bartram in his travels from Pennsylvania to Onadaga. John Bartram received little formal education but became a very successful farmer. State University of New York. 1996. York. “Uses of Plants by the Chippewa Indians. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. and was able to assist others as a result of his knowledge of medicinal plants. UCLA Folklore Archives 21_3939. Joseph D. “Materia Medica of the Bella Coola and Neighboring Tribes of British Columbia. and alongside conventional crops he grew numerous medicinal plants from both the Old World and the New. Andrew Archer. The French Broad (Rivers of America). Wilma. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. M.S. Dykeman. Folklore Studies 9. ed. he wrote Observations on the inhabitants. Whiston and B. after a trip to Onondaga.” Smithsonian InstitutionBureau of American Ethnology Annual Report 44 (1928): 273–379. productions worthy of notice. Herrick. during his lifetime he was highly respected and liked. 1980. 1952–1964. Clark. thesis. DC: U. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Ottawa: National Museums of Canada. publishing in 1751 an essay entitled Description. 1751). Native American Ethnobotany.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. virtues and uses of sundry plants of these northern parts of America. and particularly of the newly discovered Indian cure for the venereal disease. Mercury Series 65. 1977. NC: Duke University Press. 1941.” Wisconsin Archaeologist 7(4) (1928): 230– 248. Hatcher. James R. Laurence C. Durham. Clarence. soil. Apart from the importance of the information he printed. Oswego and the Lake Ontario in Canada (London: J. 1955. IL: Meyerbooks. he provided some of the earliest printed information on the subject. Albert B. Smith. Bartram. Ethnobotany of Western Washington.” Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 7 (1933): 1– 230. American Folk Medicine. Browne. Daniel E. Brown. He bought a 102-acre plot of land near Philadelphia. John (1699–1777) Descended from an English grandfather who went from Derbyshire to America in 1682. Gunther. South Western Quebec. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Rev. James William. Meyer.. Huron H. Densmore. “Plants Used by the Bois Fort Chippewa (Ojibwa) Indians of Minnesota. “Superstitions in Middle Tennessee. He corresponded with various plant collectors in Britain and at one stage of his life was supplying more than fifty individuals with plants. Mildred. Reagan. At a time when little information was available to European settlers about the medicinal uses of Native American plants. Oklahoma Folklore. In the same year. Smith. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Harlan I. 1958. Iroquois Medical Botany. Turner. London: Dorling Kindersley. Climate. Albany. 1998. Oklahoma Writers Project. 1985. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions.

1940. fevers (Puckett 1981: 376). Placed under the tongue or upper lip. bruises (UCLA Folklore Archives 21_6199). Hemsley 1892: 371). Worldwide. As amulets red beans have been worn as a necklace to prevent rheumatism (Wheeler 1892–1893: 65) or smallpox (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_5472). and then thrown in a well (Hyatt 1965: 295). are sometimes washed up on the western coasts of Britain. 66: 321) or with the leaves of a bean (Fentress 1934: 58). Though described as “beans. rubbed on the wart. or planting them. B. Horse beans were used in this way in Lincolnshire within living memory (Taylor MSS). beans have been used in a wide variety of ailments in North America. and dysentery (UCLA Folklore Archives 19_5362).Beans : 27 osophical Society. where. Allen 1995: 176). various kinds of beans have been recommended to treat indigestion (UCLA Folklore Archives 8_6473). where inhaling the scent was thought to be helpful (Taylor MSS). His contribution both to knowledge of folk medicine during his lifetime and to subsequent botanical studies earned him the title of “father of American botany. In Vedic India. In most of these remedies. were especially valued in this way (W. the same remedy is applied to chapped lips and to nettle stings (Lafont 1984: 13). Beans of various kinds have been widely used in North American folk medicine in the treatment of warts. the wart is rubbed either with a bean (Brown 1952–1964. and in Scotland especially these were valued as bringing good luck. arthritis (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_6214). Another folk use is for whooping cough.” Reference Earnest. Masefield and Wallis 1985: 40). Beans The broad bean (Vicia faba) is not a native of Britain but has been grown in cultivation as a vegetable since the Iron Age (Harrison. for which service he received an annual income of fifty pounds. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. In a wart cure recorded from Illinois. The wart is rubbed with the fluffy inside of the broad bean pod. A poultice of bean flowers was used in Ireland to reduce hard swellings (Radford and Radford 1961: 36). Apart from treating warts. a bean has been recommended for nosebleed (Wilson 1967: 302). carried by the Gulf Stream. a child suffering from this disorder was carried through a field of beans in flower. urd beans were associated particularly with conception of male offspring (Simoons 1999: 173). John and William Bartram. They were also used as amulets to ease childbirth. it is said to ensure good health for the following year . The beans are then disposed of by throwing them away. He was appointed botanist to King George III. Vickery 1995: 50. there is a general association between beans of various kinds and lust and fertility (Souter 1995: 106). in Suffolk. In folk medicine in Britain its principal use has been in the treatment of warts. burying them. Seeds of the genus Merremia. high blood pressure (UCLA Folklore Archives 24–5289). This remedy is widespread throughout Britain and persisted well into the twentieth century (Hatfield 1999: 148. In Devon. which have a crosslike marking. As a dietary item. E. In some areas of Britain the scent of the broad bean flower was said to be powerfully aphrodisiac (Vickery 1995: 49–50). Beans of various kinds were carried as amulets. Exotic seeds. Eating specially prepared black beans on New Year’s Day is a Japanese folk tradition imported into North America. alcoholism (UCLA Folklore Archives 4_7630). they were thought to prevent thirst. carried in the pocket.” many are not strictly beans in the botanical sense. each of eight beans is named after a spiteful woman.

Newbury: Countryside Books. Gabrielle. Boston: G. were given to children in Sussex to cure them of bed-wetting (Allen 1995: 114). 1939: 215). 1995. 2nd rev. Helen M. Beans have played a role in childbirth. Radford. Newbell Niles. infections. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1995. Hatfield. Western State Teachers College.” Southern Folklore Quarterly 31 (1967): 296–303. Anna Casetta. Childbirth. Durham. Brown. 1939. sore throat (Anonymous. Warts. Fevers. “Midwifery Lore in New Mexico.” Annals of Botany 6 (1892): 369–372. 1981. Sondra B. Poultices of cooked beans have been used in a wide variety of remedies. 1985. Encyclopedia of Superstitions. 1999. Souter. Vickery. MS4322. Bed-wetting County Illinois. Hand. “Folk Medicine in New Hampshire. London: Hutchinson. 1961.. Roy A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Taylor. Keith. Sitting over a pot of beans was believed by some to cure mumps (Puckett 1981: 417). Manuscript notes of Mark R. too. Stroud: Sutton. Wheeler. Andrew. Simoons. St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) as an infusion has been used to . Fentress. eating pinto beans was believed to precipitate childbirth (Marquez and Pacheco 1964: 83). Norwich. B. Puckett. London: Peerage Books. 1999. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. thesis.” Folklorist 1 (1892–1893): 55–68. “Animal and Plant Lore Collected from the Oral Tradition of English Speaking Folk. Bergen. G. Freckles. Sore throat. Folklore from Adams Bed-wetting Mice. “Swallow It or Rub It On: More Mammoth Cave Remedies. W. Plants of Life. Elza E. Bruises. Caldwell. and for drawing out poisons (Bergen 1899: 114).. K. ed. Pregnancy. Honey is claimed to help prevent bed-wetting (Souter 1995: 138). Lafont. E.) have also been used to treat urinary incontinence (de Baı ¨racli Levy 1974: 97. 1934. Dysentery.). Taylor MSS. The Oxford Book of Food Plants. W. Daniel. B. and even tetanus (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_5292). Radford.. Saffron Walden: C. Hemsley. “Illinois Folk-Lore. Thiederman. Plants of Death. Norfolk Record Office. Boston and New York 7 (1899). while eating green beans during pregnancy was held to ensure the offspring was male (UCLA Folklore Archives 22_6651). and Michael Wallis. Nosebleed. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Wilson. Harry Middleton. Indigestion. Fanny D. Frank C.” Memoirs of the American Folklore Society. (UCLA Folklore Archives 6_6370). 7 vols. powdered and mixed with jam. Harrison. 1965. Anonymous. 3 vols. S. burned to a cinder. 131). Hall. and Consuelo Pacheco.” New England Journal of Medicine 224 (1941): 487–492. and lung congestion (Levine 1941: 488). Bideford: Badger Books. Hyatt.A. Edited by Wayland D. Frederick J. Levine.28 . New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. M. Memory. and M. References Allen. ID: AMS Press Incorporated. Superstitions of Grayson County (Kentucky). Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Herbal Folklore. too—for treating freckles (UCLA Folklore Archives 2_6008). “A Drift-Seed (Ipomoea tuberosa L. Anne-Marie. 1995. Marquez. Edited and revised by Christina Hole. Masefield. Harold D. 1984. Marjoram (Origanum vulgare) and sea lavender (Limonium spp. Wisdom and Healing: The History of Domestic Plant Medicine. Smallpox. Whooping cough. Gordon W. Idaho Lore. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day.” American Journal of Nursing 64(9) (1964): 81–84. A. May N. G. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. See also Amulet. Rheumatism. 1952–1964. NC: Duke University Press.

Bee : 29 treat enuresis in young and old alike (Quelch n. “Folk Cures. Cannon. Allen. UCLA Folklore Archives record number 4_5887). Bee All the products of the bee have been used in folk medicine. Newbury: Countryside Books. Hall. Mouse. royal jelly. Anthon S. one made from sumac berries (Rhus sp. Pearl. See also Corn. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.” Pennsylvania Dutchman 5(9) (January 1. American Folk Medicine. “A Sampling of Folklore from Rutherford County. “Folk Remedies in Early Green River. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. Royal jelly. 1974. Honey has also been used. Edited by Wayland D. as in Britain (Meyer 1985: 36). 1995. it will never get measles or wet the bed (Turner 1937: 147). 1985. Sylva. Hand. and Ruth Wilcox. Breaking a twin loaf over a child’s head is a curious remedy from Pennsylvania (Myers 1954: 10). Puckett.d. for example in Saskatchewan (UCLA Folklore Archives 13_5867). 1954). Meyer. Andrew. London: Faber and Faber.” Utah Humanities Review 2 (1948). K. Devon: Reader’s Union. and Mary U. and even bee venom have all found uses.d. Hamel. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. Talley. An African American suggestion is that if a newborn baby is marched around the house before it is washed. Quelch. Mary Thorne. Jon. Thiederman. St.” North Carolina Folklore 3(2) (December 1955). Turner. In North American folk medicine. has been used as a tonic and propolis as a wound healer (Stein 1989: 25. Souter. Bee stings have been used for rheumatism (Souter 1995: 86) and beeswax from local bees chewed to prevent hay References Allen. 1995. 1984. Paul B. Honey. a rich food source. mice again feature in several remedies (see. Herbs for Daily Use. Legends and Lore of Southern Illinois. 1975.. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum. Anna Casetta. IL: Meyerbooks. Other suggestions include placing hazel twigs under the sheets (UCLA Folklore Archives record number 1_5279) or giving pulverized toasted egg-shell (UCLA Folklore Archives record number 23_5277). Jon W. Juliette. A frog tied to the child’s leg is another suggestion (Puckett 1981: 96). 1963. Chewing pine gum has been encouraged to prevent bed-wetting (Baker and Wilcox 1948: 191). Baker. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. Walker. as in Britain). Hand and Jeannine E. 3 vols. IL: Southern Illinois University. Carbondale.” Publications of the Texas Folklore Society 13 (1937): 146–175. propolis (the gluey substance used for filling in cracks within the beehive). and red bark (Cinchona officinalis). Edited by Wayland D. Daniel. The red berries of sumac (Rhus copallinum) are chewed for bed-wetting among the Cherokee (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 57). beeswax. Alternatively. Myers. n. Saffron Walden: C. honey. “The Human Comedy in Folk Superstitions. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Tressa. Newbell Niles. Keith. 1981. George H. the child can be stood in ice-cold water (Cannon 1984: 34). 44). Parched corn from a red ear of corn is an alternative (Puckett 1981: 97). Clarence. The Illustrated Herbal Handbook. Other plant preparations used to prevent bedwetting include mullein (Verbascum thapsus). Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. W. and Sondra B. Chiltoskey. . Boston: G. Glenwood. for instance. A tea made from pumpkin seeds has been used.: 142). de Baı ¨racli Levy.) is reported from North Carolina (Walker 1955: 9). An alternative is the powder of a burned hog’s bladder (Allen 1963: 85). NC: Herald.

Rituals and Remedies for Every Season of Life. Unger. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. 1995. Brendle. Bee stings as a cure for rheumatism have been reported. There is a widespread country tradition that a death in the family must immediately be reported to the bees (Radford and Radford 1974: 38). Thomas R.” since their presence indicated a colonist settlement nearby (Micheletti 1998: 197). Barrie. Honey. and pine resin (Beith 1995: 233). 1958. In Texas. The Native Americans termed honey bees “white man’s flies. There are more than two thousand species of wild bee in North America (Kavasch and Baar 1999: 19). A. E. John R. Folklore Studies 9. com. Radford. The honey bee (Apis mellifera) was introduced to North America in the early seventeenth century. Beeswax has been used to prevent a burn from blistering (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_5301). and Karen Baar. “parched” bees have been used to treat hives (UCLA Folklore Archive 8_5415). See also Childbirth. Herbs. London: Pan Books. American Indian Healing Arts. Newcomb. Radford. 1974. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. for example in Pennsylvania (Brendle and Unger 1935: 206) and in Nebraska (Welsch 1966: 343).30 . Bee fever (Hatfield. Saffron Walden: C. Enza (ed. who reveals that beeswax is good to take away the pain of scratches from eagle’s claws and to heal the wound (Newcomb 1940: 66). Jarvis. as the model melted. A quasi-magical cure for a swelling was to make a model of the swelling in beeswax and stand it in the sun. Daniel. A salve for chapped skin consisted of resin. beeswax formed the basis for many healing ointments. so the swelling would subside (Crosby 1927: 307). and M.). Kavasch. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Beeswax formed the basis for many healing salves. 1961. and beeswax (Browne 1958: 46). Souter. and Claude W. References Beith. Honeycomb cappings are chewed in Vermont for colds and hay fever (Jarvis 1961: 110). Hives. Crosby. Hay fever. C... 1999. “Modern Witches of Pennsylvania. W.” Journal of American Folklore 53 (1940): 50–77. sheep tallow. Rev. Franc J. Mary. one for easing labor. .. The importance of beeswax in Native American medicine is indicated by the Navajo folktale of Bee Woman. Honey. “Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans: The Non-Occult Cures. Dried bumblebees form part of several Native American remedies—for example. an ointment for healing sores used in Badenoch in the Scottish Highlands was composed of beeswax. Edited by Christina Hole. hog’s lard.” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45 (1935). 1980). it was very similar to the one in Scotland above. and the Aztecs are known to have kept wild bees in captivity. Folk Medicine. New York: Bantam Books. propolis. and lemon are the components of a present-day Native American salve used for treating minor burns and scratches (Kavasch and Baar 1999: 22). Rheumatism. Ray B. They had used wild bees and their products for many hundreds of years. The British folk remedies associated with bees have their counterparts in North American folk medicine.” Journal of American Folklore 40 (1927): 304–309. “Origin Legend of the Navajo Eagle Chant. D. 1998. As in Britain. Edinburgh: Polygon. Micheletti. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. E. Keith. North American Folk Healing: An A–Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. For example. Encyclopaedia of Superstitions. Browne. 1995. pers. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. London: Book Club Associates.

In Scotland. Ray B. Betula lenta. Birch sap was used by the pioneers as a springtime tonic. “Catawba Herbals and Curative Practices. and Annie Z. Frank G. and squaws used it to make contraceptive diaphragms (Fischer 1989: 92). and a wash for skin conditions (Willard 1992: 70). The springtime sap was believed in the Scottish Highlands to be beneficial for the kidneys and bladder. Fractures. was used for treating rheumatism and was marketed as “wintergreen” oil. 1995. Irene. Speck. 1985. as in Britain. Turner. Edinburgh: Mercat Press. 1998. Browne. Thomas R. Frostbite. Brendle. Birch catkins have been worn as an amulet against inflammation (Brendle and Unger 1935: 83). Meyer.. Unger. Native American Ethnobotany. Hiccups. Oxford: Oxford University Press. “Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans: The Non-Occult Cures. as a gargle for sore throats. Roger L. pliable and waterproof. birch has been employed as a pain killer. and chewing a piece of bark has been recommended for hiccups (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_5404). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. : 31 Birch (Betula spp. “Animal and Plant Lore Collected from the Oral Tradition of English Speaking Folk.Birch Stein. In the Native American tradition birch has been used extensively. and Claude W. In North America. Folklore Studies 9. 1989.” Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society 7 (1899). Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. IL: Meyerbooks. OR: Timber Press. Newbury: Countryside Books. Birch sap has been used in treatment of consumption (Vogel 1970: 95–96). Wellingborough: Thorsons. 1996. The inner bark or the root of birch was cooked and eaten for a weak stomach (Meyer 1985: 242). been used to treat pain. York. Daniel E. Birch bark has been used to splint fractures (Wells 1954: 282). Laurence C. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. the bark is very strong. The bark of the tree as a decoction has been used for headache and rheumatism. An infusion of the bark has been used to treat night sweats (Browne 1958: 105). Birch juice has been used in Sussex as a laxative (Allen 1995: 182). Terry Thompson. David Hackett. A syrup has been made from birch buds and used for ringworm (Speck 1944: 43). Royal Jelly: The New Guide to Nature’s Richest Food.” Journal of American Folklore 57 (1944): 37–50. the leaves were made into an infusion for treating rheumatism. The inner bark of the paper birch has been used by the Thompson Indians as a contraceptive (Turner et al. Thompson Ethnobotany: Knowledge and Usage of Plants by the Thompson Indians of Brit- . Clarence. The juice of various birches has. Bergen. Darwin. References Allen. Fanny D. Birch bark has been used in Newfoundland for treating frostbite (Bergen 1899: 110). M. some of them medicinal. 1966. American Folk Medicine. presumably because of a similarity in its scent.) In British folk medicine. Andrew.” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45 (1935). Albion’s Seed. Resin from the buds has been used to form an oil rubbed into inflamed joints. Welsch.. 1989. Thompson. (For the numerous other uses of birch by Native Americans see Moerman 1998: 122–125. Tess. Rheumatism. 1958. 1990: 189). A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. Portland.) See also Contraception. Moerman. A Treasury of Nebraska Pioneer Folklore. Fischer. Headache. Nancy J. birch has been used in innumerable ways. Native American tradition. Glenwood. It was also fermented and made into wine (Darwin 1996: 85). The oil of one species of birch. Tonic. Ground birch bark was said to get rid of intestinal worms (Meyer 1985: 268). The Scots Herbal: The Plant Lore of Scotland.

and it is still used by them today for treating period pain. it became a very fashionable and expensive medicine.” North Carolina Medical Journal 15 (1954): 281– 287. The root was used. 217. Scotland. Warner. See Insect bites and stings.” His definition reflects the patronizing attitude of folklorists of his time. for treating rheumatism (Meyer 1985: 40. 214. 1990. and despite its emphasis on the bizarre and its strong flavor of social condescension. 216. incantations. It was a constituent of an herbal mixture for treating bronchitis (Meyer 1985: 51). Trained as a lawyer.” Journal of the British Archaeological Association 34 (1878): 327–332. William George Black was born in 1857 and lived in Hillhead. Calgary: Wild Rose College of Natural Healing. Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains and Neighbouring Territories. His book Folk Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture was published by Elliot Stock for the Folklore Society in London in 1883. menopausal problems. Terry. American Indian Medicine. Reference Black. the affected limbs were held in the steam from a decoction of the plant (Herrick 1977: 320). The Cherokee used an infusion of the plant to treat rheumatism (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 30). “Folk-Medicine. first in newspaper articles and later in a paper published in 1878 by the British Archaeological Society (Black 1878). Vogel. Bites and stings ish Columbia. it contains a wealth of valuable information. Victoria: Royal British Columbia Museum. Bites and stings. this plant was used by Native Americans to treat rheumatic pain. Wells. (For other uses see Moerman 1998: 162– 163. partly owing to its promotion by the Eclectic school of herbalists. It is currently the subject of studies in Germany for the treatment of menopausal symptoms (Micheletti 1998: 97). Black died in 1932. 125) and figured in a liver tonic (Meyer 1985: 168). which were and are practiced by the more superstitious and old-fashioned. In Black’s words. it did indeed serve to direct attention to “the important study which I have ventured to call FolkMedicine” (Black 1878: 332). it was viewed as a panacea (Crellin and Philpott 1990: 166). Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) Native to Canada and Eastern North America but not to Britain. and rheumatic complaints (Chevallier 1996: 78). Willard. or the cure of disease. Its other principal uses were for amenorrhoea (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 30) and to aid childbirth (Coffey 1993: 14). 1970. gathered together for the first time. hence its alternative name of squaw root.) Among settlers in North America. and those habits related to the preservation of health. as a decoction. Here he defined folk medicine as “meant to comprehend the subjects of charms. William George. 1992. It was the first book on folk medicine to be published in Britain. It was recommended for female “weakness” (Meyer 1985: 124. . By the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. he wrote on a number of subjects and was the first to use the term “folk medicine” in print. 220). Among the Iroquois. in the seventeenth century reaching the price of three pounds sterling per pound (Hughes 1957). Glasgow. Herbalists in Europe adopted the plant as part of their materia medica. Black. Virgil J.32 . Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. “Surgical Practice in North Carolina: A Historical Commentary.

New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. In folk medicinal records. Albany. Jamestown 350th Anniversary Historical Booklet 21. Chiltoskey. Coffey. Iroquois Medical Botany. OR: Timber Press. The History and Folklore of North American Wildflowers. Whereas in England blackberry leaves have been used to treat toothache. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. In England. IL: Meyerbooks. Hughes. Moerman. 3: 51) and as a wash for rheumatism (Cadwallader and Wilson 1965: 220). 1998. and Mary U. References Chevallier. Timothy. as well as Scotland. In Somerset. James William. North American Folk Healing: An A-Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. 1998. 1975. VA: 1957. as well as a lotion for sore gums in teething babies (Parler 1962. The cough was then thought to leave the child and stay with the bramble. rheumatism. 3: 287). American Folk Medicine.D. NC: Herald. The shoots have the unusual ability to root where they touch the ground. In Scotland. To ward off evil spirits. To eat blackberries after the first frost was considered unlucky. Ph. The leaves of the blackberry have been chewed for toothache (Hatfield 1994: 55) and the fruit in the form of a jelly used to treat sore throat. the leaves have been used to treat burns and swellings (Grigson 1955: 145). A child suffering from whooping cough was sometimes passed under the arch seven times. Paul B. Blackberry roots are one component of a decoction used to treat dysentery (Meyer 1985: 98). Durham. Blackberry. Medicine in Virginia 1607– 1699. 1996. Micheletti. Blackberry root has been used to treat diarrhea (Cadwallader and Wilson 1965: 220) and thrush (Meyer 1985: 178). Williamsburg. 1977. and sufferers from boils. a use that can be traced back to Dioscorides (Chevallier 1996: 261). 1993. 1985. 1990. State University of New York. and Jane Philpott.. the sufferer from bronchitis was advised to carry a blackberry shoot and nibble it when the cough started (Tongue 1965: 37). Clarence.). Blackberry juice has been recommended for colitis (Browne 1958: 52) and for nausea and vomiting (Parler 1962. Herrick. Enza (ed. the roots of bramble were used with pennyroyal to treat bronchitis and asthma and the leaves were used to treat erysipelas (Beith 1995: 209). Native American Ethnobotany. NC: Duke University Press. Hamel. Bramble (Rubus fruticosus) In British folk medicine the bramble has had a reputation for curing and preventing a wide variety of ailments. Sylva. Portland. Bramble : 33 See also Childbirth. Glenwood. “Passing through” a blackberry bush has been used to treat whooping cough (Hohman 1904: 111) and pleurisy (Pickard and Buley 1945: 82). an example of transference (Black 1883: 70).The blackberry has been used to treat diarrhea (Lafont 1984: 17). a belief widespread throughout Britain (Vickery 1995: 45). the Scottish Highlanders used a length of bramble shoot entwined with ivy and rowan (Grigson 1955: 145). thesis. Crellin. Thomas P. 3: 980). Meyer. London: Dorling Kindersley. John K. it is often not possible to trace the actual species used in the past. The species of blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) most common in Britain is naturalized throughout most of the world. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. while a tea made from the roots has been used for labor pain (Parler 1962. Andrew. Rheumatism and arthritis. and hernia were passed through the arch formed in this way (Grieve 1931: 109). New York: Facts On File. Daniel E.. A Reference Guide to Medicinal Plants. The first blackberry of the season was said in Cornwall to cure warts (Black 1883: 202).Blackberry. in Pennsylvania the gall growing on a blackberry has been carried as an am- . including North America.

Blacksmiths were thought to have the . 15 vols. M. 1955.. 1994. Brendle. depended on terrifying the patient by almost striking them with a hammer (Beith 1995: 100). Rheumatism. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. E. 1883. The Englishman’s Flora. Gabrielle. Glenwood. The so-called Long Blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis) has been used by the Iroquois for treating coughs. 1985.1975. Black.. NC: Herald Publishing. London: Phoenix House. “The Long Hidden Friend. Whooping cough has been treated with a decoction of the black raspberry (Rubus occidentalis) (Herrick 1977: 356). Edited by Katharine Briggs. which would have added to the esteem in which they were held. Mellinger. Carlyle Buley. Mary Celestia. The Midwest Pioneer. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. Chiltoskey. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. Blacksmith ton. Erna. 1973. Grieve. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. Unger. 1945. Anne-Marie. See also Amulet.34 . Cures and Doctors. Ruth L. Lafont. “Folklore Medicine among Georgia’s Piedmont Negroes after the Civil War. Parler. County Folklore 8. His Ills. Erysipelas. London: Jonathan Cape. Their association with fire and iron would have further strengthened this faith. Hatfield. Gunther. 65–72. 1984. State University of New York. and University Student Contributors. Sylva. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Paul B. Geoffrey. Ph. Thomas R. Vickery. colds. Meyer. London: Dorling Kindersley. Madge E. Burns.” such as one for depression reported by Martin in the seventeenth century from the Scottish Highlands.D. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. 1958. and tuberculosis (Herrick 1977: 357). Blacksmiths were usually strong men. and Mary U. 1962. Clarence. 1965. References Beith.” Foxfire 1(3) (1967): 13–20. Hohman. and F.” Journal of American Folklore 17 (1904): 89–152. which may explain the faith in the power of the blacksmith to treat a variety of illnesses. Hamel. thesis. and R. E. 1995. IL: Meyerbooks. Albany. 1996. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Transference. There was a Cherokee belief that a blackberry bramble pulled backward could cure blackheads (Mellinger 1967: 69). Marie B. Ethnobotany of Western Washing- Blacksmith The Celtic smith-god Gobniu was associated with healing.. Folklore Studies 9. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Roy. William George. Grigson. Herrick. Mrs. Asthma. James William.. Herbal Folklore. J. In Native American medicine at least three different species of Rubus have been recorded in use for diarrhea and four for sore throat (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 26). Somerset Folklore. Tongue. Iroquois Medical Botany. Chevallier. John George.” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45 (1935). Crawfordsville. London: Folklore Society. Rubus spectabilis (Gunther 1973: 35). Banta. Andrew. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bideford: Badger Books. Ray B. Burns have been treated using the bark or leaves of the salmonberry. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Rev. American Folk Medicine. A Modern Herbal. Edinburgh: Polygon. and Claude W. ulet to protect against toothache (Brendle and Unger 1935: 116). Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. “Medicine of the Cherokees. 1995. “Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans: The Non-Occult Cures. ed. 1931. Browne. Woodbridge: Boydell. Seattle: Washington Press. 1977. Some of their “cures. Mary.” Collections of the Georgia Historical Society 49 (1965): 217– 227. D. Wilson. London: Folklore Society. Cadwallader. Pickard. IN: R.

1951): 2. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. blackthorn does not feature in folk medicine there. in press. it was believed that a blacksmith could cure warts (Puckett 1981: 497).. the simplest treatment has been cold water. References Allen. Newbell Niles. Alfred L. 3 vols. He pounded his herbs in the oil-lamp mold of his anvil. “Blacksmith Lore. Erysipelas. Edinburgh: Polygon. 66: 198) have all been treated with “slake” water. 1981. Boston: G. OR: Timber Press. Thiederman. bleeding has attracted a wide range of home remedies. Mary. Ashes of a burned frog were reputedly used to stop bleeding (Beith 1995: 176). Brown. See also Bleeding. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. known as sloes. A twentieth-century Pennsylvania blacksmith cured people suffering from erysipelas (Shoemaker 1951: 2). other species of Prunus have been used. instead. In British folk medicine. NC: Duke University Press. Shoemaker. London: Book Club Associates. Frank C. have been rubbed on warts. Pepper has been used as a styptic in both Scotland (Beith 1995: 232) and Northumberland (Prince 1991: 122). As part of their treatment of patients. Mary. Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) This plant has been used for a wide range of conditions in British folk medicine. and M. such as the nineteenth-century Mackintosh from Bohuntin in the Scottish Highlands (Beith 1995: 149). Warts. 1974. a practice that was probably thought to enhance the power of the herbs. 1995.Bleeding : 35 power to arrest bleeding (Radford and Radford 1974: 56). ranging from diarrhea to sore throat (Allen and Hatfield. Warts. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. individual healers had a reputation for treating bleeding. 1995. and their treatment included administering dried blood of References Beith. See also Cherry. and Sondra B. Puckett. Radford. A. 7 vols. Edited by Wayland D. and Gabrielle Hatfield. Though introduced in North America. Anna Casetta. poison ivy rash (Puckett 1981: 427. for healing sick children and strengthening the weak. Durham.” Pennsylvania Dutchman 3(6) (August 1. in press) and the treatment of fevers (Beith 1995: 205). Others used herbal treatment. 1952–1964. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Edinburgh: Polygon.. Bleeding As one of the most obvious domestic emergencies. Also in the Highlands. Hall. Edited and revised by Christina Hole. Particularly in southern Britain. the fruit. and freckles (Brown 1952–1964. some blacksmiths in Scotland used bloodletting. Cobwebs were very widely used right up to the end of the twentieth century to treat serious cuts in humans and animals. The water in which the smith quenched his iron was in demand for folk medicine right up to the twentieth century. 500). K. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Forge water. E. Beith. Portland. a practice reported as recently as the 1930s (Beith 1995: 116). Radford. David E. Some of these beliefs are also to be found in North American folk medicine. Hand. Whooping cough. By applying slake water from his forge and saying certain words. . In the Highlands of Scotland so-called toadstones (actually the teeth of fossil fish) were used to arrest bleeding (Beith 1995: 158). Encyclopaedia of Superstitions.

corn silk (Koch 1980: 70). the root of the horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) was used to treat deep cuts (Porter 1974: 43). Recommended applications in North American folk medicine for bleeding include cobwebs. Powdered rice (Parler 1962: 450). In Somerset. was used similarly (Allen 1995: 27). The blood-staunching properties of marsh woundwort (Stachys palustris) were drawn to Gerard’s attention in the sixteenth century when he witnessed their effectiveness on a man badly cut by a scythe. tea leaves. castor oil was used in Hampshire with great success to treat deep cuts (Prince 1991: 114). Horsetail (Equisetum spp. Both the marsh and the hedge woundwort (Stachys sylvatica) have been used in this way. The boiled plant of St. to stop bleeding (Quayle 1973: 70). and Ireland (Beith 1995: 233. also the seventh son of a seventh son (UCLA Folklore Archives record number 2_5287). Puffballs have been another source of emergency first aid. the knife should be thrust into the ground or into a tree (Randolph 1931: 103). ashes of burned rags. a widespread belief goes. 319). In the nineteenth century mistletoe (Viscum album) was reputedly chopped small and applied to injuries to stop the bleeding (Notes and Queries 1849: 325). tobacco (all used in Britain as well). sugar (Puckett 1981: 318. The petals were then used to bandage cuts (Hatfield 1994: appendix). In Georgia. Also in Sussex. In the twentieth century. Plantain leaves were used to stem the bleeding from minor wounds. In barber shops and in farm sheds a dried puffball was kept throughout the year to use in emergencies. Bleeding the patient (Beith 1995: 165). the leaves of woad plants (Isatis tinctoria) naturalized from cultivation for dye. Westropp 1911: 449–456). England. certain individuals have been credited with the power to stop bleeding. bracket fungus. As in Britain. urine. coffee grounds (UCLA Folklore Archives 18_6287). known there as amadou. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) was universally accepted as a styptic and formed a constituent of many healing ointments (Hatfield 1994: 33). and wood soot. a paste (made from flour. In North America amulets worn to stop bleeding have included pieces of bloodroot worn as a necklace. Shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) was used to staunch bleeding (Beith 1995: 242). The resin from pine trees (Pinus spp. Vickery 1995: 285. bird’s foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) has been used to staunch bleeding (Tongue 1965: 36). salt. A remedy common throughout Britain. A woman born with a caul (Dorson 1952: 159) was thought to have this ability. the lining of an eggshell . was to preserve the petals of a lily (usually the Madonna lily) in brandy. and water). as were the leaves of tobacco or dried tobacco (Beith 1995: 246). in Scotland.) was used in Cumbria to arrest bleeding (Freethy 1985: 118). The spores have been sprinkled onto a wound to arrest bleeding. When the injury has been caused by a knife. but especially in Suffolk. pepper.36 . Gerard was so impressed that he adopted the plant in his own practice (Allen 1995: 184). Willow (Salix spp. Also in East Anglia. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) was used in the Scottish Highlands to staunch bleeding (Beith 1995: 238).) has been used to staunch bleeding in both England and Scotland (Allen and Hatfield. for example on the Isle of Man. in press). In Sussex. as well as powdered bone and powdered dried beef (Meyer 1985: 276–277). and the whole fungus has been chopped to provide a poultice.) has been recommended by the ancients in official medicine but has also been used in folk medicine. bread. It is claimed that people who have never seen their fathers have this power too (Brown 1952–1964: 6: 126). have been used to stem the flow of blood (Allen 1995: 185). a necklace of mulberry roots and buttons has been used (Waller and Killion 1972: 75).

) (Beck 1957: 45). and Archer 1941: 92). and bloodweed blossoms (Conyza canadensis) (Creighton 1968: 199). 1995.) was used in Mexico (UCLA Folklore Archives record number 3_6182). Seventh son. . References Allen. Richard M. the leaves of sunflower (Helianthus annuus) or peach (Prunus persica). witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) (UCLA Folklore Archives 19_6287). goldenrod (Solidago sp. A poultice of wolf’s bane (Arnica sp. Cannon. 1957. thrusting the arm into a sack of flour has been found to help (UCLA Folklore Archives 10_6287). Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. Boas. In addition. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. where a different Pine species was used. England. Creighton. Applying brown paper. wormwood leaves (Artemisia sp. Caul. For arterial bleeding in an arm. plants belonging to nearly a hundred different genera have been used to staunch bleeding (Moerman 1998: 772). Anthon S. Bloodroot. as well as sassafras leaves (Sassafras albidum). A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. Henrichs. Newbury: Countryside Books. are recommended.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. 66: 123) have all been applied to bleeding injuries. Cambridge. Durham. The crushed young leaves of Mexican elder (Sambucus mexicana) are used to poultice cuts (Kay 1996: 247). Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. MA: Harvard University Press. and bleeding chicken meat (Brown 1952–1964. Beck. Bluenose Magic. Wounds. as in Britain (Salix spp. and the chewed leaves of pigeon berries or poke (Phytolacca americana) (Van Wart 1948: 577). yarrow. Lippincott. Helen. Joseph D.) (Clark 1970: 13). both puffball spores and spider webs have been used— for example. various species of juniper (for instance Juniperus occidentalis. Poke.) has been used in the mountain South of the United States to stop bleeding (Long 1962: 5). Interestingly.Bleeding : 37 (Cannon 1984: 94). Talley. Clark. Other plant remedies include sumac (Rhus sp.) (Vogel 1970: 396). Popular Beliefs and Superstitions in Nova Scotia. Green walnut juice (Juglans sp. Frank C.) was particularly popular for healing cuts in the eighteenth century. Franz. Matico-leaf (Piper angustifolium) and bistort (Polygonum bistorta) have been used.) has been used similarly (UCLA Folklore Archives 22_5286). Wild alum root (Heuchera sp. as used in Britain. Bloodstoppers and Bearwalkers: Folk Traditions of the Upper Peninsula. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. Hand and Jeannine E. as in the nursery rhyme of Jack and Jill. Corn. Beith. Philadelphia and New York: J. Horace P. Nosebleed. “Current Beliefs of the Kwakiutl Indians. 1968. NC: Duke University Press 1952–64. 7 vols. Edinburgh: Polygon 1995. The sap of spruce trees (Picea sp. The Folklore of Maine. the organ pipe cactus (Pachycereus sp. chewed fine and applied. 1984. woundwort. They include red willow (Salix lucida) (Wallis 1922: 26). Toronto: Ryerson Press.” Journal of American Folklore 45 (1932): 177–260. also the leaves and bark of willow. Edited by Wayland D. See also Amulet. used by the Paiute) (Train. see above) (Murphree 1965: 178). Spider. Dorson. and woad. 1952. Yarrow. In Native American medicine. Andrew. Plant-derived remedies also include puffball spores. Mary. Sympathetic magic. has also been used to stem bleeding (Secrest 1964: 481–482).) has been used in Tennessee (Parr 1962: 11). Puffball. B. Mistletoe. Brown. In Mexico. and it is still used today to check bleeding after a tooth extraction (Kay 1996: 57).) (Meyer 1985: 277). by the Kwakiutl—to stem bleeding (Boas 1932: 188). Collection of North Carolina Folklore. The sap from a pine tree (Pinus elliottii) has been used in Florida to stem bleeding (as in Cumbria.

The Folklore of East Anglia. “A Folklore Survey of County Clare” (continued) XVIII “Animal and Plant Superstitions” (continued). 1996. pers. Hall.” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 28 (1962): 1–8. London: Folklore Society. American Indian Medicine. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Grady M. Secrest. Medicinal Uses of Plants by Indian Tribes of Nevada. Lawrence. and Sondra B. 261). There have been conflicting fashions in the domestic treatment of blisters. Polk. Murphree. Margarita A. Gabrielle. Long. “Medicines Used by the Micmac Indians. Vogel. Freethy. many similar blister treatments were used. OR: Timber Press. Grandmother’s Cures: An A-Z of Herbal Remedies. Jerry S. Arthur F. 1998.” Carolina Medical Journal 25 (1964): 481– 482. “Folk Cures of Middle Tennessee. 1985. 1941. Wilson D. A. Ron. Henrichs. K. Prince. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. New York: Vanguard Press. Meyer. Native American Ethnobotany. KS: Regent Press. S. Soaked cabbage leaves have been used in treating blisters. Enid.38 . Tucson: University of Arizona Press. 1995. 1965. and Gene Killion. Beliefs and Customs. From Agar to Zenry. Porter. Tongue. Wallis. Legends of a Lifetime: Manx Folklore. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. Notes and Queries. Anna Casetta. Van Wart. Ruth L. Tennessee. IL: Meyerbooks. 1973. Westropp. Parler. while the leaves of greater plantain (Plantago major) have been used both to prevent and to treat blisters (Souter 1995: 138). George.” Florida Anthropologist 18 (1965): 175–185. Passing a needle and thread through the blister has been practiced (Harvey. Washington. 1962. com.” Southern Folklore Quarterly 36 (1972): 71–92. ashes of burned wood from the ash (Fraxinus excelsior) have been used to “draw” blisters (Hartland 1895: 29). William E.1981. Moerman. Koch. Folklore from Kansas. Vol. Jack. Oxford: Oxford University Press. “Contemporary Folk Medicine. Parr. 1980. Blisters Train. Briggs. Some have recommended preserving the blisters intact in order to avoid infection. . “The Indians of the Maritime Provinces. 1910–1927. and University Student Contributors. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. Mary Celestia.” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 28 (1962): 8–12. Puckett. “Folk Medicine in McMinn. In Ulster. 1974. Woodbridge: Boydell. others have advised puncturing the blister and applying surgical spirit to cleanse and harden the skin. Blisters Although medically trivial. 1970. Thomas J. Waller. James R. Thiederman. 15 vols.” Canadian Medical Association Journal 59(6) (1948): 573–577.” American Anthropologist 24 (1922): 24–30. p. Boston: G. London: Batsford. London: Fontana. London 1849 ff. Vance. 1955). Glenwood. 3 vols. Percy. American Folk Medicine. and W. Vickery. Daniel E. Alice H. Randolph. poultices were made from bread or linseed meal (Foster 1951: 61. 1994. Roy.. “Georgia Folk Medicine. Quayle. Hand. In the west country of England. Virgil J. 325. In North American folk medicine. Portland. Dennis. foot blisters are sufficiently painful to have attracted a number of folk remedies. 43. Edited by Wayland D. M. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. Healing with Plants in the American and Mexican West. Andrew Archer. Edited by K. FolkLore 22 (1911): 449–456. Hatfield. The Ozarks: An American Survival of Primitive Society. “Folk Medicine in Florida: Remedies Using Plants. Somerset Folklore. and Meigs Counties. 1991. Their Diseases and Native Cures. Kay. Clarence. Tom. Newbell Niles. Douglas: Courier Herald. DC: U. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Marlborough: Crowood Press 1985. 1931. Department of Agriculture. Bradley.

was applied for treating shingles.” Pennsylvania Folklife 14(3) (Spring 1965): 10–27. there was a belief that the blood of healthy people could cure bleeding (Wright 1912: 495–496). “Ranch Remedios. Woodhull. In North American folk medicine blood has been used in most of these ways. administering the patient’s own blood in dried form was held to cure a hemorrhage (Beith 1995: 94). but only after sunset (Anderson 1968: 313).” Southern Folklore Quarterly 32 (1968): 304–319. Blood from a black cat was an alternative in the north of Scotland (Black 1883: 151). pers. kidney and gallstones were treated with the blood of wild goats (Beith 1995: 177). Fanny D. Printed extract 1. Carter. The blood of a cat has been used since AngloSaxon times to treat epilepsy (Newman 1948: 135). 1895. In the north of England. Styes too were traditionally treated with either hair or blood from a black cat (Black 1883: 151). Bergen. Both pepper and grease have been used to treat blisters (Woodhull 1930: 18. Mary Celestia. Foster. In the Isle of Lewis the blood of a black cock. R. W.Blood : 39 It was suggested that blisters should be broken. In the Highlands of Scotland. 1995. Louisiana and Arkansas. the blood obtained by sharply tapping the nose of a live mole was applied to warts (Randell. 37. Hartland. As in Britain. Human blood has been widely used to treat epilepsy. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. For treatment of epilepsy. “The ‘Domestic Encyclopaedia’ of 1803–1804. Edwin Sidney. 1989). the patient’s own blood was administered (Beith 1995: 101).. The blood of members of the clan Keogh was held to be effective in treating toothache in Ireland and was also used in the treatment of erysipelas (Black 1883: 140). eel blood was used (Black 1883: 162). Blood As a healing agent in folk medicine. blood has been widely used. cabbage leaves were used throughout the United States for blister treatment (Bergen 1899: 110). John Q. In Ireland. while hare’s blood was used to treat skin blemishes (Beith 1995: 177). Keith. References Anderson.” Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society 7 (1899). vol. Drawing a worsted thread through the blister to dry it up is a recommendation familiar from Britain also (Parler 1962: 456). 1962. or of a person named Munro. “Animal and Plant Lore Collected from the Oral Tradition of English Speaking Folk. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. a black cat’s blood was used to treat the itch (Jones 1908: 316–317). Parler. Souter. and in others as well. It has been suggested in California that urinating on the hands toughens the skin and prevents blisters (UCLA Folklore Archives 4_6185). the blood of an executed criminal has been used (Hand 1970: 325). 1951. Belfast: H. Saffron Walden: C. while in East Anglia. A recommendation from China used in California is to rub the blisters with heated pieces of dried turnip (UCLA Folklore Archives 7_6185). An alternative was the blood of a black hen (Wintemberg 1899: . London: Folklore Society. Venison tallow has also been used (Yoder 1965: 23). Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. County Folklore: Gloucestershire. 19). Yoder. The blood of numerous different animals has been used in wart treatment. Frost. In the Scottish Highlands. Ulster Folklore. Jeanne Cooper. “Popular Beliefs in Texas. In the seventeenth century.” Publications of the Texas Folklore Society 8 (1930): 9–73. and University Student Contributors. In Scotland. Onions applied was another recommended treatment from California (UCLA Folklore Archives 3_5291). In Scotland pig’s blood was used in wart treatment (Beith 1995: 180). 15 vols. com. Daniel. Don.

See also Earache. “Louisiana Superstitions. For pneumonia. Ottawa: 1950. the Gallows. “The Treatment of Some Diseases by the ‘Old Time’ Negro. Toothache. “Hot and Cold in the Universe of San Francisco Tecospa. 47). NJ: Rutgers University Press. Newman. Letcher. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. “Some Notes on the Pharmacology and Therapeutic Value of FolkMedicine. and sore gums (Brewster 1939: 39). Helen. “Hangmen. 490–497. Hilda. H. Pages 323–329. National Museum of Canada Bulletin 117. 145–156. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. NC: Greenwood Press. IN: R. Edited by Wayland D. In gin or whisky it has . Jones. as well as for warts (Cannon 1984: 130). Wayland D. 1970. Chapel Hill.” Journal of American Folklore 40 (1927): 144–208. Heart trouble. 381–387. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. The Midwest Pioneer. Rosenberg.40 . J. Cures and Doctors. 1883. 1965. New Brunswick.” Folk-Lore 23 (1912): 230–236. Hyatt. Puckett. “Folk Medicine. 1926. deer blood and wine were mixed and drunk among the Nahuatl (Madsen 1955: 135).” Folk-Lore 59 (1948): 118–135. 2nd rev. His Ills. Harry Middleton. 1945. Nova Scotia.” In Medieval Literature and Folklore Studies: Essays in Honor of Francis Lee Utley. and Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) This plant is not native in Britain. Carlyle Buley. Newbell Niles. “Seventeenth Century Cures and Charms. Austin: Encino Press. Wintemberg. John. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. E.” Folk-Lore 19 (1908): 315–319. Erysipelas. The latter was also used to treat measles (Letcher 1910–1911: 172). Folklore from Adams County Illinois. In North American folk medicine it has been very widely used. Edited by Jerome Mandell and Bruce A. rheumatism (Pickard and Buley 1945: 84). R. Bloodroot the Dead Man’s Hand in American Folk Medicine. Norris.. Anthropological series 29. “Items of German-Canadian Folklore. 1970. Mary. Folklore from Lunenburg County. Pickard. Drinking the hot blood from the heart of a heifer was considered a cure for consumption (Puckett 1926: 370). William George. Black. Banta. B. Talley. Wright. William. Madge E. and has played no role in its folk medicine. James H. 1984. while a child suffering from asthma was stood in the warm blood of a newly killed animal (Creighton 1950: 85). Rheumatism. Brewster. Cannon. Anthon S. Folk Beliefs of the Southern Negro. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. Hand. Tuberculosis. “Folk Medicine of Cumberland County. W. 1995. Beith. and R. Shingles. Ruby R.” Railway Surgical Journal 17 (1910–1911): 170–175. Edinburgh: Polygon. Woodpecker blood was considered a cure for heart trouble (UCLA Folklore Archive 2_5404). Valley of Mexico. Roberts. Hand and Jeannine E. Leslie F.” Journal of American Folklore 68 (1955): 123–139.” Kentucky Folklore Record 4 (1958): 101–110. Texas Folk Medicine. A. Mole blood (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_6825) and bat’s blood (Anderson 1970: 60) were both used in treating rheumatism. Crawfordsville. The blood of a black cat was used for shingles (Roberts 1927: 167) and scarlet fever (Hyatt 1965: 218). Paul G.” Southern Folklore Quarterly 3 (1939): 33–43.” Journal of American Folklore 12 (1899): 45–86. Creighton. A drop of blood from a “bessy” bug was used to treat earache (Norris 1958: 105). ed. London: Folklore Society. “Folk Cures and Preventives from Southern Indiana. References Anderson. Madsen.

Poison ivy. Parler.. 224). Thiederman. was said to hasten menstruation (Puckett 1981: 414). “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. For “winter itch” the root has been steeped in strong pure apple vinegar and applied (Parler 1962: 731). Hand.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. (ed. and University Student Contributors. has been valued in folk medicine as a tonic. Cancer. Popular Beliefs and Practices from . Nosebleed. cinnamon (Cinnamomum sp. Clark. 15 vols. Levine. Boiled in olive oil.” Pennsylvania Folklife 14(1) (October 1964): 35–37.. Boston: G. It has even been used to treat cancers. A wash made from bloodroot has been used to treat poison oak rash (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_6462). Thomas R. constipation. In the Scottish Highlands an infusion of the shoots has been drunk for stomach pain. “Folk Medicine in New Hampshire. Joseph D. Phil R. Alabama. Combined with tormentil (Potentilla erecta). “Folk Medicine from Western Pennsylvania. the root has been used to treat sores (Street 1959: 81). 47–52. and to relieve the pain of burns (Mellinger 1968: 50). Mellinger. A tea made from bloodroot has been drunk for rheumatism (Jack 1964: 36). Mary Celestia. Rheumatism. Colds. Harold D.). Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata) This plant. “Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans: The Non-Occult Cures. and plantain (Plantago sp. Eating the root.” Collections of the Georgia Historical Society 49 (1965): 217– 227. “Medicine Populaire des Isles Saint-Pierre et Miquelon.. Wilson. Unger. it has been used as a treatment for dysentery among the Pennsylvania Germans (Brendle and Unger 1935: 171). Puckett. and Claude W. 1985. Ray B.” Indiana History Bulletin 41 (1964). See also Asthma.). Cadwallader. the powdered root being mixed to a paste with wheat flour and zinc chloride and applied (UCLA Folklore Archives 2_6285). Ray B. a piece of bloodroot has been hung over the bed to prevent nosebleeds (Levine 1941: 489). “Folklore Medicine among Georgia’s Piedmont Negroes after the Civil War. Meyer. D. Jack. Street. The plant has been used. K. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett.). Hall. “Sang Sign. Anna Casetta. It has been used by African Americans to treat tetters (? ringworm) (Cadwallader and Wilson 1965: 220. and skin complaints such as boils. Folklore Studies 9. It has been considered useful for liver troubles (Clark 1970: 25). Clarence.” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45 (1935). the roots have been used for tuberculosis (Beith 1995: 206–207). combined with scokeroot (Phytolacca americana). Coughs. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. 1981. 3 vols. A similar infusion has been used to treat coughs and colds. 1958. to treat nasal polyps (Browne 1964: 35–70). Newbell Niles. 1962. Marie B. Glenwood. In New England.” Foxfire 2(2) (1968): 15. American Folk Medicine. “The Indian Doctor. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Croup in children has been treated with a similar decoction of bloodroot in vinegar (Browne 1958: 18).Bogbean : 41 been recommended to sufferers from asthma (Meyer 1985: 32). The fresh leaves have been laid on cuts to pro- References Brendle. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. and Sondra B. Anne C. J. and F. IL: Meyerbooks. E. Browne.” Arts et Traditions Populaires 7 (January–June 1959): 75–85. Burns. Edited by Wayland D.” New England Journal of Medicine 224 (1941): 487–492. widespread in the boggy places of the north and west of Britain and Ireland. Browne. or drinking an infusion made from it.

Anne E. was to fill a glass bottle with boiling water. another version was to wear a nutmeg around the neck and nibble a bit every morning. It has been used to soothe the stomach and as a general tonic (Meyer 1985: 59. In Wales it has been used for treating kidney and liver complaints. See also Boils. and the decoction drunk. Among the most common were dock (Rumex sp. used in twentieth-century Norfolk. Boils mote healing and “draw out” infection (Beith 1995: 206). In that country it has also been used particularly widely for treating rheumatism. Rheumatism. Its role in folk medicine has been a minor one. Jones. prepared from flax (Linum usitatissimum) (Beith 1995: 218). as well as treating wounds in humans and animals (Jones 1980: 59–60). Portland. The partial vacuum created “drew” the boil painfully but effectively (Hatfield MS). Poultices were made from both parsley and cabbage in East Anglia (Taylor MSS). or of groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) and onions. or oatmeal and butter. Chickweed and woundwort (Stachys sylvatica) were also used (Hatfield 1994: 21–22). In Ulster. rheumatism. Tuberculosis.42 . Cuts. This plant is also native to North America. was a gypsy cure adopted in Essex (Prince 1991: 122). soap and sugar. OR: Timber Press. Mary. boiled. Meyer. the plant has been highly valued not only as a tonic but also to treat kidney troubles (Allen and Hatfield. and rapidly clamp the open end on the boil. In Cornwall. empty it. 1995. rolled into a pill with some butter. Constipation. to which the disease would be passed (Thiselton Dyer 1880: 171). 256). In Scotland. Edinburgh: Polygon. and Gabrielle Hatfield. and tuberculosis (Moerman 1998: 342–343). crawling through a loop of bram- ble rooted at both ends was one way of getting rid of boils.. and there was once a proportionately larger number of folk medical treatments for boils. Tonic. Wounds. Drinking a mixture of soot and milk has been recommended for boils (EFS 111La). 1998. in press). In Ireland. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Boils This affliction seems to have been even more common in the recent past in Britain than it is today. Beith. “Folk Medicine in Living Memory in Wales. Daniel E. a list strikingly similar to that for Celtic Britain. Herbal treatments were numerous. Moerman. Glenwood. Nutmeg was a common treatment for boils. as recently as the twentieth century a poultice of cow-dung was used to treat boils (Rolleston 1940: 74). American Folk Medicine. References Allen. Another commonly used poultice was linseed. fasting for nine days (Hawke 1973: 28). Potato poultices were used in Wales (Jones 1980: 61). or of mallow (Malva sylvestris). where it is known as buckbean. Another was to poultice the boils and then place the bandaging and poultice in the coffin of a corpse. in press. In Suffolk. 1985.) roots or seeds. David E. Bread poultices were widely used to treat boils (Hatfield 1994: 22). A simple method of bringing boils to a head. one suggestion was to eat ground nutmeg mixed with water (Prince 1991: 118).” Folk Life 18 (1980): 58–68. Swallowing enough gunpowder to cover a sixpence. Native American Ethnobotany. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. OR: Timber Press. were used to “draw” the pus from boils and infected wounds (Beith 1995: 174). A large number of plants that have been used for healing infected wounds have been . Clarence. Portland. a poultice of houseleek. In Native American medicine it has been used for stomach pain. either eaten or applied. the seventh son of a blacksmith could cure boils simply by opening and shutting tongs three times in front of the boil (Rolleston 1940: 74). IL: Meyerbooks.

horseradish (Armoracia rusticana). some of these same plants were used in the treatment of boils. yarrow (Achillea millefolium). in press. Other plants used in boil treatment include foxglove (Digitalis purpurea). 7 vols. and Gabrielle Hatfield. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Edinburgh: Polygon. Brown. in press). plantain. Prickly pear (Opuntia spp. poultices were made from ripe figs (Ficus carica). beech. They were poulticed with salt pork. There were a number of other household remedies for treating boils.. See also Blackberry. Elm. figwort (Scrophularia sp. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. burdock (Arctium lappa). and cabbage are all familiar in British folk medicine too. St. as in Britain. This is an unusual instance of a folk remedy of demonstrably recent origin. 1958. Examples of plants used in this way include bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata) (Beith 1995: 206). References Allen. Houseleek. Durham. from black horehound (Ballota nigra).). and ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) (Meyer 1985: 42– 44). Mary. In Gloucestershire. 1995. sassafras (Sassafras albidum). . nutmeg (Myristica fragrans). Frank C. David E. Portland. the buds of beech (Fagus sylvatica) were infused for treating boils (Palmer 1994: 122). then pick and eat them (Rawlence 1914: 84). OR: Timber Press. and comfrey (Symphytum officinale) (Allen and Hatfield. and boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) (Meyer 1985: 44). John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum). A Dorset remedy was to find a place where a foot could cover seven or nine daisies (Bellis perennis).). The plant is native to North America and was introduced to Britain in the midnineteenth century. burdock. and slippery elm (Ulmus rubra) bark was used by the Potawatomi (Smith 1933: 86). Among the herbal treatments used. elder. Some plant preparations were thought to prevent boils developing. Folklore Studies 9. birch tree bark (Betula sp. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition.Boils : 43 seen in a dual role: the lower. Ireland (Vickery 1995: 124). yellow dock (Rumex crispus). One species of cone flower (Echinacea pallida) was mixed with skunk oil and puffball spores and applied to boils by the Cheyenne (Hart 1992: 38). from the leaves of the dollar vine (Rhynchosia tomentosa) or of sea squill (Urginea maritima). or bathed with vinegar. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Pineapple weed (Matricaria discoidea) has been used to treat boils in Wales (Plant Lore Notes and News 1999: 289). NC: Duke University Press. In North American folk medicine both gunpowder and nutmeg appear as frequent remedies. Chickweed. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. madonna lily (Lilium candidum) (Fragments of Oxfordshire Plant Lore 1951). side of the leaf has been used to draw the pus. Elder berries (Sambucus nigra) fried in mutton fat were a boil treatment in County Clare. flaxseed. generally rougher. from the bark of slip- pery elm (Ulmus fulva). wrapped with the skin of a boiled egg. dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). Seventh son. Burdock (Arctium minus). 66: 132) were other plants widely used in boil treatment. Freeman and Hooper 1979: 55).). cone flower (Echinacea angustifolia). Browne.) (Browne 1958: 380) and red oak (Quercus rubra) (Brown 1952–1964. and from a mixture of chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). in press). for example. white lily. This practice has been widespread throughout Britain. 1952–1964. Mallow. In Native American practice. Transference. In addition. the upper side to heal the injury. These include burdock (Arctium sp. onion. and plantain (Plantago major) (Allen and Hatfield. was used by the Micmac (Chandler. Ray B. Elder. treated with cooked milk and salt. Beith.

The name “boneset” is thought to refer to its use in treating “breakbone. EFS. “Folk-Lore and Superstitions Still Obtaining in Dorset.” dengue fever. common in the nineteenth century in southern North America (Crellin and Philpott 1989: 107). Vickery. It was regarded by the Mohegan as a panacea (Tantaquidgeon 1928: 265). It was also used as both an emetic and a purgative. and as both these names suggest.” Folk Life 18 (1980): 58–68. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Tiverton: Westcountry Books. Boneset Chandler. Huron H. Gabrielle. American Folk Medicine. When gathering the herb. 1985. Montana Native Plants and Early Peoples. Smith. as an emetic and a purgative (Moerman 1998: 229). the leaves were pulled upward to use as an emetic. 1992. MS4322. 6 (1999): 289. Clarence. Hart. and headache.” Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club 35 (1914): 81–87. Hatfield. It was widely used for colds (Barrick 1964: 104) and chills (Brown 1952–1964. “Herbal Remedies of the Maritime Indians. R. T.44 . Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. London: Fontana. 1991. J. Taylor MSS. Anne E. Helena: Montana Historical Society Press. Meyer. Perhaps its reputation for treating fevers led to experiments with treating nearly everything else. Thiselton Dyer. Rolleston. A related species. is . London: Bogue. Millspaugh suggested that in his time it was one of the most frequently used domestic remedies. implies another of its uses. In the nineteenth century. coughs. to “restore the tone of the stomach” after intoxication. Meyer includes numerous references to this plant. coughs. renal colic.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1 (1979): 49–68. erysipelas. Superstitions and Remedies.). Hooper. Oxford and District Folklore Society. snakebite. downward to use as a purgative (Lick and Brendle 1922: 86). Cornish Sayings. “Folk Medicine in Living Memory in Wales. Frank. which was used in remedies for colic. Dennis. IL: Meyerbooks. and as a tonic (Meyer 1985).) The species of this genus most widely used in North American folk medicine is Eupatorium perfoliatum. Jeff. Lois Freeman. diarrhea. broken bones. to treat kidney stones and gravel. F. D. for jaundice. gravel-root. and hoarseness. to prevent boils. The Folklore of Gloucestershire. “Dermatology and Folk-Lore. Manuscript notes of Mark R. 1880. It was used by them to treat fevers. 1995. 1994.” The British Journal of Dermatology and Syphilis 52 (March 1940): part 2. R. Manuscript notes in University College London. Another of its names. On the other hand. Fragments of Oxfordshire Plant Lore. its main use in folk medicine was originally for treating fevers of all kinds. “Ethnobotany of the Forest Potawatomi Indians. Roy. 2nd ed. and dried bunches of it were kept in most farmhouses (Millspaugh: 1892). 74–86. Palmer. A. Plant Lore Notes and News. Glenwood. Boneset tea was drunk for a sick headache (Browne 1958: 70) and for treating gallstones (Browne 1958: 68) and indigestion (Puckett 1981: 403). Agueweed is another of its country names. its uses by Native American tribes are equally diverse. 1973. In his collection of folk medicine. Prince. Rawlence. E. Norwich. in Norfolk Record Office.” Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 7 (1933): 1– 230. There are records of its use in treating broken bones (Dober 1956: 17). Jones. Taylor. Kathleen (comp. English Folklore Survey. 1994. Redruth: Dyllanson Truran. and Shirley N. Annual record 1951. Woodbridge: Boydell. colds. chicken pox. 6: 145). for the treatment of bronchitis. Boneset (Eupatorium spp. Oxford: Oxford University Press. no. sore throat. Eupatorium purpureum. English Folk-Lore. Grandmother’s Cures: An A-Z of Herbal Remedies. Hawke.

OR: Timber Press. Jaundice. Meyer. Durham. Hall. John K. were similarly thought to bring good luck and were kept for many years. Glenwood. Lick. Brendle. 1998. One nineteenth-century remedy prescribed burying a piece of bread in earth for three days. New York: Dover. Erysipelas. “Folk Medicine in Cumberland County. Clarence. 7 vols. diarrhea and dysentery (Thiselton Dyer 1876: 149). IL: Meyerbooks. However. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Gladys. “Mohegan Medicinal Practices.” Proceedings and Addresses of the Pennsylvania German Society 33 (1922). but no convincing records of its folk usage have been traced. In the eighteenth century. it had the reputation of healing any slight injury and was also considered good for fevers as well as indigestion. Gravel and stone. Eupatorium cannabinum. 1998. Browne. NC: Duke University Press. and Sondra B. “Plant Names and Plant Lore among the Pennsylvania Germans.” Smithsonian Institution-Bureau of American Ethnology Annual Report 43 (1928): 264– 270. Lightfoot. In East Anglia. London: Benjamin White.Bread : 45 known as Joe-Pye Weed.. Native American Ethnobotany. Diarrhea. Its claims as a British folk herb are tenuous. Dober. Lightfoot (Lightfoot 1777: 464) suggested it was used for gout and dropsy by the poorer people. 1892. References Barrick. and kidney and gynaecological problems. a name of disputed origin. K. 1958. North American Folk Healing: An A-Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. Portland. 3 vols. 1981. Headache. Bread Bread poultices have been much used in British folk medicine for swellings. A Reference Guide to Medicinal Plants. 1974. a related species.” North Carolina Folklore 4(1) (July 1956): 15–22. 1989. 2 vols. Colic. and burns (Moerman 1998: 230). Crellin. Micheletti. Coughs.). “We’ll Tell ’Em. 1952–1964. Dropsy. small pieces being grated off when needed for medicinal use (Porter 1974: 29). and Thomas R. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Charles F. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Boiled bread and milk poultices were used for sore eyes (EFS 100Db). 52). See also Boils. Moerman. Rheumatism. boils. dropsy. 1777. Puckett. Folklore Studies 9. Anna Casetta. Daniel E. Gout. Hand. meaning fever (Micheletti 1998: 63).” Keystone Folklore Quarterly 9 (1964): 100–110.. David E. Virginia. and Jane Philpott. It could have been named after an individual of that name or could be taken from the Indian word Jopi. Joe-Pye weed is not a native of Britain and does not appear in the folk records there. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. Frank C. In Native American practice Eupatorium purpureum has been used to treat rheumatism. Boston: G. John. Hot cross buns. Brown. Tantaquidgeon. constipation. Reprint. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Mac E. Millspaugh. Durham. It was then dug up and given to a sufferer . so-called Good Friday bread was kept for first-aid purposes throughout the year. Edited by Wayland D. gout. Tonic. Baked on Good Friday. Enza (ed. American Folk Medicine. Thiederman. NC: Duke University Press. and sprains and for removing splinters (Prince 1991: 15. as well as colds. 1985. again if baked on Good Friday. American Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated and Descriptive Guide to Plants Indigenous to and Naturalized in the United States Which Are Used in Medicine. Ray B. Newbell Niles. Weather-Lore and Superstitions. Flora Scotica. is a native of Britain and was used in official medicine there.

Bread dough has been used to treat sunburn (Levenson and Levenson 1960: 27). Collection of North Carolina Folklore. the water in which burned bread has soaked has been given (UCLA Folklore Archives 4_6284). “Pioneer Remedies from Western Kansas. Folklore from Kansas: Beliefs and Customs. Breast problems EFS. Enid. in the names of plants. Frank C. the cure only worked in families where the parents shared the same surname (Puckett 1981: 121). London: Fontana. See also Boils. KS: Regent Press.” North Carolina Folklore 8(2) (1960): 26–31. Radford. Indigestion. British Popular Customs.” Western Folklore 20 (1961): 1–22. has led to a scarcity of written information concerning folk medicine in this field. Porter. Ulster Folklore. and Myron H.” Journal of American Folklore 12 (1899): 45–86. Carter. To “draw out” infection. In North American folk medicine. Austin. 1951. 1991. much of this oral tradition was lost. 1980. Beverly. Bread has been widely used as a medium for transferring disease. “Some Southern Folk Remedies and Related Beliefs. . E. Levenson. A. London. John. Dennis. as in the cure for toothache in which one gives a child a crust that a mouse has nibbled (Wintemberg 1899: 48). K. and once official medicine took over antenatal and postnatal care. A similar poultice was used for treating boils (Koch 1980: 72). Folklore from Adams County Illinois. Koch. English Folklore Survey. Transference. 3 vols. 7 vols. Durham. London: Batsford. 1876. Brown. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Foster. Warts. TX: Encino Press. Manuscript notes at University College London. Boston: G. ed. Grandmother’s Cures: An A-Z of Herbal Remedies. Texas Folk Medicine. at least in Britain. Prince. Numerous warts cures also employ bread as an agent of transference. while as in Britain. and a paste of chewed white bread has been used to treat a sty (UCLA Folklore Archives 4_5506). 1970. Puckett. Edited and revised by Christina Hole. 1974. The Folklore of East Anglia. while bread made from ground corn shucks has been a remedy for measles (Anderson 1970: 51). “Items of German-Canadian Folklore. bread poultices were similarly used. Amy. R. together with the fact that the majority of books are written by men. Moldy rye bread has treated sores (Puckett 1981: 449). 2nd rev. Hand. Diarrhea. NC: Duke University Press. Levenson. 6: 225).. from whooping cough (Radford and Radford 1974: 66). Dysentery. Newbell Niles. Sunburn. Lawrence. Encyclopaedia of Superstitions. Thiederman. and Sondra B. Molds. and M. There are occasional clues—for instance. Present and Past. smallpox (Lathrop 1961: 14) and sore eyes (Hyatt 1965: 242). J. Two Gaelic names for References Anderson. For diarrhea. William E. W. Anna Casetta. Belfast: H. Edited by Wayland D.46 . then give some to the child: however. F. Thiselton Dyer. Harry Middleton. Hyatt. Radford. Lathrop. Moldy bread has also been used for treating infected cuts and for preventing infection (Foster 1951: 62). 1981. Hall. Jeanne Cooper. Breast problems The embarrassment surrounding this subject. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. T. a poultice of bread and milk was recommended (Brown 1952–1964. wet bread has been used to poultice a splinter (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_6470). Wintemberg. Advice concerning breast feeding was handed down orally. A remedy for whooping cough was for the parents each to have some bread. Eye problems. Smallpox. 1965. London: Book Club Associates 1974. 1952–1964.

has been used in England within living memory (Hatfield MS).” These shells can often be found with a circular hole. a large warmed cabbage leaf. Poulticing the breast with clay was an alternative (Hyatt 1965: 154). In the Western Isles of Scotland. quince seed (Cydonia oblonga). or baked potatoes. An account is on record of a woman taken captive shortly after giving birth by Canadian Indians in the seventeenth century. and false bittersweet (Celastrus scandens). failing this. Parkinson learned of a similar use in Prussia (Britten and Holland 1878–1886: 354) and coined the English name of “nipplewort” for the plant. Herbal salves for sore nipples were prepared from bayberry (Myrica sp. to treat inflamed breasts (Black 1935: 99). but printed sources such as these doubtless were used by European settlers in North America and became a part of folk medicine there. contain a large number of prescriptions for increasing the milk supply. For treating sore nipples. Her newborn baby’s life was saved by ice-cold water from a brook. applied under the armpits. poultices were made from hot pancakes. comfrey (Symphytum officinale). clear molasses was recommended. Their name in Caernarvonshire translates as “breast shell.) or of the oil from butternuts (Juglans cinerea) has also been used (Meyer 1985: 46–50). The skin of either a mole (Hyatt 1965: 154) or a weasel (Waugh 1918: 22) has been placed over the breast to relieve “caked” breasts. as in Britain.). To dry up the milk supply at weaning. For treating breast abscesses.). or brandy and water. the center was knocked out. chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). Books on midwifery.). there is a record from the Forest of Dean of the large leaves of foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) being used to poultice the breasts (Hatfield MS). Poultices of cow dung were used. For engorged breasts it was recommended to let a puppy suckle (Puckett 1981: 124). 172). peach leaves (Prunus persica) or wild indigo (Baptisia sp.) was used in Somerset (Tongue 1965: 41). again judging by its Gaelic name. Herbal . In both the Highlands of Scotland and in Wales there are records of limpet shells being collected and used as nipple shields for nursing mothers (Jones 1980: 63). There was a belief that placing a broad axe under the mother’s bed was a remedy for caked breasts (Rogers 1941: 41). Massaging the caked breasts with goat’s milk was also tried (Hyatt 1965: 154). Swollen breasts were treated in the Scottish Highlands with a poultice of groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) or with the roots of celandine (Chelidonium majus). For sore and swollen breasts. whisky and soap. whether these can really be regarded as folk medicine in Britain is doubtful. a broth made from limpets was used to increase the milk supply in poorly nourished nursing mothers (Martin 1716: 146). starch powder. A less attractive remedy for swollen and engorged breasts was to poultice them with fresh cowdung (Beith 1995: 210. 221. A hot compress of peppermint leaves (Mentha sp.Breast problems : 47 Lapsana communis translate as “good leaf” and “breast leaf”. as was poulticing with cornstarch (Lathrop 1961: 6). mallows (Malva sp. In Ireland the heath speedwell (Veronica officinalis). roasted turnips. or mutton tallow. was used similarly (Moloney: 1919). the plant was used in the Scottish Highlands for sore nipples in nursing mothers (MacFarlane 1929: 1–48). with the main vein removed. a broth made from beaver entrails. An ointment made from elderflowers (Sambucus canadensis) fried in lard was also used. and finally by a friendly squaw who showed her how to make a nourishing broth with walnut kernels and fine cornmeal (Ulrich 1991: 231). such as Jane Sharp’s book (Sharp 1724). An application of fir balsam (Abies sp. Sore nipples at the time of delivery were sometimes relieved by rubbing with the afterbirth (Hyatt 1965: 154).

used by the Ojibwa (Smith 1932: 364). University of Nebraska Studies in Language.) was recommended in Ontario (UCLA Folklore Archives 12_6187). Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands.) was thought to boost milk production (Bourke 1849: 123). Salix tristis was used to prepare a wash for sore nipples (Vogel 1970: 55).). including goat’s rue (Galega officinalis) (Meyer 1985: 46). or an ointment made from smartweed (Polygonum sp. To dry up the milk supply at weaning sage tea (Salvia sp. John G. Reputedly a live duck or goose cut open was sometimes applied to inflamed breasts (Hyatt 1965: 154). there are a number of herbal suggestions. Various plants were used to increase the mother’s milk supply. Poultice. or the fresh leaves of tag alder (Alnus serrulata) were bruised and applied. all of which appear in Sharp’s Manual of Midwifery mentioned above. Mary. 1995. References Beith. bananas (Musa spp. Another suggestion was to rub the breasts with soot for three days (Hyatt 1965: 156). as well as the plant named squaw weed (Senecio aureus): the last named clearly borrowed from the Native American tradition. Rubbing with camphor and cabbage leaves was believed to shrink breasts that are too large (UCLA Folklore Archives 2_5972). Robert. Lincoln. In North American folk medicine a number of herbs were used to increase milk supply. Red baneberry (Actaea rubra) and puffball poultices (Lycoperdon sp. Edinburgh: Polygon. anise seeds (Pimpinella anisum).” Journal of American Folklore 7 (1849): 119–146. the latter a remedy said to be of Native American origin (Meyer 1985: 47). for instance. James. or a preparation of elder roots (Sambucus sp. For sore. tender breasts during puberty. Another recommendation was to scrape elm bark (Ulmus sp. Black. such as fennel (Foeniculum vulgare). From Alabama. and rubbing with cocoa butter (UCLA Folklore Archives 4_5664). In Native American medicine. collard leaves were sometimes used (reminiscent of the cabbage leaf remedy in Britain) (Parler 1962: 65). Nebraska Folk Cures. Literature. and Holland. or a poultice made from queen-of-the-meadow roots (Eupatorium purpureum) (Jack 1964: 36). Puffball. Betula papyrifera was used by the Woodlands Cree (Leighton 1985: 32) and skeletonplant (Lygodesmia juncea) by the Cheyenne (Grinnell 1905: 41).) was applied. To relieve sore or inflamed breasts during nursing. drinking an infusion of pigweed (Amaranthus sp. the downy white pea (Galactia volubilis) was used by the Seminole to treat babies who were unwilling to suckle (Sturtevant 1955: 255).) was given.48 . See also Jimson weed. “Popular Medicine. Bourke. For helping breast development at puberty.) upward on the east side of the tree and drink an infusion of the scrapings (Marie-Ursule 1951: 177). A Dictionary . Britten. Various species of lettuce are used to ease lactation—for example. an ointment made from male fern buds (Dryopteris filixmas) (Fosbroke 1835: 165). A gruel made from powdered mulberry twigs (Morus sp. Breast problems applications for caked breasts included jimson weed (Datura stramonium) (Browne 1958: 42) and tobacco (Free 1962: 10).) or the juice from milkweed (Asclepias sp. Customs and Superstitions of the Rio Grande. Pauline Monette.) were used to relieve sore and inflamed breasts (Vogel 1970: 235. 1935. the belief has been reported that holding a live mole above one’s head for an hour will cure sore breasts (Browne 1958: 42). and Criticism 15. Lactuca biennis. NE: University of Nebraska Press. and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis).) (UCLA Folklore Archives 3_5664). 301).

1962. 1724. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. William Curtis. 1958. London. 1941. 1991. New York: Vintage Books. Glenwood. : 49 Puckett. 2nd ed. 3 vols. Wild Plant Uses by the Woods Cree (Nihithawak) of East-Central Saskatchewan. Somerset Folklore. thesis. E.M. New Haven. Anna L. edited by K. IL: Meyerbooks. Other plant remedies used have included black bryony (Tamus communis) (Bromfield 1856). W. A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland. Bruises In British folk medicine there were a number of first-aid measures for bruising. Sharp. Virgil J. American Indian Medicine. Moloney. Laurel Thatcher. Mary Celestia. Folklore Studies 9. Thiederman. Ann Arbor. William Joseph. Irish Ethnobotany and the Evolution of Medicine in Ireland. 3. 1955. 1965. Cold water or a cold compress has often been used. Murfreesboro. “Ethnobotany of the Ojibwe Indians. Grinnell. 1965. “On the Effects of Male Fern Buds. Fosbroke.” Journal of American Folklore 31 (1918): 4–82. Connecticut. M. 1919. 1878–1886. M. Popular Belief and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. 2nd rev. Newbell Niles. Lathrop. Soeur. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Waugh.Bruises of English Plant Names.” Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness 32 (1929): 1–48. Tongue. Meyer. “A Note on Tobacco Magic. Clarence. Harry Middleton. Jones. Briggs. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications.” Folk Life 18 (1980): 58–68.” Les Archives de Folklore 5–6 (1951): 1–403. Anne E. Ruth L. Ulrich.” American Anthropologist 7 (1905): 37–43. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. Boston: G. Parler. “Civilisation traditionelle des Lavalois. Vol. “Gaelic Names of Plants: Study of their Uses and Lore. “Some Cheyenne Plant Medicines. 1970. “Folk Medicine in Living Memory in Wales. soapwort Saponaria officinalis (Vesey-Fitzgerald 1944: 28).D. Vol. London. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Phil R. Jack. Free. Yale University. American Folk Medicine. Huron H. Martin. Michael F. Rogers. F. Sturtevant. MacFarlane. TN: Mid-South. Hyatt. 1985. H. Edited by Wayland D. MI: University Microfilms.D. “Canadian Folk-Lore from Ontario. Hand. Amy. 1716 (facsimile. Ottawa: National Museums of Canada. George Bird. John. James Thin 1976). Sondra B. Anna Casetta. A. The Mikasuki Seminole: Medical Beliefs and Practices. and University Student Contributors. Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England 1650–1750. Early Folk Medical Practices in Tennessee. K. Ph. “Folk Medicine from Western Pennsylvania. Hall.” Western Folklore 20 (1961): 1–22. in Cases of Worms. A slice of raw potato was applied to a black eye in the Scottish Highlands (Beith 1995: 235).” Boston Medical and Surgical Journal 13(11) (1835): 165–168.” Pennsylvania Folklife 14(1) (October 1964): 35–37. Marie-Ursule. . M.” North Carolina Folklore 10 (1962): 2. Mercury Series 101. Leighton. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. G. 1985. Gill and Son. Ray B. yellow-horned poppy Glaucium flavum (one country name for which is brusewort. In County Folklore. Dublin: M. Smith. another being “squatmore”—“squat” in west country dialect means bruise) (Aubrey 1881: 254). a poultice of vinegar was employed (Jones 1980: 66). Jane.” Bulletin of the Public Museum of Milwaukee 4 (1932): 327–525. Browne. 1981. The Compleat Midwife’s Companion. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. Vogel. London: Tru ¨ bner for English Dialect Society. 9–10. “Pioneer Remedies from Western Kansas. London: Folk-Lore Society. 8. In Wales. ed.

As the grass dies. or from sumac bark (Rhus sp. 828). both raw onion (Koch 1980: 133) and raw potato (Waller and Killion 1972: 76). Crushed mallow leaves (Malva spp. Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum multiflorum) was used both in official medicine (it was recommended by Gerard in his sixteenth-century herbal) and in folk medicine to treat bruising (Porter 1974: 43). and it is now a worldwide remedy (Souter 1995: 141). or hog’s grease (Beck 1957: 77). Plant remedies for bruises used in North American folk medicine are numerous. In recent times. Crushed plantain leaves (Plantago sp. This is not native to Britain. Bruises comfrey (Symphytum officinale) (EFS Card Index No. but its fame in treating bruises has spread from continental Europe. Unwashed sheep’s wool (which contains lanolin) has similarly been used (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_5578).) (Fogel 1915: 131). Other plant remedies include witch hazel bark (Hamamelis virginica) (Wintemberg 1925: 621).) have been used (Matschat 1938: 88). the bruise disappears. In North American folk medicine. or tansy leaves bruised in vinegar (Bergen 1899: 1323). arnica (Arnica montana) has been widely used. A . Animal fat in various forms has also been used: unsalted butter (Koch 1980: 133). from the leaves of mullein (Verbascum thapsus) (Clark 1970: 14). Cutting the turf from around a bruised foot and reversing the turf. 277). A poultice of cornmeal and salt has been used (Wilson 1968: 61). Eggs have been used to treat bruising (McGlasson 1941: 17). Poultices have been prepared from prickly pear (Michael and Barrow 1967: 781). the bruise will heal (UCLA Folklore Archives 25_5495). have been used in treatment of bruises. soil upward. or a poultice made from wheat bran (Frazier 1936: 34) or from the inner bark of black oak (Quercus sp. or of wild sage (UCLA Folklore Archives 24_6746) or burdock (Puckett 1981: 454). Other miscellaneous cures for bruising include human urine (UCLA Folklore Archives 12_6188). is an unusual remedy suggested from Virginia. Not only the species Arnica montana but also Arnica fulgens is used in this way (Chevallier 1996: 170). Epsom salts have been used (Cannon 1984: 96).) have been used to treat bruising (Hawke 1973: 28). or a poultice made from soap (Frazier 1936: 34). As in Britain. first aid for bruises included application of cold metal. raw pork (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_5495). stone bruises have been treated by placing them in contact with a live toad (Brewster 1939: 39) or frog (Farr 1935: 34). A salve has been prepared from self-heal (Prunella vulgaris) (Lick and Brendle 1922: 63) or from the stalk of evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) (Lick and Brendle 1922: 155). or the bark of slippery elm (Ulmus rubra) (McGlasson 1941: 17) or of elder (Sambucus sp. a cure widely used in England for treating cuts. Cow manure has been used as a poultice for bruising (UCLA Folklore Archives 6_5295). In a curious example of transference.50 . has also been applied to bruises (Allen 1995: 45).) (Randolph 1947: 100). Lily leaves steeped in brandy. and rendered jellyfish (Bergen 1899: no.) and wheat bran (Browne 1958: 104). wood ashes (Puckett 1981: 332). Rubbing with a raw onion (Allium cepa) was recently reported from Manchester as a cure for bruises (Vickery 1995: 267). Arnica is native to North America and both has been and continues to be used to treat bruises (Peattie 1943: 118). Green tobacco leaves have been used (Clark 1970: 19). Crabapple juice has been used to treat bruises (Emerson 1887). and kidney vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria) (Beith 1995: 247). such as the flat surface of a knife (Koch 1980: 132). As the animal dies. or of peach (Browne 1958: 43). A lotion prepared from daisies (?Bellis perennis) was reputedly used by colonists to treat bruising (Kell 1956: 371). as well as white lily steeped in whisky (Lick and Brendle 1922: 97).

Talley.. thesis. Folklore Studies 9.Bruises : 51 Mexican American remedy is to apply the juice of Aloe vera (UCLA Folklore Archives 14_5592). Edited by Sir William Jackson Hooker and Thomas Bell Salter. 230).” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 2 (1936): 33–48. Finally. Herrick. Aubrey. In Native American treatment of bruises.D. English Folklore Survey. Cornish Sayings. Newbury: Countryside Books.” Journal of American Folklore 48 (1935): 318–336.B. Sylva. J. Hamel. NC: Herald. Transference. Pine tar has been applied to bruises (Wilson 1968: 324).” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. P. Mullein. and witch hazel (Herrick 1977: 347). T. was used in the seventeenth century. 1856. Sassafras. 1995. Balm of Gilead. Edited by James Britten. 1881. such as arnica. London: Dorling Kindersley. John. Edited by Wayland D. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. 1968: 79). 1995. Horace P. 1887. vinegar would extract some of the pine tar (Howkins. as well as various species of pine (e. Farr. “Riddles and Superstitions of Middle Tennessee. Remaines of Gentilisme and Judaisme. Andrew. Redruth: Dyllanson Truro. “Beliefs and Superstitions of the Pennsylvania Germans. Brewster. and Mary U. Thornapple. 2001). Pictures of East Anglian Life. Katherine T. 1996. Edinburgh: Polygon. Emerson. Beith. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. Many of the plants mentioned above were also used in Native American practice. Albany.” . Cannon. Mary. Flora Vectensis. Pinus virginiana [Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 49]) and of sumac (Herrick 1977: 372). References Allen. 1958. 83. ground hemlock (Taxus sp.” Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society 7 (1899). Ph. and lard (Trice 1956: 91). as was sassafras ointment.. State University of New York. gum. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. 1977. “Folk Cures and Preventives from Southern Indiana. Paul B. Paul G. Joseph D. Earth. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.) or of jimson weed was also used (Vogel 1970: 42. Chiltoskey. London: Pamplin. Balm of Gilead has been used to cure bruising (Beck 1957: 78).g.. “Folk Medicine in Living Memory in Wales. 58). pers.” Folk Life 18 (1980): 58–68. 1975. Neal. Anthon S. Chevallier. In eastern Canada. Andrew. The Jack and Jill remedy of vinegar and brown paper has also been employed in recent times for bruising (Wilson Sr. The Folklore of Maine. 1957. H. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. William Arthur. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. 1973. from stranded whales. Ray B. Burdock. See also Aloe vera. Elm. Tobacco. spermaceti. Kathleen. Frazier. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. com. Iroquois Medical Botany. Kell. Clark. self-heal (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 54. Bromfield. “A Collection of Middle Tennessee Superstitions. Hand and Jeannine E. brown paper used to be made from pine wood. London: Sampson Low. eating radishes is held to prevent bruising (UCLA Folklore Archives 9_5303). “Animal and Plant Lore Collected from the Oral Tradition of English Speaking Folk. James William. Poultices have been prepared from turpentine and sugar (UCLA Folklore Archives 4_5300). Manuscript notes at University College London. Browne. London.” Americana Germanica 18 (1915). Bergen. Philadelphia and New York: J. Hawke. Edwin Miller. coal oil. Interestingly. Superstitions and Remedies. “The Folklore of the Daisy. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.” Southern Folklore Quarterly 3 (1939): 33–43. Jones.) was used to treat bruising (MacDonald 1959: 223). camphor. Beck. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. The root of sunflower (Helianthus sp. Lippincott. Jimson weed. Fogel. or from a mixture of turpentine. Anne E. Fanny D. 1984. EFS.

or a piece was carried in the pocket (Taylor 1929: 117). American Indian Medicine. “‘Store-Bought’ Remedies in the Mammoth Cave Region. New York: Columbia University Press. Boston: G. Roy. Edited by Wayland D. Peattie. See also Chilblains. The plant is not native to North America and does not have a significant role there in folk medicine.” Journal of American Folklore 38 (1925): 621. “Local Plants in Folk Remedies in the Mammoth Cave Region. Henry L. It has been the subject of “gender pairing. Mark R. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. “Georgia Folk Medicine.” Southern Folklore Quarterly 36 (1972): 71–92. Vance. Gordon. Its roots were made into a tea for promoting fertility (Porter 1974: 21)—a remedy where the plant was being used as a native substitute for mandrake. K. 1981. Porter. J. Pratt. Cleo.” Folklore Society Bulletin 7 (1941): 13–27. Norfolk Folklore. Brendle.. and Thomas R. Ozark Superstitions.52 .” Southern Folklore Quarterly 32 (1968): 320–327. with the in fact unrelated black bryony (Tamus communis) as the male. Trice. McGlasson. W. KS: Regent Press. Puckett. but in this instance the idea was reinforced by the official herbals. New York: Vanguard Press. and Mark V. Max. with its associated aphrodisiac and magical powers. Jr. Bryony (Bryonia dioica) This plant has had a role in magical medicine and in purely practical folk medicine too. 3 vols. Saffron Walden: C. ———. London: Batsford.” Canadian Medical Association Journal 80(3) (1959): 220–224. Barrow. 1995. Matschat. as in the remedy from Essex for chilblains. A. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. The Great Smokies and the Blue Ridge. Daniel. 1980.” Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society 23 (1944): 21–33.” Kentucky Folklore Record 2 (1956): 91–97. B. Enid.). 1974. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. “Superstitions and Folk Beliefs of Overton County Tennessee.” Proceedings and Addresses of the Pennsylvania German Society 33 (1922). Tom. “Gypsy Medicine. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Folklore of the Mammoth Cave Region. and Sondra B. and most remedies employ it externally. Bryony Wilson. Souter. Bowling Green. For rheumatism the roots were scraped and applied (Pratt 1898. and Gene Killion. Hand. Newbell Niles. Thiederman.” North Carolina Folklore 16 (1968): 58–62. “‘Old Timey’ Remedies of Yesterday and Today. Taylor. “Plant Names and Plant Lore among the Pennsylvania Germans. Folk-Lore 40 (1929): 113–133. 1898.” being regarded as the female plant of a pair.” Journal of the Florida Medical Association 54(8) (August 1967): 778–784. 1970. Vesey-Fitzgerald. Enid. which uses the crushed berries rubbed on. KY: Kentucky Folklore Society. 1995. William E. Anna Casetta. 1: 70). References Porter. “Some Items of NegroCanadian Folk-Lore. Wintemberg. This notion occurs in British folk medicine for a number of species. Roderick (ed. Mandrake. London: Batsford. W. Hall. Keith. The plant is poisonous. Wild Flowers. Lick. “The Lore of the HopkinsWebster Line. Vogel. Michael. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. Vickery. Cecile Hulse. Koch. Wilson. 1947. Suwannee River (Rivers of America). Folklore from Kansas: Beliefs and Customs. 2 vols. 1968. Randolph. Kentucky Folklore Series 4. 1943. Lawrence. Journal of American Folklore 69 (1956): 369–376. A Dictionary of Plant Lore.. New York: Rinehart and Company. “Indian Medicine in New Brunswick. 1938. Sr. The Folklore of East Anglia. 1974. Elizabeth. Gordon. MacDonald. . Virgil J. David E. Waller. The Folklore of East Anglia.

London: William Kent. The plant was introduced into North America and has been used very similarly there. Hamel. and Mary U. as well as burns (McClafferty 1979). Rheumatism. the leaf was rubbed on and then buried. Amulet. the plant has been used to treat a wide and miscellaneous group of ailments. State University of New York. with dandelion and Virginia snakeroot (Aristolochia serpentaria) or with white pine bark and seneca snakeroot (Polygala senega) (Meyer 1985: 213. Iroquois Medical Botany. Mixed with white mustard. The root boiled in vinegar was used as a wash for ringworm (Meyer 1985: 221). Meyer reports its use in the treatment of boils. The species Arctium lappa has been used to treat rheumatism (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 27). Albany. Dandelion. Chiltoskey. Folklore Studies 9. The Natural History of the East- . Asthma. Deane. Herrick. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. 249). In addition. Ray B. London: Batsford. this plant has been extensively used in folk medicine as a tonic and a “blood purifier. as well as asthma (Puckett 1981: 311). thesis.Burdock : 53 Burdock (Arctium lappa. 1977. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. 1958. and. Tony. and for the treatment of rheumatism (Deane and Shaw 1975). as a liver tonic (Meyer 1985: 44. For other Native American uses of burdock. 1944: 23). Headache. Boils. For warts. and Tony Shaw. James William. 82) and for the treatment of boils (Herrick 1977: 474). similar uses have been recorded among Native Americans. as it decayed. Warts. The Useful Plants of Great Britain: A Treatise. The mashed fresh leaves have been used to treat burns (Meyer 1985: 54). 1975. the seed or the root has been mixed with yeast and bandaged on to the navel (Meyer 1985: 90). 167). Tonic. For diarrhea in babies. A teething necklace was made from pieces of burdock root. C. Piles. being combined. An infusion of the seed treated sleeplessness and teething in infants (Meyer 1985: 146. Ph. it has been used for treating skin complaints such as boils and acne. See also Acne.D. References Browne. Sylva. The Folklore of Cornwall. and for severe dysentery in adults the seeds have been ground and infused like coffee (Meyer 1985: 97).” Specifically. 1975. These varied and extensive uses of burdock in North America are perhaps surprising in view of the fact that neither species is native there. combined with dandelion. the wart would go (UCLA Folklore Archives 20_5521). However. Arctium minus) Native to Britain and Ireland. Teething. The leaves were applied to piles (Meyer 1985: 193) and were worn in the hat to prevent sunstroke (Wilson 1968: 199) and for headache (Lick and Brendle 1922: 124). It formed an ingredient of many preparations for treating rheumatism. George. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. including urinary complaints (Johnston 1853: 129) and nervous disorders (Johnson 1862). 216). 1862. Arctium minus has been used as a tonic (Smith 1933: 49) for the relief of pain (Tantaquidgeon 1942: 66. Johnson. see Moerman 1998: 84–85. Pierpoint. Quinsy was treated with burdock (Browne 1958: 87). while a stronger decoction of the seed treated kidney pain (Meyer 1985: 159) and neuralgia (Meyer 1985: 186).. Paul B. Quinsy. for example. horseradish and cider the seed was used for treating headache (Meyer 1985: 137). A large leaf with the rough veins removed was warmed on a shovel and rolled up to fit in the hollow of a sore foot (Meyer 1985: 120). Johnston. The seeds were carried by gypsies as an amulet against rheumatism (VeseyFitzgerald. NC: Herald. Burns.

54 . The Botany. It is a reflection of the importance of immediate treatment for burns that a very wide variety of mineral. Sr. Scotland and Ireland (Allen and Hatfield. Huron H. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. plant. American Folk Medicine. Hall.” Proceedings and Addresses of the Pennsylvania German Society 33 (1922). used particularly in Scotland (Beith 1995: 215) and Ireland (Allen and Hatfield. Houseleek and navelwort (Umbilicus rupestris) were both widely used in the treatment of burns (Allen and Hatfield. IL: Meyerbooks. McClafferty. K. still used for minor burns. Boston: G. 1942. 1981. for instance in Cornwall (Hunt 1871: 413). Primrose (Primula vulgaris) leaves crushed in oil were used to treat burns in Norfolk (Taylor 1929: 118). Bowling Green. Native American Ethnobotany. B. a burn ointment was prepared from fat and St. 1985. In Ireland. and Sondra B. Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Historical Commission. 1998. and Thomas R. Hart’s-tongue fern (Phyllitis scolopendrium) was also made into a burn ointment in Scotland (Beith 1995: 216). London: Van Voorst. Folklore of the Mammoth Cave Region. and in Somerset a burn was crossed with spittle. Daniel E. and animal products have been used in folk medicine. unpub.) was used in the Cambridgeshire fens (Porter 1974: 44). Various charms were recited to draw the fire out of a burn (Black 1883: 80–81). National University of Ireland. A Study of Delaware Indian Medicine Practice and Folk Beliefs. In Britain native plants used include alder. and then mallow leaves were laid on (Tongue 1965: 37). In that same county. the water from melted snow was particularly recommended (Mundford Primary School project 1980. In Worcestershire it is reported that a cure for a burned finger was to keep it secret. Cold water is one of the simplest treatments. Tantaquidgeon. In Scotland a belief existed that anyone licking the liver of a newly killed otter would receive the power to soothe burns by licking them (Beith 1995: 180–181). Sometimes they accompanied a healing ointment (Porter 1974: 44–45). and press it behind the left ear (Black 1883: 189). Smith. “Gypsy Medicine. George. in press). 1. A particularly interesting burn remedy has been recorded from . Lick. Hand. 1979. the boiled bark of elm was used to treat burns (Vickery 1995: 127). Vesey-Fitzgerald. Blackberry leaves were used for treating burns. Gladys. An ointment made from marshmallow (Malva sp. in press). Plantain leaves were used in burn treatment in England. Master’s thesis. Kentucky Folklore Series 4. Moerman. Glenwood.). Burns ern Borders. in press). Newbell Niles. spit on it. The leaves were crushed with vinegar and olive oil and applied to the burn (Hatfield 1994: 24). In Norfolk. OR: Timber Press. Meyer.” Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 7 (1933): 1– 230. Chickweed was used for burn treatment in Scotland (Vickery 1995: 65). Wicklow. The leaves of elder were crushed in an ointment for burns. John’s wort (Tongue 1965: 38). Brendle. David E. “Plant Names and Plant Lore among the Pennsylvania Germans. 3 vols. “Ethnobotany of the Forest Potawatomi Indians. KY: Kentucky Folklore Society. Portland. Thiederman. Burns There seems to have been a widespread tradition throughout Britain that certain individuals could cure burns. In Ireland it was suggested that licking a newt conferred the same power (Jones 1908: 317).” Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society 23 (1944): 21–33. The Folk Medicine of Co. Vol. Wilson.. 1853. Clarence. Anna Casetta. 1968. and so was ivy (Hedera helix). The leaves were lightly crushed and placed on the burn (Hatfield 1994: 23). Puckett. Gordon. Edited by Wayland D.

Whether the twentieth-century lady in Norfolk learned the remedy from Gerard or from the oral folk tradition. Oil prepared from seal-liver was similarly used in the Highlands of Scotland. They include linseed oil. Bread baked . butter. A more pleasant-sounding Irish remedy was to rub the burns with wax candles that had been used at a wake (Wilde 1919: 82). The bark of alder was mixed with suet to form a burn salve in New Brunswick (Bergen 1899: 110). In Suffolk. Boiled cream was used as a burn salve in Scotland. as in Britain (Brown 1952– 1964. Suffolk. where the author tells us that he had learned the remedy from a lady in Ipswich. The self-same remedy is recorded by Gerard in his herbal of 1597. Egg white was found helpful in reducing the pain of burns (Prince 1991: 17). lard. there has been a belief in North America that burns could be treated by certain individuals. the rootstock of bloodroot (Mellinger 1968: 50). Miscellaneous substances used to relieve burns include mud. as has raw potato. a number of types of fat have been applied to burns and scalds. In Sussex moldy bread was used as a burn treatment (Allen 1995: 116). In addition. numerous plants native to North America but not to Britain have been employed in burn treatment. In a study of burn healers in North Carolina it has been shown that these individuals relied more on the incantation used. Goose grease was considered excellent for treating burns (Prince 1991: 121). charcoal. 66: 137). poke berries (Pickard and Buley 1945: 334). Baking soda solution was used to bathe burns and scalds (Hatfield MS). As in Britain. 6: 136– 137). As in Britain. which usually had religious overtones. a salve made from “live forever” (Sedum purpureum) and lard (Bergen 1899: 110). A seventh son was believed to have the power to cure burns by breathing over them (Puckett 1981: 336). Vanilla flavoring has been recommended (Puckett 1981: 334). Sometimes an incantation accompanied the process of taking the fire out of a burn (Rogers 1968: 50). Crushed plantain leaves were found helpful.Burns : 55 Norfolk. Aloe vera gel has been used in the treatment of burns. we will probably never know (Hatfield 1994: 23). They include sweet gum leaves and balsam juice (Brown 1952–1964. 6: 136–137). than on the accompanying physical agent (Kirkland 1992: 41–51). Boiled elm bark has been used. A woman who has never known her father has also been credited with this power (Musick 1947: 48). Human excrement was apparently used in Ireland (Logan 1972: 154). used in Cambridgeshire (Porter 1974: 44). peach tree leaves (UCLA Folklore Archives 13_6216). For trawler men in the days of steam. it has become naturalized. soap. Pine pitch has also been used (UCLA Folklore Archive 5_7611). Although this plant is not native to North America. Also as in Britain. burns were a regular risk of the trade. is a remedy that has passed into official medicine from folk medicine and then reappeared in folk medicine. and kerosene oil. ditch water. Potato was used in burn treatment: raw scraped potato was laid on burns in Norfolk (Taylor MSS) and raw onion was used “to take the fire out” (Hatfield 1994: 23). Cold tea was another pain-relieving application. The gel scraped from its fleshy leaves has even been used to treat radiation burns. golden seal root (UCLA Folklore Archives 9_62216). Tea has also been used. then. Some of the plant remedies noted above have also been used in North American folk treatment of burns. many relied on an ointment made from the liver of a fish (Hatfield MS). It involves boiling the prickly fruit of thornapple in pork fat to make a salve. and a poultice of prickly pear (Roberts 1927: 170). Here. and freshly killed chicken flesh (Brown 1952–1964. Particularly in Mexico. cold water has been recommended (UCLA Folklore Archive 3_6589).

Bergen. London: Batsford. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. edited by James Kirkland.” Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society 7 (1899).” Foxfire 2(2) (1968): 15. Jones. all of them in use in general North American folk medicine too. NC: Duke University Press. Blackberry. David E. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. Harry Middleton. Mellinger. Folklore Studies 9. Elder bark simmered in lard has produced an ointment for burns much like that used in Ireland (Vogel 1970: 302). OR: Timber Press. Egg white has been used. 1994. Patrick. Carlyle Buley.” Hoosier Folklore 6 (1947): 41–49. Enid. pine and plantain. Porter. Grandmother’s Cures: An A-Z of Herbal Remedies. Burns in the History of Culture. Madge E. Portland. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Portland. Less pleasantly. Hotten. Newbury: Countryside Books. London: Fontana. Durham. Mary. Dennis. Mallow. Musick. Prince. The Folklore of East Anglia. Beith. Seventh son. and Karen Baldwin. 1974. A Treasury of American Superstitions. 1995. “Talking Fire Out of Burns: A Magico-Religious Healing Tradition. Brown. Logan. OR: Timber Press. “Animal and Plant Lore Collected from the Oral Tradition of English Speaking Folk. John’s wort. 1945. and R. and honey (UCLA Folklore Archives 9_6202). Native American Ethnobotany. or of geese (De Lys 1948: 26) or cows (Harris 1968: 41). Sullivan III. William George. Ray B. Allen. Dublin: Talbot Press. Thornapple. Marie B. Pickard. B. 1958. NC: Johnson. Southern Home Remedies. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore with worms inside has been used in Alabama (Browne 1958: 45). St. Bicarbonate of soda has been used (UCLA Folklore Archives 25_5300). Browne. IN: R. See also Alder. Aloe vera. 7 vols. 2nd rev. Hyatt. James. Ivy. Folklore from Adams County Illinois.” Folk-Lore 19 (1908): 315–319. Murfreesboro. London: J. Harris. 1871. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Popular Romances of the West of England. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter . has been applied. New Mexico Folklore Record. 1952–1964. Durham. ed. Plantain. Puckett. Robert (ed. Chickweed. Elder. Honey. References Allen. and Gabrielle Hatfield. Claudia. Bernice Kelly (ed. 1883. C. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. a use vindicated by its present employment in some Western hospitals (Root-Bernstein and RootBernstein 2000: 185).).).. in press. Fanny D. Daniel E. NC: Duke University Press. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. Among them are alder. Peach. H. Andrew. 1992. Matthews.. W. 1991. 1972. A poultice of “Indian meal” has also been used (Vogel 1970: 128).56 . Poke. Hunt. Banta. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Elm. NM: 1946–1956. De Lys. Traditional Healing Today. Ashes of the cedar whips used in the Navajo fire ceremony have been used as a good burn medicine (New Mexico Folklore Record 1948: 8). Hatfield. Crawfordsville. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. Gabrielle. Bloodroot. Moerman. 1968.” In Herbal and Magical Medicine. “Folklore from West Virginia. 10 vols. Making the Cure: A Look at Irish Folk Medicine. His Ills. 1995. 1948. C. Houseleek. Ruth Ann. the excrement of hens (Hyatt 1965: 231). Woodbridge: Boydell. The Midwest Pioneer. 1998. Potato. 47–52. Holly F. Pine. Golden seal. Edinburgh: Polygon. 1965. E. Kirkland. New York: Philosophical Library. “Sang Sign. as in Britain (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_7591). Newbell Niles. London: Folklore Society. Cures and Doctors. Black. Albuquerque. “Folk Medicine. Frank C. More than a hundred different genera of plants have been used by Native Americans as burn dressings (Moerman 1998: 776– 777).

Davey. Flora of Cornwall. Ruth L. Ranunculus bulbosus. In Cornwall Ranunculus repens was known as kenning herb (Davey 1909: 10. 1965. Ancient Legends. Moerman. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. Vogel. as well as the ailments mentioned (Allen and Hatfield. including stomach trouble. toothache. It was applied to rheumatism in particular (Vickery 1995: 55). Root-Bernstein. 1981. Warts have been treated with buttercup juice (Tongue 1965: 43). Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition.. Hilda. 2000. Edited Katharine Briggs. Somerset Folklore. Roy. OR: Timber Press. 3 vols. Mad dog. Rogers. and they were also used to treat eye ulcers (termed “kennings”). In Ireland there have been additional Button snakeroot (Eryngium yuccifolium) This and a related species of Eryngium (Eryngium aquaticum) have been used as diuretics in North American folk medicine and to treat sexual exhaustion (Coffey 1993: 158–159). Norwich MS 4322. F. Manuscript notes of Mark R. Among the Native Americans these three Ranunculus species have been used in ways similar to those of Ireland—for headache. as well as for diarrhea. Edited Katharine Briggs. rheumatism. K. and Miche `le RootBernstein. swellings.” Folklore 40 (1929): 113–133. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Native American Ethnobotany. 1965. In addition. Daniel E. Taylor MSS. Mud Maggots and other Medical Marvels: The Science behind Folk Remedies and Old Wives’ Tales. London: Folklore Society. aquaticum has been used to treat women after childbirth (Meyer 1985: 210). Taylor. Virgil J. Roy. References Allen. Honey. bite of. London: Chatto and Windus. In Native American practice these plants were used to treat a wide variety of ailments. 1919. : 57 folk uses for buttercups. and headache. the British native species of this genus. 46–52. They have treated jaundice. E. Hall. Mark R. Somerset Folklore. Oxford: Oxford University Press. a technique popular in official medicine for many centuries as a way of ridding the system of impurities. Vickery. Jaundice. and not surprisingly their role in folk medicine there has been minor. Wilde. Robert. American Indian Medicine. London: Pan Books. Edited by Wayland D. and Gabrielle Hatfield. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Toothache. Boston: G. Mystic Charms and Superstitions of Ireland. 1998. and Sondra B. the flowers of buttercups were used to make a skin ointment. Journal of American Folklore 40 (1927) 144–208. Roberts. 1995. Portland. Louisiana Superstitions. Vickery. Tongue. Buttercups (Ranunculus acris. London: Folklore Society. Thiederman. tuberculosis. 1995.Button snakeroot from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. in press. Interestingly. James C. Tongue. a use not recorded in Britain (Moerman 1998: 467–469). Lady. “Talking Out Fire. Penryn: F. Tuberculosis. hydrophobia. snake bite.” North Carolina Folklore 16 (1968). 23). County Folklore 8. Eryngium maritimum. Hand. Portland. kidney problems and whooping cough (Moer- . Hamilton. See also Headache. None of these species is native to North America. Oxford: Oxford University Press. swellings. 1970. David E. Anna Casetta. also has a reputation as an aphrodisiac. OR: Timber Press. in press). Clegwidden. 1909. Ruth L. County Folklore 8. Ranunculus repens) These grassland species have been used in British folk medicine mainly to raise blisters. “Norfolk Folklore. toothache. Taylor in the Norfolk Record Office.

Button snakeroot Meyer. American Folk Medicine. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. E. New York. Glenwood. OR: Timber Press. yuccifolium was used by the Seminole Indians ceremonially as well as to treat loneliness after bereavement (Snow and Stans 2001: 90–91 and plate 19). IL: Meyerbooks. Timothy. 1993. 1985. man 1998: 225–226). References Coffey. Native American Ethnobotany. . Snake bite. Facts On File. See also Eryngo. Portland. 2001. 1998. Snow.58 . Whooping cough. and Susan Enns Stans. Alice. Daniel E. Healing Plants: Medicine of the Florida Seminole Indians. Clarence. The History and Folklore of North American Wildflowers. Moerman.

Hoarseness has been treated in England with a mixture of cabbage juice and honey (Black 1883: 193). In folk medicine in the southern United States the cabbage has a reputation for helping to cure a hangover (Crellin and Philpott 1990: 129). they have been used for a great variety of ailments. a cabbage leaf was bound round a child’s throat with a black thread (Fife 1957: 157). During World War I they were similarly used to treat “trench foot” (Hatfield MS).. with cabbage leaves soaked in vinegar (Moya 1940: 70). cabbage leaves were applied to the forehead (Puckett 1981: 390). His influence on subsequent written works in official medicine has probably spread over the centuries to folk medicine too. as well as (in Ireland) for reducing fever (Vickery 1995: 58). and ankles for typhoid fever (Brown 1952– 1964. This use in folk medicine is widespread. Sprains have been treated in New Mexico. wrists.C : Cabbage (Brassica oleracea) Wild cabbage is native to parts of Britain and the Mediterranean. For croup. In Wales. Many of the other British folk uses of cabbage relate to its large cooling leaves. and cabbage has also been grown in cultivation at least since the time of the ancient Greeks (Harrison et al. Pliny ascribed great healing powers to the cabbage. or bound on the forehead for a fever (Hyatt 1965: 216). Other folk uses in North America are described by Meyer: the large leaves of cabbage. with their midribs removed. The leaves have formed dressings for blisters (Bergen 1899: 110) and chilblains (Parler 1962. 3: 511). burns have been treated with fresh macerated cabbage leaves (Logan 1972: 105). and recorded in Britain as recently as the 1940s (Vickery 1995: 58). These have been used as a compress for breast abscesses and ulcers. Cabbage cooked with honey and salt has been recommended for colic and melancholy (Prince 1991: 106). including the treatment of sprains (Hatfield MS). just as in Britain. He particularly recommended it for drunkenness. as in Wales. The water in which cabbage leaves have been cooked has been used to treat rheumatism. The cooling leaves were tied around the neck. For a headache. described in the European literature from the sixteenth century onward. and cabbage leaves tied around the throat have been recommended for a sore throat (Black 1883: 192). For preventing sunstroke. The use of a young cabbage leaf warmed and applied as a treatment for an abscess is among a collection of early settlers’ remedies from Shelburne County (Robertson 1960: 30). wearing a damp cabbage leaf on the head is suggested (UCLA Folklore Archives 12_5505). In Ireland. 6: 308). 1985: 156). have been used in the same way as burdock for soothing sore feet (Meyer .

Boils. A Reference Guide to Medicinal Plants. NC: Duke University Press. The urine of a cabbage eater is credited with healing and strengthening powers (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_6153). Brown. Puckett. Paul B. and Eileen Elita Doering. Black. NC: Herald. London: Folklore Society. and Michael Wallis. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. Clark. The Oxford Book of Food Plants. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. Oxford: Oxford University Press. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation.” Journal of American Folklore 51 (1936): 60–68. 1962. Breast problems. “Folk Sayings and Beliefs. Parler. “Animal and Plant Lore Collected from the Oral Tradition of English . 1940. Hamel. ed. Meyer. Durham. “Pioneer Mormon Remedies. and kohl rabi. Chilblains.” New Mexico Folklore Record 9 (1954– 1955): 23–27. In Native American practice. 15 vols. the Cherokee used wilted cabbage leaves as a poultice for boils (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 28). and University Student Contributors. and the Rappahannock bound the leaves on to an aching head (Speck. Chiltoskey. Durham. Mary Celestia. A Compendium of American Folklore 1985: 120). Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. “Some Western Ontario Folk Beliefs and Practices. Newbell Niles. Austin E. Joseph D. Glenwood. Depression. University of New Mexico. Honey. Fife. mashed. John Frederick. Making the Cure: A Look at Irish Folk Medicine. This enormously variable species has given us vegetables as diverse as cauliflower. Cabbage Speaking Folk. Dublin: Talbot Press. Recent interest in the possible anti-cancer properties of various forms of Brassica oleracea may mean that it will in the future be regarded as an important medicinal as well as a nourishing vegetable. Dieffenbach. Croup. Even the stump of an old cabbage has found a use in folk medicine. 1991.. Colic. 1985.60 . See also Abscesses. Blisters. B. References Baughman. Master’s thesis. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. ground in vinegar. as well as dripped into the ears for deafness (Clark 1970: 19). Rheumatism. it has been used to treat warts (Dieffenbach 1952: 2). Clarence. Masefield.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. Moya. Hassrick and Carpenter 1942: 25). Burdock. London: Fontana. Patrick. Logan. Cabbage juice has been taken for ulcers (Puckett 1981: 468) and for dysentery (Parler 1962: 10). 1990. Fanny D. Hyatt. 2nd rev. is botanically unrelated. and Mary U. Victor C. used by Native Americans for treating scurvy and as a sedative. Frank C. Cabbage poultices have been used to “draw” boils (Redfield 1937: 19). 1975. Superstitions and Beliefs among the Spanish-Speaking People of New Mexico. Sprains. Brussels sprouts. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. Ernest Warren. Doering. Grandmother’s Cures: An A-Z of Herbal Remedies. Deafness. 1972.” Pennsylvania Dutchman 3(22) (April 15. IL: Meyerbooks.” Western Folklore 16 (1957): 153–162. Prince. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. Sylva. 1952–1964. G. 7 vols. Benjamin S. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. 1965. G. NC: Duke University Press. Hot leaves have been used for pneumonia (Baughman 1954–1955: 25) and appendicitis (Doering and Doering 1936: 64). Harrison. Dennis.. William George. Warts. John K. sprouting broccoli.” Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society 7 (1899). 1952): 1– 2. Harry Middleton. Bergen. American Folk Medicine. The so-called Skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus). S. 1883. and Jane Philpott. they have formed the basis of healing poultices (Meyer 1985: 205). “Cabbage in the Folk Culture of My Pennsylvania Elders. 1985. Crellin..

. and E. Old Settlers’ Remedies.” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 3 (1937): 11–40.) leaf poultices were used throughout Britain.) was used to poultice tumors in East Anglia (Taylor MSS) and celandine. Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum) had a reputation in the Scottish Highlands for treating skin cancer (Beith 1995: 222). Speck. Barrington. 1960. a plaster of . S. Carpenter. 181). W. Folk remedies for cancer therefore have to be viewed with some caution: some of them were probably used to treat conditions that we would not today regard as cancerous. Woodsorrel (Oxalis acetosella) has also provided an Irish folk treatment for cancer (Egan 1887). K. while in recent times a facial cancer has been treated using banana skin (Hatfield 1994: 25). There is an isolated record of the stems of thistles being used in the Scottish Highlands for cancer treatment (Prince 1991: 126–127). Hand. by today’s definition. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. some illnesses treated in folk medicine may. In British folk medicine a number of plant remedies were used to treat cancers. In this account. Oxford: Oxford University Press. In the seventeenth century. Roy. Frank G. Woodlice in wine was another East Anglian folk remedy for breast cancer (Newman 1945: 353). A poultice of hemlock (Conium maculatum) has been used to treat cancer in Suffolk (Taylor MSS).Cancer from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. More drastically. In Essex. Folk-Lore and Science of Cures. Vickery. probably greater celandine (Chelidonium majus) was used internally to treat liver cancer (Taylor MSS). Adelbert. “Rappahannock Herbals. both wild carrot and cultivated have been used for this purpose. There is a widespread idea that the hand of a corpse has the power to cure cancer. on the other hand. Robertson. 1974: 17). a legend there suggests that the eating of a magical pigskin will cure all diseases and prevent them in the future (Beith 1995: 180. This belief lingered in East Anglia up to the twentieth century (Rider Haggard. Red clover tops infused have been used in Ireland for cancer treatment (McClafferty 1979). Hassrick. the term “cancer” is used where the informants of remedies have used it. B. Thiederman.” Proceedings of the Delaware County Institute of Science 10 (1942): 7–55. Marion. In Lincolnshire. 1995. Conversely. Edited by Wayland D. 3 vols. Hall. particularly for treating skin cancers (Tongue 1965: 38). NS: Cape Sable Historical Society. a west country remedy used in the nineteenth century was to take mud from the puddles formed by hoof prints of cattle and apply this as a plaster (Aubrey 1881: 255). Narrow-leaved dock (Rumex sp. ed. and Sondra B. R. “Superstitions and Folk Beliefs.” Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) has been used to treat a cancer on the lip. Violet (Viola sp. For breast cancer. Anna Casetta. the same cancer was treated with an infusion of horse spurs in ale (Gutch and Peacock 1908: 115). ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) was used for cancer treatment (Wright 1912: 493). Carrot (Daucus carota) poultices were used both in the Highlands of Scotland (Beith 1995: 210) and in England (Taylor MSS). : 61 Cancer In the past in both folk and official medicine the diagnosis and definition of cancer was far from clear. Redfield. In the Scottish Highlands. Boston: G. Toads were reputed to have the power to “suck the poison” from cancers (Thiselton Dyer 1878: 151). have been malignant but were not recognized as such. This remedy has been used in Norfolk as recently as the mid-twentieth century (Hatfield 1994: 26). 1981. it was once believed that the bite of a pig could cause cancer. and this ambiguity needs to be borne in mind. a poultice of houseleeks has been used to treat “cancerous growths.

A chicken has been used similarly in Iowa (Stout 1936: 186). this could tie in with the British belief that cancer can be caused by the bite of a pig (see above). blood. 266. As in Britain. Alligator fat had a reputation for curing cancer (Brown 1952–1964. there is an association of cancer cures with the dead. hog manure fried with lard and turpentine and applied as an ointment was recommended (Hyatt 1965: 286). in the eighteenth century. Sheep’s fat bound on for more than a week will reputedly remove a tumor with it when taken off (UCLA Folklore Archives 20_5306).62 . The tea made from horse-hoof scrapings in Illinois (Hyatt 1965: 286) recalls the remedy above used in Britain’s west country. Red clover was widely used (Browne 1958: 45). Hemlock was used by the ancients in cancer treatment and was promoted by a Viennese physician. Other animal products used in folk treatment of cancer include cobwebs (UCLA Folklore Archives 9_5307). Among the plethora of plant remedies used in North American folk medicine for cancer treatment. Ireland. Visiting an apple tree at daybreak on three successive mornings was recommended in Kentucky (Thomas and Thomas 1920: 98). and the oil from egg yolks (UCLA Folklore Archives 7_5309). Eating or applying marrow from the jawbone of a pig is an interesting remedy recorded from Michigan (UCLA Folklore Archives 13_7609). 6: 139). some are recognizably the same as ones used in Britain. Cancer hemlock has been used both in the Isle of Man (Gill 1932: 188) and in the Scottish Highlands (Carmichael 1900–1971: 2. has also been suggested (Puckett 1981: 336). opened and laid on the tumor. An ointment prepared from fishing worms and tallow was described in Ohio (Puckett 1981: 336). a moleskin was worn between the breasts as an amulet to protect against breast cancer (Randolph 1947: 155). A variation was to tie a string around a corpse’s finger. while swallowing young frogs was recommended in Ohio (Puckett 1981: 336). White silk was coated with egg white and the mixture was sprinkled on. transfer the string to a tumor. or a piece of beefsteak in California (UCLA Folklore Archives 10_6285). Thus an infusion of violet (Viola sp. and goose droppings boiled in water were given internally for cancers (Hyatt 1965: 286). 100). or fat.) leaves was used (De Lys 1948: 316). Cancer treatment in North American folk medicine has been even more diverse. Laying on the teats of a cow was recorded from Ohio (Puckett 1981: 336). The same belief in the efficacy of toads found in Britain is recorded from Illinois (Kimmerle and Gelber 1976: 11). Rubbing a tumor with a human bone from a graveyard was suggested in Illinois (Hyatt 1965: 286). A particularly detailed account comes from County Tyrone. The blood of a buzzard was recommended in Arkansas (Parler 1962: 496). and replace it in the coffin (Hyatt 1965: 286). Van Storck. Other plants too were used in plaster form. A freshly killed cat. Allowing the sun to shine through a knothole onto a mouth cancer for nine mornings (with prayer) was another recommendation. Animal excreta were also employed: for rectal cancer. this one from the African American tradition (Hyatt 1965: 286). where creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens) leaves were dried and powdered and mixed with arsenic. as was a poultice of narrow-leaved dock (Pickard and Buley 1945: 42). rattlesnake rattles in whisky (Thompson 1959: 101). hemlock . The plaster was applied to the cancer and remained in place for three to six weeks (Dickie and Hughes 1961: 99. Touching the tumor with a dead hand was also recommended (Cannon 1984: 98). 257. In the Ozark mountains. 4: 201) to tear out a tumor by its roots. Numerous other cures involve animal flesh. As in Britain. this may be a folk remedy borrowed from official medicine.

). Ash. eaten two a day (Hendricks 1966: 31). The juice was beaten on a metal plate and combined with other constituents into an ointment (Clark 1970: 14). A poultice of fresh cranberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) was suggested (UCLA Folklore Archives 6_5308). John. included the barks of red oak (Quercus sp. a large number of complex ointments were prepared. or a salve prepared from spikenard (? Aralia sp. and a poultice of turkey figs (UCLA Folklore Archives 10_6189).). The juice of ash that emerges from the ends of burning ash twigs (Fraxinus sp.). Poke. above) (UCLA Folklore Archives 2_6285). persimmon (Diospyros sp. Houseleek. Sassafras. Amulet. lemon juice (UCLA Folklore Archives 13_6749). was crushed. Cancer weed (Salvia lyrata). Various fruit and vegetables have been used in folk medical treatment of cancer.) tallow.) was claimed to cure cancerous sores (which may or may not have been malignant) (Vogel 1970: 276). or almonds (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_6285). Potato. raisins soaked in whisky. As well as numerous plants (Moerman 1998: 777). the plaster prepared in Ireland. See also African tradition. Bloodroot.). Edited by James Britten. References Aubrey. Wood ashes were also used to prepare a caustic treatment for tumors (Creighton 1950: 89). at the end of which time it could be torn out bodily (cf. Ash sap has been prized in the Scottish Highlands and was the first drink traditionally given to a newborn child there. 1881. and beeswax (Puckett 1981: 336). use of carrots in Britain) has been claimed to cure cancer. was widely used. or sheep sorrel (Oxalis sp. Remaines of Gentilisme and Judaisme. Eating raw onions has been claimed to prevent cancer (UCLA Folklore Archives 11_6189). figs (Browne 1958: 45). as has a diet of grapes (UCLA Folklore Archives 9_6189). as have the blossoms of thistles (UCLA Folklore Archives 16_7610). Folk medicine has dietary recommendations for cancer. with zinc chloride and flour. Ashes of prickly pear were sprinkled on cancers (Rogers 1941: 28). Stolen musty corn (infected with the smut fungus) has been claimed to cure a cancer when rubbed onto it (Hyatt 1965: 286). wood ashes were used (Vogel 1970: 137). Native American treatments of cancer are numerous. One such ointment. both stem and roots. as its name suggests. used in Kentucky. Drinking large volumes of carrot juice (UCLA Folklore Archives 11_6749) (cf. Even more simply. A tea prepared from the roots of yerba mansa (Anemopsis californica) was drunk in the Mexican west (Kay 1996: 95). London. many of the plants used in North American folk medical treatment of cancers are not native to Britain and not used in folk medicine there. However. These include a poultice of raw grated potatoes for skin cancer (UCLA Folklore Archives 12_6189).). The barks were to be gathered from the north side (Thomas and Thomas 1920: 98).Cancer : 63 has been used in cancer treatment (Peattie 1943: 118). and rubbed on cancerous sores (Clark 1970: 14). often including tree barks of various kinds. Sheep shower. Indian hemp (Cannabis sativa) in a sulphur bag is a cancer treatment reported from Ohio (Puckett 1981: 337). Poke root was used as a poultice in the Native American tradition (Vogel 1970: 351). Bloodroot was made into a plaster. and left on a tumor for twenty-four hours. Excreta. dogwood (Cornus sp. a grapefruit rubbed on (UCLA Folklore Archives 12_6749). and the roots of sassafras and dewberry (Rubus sp. keeping a plant of live-forever (Sedum telephium) in the room wards off cancer (Stout 1936: 189). . In addition to all these relatively simple plant remedies. while one prepared from beech tree (Fagus grandifolia) sprouts has been used in Ohio (Puckett 1981: 337).

Alexander (1900–1971). Peacock. 1945. English Folk-Lore. and R. NC: Duke University Press. Dickie.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. George. Hendricks. Prince. Mirrors. F. Early Folk Medical Practices in Tennessee. Claudia. and University Student Contributors. Browne. 1991. ed. Nova Scotia. London and Bristol: Arrowsmith. and Mark Gelber. and Sondra B. 2nd rev. Scottish Academic Press. 1920. Margarita Artschwager. London: Fontana. W. Woodbridge: Boydell Press. Native American Ethnobotany. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. Dennis. London: Nutt. W. Kimmerle. Anthon S. Taylor in the Norfolk Record Office. OR: Timber Press. (3 and 4 edited by J. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. Creighton. “Irish Folk-lore: Medical Plants. Anthropological Series 29. Kay. Crawfordsville. Hatfield. Hand. 1995. “Caustic Pastes: Their Survival as Quack Cancer Remedies. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Colorado. London: Hardwick and Bogue.). Portland. Mrs. Ozark Superstitions. Stout. Colorado. Pickard. Mary. 1984. Hall. The Folk Medicine of Co. Mice and Mustaches: A Sampling of Superstitions and Popular Beliefs in Texas. W.” Folk-lore Journal 5 (1887): 11–13. Brown. 1878. Healing with Plants in the American and Mexican West. W. 1947. NJ: Princeton University Press. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. Taylor MSS. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. New York: Columbia University Press. National University of Ireland. New York: . Mary Celestia. De Lys. The Midwest Pioneer. 1943. Daniel E. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Edinburgh: Polygon. Folklore Studies 9. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. Boston: G. Anna Casetta. E. I Walked by Night. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. 1908.. 1971. 1966. Carmichael Watson. Grandmother’s Cures: An A-Z of Herbal Remedies. Frank C. Gill. Harry Middleton. 1998. Moerman. Woodbridge: Boydell. Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations. Madge E. Rogers. and Mabel G. Edinburgh: Constable (1900). 1965. “Some Notes on Folk Medicine in the Eastern Counties. Austin: Texas Folklore Society. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Clark. Murfreesboro. 1976. TN: Mid-South. Hand and Jeannine E. George D. 1994. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. McClafferty.. Gutch. Walter. 3 vols. K. E. Hyatt. 7 vols. Carlyle Buley. Gabrielle. Cures and Doctors. 1981. Randolph. 1962. Egan. Parler. 1979. Helen. Cannon. Joseph D. 6 vols.). Thomas. 1996. Norwich. Ray B. MS4322. and N. Manuscript Notes of Mark R. Princeton. A Treasury of American Superstitions. Oliver and Boyd (1940– 54). Ottawa: National Museum of Canada Bulletin 117. Hughes. IN: R. 1941. Durham. 15 vols. unpublished. Lilias (ed. Daniel Lindsay. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. R. Publications of the Folk-Lore Society 63. Rider Haggard. Edited by Wayland D. Examples of Printed Folk-Lore Concerning Lincolnshire. Earl J. 5 and 6 by Angus Matheson). Edited by Wayland D. 1952–1964. Banta. A Second Manx Scrapbook. Wicklow.” British Journal of Plastic Surgery 14(2). Folklore from Lunenburg County. G. 1948.” Folk-Lore 56 (1945): 349–360. 1958. Newbell Niles. 1932. Roderick (ed. and Lucy Blayney Thomas. Peattie. Talley. The Great Smokies and the Blue Ridge. F.64 . Vance. New York: Philosophical Library. 1974. Boulder. New York: Vanguard Press. His Ills. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands.. Thiselton Dyer. 1950. Marjorie. Puckett. T. Carmichael. Master’s thesis. C. Newman. Beith. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. (1961): 97–109. “Folklore from Iowa. Kentucky Superstitions.” Memoirs of the American Folklore Society 29 (1936). Cancer Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. Leslie F. Thiederman.

A Modern Herbal. One record from Nova Scotia recommends the use of catnip under the pillow to help a child sleep (Creighton 1968: 219). New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. includes catnip in a poultice to treat blood poisoning (Hall 1960: 50). chicken pox. Native American Ethnobotany. In general North American folk medicine. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. 1985. Again. Asthma. as well as for coughs. 1931. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. Lawrence S. Somerset Folklore. It has also been used to provoke menstruation. 1968. In Britain it does not appear to have played a significant role in folk medicine. diarrhea. Meyer. 1975. as an infusion of the leaves (Micheletti 1998: 76). Smoky Mountain Folks and Their Lore. The plant has also been used to procure abortions (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 28). See also Abortion. erysipelas. where it was generally drunk before the introduction of tea. American Folk Medicine. M. Hamel. stomach ache. 1970. Coughs. as a gentle sedative. urinary incontinence. Perhaps it was as a mildly stimulating alternative to tea that it was introduced by colonists. 1965. Virgil J. Hall. This . Chiltoskey. Meyer (Meyer: 1985) records its use in treating asthma. for pleurisy.Caul Thompson. Grieve. chest colds. Colds. Edited Katharine Briggs. A. References Creighton. headache. the variety of uses is wide. pneumonia. and Mary U. Darlington. and now has a wide variety of uses in folk medicine in North America. boils. and worms have all been treated with catnip. Many of these are for infant colic. for treating the rash of poison ivy. Clarence. North American Folk Healing: An A-Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. but was introduced by the settlers. American Indian Medicine. London: Jonathan Cape. Mrs. Daniel E. Sylva. C. Philadelphia: 1847. Erysipelas. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions in Nova Scotia. colds. colds and asthma. for boils.. In nineteenth-century Pennsylvania. There is an emphasis on its use for treating children. Paul B. “Seventeenth Century Cures and Charms. London: Folklore Society. 1998. Shakers.” Kentucky Folklore Quarterly 5 (1959): 95– 105. Agricultural Botany: An Enumeration and Description of Useful Plants and Weeds. Helen. Edited by Mrs. F. TN: Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association. Bluenose Magic. Micheletti. Wright.). 1998. : 65 Catnip (Nepeta cataria) This plant is not native to North America. “A Vanishing Science. Joseph S. Enza (ed. as well as the ailments mentioned by Meyer. Colic. OR: Timber Press. Caul Occasionally a baby is born with its head partially covered by fetal membrane. Leyel. William. Toronto: Ryerson Press. R. Vogel. there are records for use of this plant from thirteen different tribes (Moerman 1998: 353–354). Rheumatism. NC: Herald. colic. County Folklore 8. IL: Meyerbooks. Tongue. colic. from the Smoky Mountains. nettle rash. Ruth L. Glenwood. Gatlinburg. Another. The wide popularity of catnip in folk medicine is reflected in the numerous records (more than 350) for its use in the UCLA Folklore Archives. There are records of its use as an aromatic and medicinal infusion in England and France (Grieve 1931: 174).” Folk-Lore 23 (1912): 490–497. promoted by the Shakers. Portland. It is used for colic. In Native American practice. catnip is described as being “highly popular among the good ladies who deal in simples” (Darlington 1847). in babies and adults. Moerman. and perhaps also to procure abortions. 1960. and mixed with unsalted butter and sugar for treating fresh wounds.

Cayenne of San Francisco Tecospa. all the wide variety of red peppers belong to this species. toothache. Radford. 219. cayenne and vodka has been administered (UCLA Folklore Archive 10_6543). For typhoid. its condition was believed to indicate the state of health of the owner: if it was dry. A man from the Isle of Eigg in the Inner Hebrides. Frank C. rheumatism. London: Book Club Associates. Saffron Walden: C. 6: 41). and it is also thought to confer special powers of seeing the supernatural (Brown 1952–1964. In North American folklore the belief similarly exists that a person born with a caul will have healing powers. 232. nosebleed. A tea of ground cayenne has been drunk for nosebleed (UCLA Folklore Archives 16_6429) and for ulcers. Brown. 236. particularly as a stimulant. membrane has been called a caul. Buchan. He came of a line of hereditary healers. References Beith. Valley of Mexico. Encyclopedia of Superstitions. 1994. 191. if moist.66 . In folk medicine it has been used for nausea. The ground pepper has been sprinkled on cuts to stop the bleeding (Cannon 1984: 93). the owner was in good health. 7 vols.” meaning blessed hood (Radford and Radford 1974: 92). a native of tropical America. William. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. Samuel Thomson used cayenne as one of the main plants in his materia medica (Chevallier 1996: 25).: 1994. 250. If a caul was given away. A. See also Amulet. Edinburgh: Polygon. In Scotland it was believed that a person born with a caul had special healing powers (Beith 1995: 94). Daniel. 1995. who died in the 1960s. For earache. sore throat and tonsillitis (Meyer 1985: 184. Radford. Keith. Cayenne (Capsicum annuum) Botanically. Edinburgh: Canongate Academic.” Journal of American Folklore 68 (1955): 127. the converse. Folk Tradition and Folk Medicine in Scotland: The Writings of David Rorie. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. and M. Mary. 1952–1964. 251). it has been mixed with vinegar and butter (Fife 1957: 161). NC: Duke University Press. The important role it has played in food culture as well as medicine is outlined in Wilson and Gillespie’s recent book (Wilson and Gillespie (eds. E. as well as for yellow fever (Long 1962: 6). 247. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. This plant. The caul is considered generally lucky for the child. the ground pepper has been used with water and honey (Long 1962: 5). a pepper without its seeds is wrapped in cotton and applied to the sore ear (Browne 1958: 59). 1999: 89–119).). pain relief. and also from seasickness and scurvy (Souter 1995: 40). along with lobelia. 91). was born with a caul. The fact that he had been born with a caul was thought to have added to his powers (Beith 1995: 169). For coughs. Souter. stomach upsets. and it has attracted a number of superstitions and folk remedies. If it was lost or thrown away. David (ed. the caul was called “sillyhow.W. Mexican Native Americans preserved the caul as an amulet for the child to bring luck throughout life (Madsen 1955: 127). Durham. “Hot and Cold in the Universe . Cayenne in cold water has been given for a heart attack (Cannon 1984: 111). Madsen.).. has been widely used as a condiment but has also been used in folk medicine. 1995. the owner could die (Buchan. Edited by Christina Hole. Backache. famous for curing bad backs by walking on them. For colds. ed. Fishermen carried a caul as an amulet while at sea to protect them from drowning. In the north of England. sprains. 1974.

An intimate blend of poetry. the plant has been used by the Cherokee for fevers. it is also used in practical folk medicine. Andrew. have survived right through to the present day (Buchan 1994: 202). some of them in Christianized form. Glenwood. and religion with a knowledge of the indigenous plants has led to a tradition that in some ways resembles that of the Native Americans. Fife. colic. a practice that was revived in the 1920s. Grady M. a number of unique folklore traditions. some pre-Christian beliefs. Ray B. 1985. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. and this has lasted right up to the present day in some areas. Earache. have survived. and Angus Kress Gillespie (eds. Cuts. David Scofield. On Tynwald Day. myth. where a great mixture of influences from outside sources has infiltrated folk medicine. Pioneer Mormon Remedies. Folklore 16 (1957): 153–162. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. another reason that many of the ancient traditions were left untouched (Beith 1995: 84).Celtic tradition : 67 In Native American medicine. 1996.. NC: Herald. often successive generations of one family. it was customary to wear a sprig of mugwort. gangrene and as a stimulant (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 48). Wilson.” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 28 (1962): 1–8. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. The Isle of Man has maintained. There has been a strong tradition of healers. Similarly. Paul B. the Isle of Man. 1958. The survival until relatively recent times of the Gaelic language has served to emphasize and preserve the isolation of the Celtic tradition. Thomson. These remarks hold true also for the so-called Celtic fringe. There is greater conti- nuity with early pre-Christian traditions. along with its governmental autonomy. Nosebleed. Clarence. designed to avert the evil eye. such as the use of salt to avert the evil eye. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. Hand and Jeannine E. In Britain the plant has not been used in folk medicine. its analgesic properties have now been recognized by orthodox medicine. and Mary U. Sylva. which includes Cornwall. Bradley and Meigs Counties. Tennessee 1910–1927. Long. Austin E. Many of the Christian saints were seamlessly incorporated into the religious traditions of the Celts (Souter 1995: 32). Talley. Anthon S. Samuel. Meyer. Celtic tradition Folk medicine in the Celtic areas of Britain (the Scottish Highlands and Wales) and Ireland differs in some respects from that of the rest of Britain.). The Gaelic-speaking areas of Scotland remained free from the witchhunts in much of Britain during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The manufacture of amulets was a welldeveloped Celtic art from long before the Romans brought Christianity to the British Isles. 1984. London: Dorling Kindersley. IL: Meyerbooks. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. This plant symbolizes the power to avert evil. Cannon. others had no medical . Interestingly. See also Colds. 1999. Polk. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. Chiltoskey. Some of these healing dynasties were learned doctors. Chevallier. “Folk Medicine in McMinn. Hamel. Rheumatism. Many of these amulets. American Folk Medicine. Toothache. There has been less impact from outside sources than in England. Edited by Wayland D. Folklore Studies 9. and Wales. 1975. Coughs. References Browne. Lobelia. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press. although it has been used in official herbalism (Chevallier 1996: 70). and the chemical capsaicin forms part of a preparation used for pain relief in rheumatism and headaches. when the island’s parliament convenes. Rooted in America.

by the Spanish in the eighteenth century. Nolan. including stomach pain (a use immortalized by Beatrix Potter in the “Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies”!). The Physicians of Myddvai. See also Amulet. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. 1994. Edinburgh: Canongate Academic. W. where in the thirteenth century the famous Physicians of Myddvai practiced a system of medicine which was a blend of folk tradition and official learned medicine (Williams ab Ithel 1861).” he said. Roderic. They include relief of asthma and croup. The Native Americans used chamomile for abortions. The Beaton dynasty yielded several generations of famous healers in Scotland. Mary. Keith. German chamomile is estimated to be the most popular herb in use among Mexicans (Kay 1996: 192).). 1927. Native American tradition. 1995. this native plant has been used in folk medicine to relieve pain. nausea and bad breath. measles. History of Scottish Medicine to 1860. for example. The UCLA folklore archive reveals a variety of uses for chamomile. Buchan. Williams ab Ithel. and unsettled stomachs (Moerman 1998: 152). and as a general mild sedative. One informant in Ireland was asked whether folk medicine was enjoying a revival: “No. Meyer (1985). gives more than thirty folk medical uses for chamomile. J. the more recent of whom incorporated many of the contemporary official medical ideas into their practice (Comrie 1927). including stomach pain (UCLA Folklore Archives 20_5582) and colds (UCLA Folklore Archives 4_5318). as manzanilla. It was introduced there. 1995. 23). menstrual pain. headache. 1861. differences do still remain. bites and stings. was used by the Eskimo for colds and indigestion (Oswalt 1957: 22. Probably most of these refer to the German chamomile. Although the Celtic tradition of folk medicine is now largely incorporated into that of the rest of Britain. Cure Craft. “it has never gone away” (Nolan 1988: 55). Mugwort. The related pineapple weed (Matricaria discoidea). mumps. Matricaria recutita. Souter. neuralgia (Vickery 1995: 63). Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. Folk Tradition and Folk Medicine in Scotland: The Writings of David Rorie. Peter W. Evil eye. (Hatfield 1994: 37). indigestion. London: Baillie `re. London: Longman. Edinburgh: Polygon. In other regions in the North American folk records it is difficult to know which chamomile is referred to. David (ed. Chamomile education but were valued nevertheless for their healing powers. . sore eyes. Comrie. Saffron Walden: C. and it was introduced to North America by early British settlers. This development was also seen in Wales. However. John D.” Folk Life 27 (1988–1989): 44–56. teething in infants. “Folk Medicine in Rural Ireland. Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) Throughout Britain and Ireland. This cannot be said of much of mainland Britain.68 . by the Costanoan Indians for stomach pain and fever (Boceck 1984: 27). Many blacksmiths were in this category. ulcers. Llanodovery: D. It is sometimes known as Roman chamomile or English chamomile. Tindall and Cox. its place there in folk medicine was usurped by the German chamomile. toothache (Allen 1995: 45). piles and rheumatism. Daniel. sore or weeping eyes. and by the Shuswap Indians for colds and the heart References Beith. “stitches” (Beith 1995: 209).). John (ed. native to North America but not to Britain.

1994. American Folk Medicine. deer tallow was used on chapped skin. Clarence. including chapped skin (Hatfield 1994: 48–49).” Syesis 8 (1975): 29–51. Alternatively. Healing with Plants in the American and Mexican West. Vickery. in the same area. Portland.” Economic Botany 38(2) (1984): 240–255. no. where it was used to treat boils (Plant Lore Notes and News. Alternatively. goose grease was considered an excellent ointment for chapped hands (Souter 1995: 142). “Ethnobotany of Costanoan Indians. 6 (1999): 289. Nausea. Glycerine was widely used to treat chapped skin: badly chapped hands were thickly coated with glycerine and cotton gloves were worn during the night (MH pers. Newbury: Countryside Books. no. Daniel E. 1995. or the resin normally used to sew leather. Moerman. Croup. The water in which chickweed has been boiled was used for treating chapped skin (Prince 1991: 32). Oxford: Oxford University Press. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. where marsh samphire (Salicornia sp. Palmer. a poultice of oatmeal and butter was applied (Beith 1995: 174).” Anthropological Papers of the University of Alaska 6 (1957): 17–36. An ointment was made from chicken fat and parsley (Petroselinum crispum) in the East Anglian fens (Porter 1964: 9). Menstrual problems. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. Boceck. For other uses in the Native American tradition. 289). Toothache. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. an ointment was made from it for treating cracked and chapped skin. In Yorkshire. 1995. Glenwood. Teething. Eye problems. Roy. Pineapple weed became naturalized in Britain in the nineteenth century. Houseleek juice was another application used. Chapped skin Working for long hours out of doors in the British winter and returning home to an inadequately heated house meant that many agricultural workers until the recent past suffered from chapped skin as well as chilblains. Headache. Based on Collections by John P. It was widely believed that one’s own urine was a good lotion for chapped skin. Harrington. Andrew. Plant Lore Notes and News. Mary. Rheumatism. see Moerman 1998: 337. OR: Timber Press. “Shuswap Indian Ethnobotany. Gabrielle. 1996.) is locally abundant. 1985. 1998. applied night and morning. Oswalt. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. Asthma. Margarita Artschwager. In the Scottish Highlands. IL: Meyerbooks. A mixture of mutton fat and caster sugar was another recommendation (Prince 1991: 32). or the water in which potato had been cooked (Chamberlain 1981. In North Norfolk. bran and water was applied. Beith.. 6 [1999]. Barbara R. See also Abortion.Chapped skin : 69 (Palmer 1975: 59). Gary. 1995. Elder flowers (Sambucus nigra) were made into an ointment for treating various skin complaints. References Allen. Bad breath. applied to a sore chapped lip and the use of large dock leaves (Rumex sp. W. com. California. Colds. Piles. Hatfield. 8). Indigestion. H.) wrapped around sore chapped legs in the winter (Hatfield 1994: 48). and there is a single record of its use in folk medicine in Wales. Traditional plant remedies include the outer papery skin of an onion. 1955). Native American Ethnobotany. In the Scottish Highlands an infusion of groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) was em- . Kay. chap. Insect bites and stings. Edinburgh: Polygon. Woodbridge: Boydell. “A Western Eskimo Ethnobotany. The fishermen of Whitby in Yorkshire used a salve made from gorse (Ulex europaeus) flowers and lard to heal cracked skin (Sekers 1980: 147). Meyer. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Honey and lard made another hand cream for chapped skin (EFS 2441).

Plant remedies used include the sap of balm of Gilead (UCLA Folklore Archives 25_7595). Beeswax was mixed with resin and sheep tallow. Anthon S. and Shirley N. Ointments were prepared from sugar and soap (Moya 1940: 73). Chamberlain. simmered in lard (Browne 1958: 46). goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis). 1981. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Chapped skin ployed. Fats of various kinds were used—pure cream (UCLA Folklore Archives 6–6192). See also Balm of Gilead. Chilblains. golden seal was used by the Micmac for chapped lips (Chandler. A cure for chapped lips is to kiss the middle bar of a five-rail fence (Cannon 1984: 98). Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. University College London. Black. or butter from grass-fed cows in May (Mississippi State Guide 1938: 14). Of those used in general North American folk medicine. and Hooper 1979: 57). some of the same ingredients were employed to treat chapped skin. . R.” Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society 7 (1899). 1883. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Lois Freeman. or with turpentine and sweet oil. or cider vinegar and glycerine (Gruber 1878: 25). or vaseline and oatmeal (Welsch 1966: 361). fir balsam (Abies sp. and elder bark (Sambucus sp. In Native American practice an enormous number of plants have been used for skin conditions (Moerman 1998: 783– 788). “Herbal Remedies of the Maritime Indians. London: Virago. Chandler. and an ointment prepared from equal parts of yellowroot (Xanthorhiza simplicissima). Salt and water (Welsch 1966: 361) or Epsom salts and water (Browne 1958: 46) were used to bathe the skin. Folklore Studies 9. There has been a widespread belief that washing hands in the first snow of the season will prevent them from becoming chapped (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_6750). and white oak was used for sore chapped skin by the Cherokee (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 46). to form a soothing ointment (Browne 1958: 46). Edinburgh: Polygon. the urine of a male child was stipulated (Espinosa 1910: 410). Cannon. a lotion prepared from soaking the seeds of quince (Cydonia oblonga) (Meyer 1985: 224). 1984. suggesting that these two remedies may be of Native American origin. H. In Kansas a cloth soaked in urine was applied (Koch 1980: 110). Urine was widely used too.) (used in Newfoundland) (Bergen 1899: 111). buffalo tallow (UCLA Folklore Archives 2_6751). Frank. P. Hooper. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. London: Sampson Low. 1887. In North American folk medicine. Chickweed. Browne. Manuscript notes compiled in the 1960s by the Department of English. In New Mexico. Freeman. Bergen. Mary. mutton tallow and rosewater (Puckett 1981: 339). Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. Sore lips were treated with a decoction of white oak (Quercus alba) (Meyer 1985: 180). “Animal and Plant Lore Collected from the Oral Tradition of English Speaking Folk. EFS. Emerson. or lard (Stout 1936: 186). or possum fat (Parler 1962: 501). In Suffolk. 1995. Edited by Wayland D. Mary. Black records the use of leek juice and cream for chapped hands (Black 1883: 203).).70 . Old Wives Tales.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1 (1979): 49–68. English Folklore Survey. Pictures of East Anglian Life. References Beith. 1958. London: Folklore Society. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. Houseleek. and in the island of Uist tormentil (Potentilla erecta) was used to treat a sore lip. Ray B. blackcurrant leaves (Ribes nigrum) served the same purpose (Emerson 1887: 15). Dock. Fanny D. William George. Hand and Jeannine E. Talley.

Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. kidney complaints. John. In addition to all the uses mentioned. bronchitis. 1990. Mary Celestia. Keith. Koch. jaundice. 212). 1985. Anna Casetta. Hall. Paul B. Dennis. Superstitions and Beliefs among the Spanish-Speaking People of New Mexico. 15 vols. Sekers. Aurelio M. Clarence. Hamel. Prunus virginiana. A similar infusion has also been used to treat bladder inflammation (Vickery 1995: 64). NC: Herald. Simone. Prince. 151. . Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. diarrhea. However. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. 1940. Lawrence: Regent Press. Saffron Walden: C. 156–157. OR: Timber Press. in combination with other herbs. NC: Duke University Press.. 1938. Folklore from Kansas: Beliefs and Customs. Glenwood. Master’s thesis. Souter. Puckett. Benjamin S. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Hand. Enid M. Daniel E. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Native American Ethnobotany.W. 1981. 1980. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. wild cherry has been widely used in folk medicine. Newbell Niles. 1994. 1994. wild cherry has treated a wide range of other conditions. 1975. Jaundice. Roger. Woodbridge: Boydell. University of New Mexico. Parler. John K. known as chokecherry. “Some Old Fenland Remedies. 1980. Hatfield. Earl J. “New Mexican Spanish Folk-Lore. and Jane Philpott. the plant has been used for indigestion. Federal Writers Project. 1966. 3 vols. Welsch. and University Student Contributors. 1995. IL: Meyerbooks. IL: Meyerbooks. It has also been used as a blood tonic (Meyer 1985: 41). labor pains. Native American uses of Prunus serotina have been extensive. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. Gabrielle. William E. Stout. Mississippi State Guide. Grandmother’s Lore. Hatfield. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. including colic. Boston: G. London: Hodder and Stoughton. it has largely been used for treating coughs (Crellin and Philpott 1990: 153). In North America. Daniel.Cherry Espinosa. Porter. 1852–1914. Crellin. Moerman. Rheumatism. Gabrielle. “Folklore from Iowa. Glenwood. the gum.. London: Fontana. Meyer. prepared from the bark (Hatfield 1994: 30).” Memoirs of the American Folklore Society 29 (1936). Durham. MD: Hagerstown Town and Country Almanac. and rheumatism (Meyer 1985: 70. Another species. headache. and tuberculosis (Moerman 1998: 443–444). Colic. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. or the fruit stalks (Beith 1995: 219). 1985. K. and Mary U. worms. 1991. Chiltoskey. Coughs. has been even more extensively used (Moerman 1998: 444–448). References Beith. but another species (Prunus serotina) has mainly been used. A Reference Guide to Medicinal Plants. American Folk Medicine. See also Colds. Mary. Thiederman. : 71 Cherry (Prunus avium) In British folk medicine this plant has provided a cough and cold remedy. Gruber.” Education Today (July 1964): 9–11. Grandmother’s Cures: An A-Z of Herbal Remedies. Clarence. and Sondra B. American Folk Medicine. Hagerstown. burns. Like its equivalent in Britain.” Journal of American Folklore 23 (1910): 395–418. Moya. 1998. 1995. Edinburgh: Polygon. Portland. Meyer. Edited by Wayland D. New York. Woodbridge: Boydell. A Collection of Household Hints from Past and Present. 1962. A Treasury of Nebraska Pioneer Folklore. Sylva.

Vol. and fed to chickens and caged birds. as well as for treating the swellings of sprains and of mumps (Allen and Hatfield. in Ontario. Jaundice. In the northeast of England it has been applied to bee stings (Johnston 1853: 43). The Shakers promoted its use in a number of conditions. Edinburgh: Polygon. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. It does not appear to have been as widely used in folk medicine as in Britain. Throughout Britain the plant has been eaten (and still is) in salad. Fanny D. David E. “Folk Medicine in McMinn. as it had in the Highlands of Scotland. In Ireland the plant has been used for a very wide range of additional ailments. 1990. Meyer reports the use of an ointment prepared by boiling the plant in lard for treating piles and external sores and ulcers (Meyer 1985: 193. together with rose leaves. 1910–1927. London: Van Voorst. OR: Timber Press. Poultice. rheumatism (Newman and Wilson 1951). Native American Ethnobotany. Freckles. Coughs. as well as boils and abscesses (Hatfield 1994: 21). Folk-Lore 8 (1897): 386–390. This plant is not native in North America but has become naturalized. An infusion of chickweed was used in the Scottish Highlands as an aid to slimming (Beith 1995: 211). in press. and jaundice. and Meigs Counties. Long. Durham. George.72 . 230). Bergen. Chickweed Moerman. In East Anglia it has been used to treat eczema and skin rashes (Hatfield 1994: 49). abscesses. Sore throat. OR: Timber Press. much as in Britain (Crellin and Philpott 1990: 156). Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. and inflammation of the breasts (Beith 1995: 211). See also Abscesses. Headache. Roy. to form an eye lotion. as a poultice for healing all kinds of skin ailments. 1994. above all else. This same infusion had a reputation for aiding weight reduction (Puckett 1981: 224). It has also been used there for treating external ulcers and swellings (Tongue 1965: 39. It was also used to induce a refreshing sleep after a fever and was used generally to treat insomnia (Beith 1995: 211). in press). Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands.. Eczema. mainly for skin troubles. “Some Country Remedies and Their Uses. 42). Daniel E. Boils. coughs and sore throat. John H. Johnston.. the plant was used in Newfoundland for treating boils (Bergen 1899: 111). . Chickweed (Stellaria media) This juicy plant common in the wild and as a weed of cultivated land has been used in British folk medicine. In Somerset. Polk. Vickery. and even to hydrophobia (Wintemberg 1950: 13. NC: Duke University Press. Mary. References Allen. Hatfield. Burns. the plant has been used. The Natural History of the Eastern Borders. jaundice (Newman 1945: 354). 1998. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1. including headache (Barbour 1897: 389). 1853. Grady M.” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 28 (1962): 1–8. although it has been used as a salad (Long 1962: 5). and Gabrielle Hatfield. The Botany. Piles. Portland. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Portland. A Reference Guide to Medicinal Plants. Tennessee. and Jane Philpott. In the Scottish Highlands it was used to heal cuts and grazes. Shakers. this extended to wound treatment. Beith. while the water in which the plant has been boiled was used for treating freckles (Meyer 1985: 225). “Animal and Plant Lore Collected from the Oral Tradition of English Speaking Folk. 1995. and (mixed with saffron). Bradley. As in Brit- ain. Rheumatism. John K. Sleeplessness. 1995. 15).” Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society 7 (1899). burns. Gabrielle. as its name suggests. Woodbridge: Boydell. Crellin. Barbour.

Anthropological Series 28. Walking in the snow. 3 vols. and also two domestic remedies of unknown origin. as well as solutions containing vinegar. and an oil prepared from fat and the leaves of adder’s tongue fern (Ophioglossum vulgare) was also used (Souter 1995: 142–143). M. Folk-Lore of Waterloo County. as one would expect given the harsher extremes of climate. London: Folklore Society. and olive oil was a traditional remedy of Romany origin but used in Scotland. there are several recommendations taken from Wesley’s Primitive Physic. or twigs of hemlock spruce (Tsuga canadensis) pounded in lard to form an ointment (Meyer 1985: 60–62). Walk- . Dipping in urine was used here too. The berries of poke could be rubbed on to chilblains. pers. Clarence. “Some Notes on Folk Medicine the Eastern Counties. Leek juice mixed with cream was another suggestion (Black 1883: 203). com. Glenwood. Puckett. L. Essex. Folk remedies were varied. 29. and sassafras. Newman. In North American folk medicine. In a collection of early settler remedies. Chickweed boiled in lard made a healing ointment for chilblains in Inverness-shire. dipping them in one’s own urine. The berries of bryony were crushed and rubbed on chilblains in Essex (Hatfield 1994: appendix). Hall. K. Part I. F. One consists of chalk dipped in vinegar and rubbed on the surface of the chilblain. 267. Ontario. Wilson. : 73 Chilblains These were a common affliction in Britain until cars replaced winter walking and houses were centrally heated. deer tallow was rubbed on chilblains (Beith 1995: 170). Berries of bittersweet or woody nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) were used in the Cotswolds (Bloom 1930: 25). Edited by Wayland D. Scotland (Vickery 1995: 65).Chilblains Meyer.” Folk-Lore 62 (1951): 252–266. In another version of the holly remedy. Ruth L. potato. the berries were crushed with lard to make an ointment (Whitlock. 1985. a slice of raw salted potato was rubbed on (E. The celebrated Mrs. onion. 1950. In Essex. Newbell Niles. 1981.” Folk-Lore 56 (1945): 349–360.” A salt solution and a mixture of brandy and salt are also given. or alum. pine tar. or “muriatic acid. “Folk-Lore Survivals in the Southern ‘Lake Counties’ and in Essex: A Comparison and Contrast. parsnip juice. W. Thiederman.. and Sondra B. Tongue. Boston: G.). Meyer in his collection of American folk remedies gives recipes including turnip. potassium permanganate. as an application for chilblains (Souter 1995: 143). flowers of sulphur. 1985. Bulletin 116. L. Beeton recommended the inner flesh of turnip mixed with mustard and grated horseradish. onion was rubbed onto chilblains in Wales. 292). 1965.M. and beating with holly sprigs until blood was drawn are among the remedies used within living memory in East Anglia (Hatfield 1994: 26). or ammonia. Somerset Folklore. J. 1976: 167). In the Highlands of Scotland. Ontario: National Museum of Canada. Hand. Wintemberg. An ointment made from pig’s fat. the other of a hog’s bladder dipped in spirits of turpentine and applied (Robertson 1960: 9). American Folk Medicine. F. Edited by Katharine Briggs. and the berries of black bryony (Tamus communis) were used in the Isle of Wight (Bromfield 1856: 507). Ireland. IL: Meyerbooks. Poultices were prepared from various fruits and vegetables. or iodine. potato was used similarly in County Dublin (Vickery 1995: 13. Newman. Rotten apples were used to treat chilblains in County Antrim. and E. Anna Casetta. beetroot wine was used in Devon. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. or in a solution of washing soda and hot water (Beith 1995: 187).. Barking. County Folklore 8. there is a wealth of remedies for chilblains.

the recommendations of the herbals may or may not have influenced the village midwife. Poke. The Folklore of Wiltshire. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. Edinburgh: Polygon. 1995. The witch-hunt spread. William Arthur. Snow. Hatfield. 6: 143). Oxford: Oxford University Press. In 1648 a midwife was hanged for witchcraft in Charlestown (Donnison 1988: 17). Folk Lore. Vickery. Printed books. There were a large number of superstitions surrounding pregnancy. London: Folklore Society. London: Pamplin. 1930. Holly. reveal a plethora of ordinary and extraordinary agents used during childbirth. Flora Vectensis. such as Sharp’s Midwives Book. Whitlock. IL: Meyerbooks. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. did she use for a woman in labor? The “wise wife” of Keith was burned at the stake in 1560 for using herbs to ease another’s labor pains (Beith 1985: 85). Clarence. as are applying lard and gunpowder. London: Batsford. 1960. Nowhere is the link between the magical and medicinal use of healing agents clearer than in the folk medicine associated with childbirth. Any shock to the system could endanger the development of the child. to the New World. Old Customs and Superstitions in Shakespeare Land. Saffron Walden: C. Brown. Marion. often doubling as layer-out of the dead. Mary. William George. American Folk Medicine. Gabrielle. 1994. with Calvinism. 1985. Bloom. NS: Cape Sable Historical Society. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. 1671. Robertson. Likewise. and immersing them in water and horse dung (Brown 1952–1964. 1883. we have little written evidence of what actually happened. 7 vols. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Pre-Christian charms and rituals survived the advent of Christianity in many places. London: Mitchell. if any. What medicines. 1995. The living memories of twentieth-century elderly people showed that the local midwife was a trusted and respected figure in the village. Chickweed. Meyer. References Beith. Hughes. 1856. 1952–1964. See also Bryony. J. Sassafras. Developmental abnormalities were often ascribed to such bad luck during pregnancy (Marshall 1967: 172). Frank C. Bromfield. The motherto-be and her unborn child were clearly recognized as vulnerable. Barrington. Glenwood. Black. Keith. Woodbridge: Boydell. and long after that in rural communities. In the Scottish . Souter. Most women living in the countryside would have had some knowledge of herbal healing. and as recently as the twentieth century in parts of Britain it was considered dangerous for a pregnant woman to meet a toad. Edited by Sir William Jackson Hooker and Thomas Bell Salter. NC: Duke University Press. In Massachusetts in the mid-seventeenth century three midwives who used medicines were accused of witchcraft. Childbirth ing in snow is another recommendation. It is hardly surprising that women who used herbs did not broadcast the fact.1995. it was necessary to harness all the help possible. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Urine.W. Daniel. but to what extent these were really used we shall probably never know. childbirth was an ordeal in which the mother was supported and treated by her fellow women.74 . Ralph. Old Settlers’ Remedies. Harvey. Roy. At this time of obvious peril to mother and child. 1976. Durham. Childbirth In all sections of British society until the nineteenth century. As a result. and Clark.

some midwives used to make a special painkilling cake from whole-meal flour.). In the seventeenthcentury kitchen book of the Gunton household there is a remedy “For a poor country woman in labor to hasten their birth. It has been suggested (Kelly 1863: 145) that this tradition might go back to Persian origins. One of them was valued by pregnant women as a means of ensuring easy labor (Beith 1995: 98. We do know that some plants were used during pregnancy to minimize the pain of labor. this detail suggests that the writer had some experience of actually using the plant for her social inferiors and perhaps for her own family too (Gunton Household Book). where the sap of another ash species. rhubarb root (Rheum sp. charms were also used in labor. Warm fomentations were used to ease the pain of delivery. but taken throughout the last three months it has been found to speed and ease delivery. one twentiethcentury country midwife made up a gruel of sifted bran. egg yolks. In the Scottish Highlands there was a tradition that the first liquid tasted by a newborn child should be the sap of the ash (Fraxinus excelsior). and skimmed milk (Rigby.” Although such kitchen books largely contain remedies copied from official. Also in the Scottish Highlands.).” the fruit of tropical species washed ashore on the western coasts of Britain by the Gulf Stream. These were considered lucky in many respects and were especially valued during childbirth. The so-called Bonduc bean was used in Uist in the Hebrides as recently as the twentieth century to speed delivery. com. Otter skin was used as an amulet for protection in childbirth in the Scottish Highlands (Beith 1995: 180). The kidney-shaped seeds of Entada spp. is raspberry (Rubus idaeus). milk. right up to the present time. “You may gather mugwort and dry it in a chamber and soe keep it all the year which is as usefull as the green is. the mother-to-be took the bean in her right hand and prayed (Beith 1995: 208). there was a series of stones kept in a small chapel. fairy flax (Linum catharticum) was placed under the soles of the feet to bring about an easy delivery (Carmichael 1900: 5: 125). oats. a poultice of the seaweed called dulse (Laminaria palmata) was applied to the belly to help expel the afterbirth (Beith 1995: 241). To nourish the newly delivered mother. learned sources and are therefore not strictly folk medicine. The midwife therefore put one end of an ash twig into the fire and gathered the drops of sap that oozed from the other end. Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger) was used to procure “twilight sleep” during labor (Whitlock 1992: 109). pregnant women used to visit the “wife stone” to ensure an easy time during labor. The footnote to this recipe reads. an infusion of hawthorn leaves was used similarly (Newman and Wilson 1951). In the Norfolk fens. In early pregnancy it was used (unofficially) to procure abortions. Higher up in society. grated dandelion root. were noted by Carew at the beginning of the seventeenth century to have a reputation for easing childbirth (Carew 1602: 27). pers. hemp seed (Cannabis sativa). 151). was fed to children as a divine food. On the island of Rona. 147. An infusion of the dried leaves is drunk like tea. In East Anglia. . Fraxinus ornus. Another birth amulet was provided by the “sea beans. Near Braemar in the Scottish Highlands. In the Scottish Highlands. and of these the most widespread in Britain. and gin. This was given not only to the mother in labor but also to the father! (Porter 1974: 20).” It consists of mugwort boiled with cloves in white wine.Childbirth : 75 Highlands a woman in labor was recommended to have a piece of cold iron in her bed and a Bible under the pillow. the aetites stone was recommended to the Countess of Newcastle in 1633 (Thomas 1973: 224).

it was necessary to harness all the help possible. incidental.76 . (National Library of Medicine) Colonial women in North America must have had an even harder time than their European counterparts when it came to surviving pregnancy and childbirth. information about plants used during labor. There is occasional. At this time of obvious peril to mother and child. such as the reference in an eighteenth-century diary in New Hampshire to a husband gathering betony for his . they must have had to depend on any printed books they had and on a newly acquired knowledge of the local flora. Thousands of miles from their extended families and divorced even from the familiar plant remedies they might have used. Childbirth Nowhere is the link between the magical and medicinal use of healing agents clearer than in the folk medicine associated with childbirth.

Norwich. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Barrie and Karen Baar.. Wilson. Forty-four plant genera are recorded as in use in the American and Mexican West for easing delivery (Kay 1996: 69) These included plants such as sage (Salvia sp. the flowers of which are chewed during labor by Spanish American women in New Mexico (Kay 1996:17). and wearing asafoetida around the neck and a rabbit’s paw under the pillow (Brown 1952–1964. The Savage Mind. London. Artemisia is a genus that has been associated worldwide with women’s ailments since the time of Pliny. Donnison. 1995. Hamel. Kavasch. The British species A. Midwives and Medical Men: A History of the Struggle for Control of Childbirth. This use was adopted by settlers in North America and during the nineteenth century became increasingly well known among herbalists. Claude. (3 and 4 edited by J. Mary. E. 6: 7–8). NC: Herald. Sybil. London: Chapman and Hall.). 1996. Peter Mancroft. Among the Catawba. taking quinine or gunpowder. but various other species in the genus have been used by Native Americans to facilitate childbirth (Le ´vi-Strauss 1966: 46). 6: 10. Edinburgh: Constable. Brown. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Carmichael Watson. a stone with a hole in it hung above the head. Hawthorn.Childbirth : 77 wife (Ulrich 1991: 128). Midwife. Carmichael. or an axe or knife under the bed. Suffolk. Folk medical recommendations for bringing on labor include eating a red onion. 1975. However. Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations. cardo santo (Centaurea sp. F. 44). Jean.. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. as well as many local indigenous species. Frank C. Alexander. Curiosities of IndoEuropean Tradition and Folk-lore. 1971. NC: Duke University Press. and Mary U. In contrast with this fragmentary information. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. were suggested. Edinburgh: Polygon. Rituals and Remedies for Every Season of Life. Ash. familiar to the European herbalist. Church of St. Carew. Chiltoskey. dogwood (Cornus florida). Scottish Academic Press. Dandelion. Toads and frogs. 1602. 5 and 6 by Angus Matheson). Mugwort. 1900. 1967. American Indian Healing Arts: Herbs.) and chamomile (Chamaemelum sp. L. Another plant still used today by Native Americans to speed delivery is blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) (Kavasch and Barr 1999: 4). London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. References Beith. During labor. 1940–54. there is a wealth of information for the Native American usage of plants during pregnancy and childbirth. which was a plant regarded as sacred from the time of Dioscorides and used for a huge variety of ailments. Pregnancy. The Survey of Cornwall. Paul B. See also Amulet. 1966. sniffing up red pepper. and squaw weed (Senecio aureus) (Speck 1944: 41. M. such as the star thistle. tansy tea (Tanacetum vulgare) might be given (Brown 1952– 1964. Marshall. Durham. 1988. R. Healing with Plants in the American and Mexican West. 7 vols. Gunton Household Book. vulgaris (mugwort) is not native to North America. 6 vols. Oliver and Boyd. London: Historical Publications. Margarita Artschwager. Sylva.).) or the unrelated English plant known as betony (Betonica officinalis). without further detail we cannot know whether this was the betony used as a sedative by the Californian Indians (Pedicularis spp. Fenland Chronicle. Newman. 1999. Walter Keating. and E. Raspberry was used in just the same way by the Cherokee Indians (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 52) as it was by the East Anglians (see above). plants used in childbirth include poplar (Populus deltoides). Le ´vi Strauss. Kelly. “Folk-Lore . Kay. 1952–1964. New York: Bantam Books. 1863. 11). 42.

222). London: Robert Hale. Blackcurrant tea (Ribes nigrum). “Sweating” a patient by lighting a fire on the earthen floor. was given as nourishment during a cold (Beith 1995: 231). Harmondsworth: Penguin. Hatfield MS). Enid. An infusion of yarrow was used to treat bronchitis and colds (Taylor MSS. coat a piece of brown paper with the mixture. usually made from hot water and blackcurrant jam. The Midwives Book. was dissolved in wine to treat colds (Beith 1995: 219). 1973.” tea was also very commonly used. Ground-ivy (Glechoma hederacea) was dried during the summer months and kept for winter use against colds (Taylor MSS). Keith. In Scotland. was another Highland cure for a cold (Beith 1995: 137). for colds and coughs (Allen 1995: 66). removing the fire.) was used especially for “bronchial” colds in Devon (Vickery 1995: 371). known there as “gean” (Prunus avium). In the Scottish Highlands. The Folklore of East Anglia. and apply it as a poultice around the child’s chest (Souter 1995: 146). prepared usually from white horehound (Marrubium vulgare). Horehound. strewing the floor with straw and watering the straw. seal oil was used similarly. Teas made from rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Colds Survivals in the Southern ‘Lake Counties’ and in Essex: A Comparison and Contrast. 1974. 1992. London: 1671. and honey was a favorite remedy. Whisky with hot water. chesty colds in the Isle of Man (Vickery 1995: 306). Laurel Thatcher. chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). Part I. go to bed and sleep. was another soothing drink used both to prevent and to treat a cold. the gum of the wild cherry.” Journal of American Folklore 57 (1944): 37–50. Ralph. then go home. Jane. Religion and the Decline of Magic. or elderberry wine was much used for children and adults. or “haryhound. A hot footbath in which mustard seeds have been steeped was another recommendation. Colds In British folk medicine one of the commonest remedies.78 .) were also widely used. Onions stewed in milk were recommended as a diet during a cold. For a heavy cold. the vapor from grated horse-radish (Armoracia rusticana) . Speck. A Yorkshire version of this remedy was to sprinkle brown sugar onto the bacon fat from a frying pan. The bulbs of ramsons (Allium ursinum) were preserved in rum and brown sugar and kept to treat heavy. An infusion of thyme (Thymus spp. Infusions of various species of mint (Mentha spp. especially in Scotland. rubbed on the chest for a cough and taken internally to prevent or cure colds (Beith 1995: 181). Also in Scotland. Porter. made from unsalted oatmeal. Frank G. London: Batsford. for colds in children was to coat brown paper in goose grease or tallow and wrap it round the child’s chest. or balm (Melissa officinalis) were also used. sage (Salvia officinalis). Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England 1650–1750. and preventatives. Whitlock. lemon. snuff prepared from the helleborine (Epipactis latifolia) or from the root of yellow flag (Iris pseudacorus) was used to treat a cold (Beith 1995: 217. Ulrich. An alternative was camphorated oil rubbed into the chest. then laying the patient on the steaming straw. elder flower infusion. water gruel. In the Scottish Highlands. In contrast. Thomas. a popular cold cure in the Scottish Highlands was to run fully clad into the sea. Elecampane infusion (Inula helenium) was used. still in the sea-soaked clothes (Beith 1995: 135). sweetened with honey. Sharp. For a feverish cold. or a small bag of camphor worn around the neck (Beith 1995: 91). Wiltshire Folklore and Legends.” Folk-Lore 62 (1951): 252–266. New York: Vintage Books. for instance in Sussex. “Catawba Herbals and Curative Practices. 1991.

Moustaches and beards are claimed to protect against colds (Masterson 1940: 45). the urine of a polecat (Puckett 1981: 344). peppermint tea alone or mixed with elder blossoms and yarrow. 6: 155) were applied. Rubbing the chest with skunk oil was also recommended. but also as an inhalant. Hot drinks to help a cold included lemon and ginger. less pleasantly. brandy. Catching a falling leaf in the autumn is said to ensure no colds during the winter (Kimmerle 1976: 22).) in a corn cob pipe was a remedy for a head cold from the African American tradition. 155). In Maine. or to a live fish thrust into the throat and then returned to the water (Pickard and Buley 1945: 81). dittany (Cunila origanoides). and rum. Tar or mustard plasters (Brown 1952–1964. for example to a spider or a woodlouse sewn up in a bag and kept around the neck until it dies. rubbed onto the nostrils—or oil of marjoram (Origanum vulgare). black tea. horsemint (Monarda punctata). There are occasional examples of transference of a cold. Rolling children naked in the first snow of the season was claimed to protect them from colds (Parler 1962: 524). Breaking open a blister on a balsam tree at the time of a full moon is another suggestion for a cold (Relihan 1947: 82).Colds : 79 was inhaled (Vickery 1995: 197. colds were treated in many similar ways. There are more than fifteen hundred records of cold treatments in the UCLA Folklore Archives. EFS 195Bd). and it has evidently persisted in use in North American folk medicine. hot water. and a wet cotton string (Brown 1952–1964. an infusion of white pine needles sweetened with sugar. a child with a cold could be passed three times under the belly of a horse (Beck 1957: 78). boneset. Miscellaneous substances recommended for a cold include chicken soup (also recommended for flu) (UCLA Folklore Archive record number 2_5318) or. milk and molasses. Camphorated oil was used. 6: 149. a sowbug. Poultices of onion or of flaxseed. Using leeches has been suggested to draw off . Bark of wild cherry was another cold remedy (Brown 1952–1964. and nutmeg. Other amulets used include a string of amber beads (Cannon 1984: 101). Walking barefoot around the house or eating the first snow of the winter are other cold precautions reported from Illinois (Hyatt 1965: 278). In North American folk medicine. or a spray of witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) (Meyer 1985: 64–68). of hot hops or of catnip were also used (Meyer 1985: 67). pennyroyal (Hedeoma pulegioides). For a head cold. Smoking crushed cubeb berries (Piper cubeba) was also considered good to clear congestion. honey. Another example of transference is to bury a piece of hair or toenail from the cold sufferer in a hole in a tree (Brown 1952–1964. snuffing up the powdered flowers of sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) or powdered borax could help congestion. is asafoetida. One common treatment. which stands out as different from anything used in Britain. Among chest poultices used were a flannel wrung out in boiling water and then sprinkled with turpentine. Sometimes it is worn in a bag around the neck: in this case it probably acted not simply as an amulet. Herbal infusions included mayweed tea (Anthemis cotula). rubbing the hands and soles of the feet with pure lard was suggested. A tea made from a hornet’s nest was a remedy collected from Pennsylvania (Brendle and Unger 1935: 132). 6: 148). 6: 154) or red flannel coated with oils (Brown 1952–1964. For a baby congested with a cold. brown sugar. since the fumes are very penetrating. This evilsmelling plant (Ferula assafoetida) is a native of Asia and some parts of Europe. It became fashionable in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in official European medicine. Smoking rabbit-tobacco (Gnaphalium sp. or horehound. 6: 155).

EFS 195Bd. Mary. EFS. English Folklore Survey. 1917. etc. “The Arkansas Doctor. Thomas R. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. Boneset. sagebrush (Artemisia spp. sweet flag (Acorus calamus). Carlyle Buley. Roy. Crawfordsville. Horace P. W. Edited by Wayland D. Pine. Frank C. Boulder: University of Colorado. Although gravel and stone were clearly recognized. Mary Celestia. Among the very numerous herbs used in cold treatment by the Native Americans are species of fir (Abies spp. Hall. Cherry. Banta.. 1995. Meyer. Anna Casetta. Madge E. Norwich MS4322. 1998. Portland. Colic In folk medicine the different types of colic distinguished today (renal. Puckett. Newbell Niles. Flax. 1976 (unpublished). Taylor MSS. . Anthon S. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. James R. Keith. The Midwest Pioneer. renal colic was sometimes referred to simply as colic. Glenwood. Kimmerle. Hops. dogwood (Cornus spp. 3 vols. 1945. Pickard. Boston: G. Sondra B. 15 vols. Brendle. The Folklore of Maine. also known as parsley piert.). B. Yarrow.. and Mark Gelber. Marjorie. Series 3.. biliary. Taylor in the Norfolk Record Office.) and juniper (Juniperus spp. His Ills. Daniel. 7 vols. Andrew. Souter. Cures and Doctors. See also African tradition. preface). E. An example of this is the “colickwort” (Aphanes arvensis) reported in use by Johnson in the seventeenth century (Johnson 1633. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Amber.80 . 2nd rev. Saffron Walden: C. 1965. yarrow (Achillea spp. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. K. 1984.” Annals of Medical History. Daniel E. Hyatt. Newbury: Countryside Books. This plant.). Hand. Clarence. NC: Duke University Press. Native American Ethnobotany. 1957. Transference.) (Moerman 1998: 780–782). A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. Speck.” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania and German Society 45 (1935). IL: Meyerbooks. Frank G. IN: R. 1995. Manuscript notes at University College London. 1962. Beck.) were often not clearly distinguished in the records of treatment. 1995. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. Catnip. Elder. Horehound. Vickery. Talley. Edinburgh: Polygon. Edited by Wayland D. 1981. Thiederman. American Folk Medicine. References Allen. 1985. “Medicine Practices of the Northeastern Algonquians. Onion.” New York Folklore Quarterly 3 (1947): 81–84. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Durham. Parler. blood during a bad cold (Puckett 1981: 344). it is likely that many of the folk records for colic treatment are referring to the more common griping pain in infants and adults caused by trapped wind. and University of Arkansas Student Contributors. no. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. Amulet. and Claude W. 2 (1940): 30–51. However. ed. 1995. Hand and Jeannine E. OR: Timber Press.). Brown. 1952–1964. Masterson. Colic Moerman. 303–321. Relihan. Lippincott. Beith. Unger. and R. Philadelphia and New York: J. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Colorado. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. Harry Middleton. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. Manuscript notes of Mark R. Snow. was definitely known for its use in treating gravel and stone. “Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans: The Non-Occult Cures.” Proceedings of the Nineteenth International Congress of Americanists. Cannon. Catherine M. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. “Folk Remedies.

Among plants used by Native Americans to treat colic. colic can be transferred to a duck. Anne-Marie. American Folk Medicine. The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes. rocking the baby. or blowing tobacco through the baby’s milk (Brown 1952– 1964. 2nd rev. Black. 1633. Yarrow. ed. 6: 155–156). in press). Earth. In North American folk medicine similar groups of colic remedies are to be found. Hyatt. Plants used in folk medical treatment of colic include chickweed. Hamel. Poulticing with turf is a novel cure for colic. Medicinal Plants in Folk Traditions. hanging it upside down. For infant colic. 7 vols. 1985. Johnson. 1883. Mary. rubbing the baby’s stomach. and Mary U. Herbal Folklore. 1995. NC: Herald. London: Folklore Society. Ginseng. Durham. Nowadays in domestic medicine.. or caraway seed (Carum carvi) have all been used. as has rattlesnake venom. NC: Duke University Press. Meyer. London: Islip. Mouse. Rubbing the back has also been suggested. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. the Cornish recommendation above). Preparations of aniseed (Pimpinella anisum). and Gabrielle Hatfield. Norton and Whitakers. will sometimes help it to pass wind and bring relief. Dog dung (Hyatt 1965: 246) or wolf dung are less appealing remedies. Portland. An infusion of calamus root (Acorus calamus) or of ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) were other herbal suggestions for infant colic. in press. centaury (Centaurium erythraea) and dulse (Palmaria palmata) used in Scotland. especially for infants. Edinburgh: Polygon. References Allen. Pepper saxifrage (Silaum silaus) was reported by Parkinson to soothe “frets” in infants (Parkinson 1640: 908). 6: 157–158). Alternatively. sloe wine (from the fruit of Prunus spinosa) suggested in Suffolk (Allen and Hatfield. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. IL: Meyerbooks. including the Okanagon (Perry 1952: 42). For infant colic. Harry Middleton. 6: 49). New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation 1965. Chiltoskey. William George. or rocking the child. David E. Standing on one’s head for a quarter of an hour was a suggestion from Cornwall (Black 1883: 183). Soda. 1952–1964. or “cupping” over the abdomen (Brown 1952–1964. Paul B. ginseng and yarrow have all been used (Meyer 1985: 69–71). 1975. or rubbing its back are mechanical suggestions (Brown 1952–1964. used in Ireland. wild ginger (Asarum canadense). Snake.). Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Lobelia has been called colic weed in New England. Glenwood. Lafont. Transference. Hanging round its neck a newly killed mouse is another suggestion. Thomas (ed. OR: Timber Press.). In the Scottish Highlands the drastic suggestion of swallowing a bullet was thought to relieve colic (Beith 1995: 158). Onion.. 1984. See also Catnip. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. soda. Garlic and onion have also been used. Sylva. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. salt water. Brown. dill water from the related plant Anethum graveolens is often used to treat infant colic (Lafont 1984: 34). Catnip tea was a favorite remedy for colic in sufferers of all ages. Lobelia. Beith. . Gravel and stone. Clarence. Bideford: Badger Books. Warm water. For patients of all ages peppermint (Mentha sp. Frank C. or application of hot poultices are other practical suggestions (Brown 1952–1964. 6: 48–49). Excreta. catnip was used by the Cherokee (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 28) and mint (Mentha canadensis) by several tribes. fennel seed (Foeniculum vulgare). Garlic.Colic : 81 There were some mechanical suggestions in folk medicine for relieving this. A suggestion for colic in adults is to stand the person on his head and shake him (cf.

Other medical texts available from Europe and known to have been owned by early settlers include William Buchan’s Domestic Medicine. Samuel Thomson). To what extent such texts were actually used in times of illness is impossible to know. which became enormously popular. The Tennessee physician Dr.82 . collections of household recipes. the basic first aid for most early European settlers. or. purging. by the eighteen hundreds. so that by definition there is a very incomplete record in the literature. Robertson 1960). must have been the knowledge of the women of the households. Botanic Family Physician (1831). and Studies of Plant-Life in Canada. and some individuals set themselves up as healers and as herbalists (for example. for example. At a time when orthodox medicine relied heavily on such drastic measures as bleeding. Colonists Parkinson. and many were willing to learn from Native American healers. or an Easy and Natural Method of Curing Most Diseases (London. John Gunn published in 1857 his New Domestic Medicine or Family Physician. “Ethnobotany of the Indians in the Interior of British Columbia. The few “orthodox” Western doctors among the settlers were influenced by the existing medical knowledge of the Native Americans. purpose-built kits of dried herbs were available (Micheletti 1998: 297). together with medical texts and newspapers (see. Groups such as the Shakers developed their own. Immigrants sometimes received advice from earlier pioneers. In the nineteenth century various North American publications became available. Those that have survived indicate a reliance initially on remedies brought from home. Newspaper articles and “almanacks” published medical advice. reaching its 213th edition in 1885. 1885) and Charles Millspaugh’s book American Medicinal Plants (1852). The types of remedy brought from home would depend on the social background of the immigrants (Fischer 1989). During the long journeys made across the North American continent by many settlers. Faced with a lack of some of the plants that they normally used at home. Perry. a basic medicine chest was the only source of medical help. as well as Samuel Thomson’s New Guide to Health. especially by their treatment of wounds. largely home-grown. and “chemical medicine. 1747). 1553) and later John Wesley’s Primitive Physic. Emergency medical supplies often included castor oil and peppermint essence. handed down from one generation to the next. However. John. other than local remedies. brought from their native countries and supplemented by any local sources they could find. and remedies. German. 1855.” Museum and Art Notes 2(2) (1952): 36–43. such as the two herbals written by Catherine Parr Traill in Canada (The Canadian Settler’s Guide.” this self-reliance might ironically have been good for the health of the community. 1640. Colonists Forced to be self-reliant in times of illness. As Ulrich has put it. Some householders kept kitchen books. Theatrum Botanicum. This was largely oral knowledge. or English. F. and presented with a whole new and unfamiliar flora. early European settlers must have been forced to experiment. remedies came from the barnyard and the forest (Ulrich 1991: 128). whether French. London: Thomas Cotes. such as Thomas Phaire’s The Boke of Chyldren (London. treatments that appeared . the early European settlers of North America brought with them their inherited knowledge of their own folk medicine and their few medical books. Dutch. pharma- copoeia. first published in 1772 and running into numerous editions into the nineteenth century.

North American Folk Healing. Edward M. New Netherlands. NC: Duke University Press. “Medical Conditions. 1970. Edited by James Kirkland. William N. Lighthall. for example. but whether they all represent direct “borrowing” in colonial times from the Native American tradition is difficult to establish. Virgil J. n. Harold. Moerman. Vogel. New York: Vintage. Systematic studies of the medicinal plants used by Native Americans began in earnest in the nineteenth century (Croom 1992: 138).d.” Tennessee Folklore Bulletin 35 (1969): 37–40. Traill.). Micheletti. See also Shakers. Paul G. Sullivan III. Thomson.Color : 83 often to be much more successful than their own. OR: Timber Press. into American folk medicine. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. W. Washington. J. There are numerous examples of contemporary remedies used by both general North American folk medicine and by Native Americans. NS: Cape Sable Historical Society. for example. Enza (ed. Colonists adopted. He was of only one-eighth Indian descent but is described in the book as “The Great Indian Medicine Man. There was undoubtedly some exchange between Native Americans and the colonists of New England. published in 1883 a book entitled The Indian Folk Medicine Guide. though it is hard to know to what extent remedies were shared (Fenton 1942: 514). with modifications and in some cases distortions. Color Certain colors are associated in folk medicine with healing. Portland. C. and New Sweden. Jr. I. American Indian Medicine. the Native American use of sweat tents (Hanzlik 1936: 276). 1998. Some individuals exploited the appeal to the new arrivals of the native medicine and even set themselves up as quasi-Native American healers. “The Myth of Modernity. and at least some present-day uses of Native American rem- edies by the general population of North America probably postdate these works. species of dogwood were certainly used by various Native American tribes to treat fevers (Moerman 1998: 176– 179). Ulrich.” California and Western Medicine 45 (1936): 275–278. Daniel E. Samuel. 1942. The dogwood (Cornus spp. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1960. Croom. Durham. Marion. New France. David Hackett. 503–527. Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution 1941. Catherine Parr. Barrington. Matthews. perhaps because it is associated with heat (Black 1883: 108). Vogel cites the examples of goldthread (Coptis spp. Practices and Foundations in the Continental Colonies. 1992. 1998.).” In Herbal and Magical Medicine: Traditional Healing Today.C. Holly F. Lighthall. Robertson. D. Fenton. The Indian Folk Medicine Guide. and Karen Baldwin. Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England 1650–1750. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. might be another example of a remedy learnt from Native American practice. References Brewster. Hanzlik. 367). 1991. New York: Popular Library Edition..” What was mainstream medicine for the Native Americans therefore became partially incorporated. used for a sore mouth by both Native Americans and colonists. Contacts between Iroquois Herbalism and Colonial Medicine. Albion’s Seed. Red threads are tied . Laurel Thatcher. and skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) roots used for itch (Vogel 1970: 310. Fischer. used by early colonists for treatment of malaria (Brewster 1969: 39). Old Settlers’ Remedies. 1989. Red is one such color. Native American Ethnobotany.. “Herbal Medicine among the Lumbee Indians. Wounds.).

This color is associated in Christian. In 1635 a man in Orkney was ruined by a blue necklace given to his sister (Black 1883: 112). and colds (Morgan 1934: 669). By contrast. blue seems to have been associated with chest ailments. To arrest bleeding. Red is the preferred color for flannel to wrap around an injury. wearing stolen blue ribbon (Aurand 1929: 71). Blue was also recommended as protection against the evil eye (Puckett 1981: 1080). Very similar color associations are to be found in North American folk medicine. xi. Blue is another color that figures frequently in folk medical cures. and blood from a black cat . Patients suffering from smallpox were given red bed coverings to draw out the pustules (Black 1883: 108). where anything that smacked of popery was abhorred. Red flannel worn around the neck was used to ward off whooping cough in the west of Scotland (Black 1883: 111). 6: 241). red flannel or red thread was recommended for rheumatism (Brown 1952–1964. It was worn to prevent fevers at the time of weaning (Black 1883: 113). A healing charm known as the “cure of the threads” is still practiced on one of the Scottish islands. red food should be eaten (Hyatt 1965: 219). For whooping cough. to prevent nosebleeds. The tail of a black cat was recommended for curing styes. A necklace of blue beads was worn in Norfolk as a cure for bronchitis (Porter 1974: 43). Examples of the association between red and blood include red beads worn for nosebleed (Bergen 1896: 94) or a red bean worn around the neck (Brown 1952–1964. 166). a blue thread was treasured and handed down the female line in families in the Scottish borders. Warm milk from a red cow was recommended for tuberculosis (Hyatt 1965: 252). red was thought to ward off evil spirits and quotes the example of cattle in nineteenth-century Aberdeenshire having a red thread tied around their tails before going out to pasture for the first time (Black 1883: 112). belief with the Virgin Mary. It is known there as ba ` rr a’ chinn (the top of head). the tail of a black cat was used as a cure for styes (Brown 1952– 1964. and the blood of a black cat for shingles. the sufferer should be wrapped in a red cloak (UCLA Folklore Archives 2_6287). or eating from a blue dish (Fogel 1915: 339) is suggested. pale blue stones were worn for headache (Cannon 1984: 111) and blue string for cramp (Brown 1952–1964. 6: 164). 5th series. 6: 294). Again. wearing a blue sweater was a suggestion for a high fever (UCLA Folklore Archives 2_5377). Black wool has been recommended for deafness. sore throat (Black 1935: 13). 6: 264). and particularly Catholic. Again.84 . a red tape was worn around the chest (Riddell 1934: 262). Perhaps because of an association with coolness. As a symbol of warmth. a red cock was specified as the sacrificial victim (Black 1883: 112). Black suggests that as well as its association with heat. In fourteenth-century Ireland in sacrificial ceremonies associated with healing. Red threads are wound around the neck while reciting a charm to drive evil spirits out through the top of the head (Beith 1995: 198). Black snails were used in wart treatment. Color around parts of the body—for instance. Red thread was used to stop hiccups (UCLA Folklore Archives 2_5411). over a piece of red flannel. Black is another color associated with folk cures. For palpitations of the heart. Backache was in the recent past treated by “ironing” with a flat iron. As in Britain. As in Britain. red has the dual significance of warmth and blood. In the nineteenth century “tongues” of red flannel were sold in London to be worn around the necks of patients suffering from scarlet fever (Notes and Queries. To trigger periods. This may explain its use for “evil” purposes in the Orkneys. vol. Red ribbon was said to protect a baby from the evil eye (Puckett 1981: 131). black cats were chosen in folk medicine.

Lincoln.” Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society 4 (1896). 1929. Nebraska Folk Cures. See also Constipation. Timothy.. 1995. Boston: G.” Medical Record 140 (1934): 262. Porter. the Cherokee used it to treat gastrointestinal disorders of all kinds and used it as a tonic (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 30). Eye problems. William George. Edwin Miller. Hand. “Some Old Canadian Folk Medicine. Monroe. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. and Sondra B. Beith. The Folklore of East Anglia. Shingles. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. References Coffey. London: Batsford. Fevers. Worms.” Memoirs of the American Folklore Society 18 (1925). “Animal and Plant Lore Collected from the Oral Tradition of English Speaking Folk. Black. Literature. “Some Traditional Beliefs Encountered in the Practice of Pediatrics. In Native American medicine. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. 1981. In North American folk medicine. Bergen. Fanny D. Vol. K.” Americana Germanica 18 (1915). 1849. Hyatt. References Aurand. Puckett. London. “Folk-Lore from Maryland. Colds. The History and Folklore of North American Wildflowers. W. 248. A. Heart trouble. and is unused there in folk medicine. Deafness. The Pow-Wow Book: A Treatise on the Art of “Healing by Prayer” and “Laying on of Hands.Columbo : 85 for shingles (Roberts 1927: 167). Cramp. Harrisburg: Aurand Press. Black. and croup (Whitney and Bullock 1925: 92). Frank C. Roberts. Pauline Monette. Edward A. Croup. 2nd rev. 1993. NC: Duke University Press. J.” etc. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. 1974. “Folk-Lore Collected in Toronto and Vicinity. Teething. Columbo (Frasera caroliniensis) This plant is not native to Britain. 166. Evil eye. 1883. Tonic. “Louisiana Superstitions.” Journal of American Folklore 31 (1918): 125–134. Talley. Fogel. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. Riddell. 3 vols. p. it has been used for stomach trouble and vomiting caused by teething in infants or by pregnancy (Meyer 1985: 242. It has been a constituent of many tonics (Coffey 1993: 168) and has treated worms and constipation in children (Meyer 1985: 208. Hall. Edited by Wayland D. New York: Facts On File. backache (Puckett 1981: 313). Nebraska: University of Nebraska. Whooping cough. Warts. 1935. Pregnancy. Whitney. Nosebleed. Harry Middleton. Thiederman. Hilda. Annie Weston. Enid. Practised by the Pennsylvania Germans and others. Durham. Newbell Niles. 1965. William Renwick. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. and Criticism 15. Anthon S. The color of plants used in folk medicine is discussed under doctrine of signatures. Cannon. xi. Hand and Jeannine E. Morgan. 7 vols. Jr. Anna Casetta. Sore throat. Bleeding. . “Beliefs and Superstitions of the Pennsylvania Germans. Black snails were rubbed on warts (Wintemberg 1918: 127). Wintemberg. Studies in Language. Brown. Edinburgh: Polygon. Edited by Wayland D. Smallpox. Headache. See also Backache. Rheumatism. 271). Tuberculosis. Mary. 262). 1984. Black threads were used in wart treatment (Cannon 1984: 134). ed.” Canadian Medical Association Journal 31 (December 1934): 666–669. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. 1952–1964. Notes and Queries 5th Series. and Caroline Canfield Bullock.” Journal of American Folklore 40 (1927): 144–208. London: Folklore Society.

Folklore Studies 9. 168. 1975. Logan. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Gabrielle.” liver complaints. FLR. by whom it is also taken for constipation and heartburn during pregnancy. References Allen. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. Dublin: Talbot Press. in press). Asthma. 1984. It has been referred to as “nature’s putty. 51. IL: Meyerbooks. 91. Hatfield. and the juice of the root has been considered good for the complexion (Logan 1972: 61. and asthma (Cannon 1984: 92). There are innumerable stories of the dramatic healing power that the plant appears to have (Hatfield 1994: 5. in some areas. Wounds. dysentery (Browne 1958: 40). the “grow-together” plant (Grigson 1955: 281). Some of these uses are also recorded among the Cherokee (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 30). Glenwood. Lafont. Portland. Dysentery. Interestingly. 276). NC: Herald. NC: Herald. The plant is not native to North America but has become naturalized there. and for cuts and wounds (Meyer 1985: 48. for sores and surface ulcers. Hamel. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. 1955. In Ireland comfrey root has been used for treating boils. Woodbridge: Boydell. there was a belief that the red-flowered form should be used for treating men. 116). Despite recent scares over the hepatotoxicity of some of its alkaloids. 1972. 87.. and G. It has been used to treat crush injuries (Puckett 1981: 373). . Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) From the Highlands of Scotland (Beith 1995: 212) to the southwest of England (Lafont 1984: 26). 1985. Making the Cure: A Look at Irish Folk Medicine. it has been used in the western parts of Britain. a red-flowered and a white-flowered. Ray B. London: Phoenix House. 77). Anne-Marie. for hoarseness. especially as an external treatment. “female weakness. 1975. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. the white-flowered reserved for women. 124. where comfrey is relatively scarce (Allen and Hatfield. The Englishman’s Flora. Sylva. OR: Timber Press. Meyer records uses for treatment of sore breasts and nipples. Mary. Lafont 1984: 26). 50. 1994. Early writers identified the plant with the “sumphuton” of Dioscorides. and its popularity in folk medicine is again strik- ing. Chiltoskey... Geoffrey. Houseleek. Clarence. 254. Paul B. in press. where it is abundant in much the same way as houseleek (Sempervivum tectorum) has been used in the rest of Britain. hence its botanical name Symphytum. Comfrey Hamel. V. Talley.” and the root when scraped and soaked does indeed make a thick healing sludge. Boils. American Folk Medicine. diarrhea. as a soothing poultice. Cannon. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. It has also been used for healing wounds and for treating the pain of arthritis. 81. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. Hand and Jeannine E. 1984. See also Arthritis. comfrey has been used in British folk medicine for treating sprains and fractures. Browne. Edited by Wayland D. 1958.86 . as well as being used as a boost to virility (Peattie 1943: 190). Meyer. Folk Lore Record 6 (1888): 116. Grigson. Herbal Folklore. Paul B. David E. Sylva. such as Dorset (FLR 6 (1888). and Mary U. 202. cough medicine. 125. Patrick. Pregnancy. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. the plant is still widely used by herbalists. Hatfield. Chiltoskey. and Mary U. The plant has two forms. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. Anthon S. Rheumatism. Bideford: Badger Books. Beith. Edinburgh: Polygon 1995.

and arthritic pain. Black quotes a witch in Scotland famous for her cures of children who would apply the remedy saying it was given in God’s name “but the devil give thee good of it” (Black 1883: 14). and Sondra B. The Great Smokies and the Blue Ridge. theories of disease were a luxury for the more educated. Concepts of disease By definition. In some parts of England country people wore pieces of tansy in their boots to protect themselves from the “miasma” ris- . The juice of the root is considered good for the complexion. Ideas concerning infectious diseases were inconsistent. Hand. Glenwood. such as the plague. Clarence. Warts were said to be caused by a host of external sources. 1985. It has also been used for healing wounds. Anna Casetta. On the whole. New York: Vanguard Press. and efforts were made to purify the air by carrying highly scented herbs or by the use of onion left lying in a sick chamber or around the house. They include epilepsy. In Scotland Rorie comments that disease is regarded as an entity that can be “drawn” from the body—for example by means of poultices. Hall. Puckett. giving rise not only to the likecuring-like principle but also to practices involving transference of disease to plants or animals. the air was blamed for spreading contagion. American Folk Medicine. Edited by Wayland D. K. which should then be burned (Buchan 1994: 239). IL: Meyerbooks.). 3 vols. Contagious magic has seeped into folk medicine. touching a frog or toad. the Celtic tradition). “bad air” was often seen as a cause of disease. the water in which eggs have been boiled. Birthmarks and congenital abnormalities were frequently attributed to shock sustained by the mother during pregnancy.Concepts of disease : 87 Comfrey has been used in British folk medicine for treating sprains. glimpses are to be found of some folk ideas about the causation of disease. Long before the discovery of bacteria and viruses. A system of beliefs has developed only when there is an established group of healers within a tradition (see. was blamed for many illnesses but was also credited with the power to cure them. However. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Roderick (ed. 1943. 1981. Peattie. certain ailments were in the past ascribed to witchcraft. in Britain a personification of old paganism. Thiederman. etc. In more recent times. and loss of appetite (Porter 1974: 51). (Stapleton Collection/CORBIS) Meyer. The devil. including sea foam (Black 1883: 30). Much of British folk medicine has been doit-yourself practical treatment of illness within a family or small group. drastic weight loss. folk medicine was primarily a practical response to illness by those too poor to afford official medical aid. In British folk medicine. fractures. for example. Boston: G. Newbell Niles.

In the past. 6: 18–24). Conversely. Tuberculosis. as in Britain. which was seen there as a cause of ague (Quelch 1941: 153). it was believed that an infectious disease did not pass from a young person to an older one. in which case the remedy will be from something related to the same animal (Brown 1952–1964. See also African tradition. so in Mexico. Among the external agents were animals. shock. In North America.” In Wales there is a place in Parc Llewelyn where it is supposed that four winds meet. The night air of the fens was blamed for the prevalence there of fevers and rheumatism (Porter 1974: 48). Concepts of disease ing from the ground. As in Britain. Transference. Celtic tradition. Alongside influences from cultural and religious beliefs there are to be found vestiges of official medical concepts. Rheumatism. Some illnesses are thought to be caused by animals. as Hufford puts it. An example is the belief in heat or cold as the cause of disease among SpanishAmericans (Foster 1953: 205). some air was valued as “healthy. 4: 126). 6: 99). In Fife. “natural” illness is seen as a punishment for sin. Eating the first snow of the season is thought to cause sickness (Brown 1952–1964. sufferers from tuberculosis were recommended to walk to this spot (Jones 1980: 63–64). 6: 293). No generalizations are meaningful in this context. seen as causes of disease. Warts. Blindness is said by some to be caused by sleeping in moonlight (Brown 1952– 1964. Supernatural causes for disease have been invoked by many different traditions. Doctrine of signatures. 6: 108). On the other hand. In the African tradition. handling frogs is thought to cause warts. and wounds (Snow and Stans 2001: 29). other supposed causes are handling jellyfish and washing hands in water in which eggs have been boiled (Brown 1952–1964. “an intellectual device” (Hufford 1992: 24). As in Britain. Also in East Anglia. intrusion of foreign objects.88 . including fear. five causes of disease were recognized by the Seminole Indians: soul loss. while plants were seen as providing remedies (Le ´vi-Strauss 1966: 164–165). 6: 107). 6: 308). Here folk medicine is a much broader-based conglomerate of ideas drawn from the oral folk traditions of many different countries. Eye ailments can be “caught” simply by looking at a person suffering from them (Brown 1952–1964. it was believed that bringing wild arum into a house could cause tuberculosis and that eating kernels of wheat could cause scarlet fever (Porter 1974: 48). Plague. but also in part from their medical literature (see introduction). Living on recently cleared land is thought by some to be a cause of typhoid fever (Brown 1952–1964. In the Native American tradition the role of spirits is central in affecting man’s welfare (Lyon 1996: 60– 61). or cravings (Brown 1952–1964. external agents. The picture in North American folk medicine is different. witchcraft has been regarded as a significant cause of disease (Holland 1963: 93). It follows that not only is North American folk medicine richer in theories of disease but that it shows more overlap with official medical ideas and with the concepts of healers within any one community. “unnatural” illness as the work of malevolent forces (Micheletti 1998: 176). Scotland. also that if a person was unafraid of infection he would not catch it (Buchan 1994: 240). birthmarks and deformities of all kinds are attributed to events during the mother’s pregnancy. and attempts to produce an overview must remain. In Norfolk there was a curious belief that tuberculosis could only be spread within a family between members of the same sex. Fevers. Pregnancy. 6: 310). sorcery. . Onion. cold air is sometimes regarded as healthy (Brown 1952–1964.

Hufford. William S. 1966. Lyon. Folk Tradition and Folk Medicine in Scotland: The Writings of David Rorie. or eating boiled onions. Porter. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO. W. Herbal treatments include groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) boiled in milk. Enza (ed. 7 vols.). Snow. The Folklore of East Anglia. 1992.” In Herbal and Magical Medicine: Traditional Healing Today. Bogbean has been used in Scotland to treat constipation (Beith 1995: 207). the milder leaves were being used (Pratt 1855). C. David (ed. 1996. chewing the fruit of mal- low.” Journal of American Folklore 66 (1953): 201–217. In New Mexico. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. an egg broken against a child’s stomach is a remedy for constipation (Espinosa 1910: 410). In North American folk medicine. NC: Duke University Press. Durham. By the nineteenth century.). Seeds of various species of plantain (Plantago spp. 1883. London: Faber. London: Batsford. “Folk Medicine in Contemporary America. Cloves soaked in boiling water overnight have been used in Suffolk (Taylor MSS). 1974. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. Enid. A strange idea reported from Utah and else- . In the Western Isles of Scotland the seaweed known as dulse (Rhodymenia palmata) was eaten raw to relieve constipation (Beith 1995: 241). Claude. Mary Thorne. The rhizomes of the stinking iris (Iris foetidissima) have been famous as a purge since Anglo-Saxon times. Frank C. In Scotland fairy flax (Linum catharticum) has been used as a purgative (McNeill 1910: 108). Other suggestions are a well-beaten fresh hen’s egg with cold water or a pinch of salt in water. David J. 1998. 1952–1964.Constipation : 89 References Black. NC: Duke University Press. eating prunes or rhubarb or orange juice. “Folk Medicine in Living Memory in Wales. Healing Plants: Medicine of the Florida Seminole Indians. Le ´vi-Strauss.” Folk Life 18 (1980): 58–68. In Canada. or a tea made from rice and raisins. William George. used in Ireland for constipated babies (Moloney 1919: 30). North American Folk Healing: An A–Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. household remedies for constipation again include hot water. Alice Micco. “Mexican-American Medical Beliefs: Science or Magic?” Arizona Medicine 20(5) (May 1963): 89–101. Olive oil has been recommended. Constipation Recommendations in British folk medicine for constipation include drinking plenty of water. and Parkinson records its use in the seventeenth century (Parkinson 1640: 259). Chamomile tea. or castor oil. Holly F. Gerard writing in the sixteenth century records the use of stinking iris root as a purge by the country people in Somerset (Gerard 1597: 54).) have also been used to treat constipation (Newman 1948: 150). were all recommendations in Norfolk in the twentieth century (Hatfield 1994: 28). Woodlice have been used to treat constipation in Norfolk (Taylor MSS). ripe blackberries (Rubus fruticosus) have been eaten for their laxative effect in Devon (Lafont 1984: 17). Anne E. “Relationships between Spanish and Spanish-American Folk Medicine. Edinburgh: Canongate Academic. Jones. Brown. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. edited by James Kirkland. William R. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. and eating molasses and flowers of sulphur. London: Folklore Society. Durham. Holland. Matthews. 1941. Buchan. Encyclopedia of Native American Healing. Foster. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. and Karen Baldwin. bear’s grease has been similarly used (Tantaquidgeon 1932: 266). Sullivan III. 1994. Herbs for Daily Use. Quelch. and Susan Enns Stans. Micheletti. More pleasantly. George M. The Savage Mind. 2001.

upward as an emetic.) have been used to treat constipation (Browne. Soup made from a totally black chicken. Berkeley and . All these plants. The use of alfalfa (Medicago sativa) leaves has been recorded from California (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_6276). Nebraska Folk Cures. The use of the seaweed dulse (Rhodymenia palmata). as it acts gently (Meyer 1985: 71–75). asparagus. cooked whole with its feathers on. Of these. too. a belief reported for a number of different plants in Native American practice (Black 1935: 37). Senna (Senna spp. Both the berries and the bark of elder (Sambucus sp. This belief evidently extends to general North American folklore. It is reported that if the bark is scraped downward it acts as a laxative. Edinburgh: Polygon. sweet flag (Acorus calamus). Pauline Monette.). Elder. Roots of silkweed (Asclepias syriaca) have been used in Alabama to treat constipation (Browne. 1935. Ray B. Mary. Bogbean. then insert them into the rectum (UCLA Folklore Archives 17_6276). is another surprising remedy (Rupp 1946: 254). Tobacco and water have been used as an enema for severe constipation (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_1346). Studies in Language. eating apples (UCLA Folklore Archives 16_7612). References Beith. parsley. Ray B. Folklore Studies 9. Literature. Cherry. Wild cherry bark has been used in Kentucky (Wilson 1968: 326). has been used especially for children. downward for a purge (Fogel 1915: 278). alder bark (Alnus spp. a tea has been made for constipation from the seeds of ripe apricots (Madsen 1955: 133). Other native plants used to treat constipation are butternut (Juglans cinerea). and Criticism 15. bark of white ash (Fraxinus americana). and many more besides. Ray B. 1995. rhubarb. under the name “varette. Moerman lists more than 150 different genera used by different tribes as laxatives (Moerman 1998: 805– 806).). Dietary suggestions to help constipation are similar to those in Britain. Flax. Flaxseed has been widely used. boneset is used as a purge. Molasses and honey make up a more prosaic remedy from Utah (UCLA Folklore Archives 4_6797). Senna hebecarpa and Senna marilandica. The senna used in commercial preparations in Britain is derived from an African species. mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum). just as in Scotland (UCLA Folklore Archives 4_5341). Constipation where is that sewing a piece of sheep’s intestine to the shirttail helps constipation (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_6797). Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Browne. An infusion of weeping willow tree leaves (Salix babylonica) has been reported in Arkansas (Parler 1962: 554). Cassia senna (formerly known as Senna alexandrina). but in this instance it is the leaves that are stripped upward to provide an emetic. Fraxinus ornus. 1958: 390). Lincoln: University of Nebraska. Other herbal recommendations include tea made from the roots of queen’s delight (Stillingia sylvatica) (Hendricks 1980: 97). the most widely used are elder and alder. and buckthorn (Rhamnus spp. and watercress (Lathrop 1961: 16). Boneset. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Life everlasting tea (Gnaphalium obtusifolium) was used to cure constipation in Virginia (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_5341). celery. Chamomile. and they continue in use today. 1958: 400). A recommendation from California is to boil almonds until their skins come off.90 .) and prunes as well as orange juice have been used both in Britain and in North America. Two Native American species of Senna are used as laxatives.” is reported in the Maritime Provinces as a purgative. have been used in Native American practice to treat constipation. See also Alder. In Mexico. Black. Manna from another type of ash.

” Journal of American Folklore 68 (1955): 123–139. Michael F. Valley of Mexico. 1980. Moerman. In British folk medicine. “Pioneer Remedies from Western Kansas. though it must have been realized that it offered no real guarantee. 1855. Consumption See Tuberculosis. The Herball or General Historie of Plantes. John. Rhymes and Railroad Tracks: A Second Sampling of Superstitions and Popular Beliefs in Texas. Aurelio M. Native American Ethnobotany. Hatfield. Clarence. Glenwood. OR: Timber Press. Hendricks. Lathrop. Lafont.” In Yorkshire. one of the simplest contraceptive agents. Norwich. Mary Celestia. William J. McNeill. Gerard. Explicit herbal records of contraceptives are rare.” Americana Germanica 18 (1915). Parler. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. Amy. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. Taylor MSS. MS4322. Leslie F. 1962. and one has to read between the lines to recognize what is probably a contraceptive remedy. rue was given forcibly to women who had “been on the razzle” to “reduce the activity of the ova” (EFS 100Db). Daniel E. Taylor in the Norfolk Record Office. Moloney. Contraception This is probably the most sensitive area for enquiry within folk medicine.” Journal of American Folklore 45 (1932): 265–267. 1597. H. Dublin: M. Fogel. Woodbridge: Boydell. Irish Ethno-botany and the Evolution of Medicine in Ireland. Manuscript notes of Mark R. Gill & Son. William. Murdoch. 1984. “Local Plants in Folk Remedies in the Mammoth Cave Region. 1919. Theatrum Botanicum. 1994. and indeed until very recently abortion was probably the only effective means of limiting family size for a .” 2 parts. London: John Norton. Breast feeding was widely believed to at least delay the next pregnancy. “Some Notes on the Pharmacology and Therapeutic Value of FolkMedicine. Gabrielle. used as a spermicidal douche (Unpublished Age Concern Essay 1991).” Journal of American Folklore 23 (1910): 395–418. Herbal Folklore.” Southern Folklore Quarterly 32 (1968): 320–327. Espinosa. Gladys. The Flowering Plants and Ferns of Great Britain. “Hot and Cold in the Universe of San Francisco Tecospa. In Cambridgeshire in the twentieth century a strong infusion of white horehound (Marrubium vulgare) and rue (Ruta graveolens) was taken “to delay childbirth. Tantaquidgeon. 1985. George D. Parkinson. Bideford: Badger Books. Madsen.” Pennsylvania : 91 German Society Proceedings and Addresses 52 (1946). 1910. It seems highly likely that in these instances the rue was acting as an abortifacient. Roosters. and University Student Contributors. Wilson.” Western Folklore 20 (1961): 1–22. and the relative paucity of records probably reflects this fact rather than the absence of suggested methods within folklore. “Beliefs and Superstitions of the Pennsylvania Germans. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press. Anne. “New Mexican Spanish Folk-Lore. American Folk Medicine. 1998. Pratt. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. 1640. Newman. Gordon. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Colonsay: One of the Hebrides. Rupp. John Montagnais. at the same time. “Bird Names and Bird Lore of the Pennsylvania Germans. Folk-Lore 59 (1948): 118–156. 1958. Portland. Edinburgh: David Douglas. Anne-Marie. IL: Meyerbooks. known to have been widely used up to the present day. 15 vols.Contraception Los Angeles: University of California Publications. is vinegar. John. London: Thomas Cote. “Notes on the Origin and Uses of Plants of the Lake St. Edwin Miller. Meyer.

jimson weed has been used for contraception and abortion (Peavy 1966: 446). Cornus sericea by the OkanaganColville (Turner. may have helped space children within a family (Ulrich 1991: 139). such as tansy (Tanacetum parthenium). References Age Concern Essay. 17). Prunus emarginata by the Lummi (Gunther 1973: 37). and indeed in many colonial circles a large family was seen as a blessing. Durham. Thornapple. there was no simple and effective means of limiting family size. the woman would probably never know whether or not she was pregnant. Many other non-British native American plants were also used. Bye. Brown. To what extent colonial women supplemented their knowledge of contraceptive means from Native American knowledge is difficult to know for certain. 14. the Zuni (Camazine and Bye 1980: 373). but the idea is at least plausible and may well have applied all over the world. Camazine. used by the Cherokee (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 52). 3. Bouchard and Kennedy 1980: 96). used for example by the Micmac (Chandler. Breast feeding. The same was probably true of juniper (Juniperus spp. 3: 65). and Maianthemum stellatum by the Shoshoni (Train. The Native American knowledge in this field is enormous. while Gaultheria shallon was recommended among the Nitinaht to be taken by both newlyweds to ensure a male as their firstborn (Turner. Frank C. particularly when infant mortality was high. 1991. Thomas. and the wealth of records suggest few or no inhibitions associated with the subject. 1952–1964. a belief that has survived to recent times (Parler 1962. used by the Iroquois (Herrick 1977: 445). 16. Some plants familiar to British folk medicine in this context were also used by Native Americans. and in effect were also used as contraceptives. 6: 5). Contraception large number of country women in Britain. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Average Age of Informants 80 years. hard to prove. and carrying a buckeye has been suggested too (Parler 1962. and Robert A. used widely by. Carlson and Ogilvie 1983: 102). Scott. See also Abortion. In the African tradition. In the same tradition.. Unpublished: in Suffolk Record Office. NC: Duke University Press. and in a survey done by a magazine in 1980 the belief was recorded that a white vinegar douche would lead to conception of a girl (Sullivan 1992: 179). since at least in postChristian times the penalty for abortion was heavy. for example. “A Study of the Medical Ethnobotany of the Zuni In- . which possibly doubled as food and contraception. Eating starch has been practiced as a contraceptive measure. of course. and instances pot herbs such as rue and pennyroyal. 7 vols. Taken at the time when a period is due. This whole area must have been kept necessarily even more secret than most plant remedies. whether it was the intention or not. eating heart ventricles has been claimed to prevent conception (Brown 1952–1964. Certainly in present-day America women are still aware of this method.) and pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium). The Navajo used Rhus trilobata to induce impotence as a means of contraception (Vestal 1952: 35). The Native Americans made contraceptive diaphragms from birch bark (Fischer 1989: 92). Such assertions are.92 . Riddle (Riddle 1992: 155) suggests that women in the past had some control over their own fertility by dietary methods. Henrichs and Archer 1941: 139). such as Viburnum sp. Birch. Remedies such as raspberry tea and rye mouldy with ergot were used for procuring abortion. For European colonial women in North America the situation was similar. Freeman and Hooper 1979: 62) and juniper species. Such simple means as the vinegar douche used in Britain may well have been used by them as well. Senecio aureus.

” Journal of American Folklore 79 (1966): 437–447. Other Native American uses for corn include the treatment of gravel among the Cherokee (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 30). Sylva. in Wilson and Gillespie [eds. Iroquois Medical Botany. Victoria: British Columbia Provincial Museum. Corn meal was used as the basis for poultices.Corn dians of New Mexico.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2 (1980): 365–388. R. : 93 Vestal. Victoria: British Columbia Provincial Museum. 1983. 1973. corn meal quickly became a familiar medicinal item used as the basis of poultices. 1977. applied between the shoulder blades for a cough. D.. Paul A. EFS. 1975. John Thomas. C. “Childbirth Education and Traditional Beliefs.C.” In Herbal and Magical Medicine. religion. 1999: 48). and Shirley N. State University of New York. as well as being infused and drunk for stomach problems. Peavy. Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England 1650–1750. Mass. which grew where their own crops failed. and these were used medicinally for aiding labor (Kavasch and Baar 1999: 11). mustard. Fresh corn silk quickly grows molds. Ulrich. Kennedy. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. of poison ivy rash among the Mohegan (Tantaquidgeon 1972: 77). Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance. Albany. Carlson. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Laurel Thatcher. It is composed of vinegar. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Albion’s Seed. Erna. Medicinal Uses of Plants by Indian Tribes of Nevada. David Hackett. Hamel. Percy. 1989. English Folklore Survey. and University Student Contributors. “Faulkner’s Use of Folklore in The Sound and the Fury. and ritual (Mele ´ndez. Frank. Sullivan.C. Gunther.. 1980. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. 1992.. Fischer. NC: Duke University Press. PhD thesis. Medicinal uses for corn multiplied. Chiltoskey. Ethnobotany of the Nitinaht Indians of Vancouver Island. R. Lois Freeman. and “Indian Meal” (Robertson 1960: 12). and sore throat among the Navajo (Elmore 1944: 27). 1962.S. James William. Ogilvie. Unpublished notes at University College London. Corn (Zea mays) Maize was domesticated by Native Americans in about 5000 B. Nancy J. Chandler. Turner. Durham. Turner. Riddle. Cambridge. Barry F. Andrew Archer. the oil was used for treating dandruff (UCLA Folklore Archives 9_5357). W. A collection of settlers’ remedies from Shelburne County includes a poultice. Kirkland et al. Hooper. “The Ethnobotany of the Ramah Navaho.” Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology 40(4) (1952): 1–94. ed. and Dorothy I. Mary Celestia. Apart from its food value. Rev. D. Paul B. Train. and since then has occupied a central role in their nutrition. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. 15 vols. New York: Vintage. 1941. A gruel made from cornmeal is used by the Mayo for treating diarrhea (Kay 1996: 269). Nancy J. Different Native American tribes have developed different medicinal uses for the plant. Herrick. and W.]. Bouchard. 1991. Charles D. Corn meal formed a poultice for a headache (Thomas and Thomas 1920: 105) . Washington. The European settlers in North America must have been extremely grateful for this plant. Parler.: Harvard University Press. Ethnobotany of Western Washington. 1992.: U. NC: Herald. ed. John M. Ethnobotany of the OkanaganColville Indians of British Columbia. Henrichs. and Robert T. “Herbal Remedies of the Maritime Indians. Department of Agriculture. and Mary U. James R. Corn pollen was important in Navajo ritual (Lyon 1999: 54) but was also eaten by the Keres for “almost any kind of medicine” (Swank 1932: 77).” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1 (1979): 49–68.

TX: Encino Press. Dysentery. Nosebleeds could be prevented by wearing a necklace of red corn kernels as an amulet (Miller 1933: 474). formed a poultice for boils (UCLA Folklore Archives 3_5299). 6: 250). Superstitions. Boils. Campa. Cannon. “Parched” corn was ground and boiled in sweetened milk and used to treat diarrhea and dysentery in children. which were then fed to chickens (Anderson 1970: 82) or otherwise disposed of. Maize was domesticated by Native Americans in about 5000 B. a child was laid on a bed of corn shucks to cure bedwetting (UCLA Folklore Archives 22_5281). Poultice. “Some Herbs and Plants of Early California. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. Anthon S. Corn starch was used for chapped skin and for bee stings (UCLA Folklore Archive 7_6192. Dreams. religion and rituals. Headache. Corn seems to have been a favorite remedy for the treatment of warts and corns. Childbirth. Transference. Poison ivy. 1970. Sore throat. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Warts. Austin. 1984. Tea made from corn shucks was used to bring out the rash of measles (Puckett 1926: 387). Corn meal quickly became a familiar medicinal item used as the basis of poultices. the affected skin was rubbed with corn kernels. In many of these. 7_5281). Bed-wetting.” Southern Folklore Quarterly 13 (1949): 136–148. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. It was also dusted onto the rash of prickly heat (Meyer 1985: 90. “Folklore from Edgefield County.C. mixed with peach leaves. Colds. Chapped skin. In a curious extension of its medicinal use for urinary complaints. Edited by Wayland D. Warm corn whiskey was drunk for colds (Bryant 1949: 139). Margaret M. 1952–1964. John. mixed with onion. Nosebleed. 227). Bryant. 7 vols. Gravel and stone.” Western Folklore 9 (1950): 338–347. . such remedies are good examples of transference. Cornmeal gruel combined with cinnamon is used by Mexican Americans for di- References Anderson. Corn starch was rubbed onto the blisters of poison ivy (UCLA Folklore Archives 8_5453).94 . Frank C. Diarrhea. Hand and Jeannine E. Coughs. NC: Duke University Press. and since then has occupied a central role in their nutrition. used to treat nappy rash (Cannon 1984: 37) and. Texas Folk Medicine. Durham. Arthur L. Corn arrhea in infants (Kay 1996: 269). Talley. and. (North Wind Picture Archive) See also Amulet. for pneumonia (Brown 1952–1964. The “silk” of the corn (its threadlike stigmas) was dried and made into a tea that was used in particular for complaints of the urinary tract. South Carolina: Beliefs. Brown. such as kidney stones (Campa 1950: 341) and bedwetting (Clark 1970: 9).

In North American folk medicine. 1932. Meyer. 1999. 1999.A. Ethnobotany of the Navajo. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Robertson. M. Joseph D. In Derbyshire hot boiled potato has been applied to corns (Black 1883: 193). Various caustic solutions were used to soften the corn. or applying a mixture of potash and gum arabic (Prince 1991: 20). pearl buttons dissolved in . and Mary U. The juice of red campion (Silene dioica) has been used in Somerset (Tongue 1965: 38). Dried and crumbled elder leaves have been soaked in water and used as a corn treatment (Prince 1991: 26). New Mexico: School of American Research. Simply walking barefoot in the morning dew was recommended in West Virginia (Musick 1964: 38). Elmore. Santa Fe. Chapel Hill. Gladys. a wide variety of corn remedies were used. NC: Greenwood Press 1926. The ivy was thought to be particularly effective if taken from an ash tree (Taylor MSS). Alternatively. Simple measures include soaking in a solution of soda. no. Ground-ivy (Glechoma hederacea) was mixed with lard to form an ointment for corns in East Anglia (Taylor MSS). 1996. Sylva. Folk Beliefs of the Southern Negro. Old Settlers’ Remedies. and Karen Baar. Kay.Corns Clark. it could be crushed in vinegar and applied. Another simple treatment was to throw beans into the fire and run away before they popped (Puckett 1981: 352). Kavasch. edited by David Scofield Wilson and Angus Kress Gillespie. Chiltoskey. New York: Bantam Books. A pearl button dissolved in lemon juice was a cure recommended in Lincolnshire (Notes and Queries 1849: 550). Francis H. Princeton. Healing with Plants in the American and Mexican West. American Folk Medicine. A poultice of houseleek has been used in Cornwall (Davey 1909: 193). Barrie. Puckett. Margarita Artschwager. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press. A mustard plaster and soaking in salt water were measures recommended in Kansas (UCLA Folklore Archives 8_5347). in folk belief. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. Encyclopedia of Native American Healing. Pennywort (Umbilicus rupestris) has been used in Ireland to treat corns (Vickery 1995: 280). Marion. Kentucky Superstitions. “Folk Medicine of the Delaware and Related Algonkian Indians. A variety of plant remedies have been recorded. and Lucy Blayney Thomas. Theresa. Mele ´ndez. 1920. Clarence. “Corn. University of New Mexico. NC: Herald. 1999. : 95 Corns There are a large number of folk treatments for corns. Swank. Ivy leaves have been widely used for corn treatment. IL: Meyerbooks.” West Virginia Medical Journal 29 (1933): 465–478. 1960.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. 3 (1972). Rituals and Remedies for Every Season of Life. William S. George R.. Corns should traditionally be cut in the wane of the moon (Aurand 1941: 24).” Pennsylvania Historical Commission Anthropological Papers. better known for their treatment of piles. Miller. Thomas. a remedy used in Essex (Hatfield 1994: 53) and Somerset (Tongue 1965: 38). Newbell Niles. 1985.J. Daniel Lindsay. Barrington. in the simplest version of the remedy. “The Healing Gods or Medical Superstition. N. Tantaquidgeon. Glenwood.: Princeton University Press. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. Corns were often removed by cutting. the leaf was bound to the corn (Taylor MSS).” In Rooted in America. this should be done on the first Friday after a full moon (Salisbury 1894: 71). Joseph L. Hamel. Albuquerque. NS: Cape Sable Historical Society. thesis. American Indian Healing Arts: Herbs. Paul B. 1944. The roots of celandine (Ranunculus ficaria). 1975. Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio. Lyon. have been used on the Isle of Colonsay to treat corns as well (McNeill 1910: 96). E. The Ethnobotany of the Acoma and Laguna Indians.

Davey. 1984. Country Remedies: Traditional . Clark. Black. Castor oil was used in Utah (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_6797) and ear wax in Arkansas (Parler 1962: 563). In Pennsylvania. cabbage stumps and vinegar were applied to corns (Dieffenbach 1952: 2). 1883. Edited by Wayland D. Jr. or the “lye” from human urine (the deposit left on a chamber pot) (Riddell 1934: 41). Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. Corns lemon juice have been used in Kentucky (Norris 1958: 103). As in Britain. Baker.96 . In California. has been suggested (UCLA Folklore Archives 9_6278). Ronald L.” Pennsylvania Dutchman 3(22) (April 15. “Cabbage in the FolkCulture of My Pennsylvania Dutch Elders. Flora of Cornwall. See also Ash. A. Monroe. Transference.” Americana Germanica 18 (1915). the corns will disappear (UCLA Folklore Archives 11_6278). Browne. Covering corns with chewing gum was tried in California (UCLA Folklore Archives 4_6278). Burying corn kernels in the ground is another remedy using a time factor: as the corn sprouts. and fatty salt pork in Colorado (Kimmerle and Gelber 1976: 16). Warts. Elder. Hand and Jeannine E. cow’s urine (Cannon 1984: 102). Rattlesnake oil was used in Texas (Hendricks 1966: 39). Joseph D. Other applications include vinegar and breadcrumbs (Puckett 1981: 352). Soaking the feet in sauerkraut was recommended in Utah (Cannon 1984: 102). Rubbing the corns with cedar wax (Norris 1958: 103) or bathing them with turpentine (Browne 1958: 53) or with vanilla (UCLA Folklore Archives 2_6278) were alternatives. the corn will disappear (UCLA Folklore Archives 2_6798). Walking in fresh animal droppings was successfully tried in Illinois (Hyatt 1965: 225). Clegwidden. Several remedies employ fat of various types. In North Carolina. Paring corns with the razor of a dead man is another version of this remedy (Hyatt 1965: 226). Victor C. Hatfield. Dew. houseleek had a reputation for curing corns (Baker 1969: 191). Cannon. including some of the quasi-magical ones. “Beliefs and Superstitions of the Pennsylvania Germans. corns have been rubbed with a snail (Clark 1970: 17). Houseleek. A variety of plants or plant products have been employed to treat corns. London: Folklore Society. the advice was to steal a piece of beef and bury it.” Vermont History 37 (1969): 184–193. Penryn: F. Corns have been subjected to some of the same cures used for warts. William George. 1909. Dieffenbach. In Utah. Binding on a piece of lemon was an alternative (UCLA Folklore Archives 7_5343). Various remedies involve transference. Folklore Studies 9. rubbing them with a wooden peg. “Folk Medicine in the Writings of Rowland E. 1952): 1–2. Robinson. Gabrielle. Popular Home Remedies and Superstitions of the Pennsylvania Germans. Harrisburg. A candle rubbed on a corpse and then on a corn was another cure from Pennsylvania (Fogel 1915: 274). Fogel. References Aurand. Hamilton. Edwin Miller. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Wood ashes in hot water were used in Nebraska (Welsch 1966: 362). F. Snail. Rubbing a piece of cotton onto a corn and then burying it alongside a corpse is another suggestion (Hoffman 1889: 31). Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Talley. Ivy.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. Ray B. Anthon S. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. as the meat rots. as in Britain. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. Soda. which is then driven into a tree. 1941. 1958. PA: The Aurand Press.

” Kentucky Folklore Record 4 (1958): 101–110. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Original Glossaries. in medical terms. George D. Norris. whisky has been added. Recent studies have vindicated its use in this way. Welsch. 72. Harry Middleton. Somerset Folklore. 15 vols. no. Blackberries (Rubus fruticosus) were used similarly.Coughs East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. K. Kimmerle. 1910. Dennis. in the Norfolk Record Office. Hendricks. an overlap between cough and cold remedies. Salisbury. Notes and Queries 41. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Colorado. a large number of cough treatments have been used. 1995. have provided a remedy for both. Norwich. Marjorie. London. ed. 1965. 1966. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. 1849. Puckett. Manuscript notes of Mark R. A Treasury of Nebraska Pioneer Folklore. In British folk medicine. Murdoch. Thiederman. for example. and University Student Contributors. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. unpublished manuscript. J. such as chewing a leaf. London: Folklore Society. 1994. 1966. McNeill. London: Fontana. Taylor. “Folk-Lore of the Pennsylvania Germans. 1991. Mirrors. Musick. 1981. there has been a ready supply from plants in cultivation as well. MS 4322. An infusion of the berries. Series C.” West Virginia Folklore 14 (1964): 38–52. Hand. has been used to soothe coughs.” Journal of American Folklore 2 (1889): 23–35. Coughs Though the causes of coughs. Roy. it was maintained that wearing a necklace of blue beads would cure bronchitis (Mundford Primary School project 1980. 1894. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. In Norfolk. unpub. Newbell Niles. Taylor MSS. Even today many people resort to homely remedies. or jam made from them. Mice and Mustaches: A Sampling of Superstitions and Popular Beliefs in Texas. Honey has been a common ingredient in numerous cough mixtures. Boston: G.) “Superstitions. Mary Celestia. to more complex preparations involving different mixtures of plant and animal and mineral ingredients. when the cause of the cough is often viral and antibiotics are irrelevant. showing it to be antibiotic and antiviral as well as simply soothing (Root-Bernstein 1997). There is. Hoffman. Parler. Grandmother’s Cures: An A–Z of Herbal Remedies. 2nd rev. “Some Old Canadian Folk Medicine. 1976. of course. Ruby R. William Renwick. 550. black-currant (Ribes nigrum) has been widely used in cough remedies. Woodbridge: Boydell. Lemon juice and honey. Roger L. Anna Casetta.” The Canada Lancet and Practitioner 83 (August 1934): 41–44. are diverse. . New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. in folk medicine this has been treated as a single ailment and over the centuries has attracted a great variety of folk remedies. Edinburgh: David Douglas. and Mark Gelber. A Glossary of Words and Phrases Used in South East Worcestershire. 1965. 1962 Prince. Jesse. ranging from very simple measures. Edited by Katharine Briggs. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. W. London: English Dialect Society. but since it has been grown as a fruit-crop. County Folklore 8. p. 3 vols. It is arguably native in Britain. : 97 Vickery. Riddell. valued for its soothing nature (Beith 1995: 213. in press). Among native British plants.). “Folk Medicine of Cumberland County. Tongue. Oxford: Oxford University Press. and Sondra B. Elderberries have formed a cough medicine throughout much of Britain. Austin: Texas Folklore Society. University of Colorado. Hall. in both England and Scotland. Edited by Wayland D. Ruth L. Colonsay: One of the Hebrides. Ruth Ann (ed. Hyatt. Boulder. Allen and Hatfield. in Scotland.

olive oil. many plants native to North America but not to Britain were used in cough treatment. and elecampane (Inula helenium). Turnip was used similarly (Hatfield 1994: 30). wild cherry (Prunus avium). The simplest pine-based cough mixture consisted of the inner bark. The onion remedy was evidently as popular in North America as in Britain. as it is often called). but it was also used for ordinary coughs and bronchitis (Allen 1995: 149). and interesting also in that it shows lack of resistance of an isolated population to what was probably an everyday ailment on the mainland. and this juice was used. Other native British plants used to treat coughs include horehound. Kilda of a disease they termed “boat cough. In addition. Elecampane (Inula helenium). Sliced onion. steeped in water. Vegetables have been widely used in cough preparations. though not a native plant in Britain. mullein. and the dried root of marshmallow (Malva officinalis) (Taylor MSS). Animal ingredients used in cough remedies include the solan goose (gannet) used on the island of Kilda. The blackberry is not native to North America but is naturalized there. including the shell. presumably this remedy arrived with European settlers. Either the snails were crushed and the liquid drunk. all the parts of which have been used medicinally. simmered with honey to form a syrup. The honey in some cases is replaced with molasses. Prominent among plants used in cough mixtures is pine. As well as being used in official medicine. They include skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus).98 . The resulting syrup was a cheap cough medicine (Prince 1991: 108). Exactly the same remedy was used in Britain for treating whooping cough (Prince 1991:115). The local remedy was to melt the fat of a “solan goose” and eat it with oatmeal (Beith 1995: 79–80). coltsfoot (or coughwort. glycerine. it has been used in folk remedies. Beetroot and turnip were used similarly to produce a cough syrup. has been sprinkled with brown sugar and left to stand overnight. Martin Martin in his travels in the late seventeenth century was told by the inhabitants of St.). A remedy used by early settlers in Shelburne County was to mix marshmallow root with poppy heads and add conserve of roses (Robertson 1960: 12). . There is an interesting cough mixture prepared by dissolving an egg. or the snails were impaled above a bowl. and cowslip.” since it always appeared after outsiders visited the island. or egg may be added. Marrubium vulgare and black horehound (Ballota nigra). and again there are several variations. such as the cough treatment recorded from Suffolk in the 1920s. Syrup of blackberries was used. In his collection of North American folk remedies for coughs. mullein. which caught their juice. in vinegar and adding sugar (Meyer 1985: 77). Coughs Coltsfoot (Tussilago farafara) has been used in cough preparations at least since the time of Pliny. as well as thyme (Thymus serpyllum). raisins. in press). has been cultivated as an herb and vegetable since Roman times and now exists in scattered parts of the British isles semiwild (Allen and Hatfield. Cough cures made from snails were used in rural Britain as recently as the early twen- tieth century. wild Indian turnip (Arisaema triphyllum). Meyer includes many variants on the lemon and honey mixture mentioned for Britain. alone or mixed with grated carrot. and probably for far longer than that. wild cherry (Prunus spp. This is an unusual instance of early recognition of the infectious agent in coughs. Its primary use was in consumption. and balm of Gilead. Other native herbs used to treat coughs include many of those already mentioned for Britain: horehound. He was sceptical until he witnessed for himself an outbreak after one such visit. as in Britain. both the white horehound. where the grated root was mixed with sugar.

Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. Honey. 1929: 54) and the Upper Tanana (Kari 1985: 4). The buds of balsam poplar were used by the Southern Carrier (Smith. See also Asthma. “Herbal Remedies of the Maritime . Slippery elm (Ulmus rubra) is used for cough treatment by the Cherokee (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 33) and the Mohegan (Tantaquidgeon 1972: 132).” Journal of American Folklore 58 (1945): 113–123. Chandler. References Allen. Frank. Andrew. today better known for its treatment of migraine. Migraine. Elm. such as Pinus strobus by the Abnaki (Rousseau 1947: 163). was used on both sides of the Atlantic to treat coughs (Hatfield 1994: appendix. Portland. Elecampane (Inula helenium) is used by the Cherokee (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 33) and the Iroquois (Herrick 1977: 466). as was ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) (Taylor MSS: Meyer 1985: 83). Mary. Lois Freeman. and other coniferous trees were sources of cough medicines as well. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands.. H. and the Sikani chewed the pitch and swallowed the saliva for a cough (Smith 1929: 49. has also been used in North America—for example. Whooping cough. Colds. Mullein. Lloyd G. Mercury Series 25. The Cherokee used an infusion of the bark of Prunus cerasus for coughs (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 28). David E. used in Ireland for treating coughs (Hart 1873: 339). Prunus serotina by the Cherokee (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 28) and the Delaware (Tantaquidgeon 1972: 27) and the Iroquois (Herrick 1977: 360). 50). Snail. The Kwakiutl used a decoction of the buds and pitch of this species (Turner and Bell 1973: 269). “Surviving Folktales and Herbal Lore among the Shinnecock Indians. Another plant very widely used for coughs among Native Americans is Prunus. The Alaska Eskimos used juice of Pinus contorta to treat coughs (Smith 1973: 331). Elder. the Iroquois (Herrick 1977: 264). the rhizomes of P.Coughs : 99 slippery elm and flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum) (Meyer 1985: 76–84). Various other species of Pinus were similarly used. Edinburgh: Polygon. 1980. Beith. Cowslip. Newbury: Countryside Books. I. Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium). Meyer 1985: 83). Prunus pennsylvanica was used by the Algonquin (Black 1980: 184) and the Cherokee (Hamel and Chil- toskey 1975: 28). Polypodium. Balm of Gilead. Pine. Hooper. and the Shinnecock (Carr and Westey 1945: 121). and Carlos Westey. tobacco smoke was also tried as a cough remedy (McCullen 1962: 34). while the Thompson chewed the gum for the same purpose (Perry 1952: 40). notably Picea (used by thirteen different tribes) and Juniperus (used by eighteen tribes) (Moerman 1998: 782–783). OR: Timber Press (in press). and Gabrielle Hatfield. Some at least of these remedies that have found their way into general North American folk medicine are perhaps attributable to Native American knowledge.. Other very widely used plant genera include Acorus (used by thirteen tribes) and Artemisia (used by fifteen tribes) (Moerman 1998: 782). Black. 1995. 1995. Inhaling the fumes from smoking fresh ground coffee mixed with pine sawdust sounds like an original cough treatment (Meyer 1985: 84). Carr. Algonquin Ethnobotany: An Interpretation of Aboriginal Adaptation in South Western Quebec. Tuberculosis. and Hooper 1979: 59). A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. the Micmac (Chandler. glycirrhiza are eaten by the Hesquiat for coughs (Turner and Efrat 1982: 30). and Shirley N. Allen. Freeman. the Shushwap used an infusion of the inner bark (Palmer 1975: 51). R. Various species of pine were extensively used. Ironically. Ottawa: National Museums of Canada. Meredith Jean.

Norfolk. in Norfolk Record Office. unpublished. Nancy J. Taylor. Deafness. The plant is an introduction to North America and has been used to a relatively slight extent in folk medicine there. as a mild sedative for treating coughs (Hatfield 1994: 30). the plant has been used to treat “the decline” (?tuberculosis) and also to strengthen the senses (Trevelyan 1909: 91. State University of New York. Ethnobotany of the Hesquiat Indians of Vancouver Island.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1 (1979): 49–69. Hatfield. James William. Anchorage: Alaska Historical Commission. C. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. 3 (1972). Rousseau. It has also been used to treat jaundice. and Barbara S. Equisetum trachyodon. Woodbridge: Boydell. Shuswap Indian Ethnobotany. Bell. Indians. “Materia Medica of the Bella Coola and Neighbouring Tribes of British Columbia. and it has been recommended as a bedtime drink for insomnia (Meyer 1985: 106. Honey. C. See also Coughs. “Folk Medicine of the Delaware and Related Algonkian Indians. Cowslip (Primula veris) In British folk medicine this plant has been valued as a cosmetic (Lafont 1984: 29). Palsy. Meyer. Dennis. 97). Ph. American Folk Medicine. IL: Meyerbooks. Journal of Botany 11 (1873): 338–339. Barrington. Hart. Robert. etc. “Ethno-Botany of the Indians in the Interior of British Columbia. Dropsy. Sleeplessness. Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Historical Commission. School project. 1977. Smith. Herrick. OR: Timber Press. Glenwood. McCullen. Jacques. Gladys. Efrat. T. 1982. “The Tobacco Controversy. Chiltoskey. “The Ethnobotany of the Southern Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia. in County Galway. London: Pan. thesis. J. 1994. In Wales. Mundford Primary School. and Miche `le RootBernstein.” Pennsylvania Historical Commission Anthropological Papers. Iroquois Medical Botany. Norwich. and for promoting sleep. 1980. and Marcus A. Marion.” Economic Botany 27 (1973): 257–310. “Arctic Pharmacognosia. Manuscript notes of Mark R. Victoria: British Columbia Provincial Museum.” Arctic 26 (1973): 324–333. 1942. Jaundice. Root-Bernstein. Paul B. Portland. NC: Herald. 1997. Gary. Gladys. Syesis 8 (1975): 29–51. and Mary U. There has been little or no usage of the plant by Native Americans. Upper Tanana Ethnobotany. Clarence. 1975. 145). F. 1960. Taylor MSS. Tantaquidgeon. Cowslip Tantaquidgeon. H.. Hamel. Harlan I. A Study of the Delaware Indian Medicine Practice and Folk Beliefs. 1998. Kari. “Euphorbia hyberna. NS: Cape Sable Historical Society. no.” Museum and Art Notes 2(2) (1952): 36–43. Sylva.” National Museum of Canada Bulletin 56 (1929): 47–68. 1991. London: Fontana.” H. G. Grandmother’s Cures: An A–Z of Herbal Remedies. Turner. Moerman. Albany.” North Carolina Folklore 10(1) (1962): 30–35. Palmer. 1571–1961. Native American Ethnobotany.D. Perry.100 . Prince. In Ireland especially it has been used for treating insomnia. Turner. . “Ethnobotanique Abe ´nakise. Gabrielle. M. Smith.” Archives de Folklore 11 (1947): 145–182. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. Nancy Chapman. Warren. and there it has also been used to treat dropsy and deafness. Priscilla Russe. 1985. An ointment has been used to treat eczema. Old Settlers’ Remedies. in press). Daniel E. 1985.. as well as palsy (it is sometimes known as palsywort) (Allen and Hatfield. Robertson. Mud and Maggots and Other Medical Marvels: The Science behind Folk Remedies and Old Wives’ Tales.

Cork features in several of them. 6: 163) or snakeskin worn (Bergen 1899: 76) was thought to protect against cramp. 6: 164). 156. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. Gabrielle. OR: Timber Press. Sometimes “cramp rings” were made from these handles (Sou- ter 1995: 35). Folk-lore and Folk-stories of Wales. Sometimes the cork was sewn between silk ribbons and made into garters. 6: 165). to cure cramp. In New Jersey. American Folk Medicine. Anne-Marie. 1985. 1984. and wearing a brass ring was recommended. Cramp There is a small but strange collection of British folk remedies for cramp. Scurvy grass (Cochlearia officinalis) was made into a poultice and used to treat cramp in the Highlands of Scotland (Beith 1995: 239). 1994. Brown 1952– 1964.) or a bowl of water (Taylor 1929: 119). Bideford: Badger Books. IL: Meyerbooks. in press. or upside down) seems to have been particularly common in North American folk medicine (see. Rubs for treating cramp have included a decoction of cranberry bush bark (Meyer 1985: 182) (probably a species of Viburnum [Willard 1992: 194]). Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. Twentieth-century remedies include putting the feet in hot ashes (Black 1935: 36). Clarence. Trevelyan. or a thread could be tied around the leg (Brown 1952–1964. is recommended (Hatfield MS). it was placed under the pillow (Black 1883: 154. or under the bed is said to prevent cramp. such rings were also made from nails or screws that had been used to fasten a coffin (Black 1883: 175). 1909. In Suffolk it was common practice to place shoes “one coming and one going” at the foot of the bed (Rider Haggard [ed. Even standing on a cork bath mat is said to help (Porter 1969: 78). Marie. putting a bowl of water under the bed at night was also suggested (Thomas and Thomas 1920: 101). In Norfolk. 6: 163–164). rubbing the feet with Jack by the hedge (Alliaria petiolata) or wearing yarrow leaves in the shoes were both thought to help (Tongue 1965: 38). Herbal Folklore. The ankle bone of the hare is reputedly good against cramp. as was a potato under the bed (Mundford Primary School project. at night. Portland. Glenwood. Some of these folk practices are also found in North America. Among other plants used to treat cramp in British folk medicine. as near to the skin as possible. Hatfield. it was believed that walking over a grave caused cramp (Black 1883: 27). or under the pillow. The idea of positioning shoes in a particular way under the bed (with toes pointing outward. again kept under the bed. as in Britain (Brown 1952–196. Eelskin (Brown 1952–1964. A fishbone was another amulet used for cramp (Brown 1952–1964. Meyer. unpub. Alternatively. London: Elliot Stock. 1980.. worn to avoid cramp (Black 1883: 199). Carrying the fore feet of a mole in the pocket is recorded as an East Anglian preventative. 182). Cramp bones were another type of amulet. chamomile is one of the commonest.g. especially the brass from coffin handles. in Devonshire. Woodbridge: Boydell. as well as various oils . the patella of a sheep was worn. Perhaps this belief was at one time widespread and led to the use of coffin handles as preventatives.Cramp : 101 References Allen. 6: 165). In Northamptonshire. Lafont. tying a flint with a large hole in it under the bed was said to cure cramp. David and Gabrielle Hatfield. As in Britain. In Somerset. Brass. England. a buckeye (chestnut) could be carried in the pocket to ward off cramp (Browne 1958: 55). keeping a piece of cork in the pocket. e.] 1974: 164).

Terry. Studies in Language. Daniel. Mark R. the cricket has been used to nibble off warts. Nebraska Folk Cures. Rider Haggard. North Carolina. Warts. Norfolk. 1980 (unpublished). Thomas. 1958. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. I Walked by Night. Edinburgh: Polygon. Yarrow. that doubled as rheumatism treatments. Lilias (ed. 1883. In European folk medicine.” Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society 7 (1899).: Princeton University Press. Durham. the cricket has been used to nibble off warts. Browne. Frank C. Enid. 1920. 1970. Souter. Folklore Studies 9. 1974. and “grasshopper’s molasses” has also been recommended (Brown 1952–1964. Parler. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. N. London: Folklore Society. Crickets have been used to either eat the center out of a wart (Wilson 1965: 39) or to suck the blood from a pricked wart (Parler 1962. Brown. Literature. “Animal and Plant Lore Collected from the Oral Tradition of English Speaking Folk. 1995. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands.” Folk-Lore 40 (1929): 113–133. Austin. 1969. 1952–1964. 1995. Daniel Lindsay. Willard. School project. and Lucy Blayney Thomas. Calgary: Wild Rose College of Natural Healing. Edited by Katharine Briggs. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. Pauline Monette. Cricket In European folk medicine. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. 1962. TX: Encino Press. American Folk Medicine. “Norfolk Folklore. 7 vols. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. the left hind leg of a frog and the right hind leg of a cricket were placed under the pillow of the person suffering from warts (Anderson 1970: 81). References Beith. 7 vols. Cambridgeshire Customs and Folklore. Grasshoppers have been used similarly (UCLA Folklore Archives 14_5532). 1935. (North Wind Picture Archive) . Clarence. 3: 1038). Black. Lincoln: University of Nebraska. John. IL: Meyerbooks. Porter. Frank C. County Folklore 8. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Ruth L.J. Mary Celestia. See also Amulet. Meyer. Mundford Primary School. Fanny D. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Woodbridge: Boydell Press. NC: Duke University Press. 6: 317). and University Student Contributors. See also Hives. 1992. Bergen. Saffron Walden: C. there is a similar tradition. Crickets have also been used to treat hives. Rheumatism. Crickets have also been used to treat hives. Tongue. Taylor. Princeton. In North American folk medicine. 1952–1964. Somerset Folklore. London: Routledge. Keith. 1985. 1965. Durham. In North American folk medicine there is a similar tradition. W. Ray B.). Glenwood. Kentucky Superstitions. William George. and Criticism 15. Texas Folk Medicine. 15 vols.102 . such as oil of wintergreen. camphorated oil. Cricket ries. In a variation of this remedy. Black. Chamomile. Mary. Brown. London: Folklore Society. Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains and Neighbouring Territo- References Anderson.

with a towel over the head (Hatfield MS. Toftwood.) (Browne 1958: 18). 1980). 1980). Norfolk. Smelling tar was another suggestion (Schools survey. and olive oil have all been used. Sulphur. sugar. Sometimes an oil was given as an emetic (Meyer 1985: 85–86). Clement. “Studying Folklore in a Small Region. goose grease. Vinegar boiled in the bedroom is recommended: an alternative was to hang a vinegar-soaked sheet in the room (Brown 1952–1964. still in use today. 1980). tobacco (Nicotiana sp. Plant remedies administered for croup include a cabbage leaf. was to fry currants and spread them on fat bacon. VI: Folk Remedies. Stewart. In Norfolk.” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 31 (1965): 33–41. A hot flannel around the neck was another version (Terrington St. water. A tea made from the white portion of chicken droppings (Puckett 1981: 356) or a poultice of cow manure on the chest (Smith. 6: 166). or alum. this would ensure it would never suffer from cramp (Parler 1962. tied with a black thread around the neck (Fife 1957: 147). and butter was sometimes given (Pope 1965: 444) (a remedy reminiscent of the East Anglian butter balls. is to boil water in the room where the child is. schools survey). Amulets worn to prevent croup include a . so that the patient inhales steamy air. Inhaling night air was recommended (Cannon 1984: 103). In North American folk medicine onions mixed with sugar or honey are used for croup. above). In Suffolk houseleek was used in the treatment of croup (Taylor 1929: 119). Beet juice was given in small quantities. This is done either by simmering a kettle in the bedroom or encouraging the child to inhale steam from a bowl of water held under the chin. A soothing mixture was made from molasses and soda (Puckett 1981: 356). or ground deer antler (Brown 1952–1964. Alderman Peel High School. Infusions of pine-tops (Pinus sp. A cold or a warm-water compress was used (Meyer 1985: 84–85). A newborn child should be held so that its feet make tracks in new snow. or the hair from a donkey’s flank chopped and given with treacle (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_6271). A remedy from Derbyshire. or vinegar and molasses.) (Gardner 1937: 263). 6: 166–167). balls of sugar and butter were given for croup (Schools survey. Another treatment was to place a pot of tar under the bed (Porter 1974: 50). which is then applied as a poultice (EFS 305). Norfolk. Various fats were used to rub into the throat and chest. A tea made from mullein or horehound was sometimes given (Rogers 1941: 18). Urine was given (Parler 1962. Folk medicine provided suggestions for avoiding croup. 3: 582). or leaves of black walnut (Juglans nigra) (Parler 1962: 582) have all been used. A thick “stew” made from apple cider vinegar. used as recently as 1959. was administered (Meyer 1985: 85–86). red clover roots (Trifolium pratense) (Lick and Brendle 1922: 113). Lard. 1980. Dried bumblebees in molasses (Levine 1941: 487) or tea made from a hornet’s nest (Letcher 1910–1911: 171) were alternatives. : 103 Croup A common method of treatment. 3: 582). Gordon. schools survey Norfolk.Croup Wilson. and Kyger 1962: 133) were other recommendations. or a mixture of chamomile and false saffron flowers (Carthamus tinctorius) fried in butter (Meyer 1985: 85–86). both rubbed into the chest and sometimes given internally too. Plugging some hair from the sufferer into a tree was a remedy involving transference (Puckett 1926: 370). or powdered bloodroot in molasses. or a mixture of alcohol and water. hog’s foot oil. To dip one baby sock in holy water and have the sufferer wear it was another croup treatment (Hyatt 1965: 279).

Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Emelyn Elizabeth. Amber beads were also worn to protect against croup (Killion and Waller 1972: 108). 3 vols. Folk Beliefs of the Southern Negro. EFS. Newbell Niles.” Kentucky Folklore Record 11 (1965): 41–51. Puckett.” Folk-Lore 40 (1929): 113–133. Folklore Studies 9.” New England Journal of Medicine 224 (1941): 487–492. and University Student Contributors. Porter. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. Elmer Lewis. Atlanta: Cherokee. 1947. 1962. 1974. Cuts way Surgical Journal 17 (1910–1911): 17– 175. Levine. 1985. Harold D. Killion. Murfreesboro. Austin W. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Pope. NC: Herald. New York. Bloodroot. “The Treatment of Some Diseases by the ‘Old Time’ Negro. Durham. Vance. American Folk Medicine. Talley. cuts have attracted a number of folk remedies. London: Batsford. NC: Greenwood Press. 1981. Mullein. Hall. Chamomile. Ray B. John G. Brendle.” The Rail- Cuts As an obvious domestic emergency. Frank C.” Publications of the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society 25 (1962): 1–278. Schools survey. Meyer. Ozark Superstitions. Ronald G. unpublished. In Norfolk one lady recalls how . 6: 166–167). A Treasury of Georgia Folklore. Early Folk Medical Practices in Tennessee. and M. Folklore from the Schoharie Hills. or beads made from the rattan vine (Berchemia scandens) (Parler 1962: 586). Clarence. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. Chiltoskey. Poultice. 2nd rev. Chapel Hill.. Fife. and Sondra B. Genevieve. and Charles T. “Plant Names and Plant Lore among the Pennsylvania Germans. E. and a black thread tied around the neck (Brown 1952–1964.” Proceedings and Addresses of the Pennsylvania German Society 33 (1922).104 . K. 15 vols. The Folklore of East Anglia. 1984. Stewart. Manuscript notes at University College London. Boston: G. Houseleek. Edited by Wayland D. Randolph. Hamel. Anna Casetta. Anthon S. Newbell Niles.. NC: Duke University Press. Mary Celestia. Bloodroot was used also in the Native American tradition for treating croup (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 26). 7 vols. Horehound. Edited by Wayland D. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 1975. Onion. 1980. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. Smith. English Folklore Survey. Hyatt. Parler. Ellsworth Kyger. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. G. David E. and Mary U. Hand and Jeannine E. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. “Folk Medicine in New Hampshire. 1926. Paul B. Puckett. TN: 1941. 1958. “Superstitions and Beliefs of Fleming County. ed. Enid. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Sylva. It was believed that a person born after the death of his or her father had the ability to cure croup by blowing into the sufferer’s mouth (Randolph 1947: 136). and Thomas R. Hand. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. penny with a hole in it worn around the neck. IL: Meyerbooks. “Norfolk Folklore. Manuscript notes from survey of Norfolk schools. Gardner. Lick.. Cold water and bandaging was one basic treatment. Glenwood. Rogers. Letcher. Taylor. References Brown.” Western Folklore 16 (1957): 153–162. Waller. “The Pennsylvania Germans of the Shenandoah Valley. Browne. See also Amber. 1965. Transference. Cannon. New York: Columbia University Press. 1972. 1937. Mark R. “Pioneer Mormon Remedies. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Thiederman. James H. 1952–1964. Harry Middleton.

until it was all red” (V. watercress (Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum). as its name suggests.G. Alternatives include the bruised leaves of geranium or an ointment made from comfrey (Schools survey. In Yorkshire. Castor oil (from Ricinus communis). Leaves of ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata) have been used to treat cuts (Beith 1995: 233).). unpub. 1980: schools survey. Plant remedies include the root of horseradish (Armoracia rusticana). Rose leaves (Rosa canina) have been crushed and laid on cuts (Hatfield 1994: 32). woodruff (Asperula odorata). as was moldy jam (Prince 1991: 113). also known as cutfinger. blackberry. St. in press). Yarrow has been widely used to heal minor injuries both in Scotland (Beith 1995: 252) and in England (Tongue 1965: 36). Prince 1991: 101). Cobwebs were widely used. its use was reported in the Weald of Kent as recently as the 1940s (Mabey 1996: 317). com. Dog’s spit was considered beneficial by some (Simpkins 1914: 403).W. Norfolk: schools survey. Cambridgeshire..) was called cut-leaf in Sussex. was used in Devon for treating cuts (Baker 1980: 52). as they were for more serious wounds.. The inner layer of an onion skin was used as a natural plaster (Vickery 1995: 267). and dandelion (Allen and Hatfield. and its leaves were rubbed onto cuts (Vickery 1995: 379). They included chickweed. Mallow has been used for cuts (Vickery 1995: 229). A slice of bracket fungus was used in Sussex to stem bleeding from a cut (Allen 1995: 27).) was another plant used to treat cuts (Allen 1995: 184). Primrose (Primula vulgaris) and tormentil (Potentilla erecta) were both used in Cumbria (Freethy 1985: 87. Pepper was also used as a styptic (Taylor MSS).) have been crushed and laid on cuts (Vickery 1995: 108). Valerian (Valeriana sp. she had to “swish it around in a bucket of cold water. Lily leaves preserved in brandy were a country standby for treating cuts. unpub. Periwinkle. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) was used to stem bleeding (Beith 1995: 238). Norfolk. Shag tobacco was used to stop the bleeding (Alderman Peel school. also known as water figwort (Scrophularia auriculata).). and the bruised leaves of a related species. hazel (Corylus avellana). Cleavers (Galium aparine) has been used for cuts and grazes (Hatfield 1994: 33. more commonly used as a treatment for constipation. Moulds of various kinds were used to heal cuts. an ointment made from daisies (Bellis perennis) was applied to cuts (Beith 1995: 213). lady’s mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris). tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum). unpub. The related species. used all over Britain.). Norfolk 1980. has been used to treat cuts. The inner membrane of an egg was used as a natural plaster (B. Woundwort (Stachys spp. To this list could be added a large number of plants used in Ireland for treating cuts. Salt water was sometimes preferred (Toftwood. pers. Comfrey was used for treating cuts and wounds (Killip 1975: 135). it was still being used in the twentieth century (Bardswell 1911: 111). In Norfolk. but especially commonly in Suffolk (Taylor MSS). June 2002).).Cuts : 105 when she cut herself. moldy bacon fat has been used (Allen 1995: 118). the large leaves of dock (Rumex sp. was reported by Parkinson in the seventeenth century in use for treating cuts (Parkinson 1640: 563). Self-heal (Prunella vulgaris). moldy curd tarts have been used on cuts (Prince 1991: 95). 1988 pers. thick slices of which were bound onto cuts (Porter 1974: 44).. . The shed skin of an adder was sometimes used to heal deep cuts (Tongue 1965: 35. com. has also been used to treat cuts (Prince 1991: 114). 88). 127). In recent times. were used in Buckinghamshire (Science Gossip [1866]: 83). In Sussex. was used to treat cuts (Vickery 1995: 385). ivy. Water betony. Moldy cheese was used in Sussex (Candlin 1987). In Scotland. Norfolk. Halvergate.

White lilies in whisky. used in Pennsylvania (Lick and Brendle 1922: 97). Tea leaves (UCLA Folklore Archives 19_6259) or coffee grains mixed with kerosene (Anderson 1970: 25) have also been used. as well as the gum or pitch derived from numerous species of pine (Moerman 1998: 409–413) and fir (Moerman 1998: 33–36). A poultice of prickly pear has been used (Murphree 1965: 179). various molds have been used in treatment of cuts. and horseradish leaves crushed in vinegar (Pickard and Buley 1945: 42).) has been used (Brown 1952–1964. sheep’s wool (Puckett 1981: 358). resin. Coon fat (Parler 1962. mud (UCLA Folklore Archives 20_6256). A salve made from houseleek and lard has been used (UCLA Folklore Archives 9_6259). Crushed squash seeds (Cucurbita sp. and the “body” of the puffball was used to poultice severe cuts (Hatfield 1994: 32). In particular. Pine extracts. A salve has been made from devil’s bush (? Aralia spinosa) and lard (Miller 1958: 64). England. or the liquid from balsam blisters (Abies balsamea) (Clark 1970: 18). 6: 168) have been suggested. Where East Anglians used the bruised leaves of rose.) (Woodhull 1930: 53). Puffball spores have been used (Clark 1970: 19) just as in Britain. The spores were sprinkled on to cuts. In the Native American tradition many of these plant remedies have been used to treat cuts. 3: 591). A salve has been made from watercress (Puckett 1981: 358). The daisy lotion used by colonists (Kell 1956: 371) may have been brought with them from Scotland. This is an impressive overlap between British and American plant remedies. As in Britain. An ointment has been prepared from pokeberry roots (Pickard and Buley 1945: 42). but in addition to these a large number of plants not native to Britain have been used in North American folk treatment of cuts. Some of these are recognizably the same as in Britain—for instance the use of spider webs (Brown 1952–1964 6: 168) and of the inner membrane of an egg (UCLA Folklore Archives 18_6257).) have been used to dress cuts (Clark 1970: 19). Among the plant remedies used in North American folk medicine. soot (Brown 1952–1964. Spruce juice (Picea sp. or pitch (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_7611). mirror the lilies in brandy used in Suffolk. in North America the dried stems of roses have been powdered and applied (Clark 1970: 19). Juniper gum has been used (Van Wart 1948: 576). or the juice of milkweed (Asclepias sp. Plantain leaves have been used (Hand 1958: 66).) have been applied (Clark 1970: 19). mutton tallow has been used by the Shinnecock Indians (Carr and Westey . Basswood bark (Tilia americana) has been used (Carmer 1940: 366). Sugar and flour. Chicken manure and lard (Hyatt 1965: 207) or fresh horse manure (Brown 1952– 1964. 6: 168). 6: 168) or glue (Puckett 1981: 359) are other recommendations. the gum of many coniferous trees has been used. 6: 168). some are recognizably the same as ones used in Britain. as has one made from elder bark (Puckett 1981: 358). Geranium leaves have been bruised and laid on cuts (Puckett 1981: 358). and turpentine (Brown 1952–1964. 3: 587) and bacon fat (UCLA Folklore Archives 4_6591) have both been rubbed on cuts. 6: 168). Apart from plant remedies. Spitting on a cut and then holding it against the bark of a tree is a variant of this (Cannon 1984: 104).106 . Cuts Puffballs were important in first aid and were often kept dried in a shed for yearround use. Moldy bread and moldy orange peel have both been used (Parler 1962. have been widely used. as well as rotted wood (UCLA Folklore Archives 16_6259). Green tobacco leaves (Nicotiana sp. In North American folk medicine there is an even greater array of remedies for cuts. Spit has been used on cuts (Brown 1952–1964.

Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. Brendle. Andrew. Boston: G. ed. Anna Casetta. “Current Beliefs of the Kwakiutl Indians. The Folklore of East Anglia. Harry Middleton. “A Folklore Survey of Dickson County. The Herb Garden. 15 vols. London: Batsford. Puffball. 1985. NC: Duke University Press. Crawfordsville. OR: Timber Press. His Ills. Bleeding. Examples of Printed Folklore Concerning Fife. Kell.. Lloyd G. Allen. London: Sinclair Stevenson 1996. Discovering the Folklore of Plants. John. Prince. Anderson. Anthon S. Daniel E. and University Student Contributors. “Plant Names and Plant Lore among the Pennsylvania Germans. 1987.. Edited by Wayland D. Grandmother’s Cures: An A–Z of Herbal Remedies. 1640. Mary E.” Proceedings and Addresses of the Pennsylvania German Society 33 (1922). Edinburgh: Polygon. Madge E. Baker. Newbell Niles. Durham. Hand and Jeannine E.” Journal of American Folklore 45 (1932) 177–260. Parler. Hall. Candlin. David E. Joseph D. 1981. 1911. and Gabrielle Hatfield. Pickard. 1980. Molds. Elder. Alice H. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. Houseleek. Frances A. The Folklore of the Isle of Man. David E. Freethy. Frank C.. and Thomas R. Margaret. Tennessee. Moerman. with Some Notes on Clackmannan and Kinross-Shires. Ron. 1945. Ivy.” Florida Anthropologist 18 (1965): 175–185. Enid. and the bodies of snails have been applied to cuts by the Kwakiutl (Boas 1932: 193). The Midwest Pioneer.” Journal of American Folklore 58 (1945): 113–123. Cures and Doctors. E. London: Thomas Cotes. Cannon. Listen for the Lonesome Drum. Hand. 2nd rev. Yarrow. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. London: Fontana. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. London: Adam and Charles Black. and Carlos Westey. “Folk Medicine in Florida: Remedies using Plants. Margaret. 1994. Poke. Hyatt. 1914. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Countryside Books. Mabey. Porter. Plantain. Clark.” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 24 (1958): 57–71. Murphree. Carmer. Richard. Portland. Carr. OR: Timber Press. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. Portland. 1995. 1998. and R. “Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Pennsylvania. Beith. London: Publications of the Folklore Society. New York: Blue Ribbon Books 1940. Hand. Edited by Wayland D. Franz. “The Folklore of the Daisy. Newbury: Countryside Books. Boas. Texas Folk Medicine. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. 2nd ed.Cuts : 107 1945: 122). TX: Encino Press. Native American Ethnobotany. See also Blackberry. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. Miller. Katherine T. Mallow. Parkinson. 1974. Puckett. Talley. Mary. Memories of Old Sussex. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. 1952–1964. Dennis. Hatfield. Flora Britannica. Dandelion. Carl.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. Woodbridge: Boydell.” Keystone Folklore Quarterly 3 (1958): 61–74. 1991. and Sondra B. K. Comfrey. 1984. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. 7 vols. County Folklore 7. London: Batsford. in press. 1970. From Agar to Zenry. Simpkins. John Ewart. Wounds. Lick. 3 vols. Marlborough: Crowood Press. Snail. Wayland D. John. 1975. Chickweed. Thiederman. Aylesbury: Shire. Bardswell. Carlyle Buley. Gabrielle. “Surviving Folktales and Herbal Lore among the Shinnecock Indians of Long Island. References Allen. Banta. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. 1995. IN: R. Lillian. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. . Austin. Killip. 1962. Theatrum Botanicum. 1965.” Journal of American Folklore 69 (1956): 369–376. Mary Celestia.. Brown.

Oxford: Oxford University Press.” Publications of the Texas Folklore Society 8 (1930): 9–73. Woodhull. Their Diseases and Native Cures. Ruth L.108 . Somerset Folklore. Tongue. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Manuscript Notes of Mark R.” The Canadian Medical Association Journal 59(6) (1948): 573–577. Van Wart. 1995. County Folklore 8. Frost. Cuts time Provinces. Taylor MSS. Taylor in the Norfolk Record Office. “The Indians of the Mari- . Vickery. Roy. MS 4322. Norwich. Edited by Katharine Briggs. London: Folklore Society. 1965. “Ranch Remedios. Arthur F.

there are a large number of minor ones. In Ireland dandelion has been used for a large number of other ailments (Library of Congress) recorded. Other minor British uses include the treatment of indigestion. or picking bunches of the flowers. in press). The plant was called by her “heart fever grass. This has earned the plant the name of “piss-a-bed” and has given rise to a widespread idea that touching the plant. The leaves are eaten in salads.D: Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) This is one of the most widely used plants in British folk medicine. A wise woman from Donegal recommended three leaves on three successive mornings eaten for heart trouble (Black 1883: 199). It is from Ireland that the widest ranges of folk medical uses of dandelion have been One of the most widely used plants in British folk medicine. and even of lip cancer (Allen and Hatfield. of corns. The leaves were used in both Scotland and Ireland to treat stings (Vickery 1995: 105). Eaten in a bread and butter sandwich. the leaves were regarded as an ulcer cure in Glencoe (Beith 1995: 213–214).. and it has formed a common cure for coughs and colds. dandelion has been used to treat jaundice and other liver troubles and has formed a common cure for coughs and colds.” Such use of the dande- . In the Scottish Highlands. The root contains powerful diuretics and has been used as a kidney tonic. Dandelion has been regarded as a general tonic. in much the same way that dock leaves were used. The white latex present in all parts of the plant has been used to treat warts. of scarlet fever. In addition to these common uses. the plant was particularly valued for promoting the appetite of sufferers from tuberculosis. will make a child wet the bed (Vickery 1995: 102–103). It has been used in the treatment of jaundice and other liver troubles.

. for example. See also Amulet. Black. The Meskwaki took dandelion root for chest pain when other remedies failed (Vogel 1970: 298–299). Coughs. Underhill. In Donegal it is described as being used for “every disease” (Allen and Hatfield. Colds. Lick. fractures. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. 213–216) and the sap has been used to treat nettle stings (UCLA Folklore Archives 2_5442). Toothache. as a health promoter. 1968. A tea made from the root has been recommended for the nerves (Lick and Brendle 1922: 73) and for dyspepsia. Eye problems. Cuts. Edinburgh: Polygon. in press). including cuts. drunk hot. the redveined ones by a woman (Allen and Hatfield. Portland. Bed-wetting. the white-veined leaves should be eaten by a man. the Navajo have used an infusion of the plant to speed delivery (Vestal 1952: 53). Southern Home Remedies. “Customs of the Year in the Dutch Country. In Pennsylvania there is a custom of eating dandelion leaves on Green Thursday (Maundy Thursday).” Proceedings and Addresses . tonic.” Pennsylvania Dutchman 3 (November 15.110 . London: Folklore Society. Sleeplessness. and Gabrielle Hatfield. Thomas R. Harris. Headache. The Ethnobiology of the Papago Indians. Rev. “Ethnobiological Studies in the American Southwest II. “Plant Names and Plant Lore among the Pennsylvania Germans.” University of New Mexico Bulletin 4(3) 1935: 1–84. Sprains. with lemon and sugar (Fogel 1915: 131). Brendle. Warts. Fractures. Mary. Edward E.. Castetter. by the Papago (Castetter and Underhill 1935: 65). There is an interesting belief recorded from Limerick that when used as a tonic. rheumatism (Meyer 1985: 37. and Claude W. As in Britain.).. Anemia.” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45 (1935). Dandelion wine. and stys (Logan 1972: 59). Unger. Heart trouble. and Ruth M. kidney complaints. and Thomas R. William George.” Americana Germanica 18 (1915). sore eyes. Puckett 1981: 475). dandelion is widespread and much used in folk medicine there too. References Allen. David E. Though not native to North America. In Ireland it has been used for a large number of other ailments too. Jaundice. Brendle. In addition. 150. Tuberculosis. Murfreesboro. “Folk Medicine on the Pennsylvania Germans: The Non-Occult Cures. Bernice Kelly (ed. they have been used to treat gynecological troubles. while for cataract.. toothache. headache. 1995. Thomas R. dropsy. Corns. in press. “Beliefs and Superstitions of the Pennsylvania Germans. sprains. dandelions are regarded as a cure-all (UCLA Folklore Archive 6_6446). and to prevent the itch (Brendle 1951: 7). David E. toothache and anemia. diabetes. it has been used as a tonic. Folklore Fragments. for jaundice. 157. Indigestion. 1951): 12. Fogel. Edwin Miller. OR: Timber Press. The flowers are eaten for menstrual cramps—for instance. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. Keystone Folklore Quarterly 9 (1964). Brendle. Dandelion leaves have been suggested for insomnia (UCLA Folklore Archives 10_6769) and to increase virility (UCLA Folklore Archives 8_6386). has been used as a cold cure (“Folklore Fragments” 1964: 118). Also similar to the British use is the common employment of the plant juice to treat warts (see. Dock. pieces of the root have been worn as an amulet around the neck (Brendle and Unger 1935: 124). Diabetes. The uses of dandelion by Native Americans are very wide (Moerman 1998: 550– 551) and include many familiar in Britain. and edema (Harris 1968: 99). such as kidney complaints. Tonic. NC: Johnson. Echoing the Irish belief mentioned above. Beith. A cough syrup has been made in Pennsylvania from the blossoms. Dropsy. Dandelion lion for treating heart problems is exclusive to Ireland. 1883. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. in press).

Making the Cure: A Look at Irish Folk Medicine. References Black. 1883. Encyclopaedia of Superstitions.. 1970. Clarence. Portland. For example. Edited and revised by Christina Hole. Edited by Wayland D. Hand. the Well of the Special Powers (Beith 1995: 142). Vestal. The touch of a suicide’s hand was considered effective against the King’s Evil (Black 1883: 101). Wintemberg. Mark R. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. Anna Casetta. London: Folklore Society. Talley. and M. “Norfolk Folklore.” Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology 40(4) (1952): 1–94. the hangman charged the sufferer a fee (Black 1883: 100–101). A. Glenwood. Melted-down fat from the adder was used to treat deafness and earache in Sussex as . this is a remedy reputedly of gipsy origin (Taylor MSS. Taylor. Rosenberg. in Gaelic. 1984. E. See also Transference. Edited by Wayland D. Puckett. NJ: Rutgers University Press. Edited by J. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. 1974. The oil is prepared by baking the hedgehog. 1985. Newbell Niles. Wayland D. The Folklore of East Anglia. Daniel E. Logan. Dublin: Talbot Press. Hedgehog oil was widely used to treat deafness. whole. The “cure” extended to cancer as well (Cannon 1984: 98).” a folk medical term for a swelling. IL: Meyerbooks. Kilda there is a well named. That the method involved the idea of transference is confirmed by the story of a man who placed his dead grandfather’s hand on his warts. 1998. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Boston: G. : 111 til the twentieth century (Wintemberg 1918: 137). Hand. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. 323–330. Porter. In Cambridgeshire in the 1940s this was still being practiced (Porter 1974: 47).Deafness of the Pennsylvania German Society 33 (1922). K. “Wens. Anthon S. In the Carolinas. “The Ethnobotany of the Ramah Navaho. 1981. The flesh could be eaten. 1972. New Brunswick. London: Book Club Associates 1974. OR: Timber Press. the touch of a dead man’s hand was used as a cure for various kinds of swelling. Radford. in a clay covering. and Sondra B. Patrick. were sometimes so treated (Radford and Radford 1974: 125). Sometimes people attended an execution so that they could be cured in this way. American Folk Medicine. on the remote island of St. Sometimes it was specified that the corpse must be of the opposite sex to the sufferer (Taylor 1929: 119). the Gallows. Cannon. Paul A. Hand and Jeannine E. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. the same treatment for goiter was practiced un- Deafness The water of a particular healing well was sometimes believed to help deafness. Vogel. Dead man’s hand In British folk medicine. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Norfolk).” Folk-Lore 50 (1929): 113–133. including sebaceous cysts as well as goiter. Essays in Honor of Francis Lee Utley. In North American folk medicine. Virgil J. and the Dead Man’s Hand in American Folk Medicine. Mandel and B. W. especially goiter. Enid. 3 vols. Hall. Meyer. William George. Roy. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. Moerman. Native American Ethnobotany. asking his grandfather to “take them with you” (Porter 1974: 51). 1995. “Hangman. Tuberculosis.” Journal of American Folklore 31 (1918): 135–153. A. J. 1970. “Folk-Lore Collected in the Counties of Oxford and Waterloo. American Indian Medicine. Thiederman. Radford. Vickery. Ontario. wens were likewise treated by the touch of a dead man’s hand (Hand 1970: 327). London: Batsford.” In Medieval Literature and Folklore Studies.

and oil of bitter almonds (Meyer 1985: 102– 103). After a few minutes. goose fat. 1987. Edinburgh: Polygon. as well as spirit of ants (Salmon 1693: 328. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. England (Smith and Randall 1987: 25). Glenwood. Manuscript notes of Mark R. pickerel oil. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. Salmon. Norwich. eds. Newbury: Countryside Books. Ethnobotany of the Blackfoot Indians. 7 vols. Meyer. The Gaelic name for this plant translates as “ear plant. Hellson. Clarence. Beith. the juice flowed out. Wilde. 1995. Glasgow: Griffin. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. 1974. Smith. Lady Jane. leaves and roots of the cowslip were crushed and the resulting juice mixed with honey. See also Cowslip.” It was used for both earache and deafness (Beith 1995: 224). At least some of the folk remedies listed here may be an inheritance from official “book” medicine. squeezed from nine plants. 1835. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Powdered earwig is another recommendation (Brown 1952–1964. include the use of wintergreen (Pyrola sp. 1995. Deafness recently as the 1920s (Allen 1995: 164). William George. A remarkably similar recipe appears in a late seventeenth-century recipe from Staffordshire. Black. London. Innumerable animal ingredients in official medicine at the end of the seventeenth century include civet for deafness. when the patient turned over. IL: Meyerbooks. one hoped. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Healing with Plants in the American and Mexican West. Dalyell. North American folk medicine for deafness includes an analogous assortment of animal oils and plant remedies. sassafras oil. Kill or Cure. John Graham. Medical Remedies from the Staffordshire Records Office. Taylor in Norfolk Record Office. The Darker Superstitions of Scotland. Durham. Kay. 1985. Ancient Cures. OR: Timber Press (in press). William. The Compleat English Physician. Meyer in his collection (Meyer 1985: 102–103) includes hedgehog oil. eel oil. London: Folklore Society. Taylor MSS. He mentions a mid-nineteenth-century recipe calling for black wool (as in Scotland.” presumably including deafness. Brown. The flowers. The Tarahumara use the pincushion cactus (Mamillaria heyderi) to treat earache and deafness (Kay 1996: 190). Andrew. in press). and Thea Randall.112 . and. An Irish remedy for earache was recorded by Oscar Wilde’s mother at the end of the nineteenth century. Portland. Plant remedies include sow-thistle juice. MS4322. 1883. Margarita Artschwager. Ants’ eggs mixed with onion juice was another remedy for deafness from Scotland (Black 1883: 161). Mary. was another Irish remedy (Allen and Hatfield. The same tribe used the juice of the berries of Amelanchier alnifolia as eardrops (Hellson 1974:80). London. M. Mercury Series 19. skunk oil. and Gabrielle Hatfield. Wearing black wool in the ears was considered in nineteenth-century Scotland to be a preservative against deafness (Dalyell 1835: 116). Staffordshire Record Office. and civet. NC: Duke University Press. The juice of black radish has also been suggested (Brown 1952–1964. houseleek (as in Britain).. Earache. 680). Ottawa: National Museums of Canada. Sassafras. Frank C. Houseleek. More prosaic remedies for deafness include juice of the houseleek. 1996. see above) to be dipped in civet and placed in the ears. Charms and Us- . 1693. References Allen. Allen. This mixture was dripped into the nostrils and ears of the prone patient. Native American remedies for ear “disorders. 6: 169).) by the Blackfoot (Hellson 1974: 82).). Mint juice (Mentha sp. Janet. 1952–1964. American Folk Medicine. 6: 169).D. Jon C. the deafness was improved (Wilde 1898: 42). David E.

The term “melancholy” is a learned rather than a folk one.2). and he recovered.) has been successfully used to treat depression (P. The recipe is given for violet pudding. The proverb “I borage bring always courage” is quoted by Gerard in his herbal. ranging from “possessed by evil spirits. a mixture of chamomile flowers and angelica leaves (Angelica sp. which was grown on Roman houses for these purposes (Souter 1995: 41). In the Highlands of Scotland in the seventeenth century a heroic cure for “faintness of the spirits” was recorded by Martin Martin from the Isle of Skye. “has always the design’d effect” (Martin 1716: 183). pers.S. The story tells of Calum Cille treating a young herd boy whose mind had been disturbed by long lonely nights on the hills. The cure consisted of laying the patient on the anvil and bringing down a huge hammer. lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) and Rosa gallica would probably have been available only to those wealthy enough to afford physicians or a physic garden at least.Depression ages of Ireland. The healer was a smith.. John’s wort. Apart from this allusion. In the Scottish Highlands. may have been used in British folk medicine. whisky was regarded in the Scottish Highlands as a cure for most things. garnet or jasper was thought to ease depression (Souter 1995: 152). we have probably even less written evidence of folk treatments for depression than of other more obvious physical illnesses. Wearing as jewelry carnelian. A late-nineteenth-century book refers to its use in the Isle of Man for treating lowness of spirits (Moore 1898). so it seems unlikely that these nonnative plants would have featured in British folk medicine.” reflecting the official medical humoral theory. In very recent times.). the thirteenth generation in his family to practice this treatment. including melancholia. Simply because it is less tangible than many afflictions. : 113 Depression Under varying names. amber. though it has had a wide variety of other uses. There is a fascinating legend from the Highlands of Scotland involving the plant St. a number of native plants not found in Britain have been used .” which suggests that treating with plants in the groin or armpit may have been regularly practiced (Beith 1995: 40). A twentieth-century cure for “sour nature” is recorded from Hampshire. meaning literally “black-humored. Otherwise. having the power to “make the sad man into a happy man” (National Library of Scotland Advocates MS 72. Perhaps this plant. consisting of eating cabbage cooked with honey and salt (Prince 1991: 106). A rare glimpse of an eighteenth-century treatment for bad moods is given in the Diary of a Farmer’s Wife 1796–1797. a tea made from thistles was used to treat depression (Beith 1995: 246). Perhaps more acceptably. Of the plants mentioned in the herbals. In folk medicine among the less educated there would have been many ways of describing what we would call depression. “a good sure cure for cross husbands” (The Diary of a Farmer’s Wife 1796–1797: 104). Columba’s oxterful. In North America. a native of the Mediterranean but naturalized in Britain. the plant has not figured widely in the British folk medical literature as a treatment for depression. com. 1985. this use seems to have been confined to the herbals and official medicine. Nottingham. they say.” cast down. Borago officinalis. which has recently sprung to fame throughout the Western world as an antidepressant.1. St. 1898. Some plants thought to protect against evil spirits were also thought to prevent depression. as if to strike him. this condition must be as old as mankind. London: Ward and Downey. to simply bad tempered. The Gaelic name for the plant translates as “St. This. John’s wort was placed in the boy’s armpit. for example ivy.

. Asafoetida (Ferula asafoetida) had a reputation for treating nervous disorders. St. and by the Iroquois as a nerve medicine (Herrick 1977: 289). A red dress may be worn (Hatch 1969: 164) or a gold ring threaded on a red ribbon (Kay 1972: 178). the music played on pipes made from cinnamon bark (Cinnamomum aromaticum) is recommended for melancholy (Leland 1892: 188). Chamomile. Mary. 7 vols. although used in North American folk medicine for a number of disorders. Yarrow. Durham. is largely based on the “actual power of rhythm” (Densmore 1954: 109). 6: 357). Depression to treat depression. John’s wort. the Mayo treat depression using “brasil” (Haematoxylon brasiletto) (Kay 1996: 159).) have likewise been used (UCLA Folklore Archives 24_6394). psychological and physical symptoms were not separated as they are in orthodox modern Western medicine. More poetically. In the Native American tradition. There has been a folk belief that burned bread can cause depression (Puckett 1981: 290). Collection of North Carolina Folklore. An American folk remedy of German origin for treating “melancholy” uses elecampane (Inula helenium) combined either with yarrow and sassafras or with wine heated with red-hot steel (Wilson 1908: 71). Both onions (Puckett 1981: 292) and turnips (Gruber 1902: 15) have been recommended for depression and nervous disorders. 1952–1964. Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) was recommended for nervous disorders and to “raise the drooping spirits” (Meyer 1985: 185). it has been claimed. Mental. Color. A modern Native American herbal mixture recommended for its cheering qualities includes the flowers of St.114 . 1995. The flesh of screech owls was eaten by both Native Americans and black Americans and was thought to be good for melancholy (Hudson 1960: 13). NC: Duke University Press.) is also known as nerve root and has been used in the Rocky Mountains for depression (Willard 1992: 61). See also Blacksmith. St. Lady’s slipper (Cypripedium spp. It was apparently widely used as a sedative in domestic practice (Meyer 1985: 146). Sassafras. and many plants used ceremonially by the Native Americans may well have treated what we would call depression. According to Rafinesque it is used by the Indians “in all nervous disorders” (Rafinesque 1828– 1830). A tea made from tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) has been used to treat melancholy (UCLA Folklore Archives 11_5398). James’s buckwheat (Eriogonum jamesii) was used by the Western Keres to treat despondency (Swank 1932: 43). numerous plants have been used for psychological disturbances (Moerman 1998: 816). Mexican tradition. In Mexico. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Ivy. Rhubarb (Rheum spp. References Beith. both in the medical literature and to some extent in folk practice (McWhorter 1966: 13). The color red has been associated with cheerfulness. does not seem to have been used in folk medicine in the past for its antidepressant properties.) and senna leaves (Senna spp. This usage. In the Native American culture music is widely used for healing. Frank C. Brown. John’s wort. Edinburgh: Polygon. John’s wort and passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) and the bark of Devil’s Club (Oplopanax horridus) (Kavasch and Baar 1999: 179). Pine trees have been said to comfort a diseased mind (Brown 1952–1964. Nonbotanical folk treatments for depression in North America include iodine solution mixed with sugar water (UCLA Folklore Archives 15_5597). though few seem to have been singled out for treating what in the modern West is termed depression. Cabbage. and in the Mexican culture wearing something red is held to combat depression.

3 vols. 1998. Charles Bundy.D. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. The dew shaken from the flowers of chamomile was believed to cure tuberculosis (Trevelyan 1909: 315). 1996. W. “Animal Lore in Lawson’s and Brickell’s Histories of North Carolina. “Superstitions from Russell County. Glenwood. MD: Hagerstown Town and Country Almanac. and Karen Baar. 2 vols. In Ireland dew was also recommended for preserving the eyesight (Logan 1972: 60). and Sondra B. S. The Diary of a Farmer’s Wife 1796–1797. Newbell Niles. Thiederman. Puckett. Ph. Arthur Palmer. 1716 (facsimile James Thin. ed. Philadelphia: Atkinson and Alexander. Hall. Willard. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. 1981. Hand. A. 1932. Ph. IL: Meyerbooks. University of Arizona. Albany. Charles Godfrey. Keith. The custom of bathing in May dew for eye ailments was observed by Samuel Pepys’s wife in 1667 and was still being followed in Edinburgh until recently (Radford and Radford 1974: 134). McWhorter. ———. Herrick. London: Fontana. Rafinesque. New York: Bantam Books. E. Hagerstown. Bruce. Rituals and Remedies for every Season of Life. Hatch. 1972. John. Daniel. Boston: G. Souter. 2nd. 1828–1830. 1999. Moore. Edited by Wayland D. This water has been used in England for sore eyes and also for removing warts (Vickery 1995: 368). In folk medicine dew was used especially for eye troubles (Tongue 1965: 39). E.D. Anna : 115 Casetta. Dennis. Grandmother’s Cures: An A–Z of Herbal Remedies.W. C. Albuquerque. 1985. American Folk Medicine.” Scientific Monthly 79(2) (August 1954): 109–112. “Home Remedies Mexican Style. Saffron Walden: C. Terry.” Journal of American Folklore 5 (1892): 186– 188. M. Dew Bathing in early-morning dew on the first day of May was recommended in British folk medicine for improving the complexion and removing freckles. “The Folklore of Straw.” Kentucky Folklore Record 12 (1966): 11–14. American Indian Healing Arts: Herbs. thesis. M.” Yn Lioar Manninagh 3 (1898): 303–314.” North Carolina Folklore 8(2) (1960): 1–15. Leland. James William. Frances.” Journal of American Folklore 21 (1908): 68–73. George R. Prince. Barrie.A. Meyer. Swank. 1976). Run- .” Western Folklore 28 (1969): 163– 168. 1992. Kentucky. Daniel E. Native American Ethnobotany. Health and Illness in the Barrio: Women’s Point of View.Dew Densmore. Le Roy. “Notes on FolkMedicine. Moerman. The dew from particular flowers was used in official medicine and also in folk medicine. Medical Flora. Clarence. thesis. Kay. May dew was collected and used to bathe weak children (Addy 1895: 92). Kavasch. Folk-Medicine in the Isle of Man. 1977. Gruber. “Importance of Rhythm in Songs for the Treatment of the Sick by American Indians. A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland. Hudson. OR: Timber Press. 1995. Margarita Artschwager. 1991. dissertation. Portland. State University of New York. London. Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains and Neighbouring Territories. Since the time of Pliny. 1981. Calgary: Wild Rose College of Natural Healing. or Manual of the Medical Botany of the United States of North America. Wilson. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Martin. K. Iroquois Medical Botany. 1852–1914. University of New Mexico. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. the water collecting in the leaf-bases of teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) has been regarded as magical. The Ethnobotany of the Acoma and Laguna Indians. Healing with Plants in the American and Mexican West.

Hay fever. it has been used to treat warts (Brown 1952–1964.” Southern Folklore Quarterly 35 (1971): 121–140. 1965. 1995. In North American folk medicine there are some dietary recommendations for diabetes. Sidney Oldall. there are relatively few records of folk treatments for the condition. 328). Hand. Eye problems. “Les Reme `des du Vieux Temps: Remedies and Cures of the Kaplan Area in Southwestern Louisiana. in press). Edited by Katharine Briggs. Patrick. Ruth L. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. Making the Cure: A Look at Irish Folk Medicine. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Tuberculosis. NC: Duke University Press. was held by some to cause not only hunger when trodden on. but also diabetes (Allen and Hatfield. 7 vols.116 . fever. 388. W. Chilblains. The “hungry grass” well known in Irish folklore. 6: 253). County Folklore 8. Brown. and M. Diabetes Present Day. K. rheumatism. Lincoln. Rheumatism. Dublin: Talbot Press. Taking a small amount of vinegar before every meal is also advised (UCLA Folklore Archives 13_5586). A. Ringworm. dew has been widely recommended for removing freckles (Brown 1952–1964: 196–198). 1995. an infusion of herb Robert (Geranium robertianum) was recommended (Moloney 1919). sweaty feet. Durham. Marie. as is eating honey (UCLA Folklore Archives 10_6283). 1895. In Ireland. Harry Middleton. and hay fever (Puckett 1981: 98. Somerset Folklore. Edited and revised by Christina Hole. bed-wetting.. Drinking goat’s milk (UCLA Folklore Archives 11_6283) or buttermilk (Puckett 1981: 360) is recommended. Boudreaux. Trevelyan. ringworm (Hyatt 1965: 221. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. In North American folk medicine. Diabetes This illness was recognized and named more than two millennia ago by the preChristian Greek physicians. Household Tales with Other Traditional Remains Collected in the Counties of York. Vickery. and Sondra B. in press). Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the . 6: 333) and sore eyes (Boudreaux 1971: 140). and a wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) preparation was used in the Isle of Man (Fargher n. Derby and Nottingham. as in Britain.d. 431). London: Book Club Associates 1974. 3 vols. Freckles. ed. Boston: G. 108. Logan. Roy. 2nd rev. eating peanuts (Arachis hypogea) was said to be good for diabetes (Vickery 1995: 278). Again as in Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Puckett. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Anna Casetta. In Sussex. Folk-Lore and Folk-Stories of Wales. Hyatt. Tongue. E. Radford. 1909. It is not clear to what extent diabetes was recognized in folk medicine. Frank C. 1965. Souter. See also Bed-wetting. Saffron Walden: C. 1981. In Herefordshire. London: Folklore Society. A number of other conditions too have been treated with dew: rashes (Brown 1952–1964. Hall. Chamomile. or one of dandelion (Allen and Hatfield. powdered mice were recommended (Allen 1995: 115). Drinking sauerkraut juice has been found helpful (Puck- References Addy. Encyclopaedia of Superstitions. probably Agrostis stolonifera. 1952–1964. Boiled nettles were also used to treat diabetes (EFS 112). Warts. Newbell Niles.). Anna M. Fevers. 1972. Radford. Daniel. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. London. Other plant remedies used for diabetes include a mixture of chickweed and comfrey (Hatfield MS). Keith. ning barefoot in the dew is recommended for chilblains (Souter 1995: 143). Edited by Wayland D. London: Elliot Stock. Thiederman.

Thiederman. (ed.” Journal of the Florida Medical Association 54(8) (August 1967): 778–784. H. Irish Ethno-Botany and the Evolution of Medicine in Ireland. Among plant remedies recommended in North American folk medicine. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. 1941. or one made from alfalfa (Medicago sativa) (Cannon 1984: 104). “Nature’s Pharmacy and the Curanderos. 1952–1964. “Superstitions. Paul B.) (Smithers 1961: 37). Bethesda. Frank C. H. Musick. Puckett. Smithers. Hand. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. Dandelion. George G. Edited by Wayland D. Hamel. Newbury: Countryside Books. References Allen. Salt and soda is another suggestion (Rogers 1941: 15–16). Drinking one’s own urine has been held to be beneficial in diabetes (Brown 1952– 1964. Nettle. C. Carey. 1960s. and Sondra B. as well as devil’s shoestring (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 25). Barrow.” Canadian Medical Association Journal 61(2) (August 1949): 177–183. in press.” Western Folklore 20 (1961): 1–22. MacDermot. Anthon S. EFS. “An Introductory Guide to Maryland Folklore and Folklife. Urine. Murfreesboro. 1981. David E. See also Chickweed. Max. Fargher. Port Erin: privately published (mimeo).Diabetes : 117 ett 1981: 360). and Mark V. Portland. Dublin: M. Moloney. Held in University College London. 6: 169). Michael F. and Gabrielle Hatfield. TN: Mid-South. 25–27. Hall.. Sylva. A strange-sounding suggestion to cure diabetes is to allow a poisonous snake to bite the sufferer (Browne 1958: 57). Yarrow.) (Vogel 1970: 199) and devil’s club root (Oplopanax horridus) (MacDermot 1949: 181). NC: Herald. Talley. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. OR: Timber Press.” In Final Report of the Study Commission on Maryland Folklife. “Winter” diabetes has been treated with a mixture of sulphur and molasses (Cannon 1984: 138). or horsetail grass (Equisetum sp. Amy.) (Puckett 1981: 360). NC: Duke University Press. Durham. Manuscript notes from English Folklore Survey. Ray B. “Pioneer Remedies from Western Kansas. Jr. D. Chiltoskey. Infusions of Spanish moss (? Tillandsia usneoides) (Michael and Barrow 1967: 781–782) or of bugle weed (Lycopus sp. Manx Gaelic Names of Flora. Michael.d. D. E. Gill and Son. 1970. Anna Casetta. A tea made from the “heart” of mullein has been used (Wintemberg 1925: 621). devil’s shoestrings (Yucca filamentosa) (Browne 1958: 57). Boston: G. Allen. 1984. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. Comfrey. and Mary U. one of the most widespread is the roots of huckleberry (Vaccinium sp. Mullein. yarrow blossoms (Musick 1964: 51). Newbell Niles.). Browne. Edited by Wayland D. It is suggested that eating brown sugar rather than white is helpful in avoiding diabetes (Cannon 1984: 138). Rogers. sage brush (Artemisia sp. Soda. Ruth M.. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. K.. 1919. W. Lathrop. n. Among Native American plant remedies are sumac leaves (Rhus sp. J. Cannon.) (Lathrop 1961: 16) are alternatives. “Food and Medicinal Plants Used by the Indians of British Columbia. Other suggestions are an infusion of queen of the meadow (Eupatorium purpureum). MD. 1995.) (Carey 1970: 27). Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. 1958. Brown. Folklore Studies 9.” Sul Ross State College Bulletin 41(3) (1961). Early Folk Medical Practices in Tennessee. The Manx Have a Word for It: 5. G. “Old Timey Remedies of Yesterday and Today. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications.” West Virginia Folklore 14 (1964): 38–52. Andrew. Hand and Jeannine E. . 1975. 3 vols. 7 vols.

steeped in milk. “Some Items of NegroCanadian Folklore. mullein. has been named “Adam’s Flannel” or “Beggar’s Flannel. Among them are the bark and acorns of oak. slippery elm (Ulmus rubra). Boiled milk. Apples. 1995. Roy. Mullein.118 . Among the large number of plant remedies recorded. they were valued both as amulets and for their use in folk medicine.” and the leaves have been used in lieu of toilet paper. many of them “astringents” rich in tannins. blackberry. In the Highlands of Scotland. This and other exotic species of nuts are washed ashore on the Hebrides by the Gulf Stream. in press).) (Meyer 1985: 90– 99). setting fire to a glassful and letting it burn for a couple of minutes. Other plant remedies for diarrhea include leaves of mulberry tree (Morus nigra) (Taylor MSS). sweetfern (Comptonia peregrina). black birch (Betula nigra). Though it is surprising to find that they are used in Hawaii as a laxative (Akana 1922: 47). charcoal. A very large number of plant remedies. the oil from mutton suet.). bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) (Beith 1995: 205). and wood avens (Geum urbanum) (Vesey-Fitzgerald 1944: 22). American Indian Medicine. The berries and the inner bark of blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) have been used throughout Britain (Allen and Hatfield. Among them are sassafras. burned cork. Many other plants native to North America and not to Britain have been used in North American folk medicine to treat diarrhea. white pine bark (Pinus sp. were used in the domestic treatment of diarrhea. for example. as much as could be absorbed on a lump of sugar.).).” Journal of American Folklore 38 (1925): 621. with its large. An intriguing remedy from the Scottish Highlands is the use of the so-called bonduc bean (Caesalpinia bonduc). and lemonade are all dietary recommendations that occur widely (Meyer 1985: 90– 96). W. spotted spurge (Euphorbia sp. and tormentil are all used in North American as well as British folk medicine. Spiraea tomentosa leaves and flowers were commonly used in colonial New En- . Meadow sweet (Filipendula ulmaria) has been used in both England and Ireland (Allen and Hatfield. Wintemberg. in press). shepherd’s purse. shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris). was a cure used in Wiltshire (Prince 1991: 94) but originating elsewhere. North American folk medicine includes a wide array of remedies for diarrhea. these two uses are not mutually exclusive. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. the central leaves. Red lavender. were given to children with diarrhea or dysentery (Meyer 1985: 91. 194). then drinking it. Diarrhea Vickery. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. and ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata) (Hatfield 1994: 36). cream. 1970. scorched corn or flour. Mullein has been used particularly in Ireland to treat diarrhea (Allen and Hatfield. Nonplant remedies in use in British folk medicine include eating a hard-boiled egg (still in use today). was said to cure stubborn diarrhea (Beith 1995: 116). velvety leaves. burdock. and sumac (Rhus spp. aiding both diarrhea and constipation. vinegar and salt. Vogel. elder. dewberry (Rubus spp.). black cohosh. Diarrhea Diarrhea resulting from contaminated water and food must have been a serious hazard for both children and adults before adequate sanitation and food preservation. bistort. where whisky is regarded as a panacea. raspberry leaves (Rubus idaeus) (Vickery 1995: 306). tormentil (Potentilla erecta) (Beith 1995: 208). alum root (Heuchera spp. Virgil J.). eggs in various forms. in press). Oxford: Oxford University Press. are claimed to “regulate” the bowels. boneset (Eupatorium spp. J. boiled in milk for dysentery and diarrhea (Beith 1995: 208). Canada fleabane (Conyza canadensis). cranesbill. raspberry.

Mullein. Woodbridge: Boydell. Folklore of the Mammoth Cave Region. 1995. Hamel.D. John. References Akana. Bowling Green. Smartweed tea (Polygonum spp. IL: Meyerbooks. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press. E. if all this plethora of remedies fail. W. Mark R.. Portland. David E. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. Harrington. See also Amulet. (For other plants used by the Native Americans in treatment of diarrhea. Beith. KY: Kentucky Folklore Series 4. the Yuma suggest that singing may stop diarrhea! (Harrington 1908: 335). Vickery. and of powdered aloes (Aloe sp. Dennis. Birch. Mary. John Peabody. Sassafras. Apple. Plantain. 1977. Thus sassafras (Sassafras albidum) was used by the Cherokee to treat diarrhea (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 54).) has been drunk for diarrhea (Wilson 1968: 72).” Journal of American Folklore 21 (1908): 324–348. Rhymes and Railroad Tracks: A Second Sampling of Superstitions and Popular Beliefs in Texas.. Canadian fleabane (Conyza canadensis) was used by the Blackfoot in the Dakotas (Johnston 1987: 56) and the Cree. Black cohosh. M. American Folk Medicine. Honolulu: Pacific Book House. Allen. 1998. Akaiko. A broth prepared from dethorned prickly pear has been recommended (UCLA Folklore Archives 20_5359). 1995. Many of these plant remedies have been used in the Native American tradition. The list could be continued. B. Vesey-Fitzgerald. Iroquois Medical Botany. Prince. Portland.” Pharmaceutical Journal and Transactions 15 (1884). Manuscript notes in Norfolk Record Office.Dizziness : 119 gland (Meyer 1985: 93). Herrick. Mullein was used by the Iroquois for diarrhea (Herrick 1977: 431). or an infusion of rose leaves (Hendricks 1980: 82). London: Fontana. 1662. Roy. Hendricks. 1994. Paul B. “Medicinal Plants used by Cree Indians. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1980.” Gardener’s Magazine 2 (1827): 160–162. Josselyn. who lived along Hudson Bay (Holmes 1884: 303). OR: Timber Press (in press). 1674. Finally. 1975. Elm. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. Taylor. see above) (UCLA Folklore Archives 9_5358). “A Yuma Account of Origins. Glenwood. Reprint 1833.” Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society 23 (1944). Sr. thesis. Moerman.) in apple pulp (Josselyn 1833: 264. Roosters. Hatfield. Albany. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Smartweed (Polygonum hydropiper) is given by the Cherokee (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 55) to children with diarrhea. Sylva. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. An Account of Two Voyages to New England Made during the Years 1638. Collyns. OR: Timber Press. see Moerman 1998: 770–771). Boneset. 333). A Dictionary of Plant Lore. or eating the inside of an acorn (as recorded in Britain too. Josselyn recorded the use of water lily roots. “Gypsy Medicine. State University of New York. 1987. Dizziness In British folk medicine there is a small number of remedies for dizziness. Johnston. and Mary U. Gordon. 1968. Hudson’s Bay Territory. ALTA: Lethbridge Historical Society. 1922. Meyer. Plants and the Blackfoot. Chiltoskey. Edinburgh: Polygon. Ph. Hawaiian Herbs of Medicinal Value. Holmes. James William. 1985. Norwich. Clarence. 1991. and Gabrielle Hatfield. One is to drink the blood of a black cat mixed with . Daniel E. MS4322. George D. Beans. Gabrielle. Grandmother’s Cures: An A-Z of Herbal Remedies. Wilson. Alex. Native American Ethnobotany. NC: Herald. Lethbridge. “On the Economical and Medical Uses to Which Various Common Wild Plants Are Applied by the Cottagers in Devonshire.

William. dock leaves were eaten as a vegetable in both Scotland and England. A mixture of charcoal and bear gall worked into the skin was another Native American remedy (Mahr 1951: 348). In some parts of Ireland. and rheumatism (Vickery 1994: 108). Among the Native Americans. “The Owl and the American Indian. Saul. NC: Duke University Press. 1995. A cure among the Papago was to sing the Owl Song (Wilson 1950: 339). “Local Plants in Folk Remedies in the Mammoth Cave Region. John K. was used by the Cheyenne (Grinnell 1972: 190). Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. tansy (Tanacetum vulgare). Hemlock. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Gordon. A louse hidden in the sufferer’s bread was a suggested cure in Indiana (Knortz 1913: 127). Souter. Mahr.) (UCLA Folklore Archives 10_5361). August C. 1952–1964.” Journal of American Folklore 63 (1950): 336–344. Edited and revised by Christina Hole.” Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly 60 (October 1951): 331–354. Taking the waters at Schooley’s Mountain was recommended for dizziness. hemlock was used as a cure for giddiness (Barbour 1897). Shakers.) Rubbing dock leaves on to nettle stings is probably the most commonly known country remedy in Britain today. London: Book Club Associates. 1972. Gerstenberg. Amerikanischer Aberglaube der Gegenwart: Ein Beitrag zur Volkskunde. Durham. Wilson.120 . but even this is the vestige of very much wider uses of the plant. Pink Pills for Pale People. Grinnell. Keith. Saffron Walden: C. among other ailments. Until the recent past.” Southern Folklore Quarterly 32 (1968): 320–327. 6: 171). A Reference Guide to Medicinal Plants. Also in Scotland. 1974. Encyclopaedia of Superstitions. they were tied onto cuts and grazes to stop the bleeding (Hatfield 1994: 32. and M. Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) was recommended by the Shakers. “Some Country Remedies and Their Uses. carrying salt in the pocket was recommended for dizziness (Brown 1952–1964. The brain of a mountain goat was another possibility (Saul 1949: 75). John H. Vol. In North American folk medicine. See also Dew. 1995. F. E. kelp soup (made from seaweed) was thought to help (Souter 1995: 153). Karl. chapped skin (Hatfield 1994: 48). Collection of North Carolina . as it was also by official herbalists and doctors on both sides of the Atlantic from the sixteenth century onward (Crellin and Philpott 1990: 209– 210). 7 vols. Dock (Rumex spp. NC: Duke University Press. Wilson. Daniel. Durham. Knortz. A tea made from mistletoe has been used (Wilson 1968: 323). “Materia Medica and Therapy among the North American Forest Indians. “Cupping” with a cow or sheep’s horn was practiced in the Scottish Highlands for dizziness (Beith 1995: 163–164). Water. A more harmlesssounding remedy was to snuff up dew through the nostrils (Radford and Radford 1974: 133). Crellin. The roots of various species of dock were boiled and the decoction drunk to clear References Barbour. The Cheyenne Indians: Their History and Ways of Life. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Philadelphia: Dorrance. a plant related to the feverfew mentioned above. as has an infusion of goldenrod (Solidago sp.. Dock Folklore. and they were used to treat sunburn (Vickery 1994: 108).. 2. Brown. Eddie W. Radford. A. Frank C. Mary. Beith.” Folk-Lore 8 (1897): 386–390. 1913. 1990. Edinburgh: Polygon. George Bird. Mistletoe. Vickery 1995: 108). and Jane Philpott. Radford. Leipzig: T. wine (Souter 1995: 153). 1949. W.

1998. Kay. Frances. the roots were made into poultices for treating nettle and bee stings and other inflammations (Beith 1995: 214). James William. Native Americans used various species of docks for a very wide range of conditions (Moerman 1998: 495–499). Coffey. and sore throat (Kay 1996: 239). Sorrel is native to North America and. “Uses of Plants by the Chippewa Indians. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. In Scotland.Dock : 121 boils (Hatfield 1994: 22) and to treat skin rashes (Hatfield 1994: 50). Ireland. Hatfield. Cuts. Meyer reports the use of mashed leaves of yellow dock in treating burns (Meyer 1985: 54). Walter.” Zeitschrift fu ¨ r Ethnologie 11 (1909): 273–276. The History and Folklore of North American Wildflowers. Rheumatism. References Beith. Portland. 1993. Cancer.D. Densmore. American Folk Medicine. Native American Ethnobotany. The Iroquois regarded it as a panacea (Herrick 1977: 311). 63). 1994. In the Mexican tradition. Timothy. Albany. uses similar to those in general folk medical use in North America. Scurvy.” The roots were used. as in Britain. Ph. In eighteenth-century New Jersey it was eaten as a vegetable. colds. thesis. Burns. W. Sore throat. “Materia Medica of the Blackfeet. Souter. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. was used to treat fevers (Meyer 1985: 138). OR: Timber Press.” Smithsonian Institution–Bureau of American Ethnology Annual Report 44 (1928): 273–379. The root of Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus) was used to treat indigestion (Souter 1995: 169). The root of the yellow dock (Rumex crispus) was used to treat liver disorders. as well as diarrhea (Willard 1992: 77). Swellings were treated by the Blackfoot with willow-leaved dock (Rumex salicifolius) (McClintock 1909: 274). 1995. Glenwood. Coughs. Daniel. 1995. Edinburgh: Polygon. McClintock. for treating skin complaints. Moerman. Colds. Insect bites and stings. Woodbridge: Boydell. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. In County Donegal. were used both in folk medicine and official herbalism in Britain as salad herbs. Yellow dock is not native to North America but has been introduced. (Coffey 1993: 62. Water dock (Rumex orbiculatus) treated foul ulcers. while in twentieth-century Maine it was a constituent of a spring tonic (Coffey 1993: 60). State University of New York. Herrick. Clair 1971: 58). Several species of dock were used for treating rheumatism. New York: Facts On File. Keith. Healing with Plants in the American and Mexican West. Other species of Rumex. Tonic. Margarita Artschwager. Mary. See also Boils. Indigestion. while the winged dock (Rumex venosus) was known by the Shoshone in Nevada as “burn medicine. such as garden sorrel (Rumex acetosa) and sheep’s sorrel (Rumex acetosella). Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Daniel E. Dock has even been used in folk medicine in the treatment of cancer (Taylor MSS). 1977. Sunburn. Poultice. 1996. Rumex obtusifolius was used for many skin conditions (Densmore 1928: 350) and as a tonic (Her- rick 1977: 313). 1985. it was said that a bag of dock seeds worn under the left oxter prevents barrenness in women (St. Meyer. and as a cooling drink for fevers. Clarence. dock has been used for treating scurvy and for cleaning teeth. Iroquois Medical Botany. IL: Meyerbooks. Docks have not been as important in North American folk medicine. the roots of various species of dock were used to treat coughs. Chapped skin. mashed as a poultice. or dried and powdered. Saffron Walden: C. Gabrielle. .

Taylor MSS. Norwich. Terry. Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains and Neighbouring Territories. The “doctrine. Agnes. MS 4322. See also Bryony. Phoenix Mill: Sutton. was developed to an extreme extent by some writers. Folk medicine depends on oral transmission almost entirely. Examples are the use of bloodstone or of red thread to cure nosebleed. London: Jill Norman and Hobhouse. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1981. Alice Micco. Medicine of the Florida Seminole Indians. It is plausible to suggest that the doctrine was in fact a misinterpretation of what was originally a practical system of mnemonics. Porter. Roy. dog lick was recommended for healing running sores (Gregor 1881: 127). Wisdom and Healing: The History of Domestic Plant Medicine. Sheila. Yellow-flowered plants will be good for curing jaundice. Willard. writing in the seventeenth century. a forked tree branch of the relevant plant is favored for treating women’s problems (Snow and Stans 2001: 39). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. the doctrine was in fact formulated by the fifteenth-century physician Philippus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (1493–1541). such as the seventeenth-century Richard Sanders (Hatfield 1999: 141). Gainesville: University Press of Florida. Hatfield. simply because their flowers are yellow. 1995. It is easier to remember which plant was used for which ailment if a salient feature of the plant can be used as a reminder. a belief that to modern ears sounds unhygienic. in both folk and official medicine. Nosebleed. A more recent instance is . Clair. Manuscript notes of Mark R. as it were in Hieroglyphicks. Calgary: Wild Rose College of Natural Healing. Herbals: Their Origin and Evolution. Taylor in the Norfolk Records Office. who came to be known as Paracelsus (Griggs 1981: 43–53). Doctrine of signatures The “doctrine of signatures” states that the healing properties of a plant are indicated by features of its appearance resembling the ailment to be treated. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. and of bryony root resembling the human form as an aphrodisiac. Barbara. 1992. among the Seminole Indians. There is a famous sixteenthcentury story of a great Italian mathematician whose life was saved by having a fearful facial wound licked by his pet dog (RootBernstein and Root-Bernstein 2000: 110). London: Batsford. and Susan Enns Stans. and Flowers. such as Culpeper. The Folklore of East Anglia. stated. Memory. 2001. Green Pharmacy: A History of Herbal Medicine. Gabrielle. Although frequently cited as a dogma of folk medicine. Robert Turner. and can be found in cultures as widely separated as the fenmen of East Anglia (Porter 1974: 47– 48) and the Seminole Indians of Florida (Snow and Stans 2001). Herbs. Griggs. “God hath imprinted upon the Plants. Healing Plants. Snow.122 . Thus the pile-like swellings on the tuber of the lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) could remind the collector that this was a treatment for hemorrhoids. 1974. In the Scottish Highlands. Dog Dog saliva has widely been regarded as curative. Vickery. Folklore of the Ulster People. and many. made it a central tenet of their materia medica.” however. 1953. It blended into imitative magic and the principle of like curing like. Subsequent herbalists elaborated on the theme. 2nd ed. Doctrine of signatures St. Enid. Cork: Mercier Press. 1999. 1971. the very signature of their Vertues” (Arber 1953: 254). Imitative magic was and is widespread. References Arber.

which was then fed to a dog (Black 1883: 35). As in Ireland. Sometimes a black dog is specified. in Ireland. (Library of Congress) (Brown 1952–1964. Asthma has been “cured” by sleeping with a Chihuahua (Anderson 1968: 194). In other instances. and snake bites (Brown 1952– 1964. Alternatively. and it is not a method that can be recommended today. which could speed healing (Allen 1995: 58). dogs were sometimes used as victims of transference. the disemboweled carcass of a dog has been used to poultice a sore limb (Grumbine 1905–1906: 278). Obviously pathogens too can be introduced into wounds in this way. A piece of a dog’s tongue hung around the neck was used in Yorkshire as an amulet to cure scrofula. dogs were sometimes used as victims of transference. Dog lard . dog bones were hung around the neck as amulets for moles (Wright 1912: 231). Fevers have been “transferred” to dogs by feeding them beef cooked in the patient’s urine (Brendle and Unger 1935: 93). so that the pain will pass from human to dog (Clerk of Penicuik papers 1740–1751). ague was cured by making a barley cake with the sufferer’s urine. Dog saliva (dog lick) has been credited with healing wounds. In the seventeenth century. and in North America. Dog lick has been credited with healing wounds (Musick 1964: 51). and in a fever remedy of carrying the right foot of a black dog (Black 1883: 148). In folk medicine. dog grease has been valued for rheumatism (Brown 1952– 1964. applying butter and allowing a dog to lick it off (Hyatt 1965: 306) has been suggested. a dog has been a sacrificial victim. and snake bites. 6: 256). Other diseases have been “transferred” to dogs too. Thrush has been treated by rubbing a child’s mouth with a piece of meat and feeding the meat to a dog (Browne 1958: 27). as in a cure for convulsions that involved eating the heart of a white hound baked with meal (Black 1883: 117). sores. 6: 279). Sleeping with a dog has been widely recommended for rheumatism In folk medicine. For tuberculosis.Dog : 123 cited in the British medical journal Lancet in 1970 (Verrier 1970: 615). sores (Thomas and Thomas 1920: 115). In both Scotland and England. In North American folk medicine many similar beliefs and practices concerning dogs have been recorded. For warts. Dog saliva has been shown to be much richer than human in so-called transforming growth factors. An eighteenth-century cure for gout recommends laying a dog on the patient’s feet. 6: 255). whooping cough was “transferred” to a dog by feeding it some of the child’s hair in bread and butter. which may account for the apparent success of dog lick as a treatment for wounds (RootBernstein and Root-Bernstein 2000: 110– 118). sleeping with a dog has been widely recommended for rheumatism. Various medicines have been prepared from dogs. Recent chemical analysis has shown saliva to contain a wide range of antimicrobial substances. soup made from a black dog (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_5517) or eating the hind leg of a dog (Thomas and Thomas 1920: 100) are suggested. and the fat of dogs was used in a rheumatism cure in Ireland (Barbour 1897: 387).

Tuberculosis. and Claude W. Princeton. 1945. 1981.” Journal of American Folklore 46 (1933): 1–21. “Dog Licks Man. Randolph. Mud. Fevers. Edited by Wayland D. Excreta. Andrew.” Folk-Lore 23 (1912): 230–236. 2000. “Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans: The Non-Occult Cures. John Q. Harry Middleton. 1881. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. 7 vols. R. colic. 1952–1964. Dropsy Among the plants used in British folk medicine to treat dropsy. 1970. 289). NJ: Princeton University Press. Samuel X. Vance. Dog excrement has been used in a number of folk treatments: for diphtheria (UCLA Folklore Archives 10_6261). 2nd rev. Transference.” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45 (1935). 490–497. Daniel Lindsay. Superstitions. Bed-wetting. Lyle. Kentucky Superstitions. Newbell Niles.” Western Folklore 27 (1968): 191–199. and Lucy Blayney Thomas. “Seventeenth Century Cures and Charms.” Keystone Folklore Quarterly 9 (1964): 123– 143. Notes on the Folk-lore of the NorthEast of Scotland.. Asthma. Unger. NC: Duke University Press. Saxon. Manuscript papers in the Scottish Record Office. Root-Bernstein. Honey. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. Grumbine. References Allen. Barbour. Sir John. Hall. “Magical Transference of Disease in Texas Folk Medicine.” Lancet (1970): Part I: 615. 1883. hives.124 . bite of. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Dogs were used in the Native American tradition too. Colic. Wright. “Ozark Superstitions. “Folklore and Superstitious Beliefs of Lebanon County. Virgil J. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. and Sondra B. Durham. Radbill. Puckett. presumably to ensure the child would have strong teeth like a dog (Radbill 1964: 138). Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Bruises. 267. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. Vogel. American Indian Medicine. and eventually to . Frank C. since observations of its use by Withering in the eighteenth century led to his development of foxglove for treating heart conditions. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. Folklore Studies 9. Edinburgh. The blood of a black dog has been considered a cure for smallpox (Randolph 1933: 4). Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Ruth Ann (ed. Thiederman.). Musick. 1965. and Miche `le RootBernstein. Mad dog. Smallpox. Verrier. Epilepsy. SRO 18/2142. Clerk of Penicuik. foxglove is probably the most famous. Thomas. ed. Anna Casetta. Newbury: Countryside Books. 1958. Boston: G. Warts. sore throat (Saxon 1945: 532). Hyatt. “The Folklore of Teething. Brown. K. Hand. London: Pan Books. 1995. Brendle. Color. Maggots and other Medical Marvels: The Science behind Folk Remedies and Old Wives’ Tales. 1920.” Papers and Addresses of the Lebanon County Historical Society 3 (1905–1906): 252–294. Robert. Black. London: Folk-lore Society.” Folk-Lore 8 (1897): 386–390. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Rheumatism. L. John H. Dropsy Gregor. and bedwetting (Hyatt 1965: 246. Hives. Sore throat. 3 vols. Anderson. Gumbo Ya-Ya. has been used to treat bruises (Puckett 1981: 332). E. West Virginia Folklore 14 (1964): 38–52. Walter. “Some Country Remedies and Their Uses. William George. Whooping cough. Browne. A. Burns and scalds were treated with dog excrement by the Opata (Vogel 1970: 214). London: Folklore Society. Ray B. See also Amulet. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. Thomas R. Native Americans of British Columbia fed a child’s shed tooth to a dog.

and Gabrielle Hatfield. Bernice Kelly (ed. ragweed (Ambrosia sp. His Ills. most of them not native to Britain. used. References Allen. Hemlock. 6: 173). Drinking one’s fasting urine was recommended among the Pennsylvania Germans (Brendle and Unger 1935: 191). “Plant Names and Plant Lore among the Pennsylvania Germans. Urine..). In Scotland. Mary Celestia. of course. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. Crawfordsville. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. 1952–1964. as has one of elder root or bark (Brown 1952–1964. and butcher’s broom (Ruscus aculeatus). Elder. Murfreesboro. and Claude W. among its many uses. 1968. Durham. 3: 602. in press). Heart trouble. IN: R. 15 volumes. and bogbean was widely used throughout Britain. Folklore Society. Moerman. in the Scottish Highlands (Beith 1995: 209). 1969. Souter. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Keith.. Stinging nettle. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. Porter. Jaundice. E. “Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans: The Non-Occult Cures.) or of watermelon seed (Citrullus lanatus) has also been used (Parler 1962. was recommended for dropsy (Porter 1969: 80). Madge E. Cures and Doctors. A bath of hemlock infusion was another recommendation (Lick and Brendle 1922: 281). and mullein (Brown 1952– 1964. Portland. and University Student Contributors. Unger. David E. Dandelion. and R.. Carlyle Buley. 1995. Daniel E. Banta. which is. Some of these same remedies are to be found in North American folk medicine. used in Ireland (Vickery 1995: 54). as was juniper (Juniperus communis) (Allen and Hatfield. The Midwest Pioneer.). OR: Timber Press. Thomas R. OR: Timber Press. Dandelion made into tea or wine was used in Norfolk to treat dropsy (Taylor MSS). Elder. Interestingly. the same cure recorded for jaundice of drinking urine passed during fasting was used to treat dropsy (Souter 1995: 75). Lick. most of the plants listed above were used by Native Americans in treating heart disease. William George. was recommended for dropsy (Wilde 1919: 201). Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Enid. Brendle. A preparation of dandelion root has been used to treat dropsy (Harris 1968: 99). Portland. Wearing a brass ring was thought to prevent dropsy.) (Pickard and Buley 1945: 44). A large number of other plants have also been used. An infusion of bulrush (Scirpus sp. 1962. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the . 603). for example. Cambridgeshire Customs and Folklore. Native American Ethnobotany. in press). and Thomas R. They include sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum). the main cause of dropsy (Moerman 1998: 801–802). 6: 173). London: Routledge. Southern Home Remedies. NC: Duke University Press. Wearing an iron ring was supposed to prevent dropsy (Black 1883: 174). Edinburgh: Polygon. London. 6: 172.. David E. 173). Brendle. Other plants use include broom (Cytisus scoparius). Juniper berries have been used in a mixture to treat dropsy (Brown 1952– 1964.” Proceedings and Addresses of the Pennsylvania German Society 33 (1922). Beith. in press. 7 vols. 1945.Dropsy : 125 the development of the drug digoxin. Frank C. 6: 172). NC: Johnson. Harris. Brown. Black. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Parler. 1883.” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45 (1935). Pickard. Mullein. especially those growing in a churchyard. Wild carrot (Daucus carota) has also been used (Allen and Hatfield. Mary. or a preparation of skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) (Lick and Brendle 1922: 54) or of black snakeroot (Sanicula sp. 1998. In Ireland an infusion of nettles. See also Bogbean. and whipping the body was thought to help (Brown 1952–1964.

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries a popular cure for drunkenness was prepared in Sussex from glow-worms (Allen 1995: 80). Norfolk Record Office. Roy. See also Alder. John’s wort was used for drunkenness (Spicer 1937: 153). Drunkenness Present Day. an infusion of an herb called huevo de torro (? Ruellia sp. Beith. Snail. administered on a lump of sugar (Prince 1991: 23). Mary. Placing a live eel in someone’s drink was reputedly a cure for alcoholism (Radford and Radford 1974: 148). In Mexico. Chamomile. Mystic Charms and Superstitions of Ireland. and nutmeg. References Allen.) was used to treat a hangover (Hendricks 1966: 46). Among the Ozarks it has been suggested that owl eggs cure drunkenness (Rayburn 1941: 322). drinking more of the same drink the following morning—advice known as the “hair of the dog that bit you” (Hand 1970: 119). Newbury: Countryside Books. Manuscript notes of Mark R. A drasticsounding remedy for drunkenness was to drink beer or wine in which a frog had been drowned (Souter 1995: 131). In the seventeenth century. Raw cabbage was chewed for a hangover (Vickery 1995: 58). Alternatives were celery or the seeds of the wild poppy (Hatfield 1994: 40). Chamomile tea has been recommended for a hangover (UCLA Folklore Archives 22_6331). Dietary advice for a hangover includes drinking more alcohol the morning after. probably more sensibly. the dried root tubers of bitter-vetch (Lathyrus linifolius) were chewed to prevent drunkenness (Henderson and Dickson 1994: 80). the ancient Celts used betony (Betonica officinalis) to prevent drunkenness and to cure hangover (Beith 1995: 205). Ancient Legends. both raw and as juice. 1995. Paulsen 1961: 152–168). St. Hops. Transference. as in Britain. Taylor. Lady (Jane). W. MS4322. peppermint water. Hangovers could be transferred to slugs or snails by rubbing them on the forehead and throwing them away (Souter 1995: 164). 1995. Cabbage in various forms. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Until the twentieth century. 1995. Taylor MSS. Daniel. willow bark was chewed for the headache of a hangover in Lincolnshire. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Vickery. Also in the seventeenth century. 1919. a liquid distilled from acorns was used to control drunkenness and hangover (Radford and Radford 1974: 254). John’s wort. eating fried food. Wilde. Whisky in which a toad has been soaked (Wheeler 1892–1893) or with water added in which ten tiny fish have soaked (Moya 1940: 74) has been recommended as a cure for alcoholism. Willow and rattle box (Crotalaria pallida) are among the plants that feature in the “on the wagon” medicine used by the Seminole Indians (Snow and Stans 2001: 87). drinking plenty of water. A decoction for curing drunkenness was prepared from iron sulphate. and. In New England in colonial times an infusion of Indian St.126 . A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. Healing Threads: Traditional Medi- . Epsom salts and all kinds of proprietary preparations have also been suggested. in the Western Isles of Scotland. An infusion of hops has been suggested too (Souter 1995: 83). Andrew. Drunkenness According to Pliny. for example. Poppy. including. Saffron Walden: C. has been recommended for a hangover (Micheletti 1998: 183). ranging from greasy food to elaborate cocktails (see. Willow. Norwich. A Native American recommendation for a hangover is to wear the leaves of species of alder under one’s hat (Willard 1992: 69). Dietary advice for a hangover is abundant. London: Chatto and Windus. magnesia. In North American folk medicine there are some similar suggestions for drunkenness and hangover.

Spicer. Roy. George D. 1992. now confined to the tropics. 1966. low myrtle (? Myrica sp. North American Folk Healing: An A-Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. Encyclopaedia of Superstitions. Healing Plants. Micheletti. Snow. and mallow (Quayle 1973). Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. Mice and Mustaches: A Sampling of Superstitions and Popular Beliefs in Texas. Edited and revised by Christina Hole. Willard. ipecacuanha (Cephaelis ipecacuanha). Wayland D. Calgary. Hand. Rayburn. Daniel. 1995.Dysentery cines of the Highlands and Islands. sanicle (Sanicula europaea) (Quayle 1973: 70). Gabrielle. Dickson. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. E. Prince. His Life and Travels in Scotland 1767–1771. University of New Mexico. In the same century one of the St. its Gaelic name translates as “dysentery herb” (Lankester 1848: 319).. Radford. London: Fontana. “A Hair of the Dog and Some Other Hangover Cures from Popular Tradition. Radford. Otto Ernest. John’s wort species (Hypericum elodes) was used in Ireland for treating dysentery. wood sage (Teucrium scorodonia) (Moore 1898). M. In the seventeenth century the botanist John Ray reported the use in Wales of a dysentery treatment made from moonwort (Botrychium lunaria) (Ray 1670: 199).” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 117– 123. Keith.” Journal of American Folklore 74 (1961): 152–168. Navy beans ground into powder were also used (UCLA Folklore Archives 19_5362). 2001.).) and pine needles was another recommendation (UCLA Folklore Archives 7_5362). Dennis. Hendricks. “Medicine and Magic in the New England Colonies. 1941. Dorothy Gladys. Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains and Neighbouring Territories. In more recent times in the Isle of Man. W. “North Carolina Folk Beliefs and Superstitions Collected in California. Benjamin S. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press. Saffron Walden: C. A Naturalist in the Highlands: James Robertson. In North American folk medicine the inner leaves of mullein were given to children with dysentery (Meyer 1985: 91). Enza (ed. Edinburgh: Polygon. purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) was used to treat diarrhea and dysentery (Threlkeld 1726).) and dewberry (Rubus sp. have been used. Grandmother’s Cures: An A-Z of Herbal Remedies. Dysentery was one of the diseases introduced in the sixteenth century to North and South America. 1998. and M. It is an irony of history that one of the most valuable plant remedies for treating it. Terry.. : 127 Wheeler. Sloan and Pearce. Alice Micco. 1991. 1974. was actually imported to Europe from South American usage and became an established drug of Western practitioners. In the eighteenth century in Ireland. Other plants used include red oak bark. Mirrors. “Illinois Folk-Lore.” Trained Nurse 99 (1937): 153–156. Oxford: Oxford University Press. D. Paulsen. 1994. Moya. A tea of broom straw (Andropogon sp. ALTA: Wild Rose College of Natural Healing. Austin: Texas Folklore Society. Master’s thesis. Superstitions and Beliefs among the Spanish-Speaking People of New Mexico. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. Souter. New York: Duell.” FolkLorist 1 (1892–1893): 55–68. H. 1940. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. Dysentery Amoebic dysentery. and J. Henderson.) . A. Medicine of the Florida Seminole Indians. Mallow was similarly used in Devon (Collyns 1827). Woodbridge: Boydell. 1995. London: Book Club Associates. Ozark Country. 1995. Vickery. 1994. Hatfield. and Susan Enns Stans. Frank M. Helen M. was once prevalent in Britain too.

“Folk-Medicine in the Isle of Man.). Moore.” Yn Lioar Manninagh 3 (1898): 303–314. 96). “Mohegan Medicinal Practices. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Cambridge. IL: Meyerbooks. See also Blackberry. et Insularum Adjacentium. W. Taylor. Weather-Lore and Superstitions. (Brown 1952–1964. Steeple bush (Spiraea tomentosa) was used by the Mohegan (Tantaquidgeon 1928: 266). Quayle. Mullein. Glenwood. 1973. Legends of a Lifetime: Manx Folklore. NC: Duke University Press. Synopsis Stirpium Hibernicarum. Mallow. Durham. London: John Martyn. W. Ray. Douglas: Courier Herald. Edwin (ed. and blackberries have all been used too (Meyer 1985: 95. 1670. chalk. 7 vols. Remedies not involving plants include eggs. American Folk Medicine. MA: Botanical Museum of Harvard University. Plants Used as Curatives by Certain Southeastern Tribes. 1848. Lankester.128 . London: Ray Society. and a mixture of flour and milk (Brown 1952–1964.” Smithsonian Institution-Bureau of American Ethnology Annual Report 42 (1928): 264– 270.). Pine. Clarence. Dysentery Uses to Which Various Common Wild Plants Are Applied by the Cottagers in Devonshire. Catalogus Plantarum Angliae. Collyns. Threlkeld. References Brown..” Gardener’s Magazine 2 (1827): 160–62. 6: 174). 1952–1964. A. “On the Economical and Medical . Linda Averill. Sassafras. dysentery was treated with sassafras root (Meyer 1985: 96). 1985. Spruce bark (Picea sp. Tantaquidgeon. George E. Caleb. Gladys. vinegar mixed with salt. In the Native American tradition. 1726. The Correspondence of John Ray. Dublin: F. elderberries. Davys et al. Meyer. Elder. 1940. Diarrhea. 6: 174). John. St. The inner bark of pine was used by the Alabama for treating dysentery (Taylor 1940: 5). Frank C. John’s wort. charcoal (Meyer 1985: 94–95).

). and threw the bread for the birds. Other plant remedies include the juice of houseleek (Sempervivum tectorum). Intriguingly. In the commonest form of the remedy. such as applying a hot water bottle. still help today. roast onion and roast garlic appear frequently among folk treatments for earache . recorded from Essex. oil warmed with peach pits (Prunus persica). In both England (Black 1883: 158) and Ireland (Logan 1972: 34). for example. Ash sap was also used to treat earache (Vickery 1995: 20). Less exotic measures. 467). persimmon (Diospyros virginiana).E: Earache Earache is typical of an ailment where. In the Highlands of Scotland. They include chinaberry juice (Melia azedarach). As in Britain. folk remedies for earache have been even more diverse. the urban equivalent of this remedy. Persimmon juice has been used similarly. just as in Britain. Vickery 1995: 265. rubbed it on some bread. of which the juice of Rue (Ruta graveolens) is the most commonly used (Kay 1996: 61). 406. and yucca (Yucca filamentosa). A vast number of folk medical treatments have been used on both sides of the Atlantic. In North America. Here the sufferer removed wax from the aching ear. Papaver somniferum) from the chemist and bind it round the ear (Hatfield 1994: 37).. In Britain. 324. onion has probably been the most frequently used remedy. was to buy a poppy seed head (presumably an opium poppy. dripped into the ear for earache (Meyer 1985: 101). Meyer reports the juice from a green ash stick (Fraxinus sp. 354. A Norfolk country remedy was to take an infusion of the wild poppy (Papaver rhoeas). a drop of cave water from a particular cave on the Black Isle had the reputation of curing earache (Beith 1995: 132). In the Mexican West. In the Appalachians a great variety of plants have been used traditionally to treat earache. Sometimes a poultice of cooked onions is applied (see. A drop of molasses or the smoke from tobacco have also been reported (Crellin and Philpott 1990: 159. 266). 6: 610). Variants on this were to apply a poultice of hot salt or a mustard leaf behind the ear (Prince 1991: 22). An interesting example of transference is given by Souter. prickly ash (Xanthoxylum americanum). The birds would take the pain away with them (Souter 1995: 154). or of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) dripped into the ear (Hatfield MSS). a small roast onion is inserted into the ear. domestic medicine would be used initially. and the juice that drips from the other end is collected (Parler 1962. 336. and the method of obtaining the juice is the same as for ash: one end of a persimmon stick is heated in a fire. until the recent past. 430. a variety of plants have been used to treat earache. froth from a pricked snail dropped into the ear was used for earache.

Earache (Meyer 1985: 100. Wild honey. Human milk has been used (UCLA Folklore Archives 2_5364). Tobacco smoke was blown into the ears for earache (UCLA Folklore Archives 22_5368). 6: 175). Durham. Animal oils were used too for this purpose. “Notes on La Huerta Dieguen ˜o Ethnobotany.. 1980.130 . houseleek. Hamel. a wide variety of plant juices were employed. rather surprisingly. Chiltoskey. Browne. Ottawa: National Museums of Canada.” Journal of California Anthropology 2 (1975): 214–222. including members of more than seventy genera (Moerman 1998: 791). Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Among the Dieguen ˜ o a sprig of rue was placed in the sore ear (Hinton 1975: 218). was used for treating earache by the Iroquois (Rousseau 1945: 60) and by the Algonquin (Black 1980: 218). A preparation of worms has also been used (Bergen 1899: 73). In addition. See also Ash. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. while those of Nevada used the root pulp of false Solomon’s seal (Smilacina spp. and. “Animal and Plant Lore Collected from the Oral Tradition of English Speaking Folk. Some of the remedies are similar to those already mentioned in general North American folk medicine.” Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society 7 (1899). Sylva. Hand and Jeannine E. 1990. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. Hatfield. To clear wax from the ear. Anthon S. Talley. as has urine from either a cow (Koch 1980: 61) or a human (Brown 1952–1964. warmed and put in the ear was an alternative (Browne 1958: 58). John K. 1984. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Durham. 1994. 1995. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. William George. 1883. Ray B. Ash sap. The Native Americans of Appalachia used oil of mullein flowers to treat earache. Algonquin Ethnobotany: An Interpretation of Aboriginal Adaptation in South Western Quebec. A Reference Guide to Medicinal Plants. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. London: Folklore Society. Mercury Series 65. 7 vols. Tobacco smoke (in this case from native species of Nicotiana) was blown into aching ears by the Cahuilla (Bean and Saubel 1972: 90). Edited by Wayland D. Brown. Mary. Transference. Black. Lowell John. Alternative treatments include lemon juice (Citrus limon). Fanny D. and Jane Philpott. foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) (Meyer 1985: 103). and eel’s oil (Meyer 1985: 103). 101). Houseleek. Folklore Studies 9. Banning. 1975. Black.) (Willard 1992: 54. NC: Duke University Press. Hinton. 6: 175) has been dripped into a sore ear. References Bean. CA: Malki Museum Press. 1952–1964. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. A drop of blood from a Betsy bug (UCLA Folklore Archives 7_5365) or the juice of a cockroach (Brown 1952–1964. Leanne. from Fraxinus americana. Woodbridge: Boydell. NC: Herald. Poultice. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. 1958. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. there were a large number of other plants used. among others. Mullein. Gabrielle.. 1972. Paul B. Meredith Jean. Kay. Ear wax from a healthy person has been another recommendation (Cannon 1984: 105). Edinburgh: Polygon. Frank C. The warmed juice of houseleek was used by the Cherokee (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 42). Beith. Margarita Artschwager. Healing with Plants . skunk oil. Numerous plants were used by Native Americans in the treatment of earache. Snail. Crellin. Temalpakh (From the Earth): Cahilla Indian Knowledge and Usage of Plants. or even of the juice of roast mutton (Meyer 1973: 101). NC: Duke University Press. such as sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus). 186). Bergen. Cannon. and Mary U. including hedgehog oil. and Katherine Siva Saubel.

as the grass withered. Similar treatment was advised for the victim of a lightning strike. Grandmother’s Cures: An A-Z of Herbal Remedies. 6: 684). Prince. Whooping cough. Epilepsy. “Le Folklore Botanique de Caughnawaga. a turf laid on the stomach was recommended (Radford and Radford 1974: 147–148). David. Roy. Saffron Walden: C. 1998. Terry. Tuberculosis. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Mary Celestia. London: Folklore Society. References Black. ed. John Wesley’s treatment for consumption was evidently used in North American folk medicine too (Pickard and Buley 1945: 42). Daniel E. grass downward. so the wart would disappear (Radford and Radford 1974: 148). A remedy from Virginia for a bruised foot involves cutting out the turf around the foot and reversing it. Earth from a grave was used in Shetland to treat a stitch (Radford and Radford 1974: 147). Tucson: University of Arizona Press. 1994. Whooping cough was sometimes treated by holding the child over a hole in the earth. : 131 Earth A number of folk remedies in British folk medicine involve partial or complete burial of the patient in the earth. Vickery. 1995. sores. For removing a foreign body from the head. London: Fontana. Lawrence. William E. In the eighteenth century a treatment for rheumatism was reported that involved burial up to the neck for several hours at a time. Meyer. 1980. In the mid-twentieth century a practice known as “turning the sod” was still in use for treating the disease known as “foul” in cattle (Doherty 2002: 49–51). Unger. Folklore from Kansas: Beliefs and Customs. Folk Tradition and Folk Medicine in Scotland: The Writings of David Rorie. Parler. Someone then sat upon the turf (Parler 1962. Brendle. William George. 1996. 1991. 1883. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas.” Contributions de l’Institut Botanique de l’Universite ´ de Montre ´al 55 (1945): 7–72. Patrick. OR: Timber Press. . ALTA: Wild Rose College of Natural Healing. Native American Ethnobotany. Koch. American Folk Medicine. 1992. Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains and Neighbouring Territories. Willard. W. Felons. Other foot ailments such as bunions. Portland. and University Student Contributors. Clarence. the patient was placed with his head in a circular hole and the turf removed was placed on his head.Earth in the American and Mexican West. 1972. Calgary. Glenwood. “Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans: The Non-Occult Cures. For colic. Buchan. Dennis.. Colic. and felons (infected sores. Making the Cure: A Look at Irish Folk Medicine. usually under the finger nail). Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. Thomas R. and Claude W. were treated similarly by the Pennsylvania Germans (Brendle and Unger 1935: 75). KS: Regent Press. Wesley suggested as a remedy for consumption that the sufferer breathe into a hole made by removing the turf (Trimmer 1965: 166). Dublin: Talbot Press. Souter. Jacques. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. Keith. Rheumatism.” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45 (1935). in Cornwall this was used to cure warts. Edinburgh: Canongate Academic. and in Sandbach to treat fits (Black 1883: 95). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1985. 1962. Logan. In Fifeshire a miner partially asphyxiated was laid over a shallow hole in the earth and when recovered was put to bed with the piece of turf from the hole laid on his pillow (Buchan 1994: 40). Daniel. 1995. Rousseau. See also Bruises. 15 vol. IL: Meyerbooks. Moerman. Some remedies involved removing a turf and laying it face downward.

for medicinal use. venereal disease (Tantaquidgeon 1972: 33). A. (Sarah Boait) and preventative against boils (Meyer 1985: 44). Currently the plant is the subject of pharmacological research worldwide. and by the Sioux for bowel pain (Densmore 1913: 270). Herbalists recommend it for postviral fatigue syndrome (myalgic encephalomyelitis [ME]) (Chevallier 1996: 90). As a painkiller. by the Dakota to treat toothache. Sore throat. Today. mumps. E. Toothache. and its ability to boost the immune system is exploited in a large number of herbal preparations for coughs. and University Student Contributors. Echinacea is the most widely sold herbal in both North America and Germany (Micheletti 1998: 135). often in combination with other herbs such as burdock and yellow dock (Meyer 1985: 41).132 . and measles (Hart 1992: 38). Radford.” Be ´aloideas 70 (2002): 41–75. Banta. The rhizome produces a numbing sensation when chewed. Edited and revised by Christina Hole. and M. but many of the folk medicinal uses in North America have been incorporated into British medical herbalism since the eighteenth century. both in North America and in Europe. it has been used. Madge E. Burns. Echinacea This genus. Radford. The Midwest Pioneer. and R. also known as coneflower. burns and snakebite (Gilmore 1919: 131). purpurea. It was also recommended as both treatment for In North American folk medicine. E. Mary Celestia. Burdock. IN: R. 15 volumes. His Ills. Pickard. Crawfordsville. In North American folk medicine. Native Americans used it in addition for treating pain and infections. It is also the subject of anti-AIDS research. Echinacea Doherty. Carlyle Buley. Headache. Michael L. is not native to Britain and does not appear in its folk medicine. The plant is now known to boost the immune system. 1962. headache. pallida has been used by the Cheyenne as an antirheumatic and as a treatment for boils (Hart 1981: 20). See also Boils. The Native Americans used the plant in a large number of ailments. who used the plant for tonsillitis (Kraft 1990: 47).” Folklore 76 (1965): 161–175. Snake bite. The related species E. “The Folklore of Cattle Diseases: A Veterinary Perspective. by the Cheyenne to treat sore throat (Grinnell 1905:188). Coneflower’s antibacterial and antiviral properties were evidently recognized too by the Native Americans. echinacea has been used as a tonic. and other infections. Parler. 1945.. they occur throughout central North America but are now cultivated. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. as well as coughs (Campbell 1951: 288) and colds (Hart 1981: 20). Trimmer. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. smallpox. the coneflower was seen as a “blood purifier” and was recommended as a tonic. London: Book Club Associates 1974. Eric J. colds. “Medical Folklore and Quackery.. Cures and Doctors. The species most widely used in herbal medicine are Echinacea angustifolia and E. for example. Encyclopaedia of Superstitions. Dock. .

American Folk Medicine. itchy skin. Densmore. 1990. 1913. Grand Forks. Andrew.” another weed of cultivated land. for larger areas. while in Scotland a cap of ivy leaves was placed on a child’s head to treat eczema (Simpkins 1914: 411). 53.” “dry. Grinnell. a poultice has been made of the crushed leaves. Eczema Since the term “eczema” is not always used in folk medicine.). Gladys. Hart. thesis. T. Smithsonian Institution-Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin. Recent Changes in the Ethnobotany of Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Another plant. there are probably many folk records concealed under such headings as “skin complaints. not native to Britain but widely naturalized. Chevallier.” Pennsylvania Historical Commission Anthropological Papers. In Suffolk in the twentieth century. 1985.” or “tetter. Jeffrey A. in the form of a poultice (Prince 1991: 123). The juicy leaves of the houseleek have been split and bound on the affected area. Kraft.Eczema : 133 References Campbell. has been used. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. North American Folk Healing: An A-Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. Tantaquidgeon. Jeffrey A. Meyer. Taylor MSS). Gilmore. Under the local name of “markery.” American Anthropologist 7 (1905): 37–43. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. Bureau of American Ethnology Annual Report 33. crushed. no. 1992. Frances. sometimes including eczema. was used in Cambridgeshire (Porter 1974: 47). In the Scottish Highlands moistened foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) leaves were used (Beith 1995: 218). white dead-nettle (Lamium album). Helena: Montana Historical Society Press. “Medicinal Plants Used by Choctaw. London: Dorling Kindersley. Washington.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 4 (1981): 1– 55. elder has been used for treating eczema in both humans and animals (Hatfield 1995: 51). Chickweed.” a term that seems to have been used to cover a number of skin conditions. mixed with lard (Beith 1995: 215). Uses of Plants by the Indians of the Missouri River Region. 3. Micheletti. “The Ethnobotany of the Northern Cheyenne Indians of Montana. The instructions were to boil a few sprigs of rue and when cool to “bathe the inflammation of the skin and poultice with a few of the leaves on parts that burn and tingle and itch” (Taylor . no. George Bird. M. University of North Dakota. N. mixed with single cream (Hatfield 1994: 51. 1972. In the Highlands of Scotland an ointment was made from the flowers (including particularly the pollen) of the tree. Shelly Katherine.” Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 41(9) (1951): 285–290. a widespread and common weed of cultivated land. or.A. DC: Smithsonian Institution. Clarence. 1998. Glenwood. In Essex the root of the dock was boiled and mixed with lard to form an eczema ointment (Taylor MSS). 1919. Montana Native Plants and Early Peoples. Boiled ivy shoots have been recommended in Derbyshire (Vickery 1995: 203). good King Henry (Chenopodium bonus-henricus). Melvin R. In England also. was made into an ointment with mutton suet and used for eczema (Logan 1972: 73). In Ireland. Hart. Chickasaw and Creek Indians in the Early Nineteenth Century. so presumably grown in the garden—was used. “Some Cheyenne Plant Medicines. “Folk Medicine of the Delaware and Related Algonkian Indians. IL: Meyerbooks. has been used right up to the present time in eczema treatment. Enza (ed. In British folk medicine a number of common native plants have been used over the centuries in the treatment of eczema. Different parts of the elder have been used all over Britain to treat this as well as a number of other skin conditions. rue—not a native plant of Britain. 1996. Teton Sioux Music.

Corn. vinegar. Paul B. Black cohosh. mountain grape (Mahonia aquifolium). there were some plants used that although native in Britain have not been traced there in the folk records for eczema. Elder. Burdock. David E. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. 1972. dock. 1994. 1985. Houseleek. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. American Folk Medicine. These include strawberry (Fragaria vesca) leaves. Hamel. An ointment made from unsalted butter or lard and the buds of the balm of Gilead is recorded from Georgia (UCLA Folklore Archives 17_5368). Poke. Prince’s pine (Chimaphila maculata) was used by the Cherokee for “tetter and ringworm. 1961. Portland. burdock. Some of these folk uses can be correlated with Native American usage of the plants. Balm of Gilead. Corn oil was used by the settlers both internally and externally in the treatment of eczema (Micheletti 1998: 111). 81). Jarvis. NC: Herald. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. and Gabrielle Hatfield. London: Pan Books. In addition. Logan. and elder were used in both British and North American folk medicine for this ailment. in press. In North American folk medicine. Eczema MSS).). Elm. Miscellaneous remedies reported from Suffolk include application of milk and the touch of a dead man’s hand (Rolleston 1940: 79). Poultice. the use of urine has also been suggested (UCLA Folklore Archives 6_6244). Dock. D. Beith. a number of common household substances have been used as well. Urine. OR: Timber Press. May dew has been applied. Ivy. 1975. IL: Meyerbooks. Birch. and Mary U. Glycerine (UCLA Folklore Archives 11_5367) has been recommended in North American folk medicine. and castile soap.” the former perhaps a reference to eczema (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 62). Elm wood (Ulmus procera) tea was drunk in Hampshire to treat eczema. Sarsaparilla. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. alum. Glenwood. References Allen. Bloodroot. the bark of the birch was used similarly (Allen and Hatfield. Pine (Pinus virginiana) was used by the Cherokee on “scald head. tetterworm” (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 49). Apart from all these plant remedies used in the treatment of eczema. Hatfield. Mary. Freckles. bloodroot. More definitely. the powdered root of black cohosh was used (Micheletti 1998: 97).134 . Gabrielle. Chiltoskey. Dublin: Talbot Press. Alder. and sulphur have all been applied (Meyer 1985: 104). the root of poke (Phytolacca americana) was used by the Cherokee for treating eczema (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 50). Smith 1933: 80. Chickweed. C. and checkerberry (Gaultheria probumbens) (Meyer 1985: 104–107). Dead man’s hand. Poke root was recommended. A salve made from balm of Gilead (Populus balsamifera) was used by the Cherokee and the Potawatomi (Micheletti 1998: 44. Meyer. Sassafras. Edinburgh: Polygon. a wide diversity of plant remedies have been used in the treatment of eczema. Woodbridge: Boydell. Patrick. In addition. . A Doctor’s Guide to Good Health. Making the Cure: A Look at Irish Folk Medicine. As in the treatment of both acne and freckles. More poetically. and watercress (Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum). In Ireland. Dew. Sylva. sassafras and sarsaparilla. tag alder (Alnus serrulata). Pine.. it is recorded as a part of Vermont folk medicine by Jarvis (Jarvis 1961: 149). 1995. Clarence. most of them native to North America and not to Britain. Elm.. Indian turnip (probably Arisaema triphyllum). in press). See also Acne. as well as prince’s pine (Chimaphila sp. a remedy of Pennsylvanian German origin (White 1897: 79).

6: 234–235). The eggs of gannets were eaten raw for a chest infection on the island of St. 1985. John Ewart. London: Sidgwick and Jackson. 1995. Kilda (Beith 1995: 172). White. Edited and revised by Christina Hole. Warts. 1974. “Ethnobotany of the Forest Potawatomi Indians. Boils. with Some Notes on Clackmannan and Kinross-shire. has been used to “draw” a boil (Brown 1952–1964. Rolleston. Prince. M. Egg white has been used as a dressing for fractures. London: Fontana. London: Fontana. Radford. Examples of Printed Folklore concerning Fife. J. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Huron H. The egg membrane. Eggs Hen’s eggs have been used in a number of ways in British folk medicine. 1991. 6: 130). Eating eggs has been recommended for “phthisic” (tuberculosis) (Brown 1952– 1964. 7 vols. Egg shells ground up in milk or water were given in Lincolnshire to children to cure them of bedwetting (Radford and Radford 1974: 151). Radford. In Ireland. 1952–1964. or the egg white raw with honey. See also Bed-wetting. Sharkey. 6: 294). Olive. Enza (ed. eggs have been used to treat warts and have also been claimed to cause them (Brown 1952–1964.). E.” Folk Life 18 (1980): 58–68. Egg white beaten with lemon and sugar has been used as a cough cure (Brown 1952–1964.Eggs Micheletti. Part II. Smith. Tuberculosis. Edinburgh: Polygon. The membrane of an egg has been used as a natural plaster for a cut or References Beith. 1914. An egg laid on Good Friday was believed to be a cure for colic (Brown 1952–1964. Fractures. Old Ways: An Illustrated Folk History of Ireland. Frank C. Anne E. or an egg hardboiled. NC: Duke University Press. Colic. Taylor MSS.. London: Batsford. Coughs. . 6: 309). As in Britain. Durham. 6: 219). Mary. Porter. Vickery. Dennis. “Dermatology and Folk-Lore. Taylor in Norfolk Records Office. A. 6: 156). 1998. D. 1995. it was believed to improve the complexion (Sharkey 1985: 88).” Journal of American Folklore 10 (1897): 78–80. Old Days. Dennis. Simpkins. Dublin: O’Brien Press. A whole hen’s egg steeped in vinegar with honey added has been a widespread cure for a cough (Prince 1991: 115). : 135 wound. “Folk Medicine in Living Memory in Wales. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. honey. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands.” Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 7 (1933): 1– 230. Manuscript notes of Mark R. Jones. this is another remedy still in use within living memory (Hatfield MSS). In the past doubtless eggs from other birds were used too. London: Book Club Associates. a remedy still in use (Jones 1980: 62). Emma Gertrude. E. A sore mouth has been treated with a mixture of egg.” The British Journal of Dermatology and Syphilis 52 (March 1940): 74–86. and alum (Brown 1952–1964. Brown. Prince. The Folklore of East Anglia. Diarrhea. 6: 248). The water in which eggs have been cooked has been credited both with causing and curing warts. and M. Norwich. Grandmother’s Cures: An A-Z of Herbal Remedies. Encyclopaedia of Superstitions. Oxford: Oxford University Press. North American Folk Healing: An A-Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. Grandmother’s Cures: An A-Z of Herbal Remedies. MS4322. Egg white has been applied to a sty on the eye (Brown 1952–1964. 1991. 1974. Hard-boiled eggs have been recommended as a treatment for diarrhea. Roy. “Folk-Medicine among Pennsylvania Germans. In North American folk medicine a similar array of remedies have been used involving eggs. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association.

the fungus from elder bark was used in the Scottish Highlands for treating sore throat (Beith 1995: 215). This ointment was used for eczema. and flu. The crushed leaves have been used to treat insect bites and stings. in press). a plant revered in folk medicine. they were candied and given to children as a gentle laxative (Quelch 1941: 80). A spring rising from the ground under an elder tree yielded water believed to cure sore eyes (Quelch 1941: 79). as well as for bronchitis and asthma. and net- tle stings (Beith 1995: 214). the native elder species is Sambucus canadensis. The latter remedy was recorded in the seventeenth century by Francis Bacon (Bacon 1631: 258). and for healing stubborn cuts (Hatfield MS). The flowers in infusion have treated fevers. Even the buds were used in domestic medicine. In Ireland. in use by a schoolchild (Opie 1959: 315). hot elderflower tea was used to treat fevers and even pneumonia (Vickery 1995: 125). sprains. The Gaelic name for figwort (Scrophularia nodosa).136 . The bark has been used to treat rheumatism. In Ireland the tree was so highly valued medicinally that even the clay from around the roots was said to cure toothache (Sharkey 1985: 145). Warts have been treated by cutting notches into an elder tree equal in number to the warts. and bandaged on leg sores (Lafont 1984: 35). and recorded again in the mid-twentieth century. translates as “under elder” (Allen and Hatfield. The berries. or by rubbing the warts with a green elder stick and burying the stick. Particularly in Ireland. and whitlows (Vickery 1995: 124). The pith of elder wood has been used in Gloucestershire to treat ringworm (Hartland 1895: 54). In Northumberland. The fungi that grow on elder have been used in folk medicine too—for example. a use reminiscent of the well-known practice of tying elder branches to the horse’s harness to keep flies away (Vickery 1995: 122). In Scotland the flowers were boiled with birch bark to make a tonic (Beith 1995: 214). with particular care to gather the pollen too. and by Appalachian healers. Elder Elder Every part of the elder tree has been used in British folk medicine. but the European species has been naturalized in North America since the seventeenth century and has been used by North American Indians. In Gloucestershire a similar ointment was made and used for aches. as well as to remove sunburn (Hatfield MS). used especially for treating eczema. an ointment was made from the flowers. The root has been boiled and used to treat rheumatism in Ireland (Vickery 1995: 124). made into wine. An amulet for epilepsy was to wear nine pieces of elder cut from between two knots (Black 1883: 120). They have been made into an all-purpose ointment. In Devon they have been chewed for toothache. or warmed and laid on the forehead for a headache (Quelch 1941: 80). Many of the same uses have been recorded for Britain and North America. burns and scalds were treated with elder ointment (Allen and Hatfield. The tree’s semimagical status in folklore. by Shakers. in press). and in powdered form as a laxative in Scotland (Beith 1995: 215) and in Devon (Lafont 1984: 35). produce a drink for pleasure and for the treatment of sore throat. Folk med- . which would lead to its protection. In Worcestershire. colds. the skin was rubbed with an elder flower preparation to keep midges away (Vickery 1995: 122). including the superstition that one must never cut down an elder tree (without first asking the druids)— or that burning green elder branches can cause rheumatism (Hatfield 1999: 76)— may reflect simply the great usefulness of this tree in medicine in the past. In North America. Even the plants that grow in the shade of an elder tree are believed to take on something of its powers. and been used as a cosmetic. chapped skin.

David E. “More Kentucky Superstitions. Black. Sylva. The berries were simmered in brandy for dysentery. Wisdom and Heal- . Leaves of elder placed in the hat were claimed to protect from sunstroke (Fogel 1915: 138). canadensis and the introduced S. London. downward to obtain a laxative (Tantaquidgeon 1928: 265)... though not quite as widely as American elder. Ringworm. For croup a child was touched with an elderberry wand which was kept where neither sun nor moon could shine upon it (Brendle and Unger 1935: 136). the leaves laid over the eyes to clear the eyes and brow (Meyer 1985: 96. canadensis was scraped upward to obtain an emetic. Simply carrying elder leaves in the pocket was thought to help galled arms (Musick 1964: 48). Fevers. Piles. The flowers were also used for colds and flu and for constipation in children (Meyer 1985: 55. and with the inner bark were used to treat burns. Hartland. Rheumatism. as a diuretic. Among the Mohegan. Other species too. David C. Eczema. the American elder (Sambucus canadensis) was very widely used. burns. the bark of S. 106. Reagan 1936: 69). John K. F. Childbirth. Durham. Vol. Fogel. Frostbite. in press. “Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans: The Non-Occult Cures. racemosa seems to be the only species used in childbirth (see. Toothache. In Native American practice. London: Folklore Society. Headache. Shakers. A Reference Guide to Medicinal Plants. 37. the European elder (Sambucus nigra) seems only to have been specifically selected by the Cherokee. Elder leaves were held to attract maggots out of a wound (Shelby 1959:10). Edwin Miller. were used medicinally. and as an emetic (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 33).” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45 (1935). A necklace made from elder stems has been used as a teething aid (Fowler and Fowler 1950: 175). Warts. Edwin Sidney. skin eruptions and fevers. Sore throat. Sylva Sylvarum. Both the flowers and the leaves were used as a tonic (Meyer 1985: 258). 37. The inner bark was simmered in hen’s oil for frostbite and mixed with cream and chamomile for treating piles (Meyer 1985: 133. County Folklore: Gloucestershire. and many of the same uses recorded by Meyer are recognizable in Native American practice.. for instance. Eye problems. Edinburgh: Polygon. and Claude W. Sunburn. by at least seventeen different tribes (Moerman 1998 : 511). and of the bark for liver complaints and eczema (Meyer 1985: 31. and Gabrielle Hatfield. nigra (Crellin and Philpott 1998: 200). Gabrielle. 75). 43. Tonic. 1631. NC: Duke University Press. 1883. “Beliefs and Superstitions of the Pennsylvania Germans. Hatfield.Elder : 137 ical records do not always distinguish between the native S. Insect bites and stings. Teething. Hamel. William George. NC: Herald. By contrast. Paul B. 66.. Chiltoskey. Burns. Mary. Crellin. for rheumatism. and Jane Philpott. Fowler. Asthma. Memory. 1975. and Mary U. Beith. 110). Epilepsy. S. Birch. Portland. 106). 1895. Cuts.” Americana Germanica 18 (1915). 3rd ed. Dysentery. See also Amulet. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. Printed Extracts 1. Brendle. Meyer records the use of elder leaves for asthma and boils. References Allen. and Mary Gene Fowler. Constipation. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. 196). such as the blue elder (Sambucus cerulea) and scarlet elder (Sambucus racemosa). The flowers simmered in lard made a salve for sore breasts. Croup. 1998. Bacon. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. Colds. London: Folk-Lore Society. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands.. 1995. suggesting that this was probably the species most widely employed in folk medicine generally. Unger. Thomas R.” Southern Folklore Quarterly 14 (1950): 170–176. OR: Timber Press.

and Hooper 1979: 63). Old Days. Dublin: O’Brien Press. swellings. 1995. Old Ways.) Considering how widespread the elm tree was in Britain. Clarence. Daniel E. and it now forms a staple of many herbal preparations there also. OR: Timber Press.” West Virginia Folklore 14 (1964): 38–52. Gladys. Elm (Ulmus spp. Sharkey. Many of the uses of this species of elm are similar to the British ones for their native elms (Ulmus procera. and jaundice (Allen and Hatfield. piles (Meyer 1985: 194–196). see Moerman 1998: 576–578. A poultice of the bark was used to treat burns and wounds (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 33) and also swellings. 1999. . 1985. 1984.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. and it was also made into proprietary lozenges (Micheletti 1998: 114). Meyer. the liquid obtained from boiling the bark has been used at least since the eighteenth century for treating burns (Threlkeld 1726). Herbs for Daily Use. Glenwood. The bark has been chewed for sore throats and coughs (just as the native species of elm have been used in England). Quelch. Bideford: Badger Books. Musick. The plant was in addition used to treat bleeding cuts (Reagan 1928: 231). the slippery elm (Ulmus rubra) is widespread and has been extensively used in folk medicine as well as in official medicine and herbalism. eye ailments (Meyer 1985: 109–114). to treat colds and sore throats (Vickery 1995: 127). “Superstitions. Native American Ethnobotany. Meyer recorded the use of slippery elm. and the fever was transferred to the tree (Vickery 1995: 127). It has also been used in Ireland for treating sprains. but the use of slippery elm in North American folk medicine seems to have been much more extensive. The bark was chewed for sore throats (Densmore 1928: 342) and made into an infusion for coughs (Tantaquidgeon 1972: 31). Elm ing: The History of Domestic Plant Medicine. U. Shelby. including tubercular glands (Herrick 1977: 304). 242). The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren. (For further Native American uses of this and other species of elm. 1998. Moerman. glabra and U. “Mohegan Medicinal Practices. London: Faber and Faber. Anne-Marie. In North America. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 108). In Ireland. The inner bark of the elm has been chewed or boiled and made into a jelly-like liquid. Olive. Ruth Anne (ed. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. 1959.138 . IL: Meyerbooks. The patient nailed some of his hair or nail clippings to the tree. Opie. There is a record of one particular tree in Bedfordshire that grew at the spot where a murderer had been executed being used to cure ague (fever). as well as bleeding lungs (Chandler. “Folklore of Jordan Springs. in press). 1941. 1985.) Though slippery elm is not native to Britain. or simply “elm. Phoenix Mill: Sutton. Reagan. the number of ways in which it has been used in folk medicine is relatively small. Lafont. minor). Roy. Carolyn. kidney complaints (Meyer 1985: 157–161). heartburn. its use has been imported by herbalists into Britain. Albert B. Tennessee.” Kansas Academy of Sciences 37 (1936): 55–70. The list includes skin ailments (Meyer 1985: 106. as well as for staunching bleeding (Maloney 1972).” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 25 (1959): 6–17. and Peter Opie. Iona. “Plants Used by the Hoh and Quileute Indians. American Folk Medicine. at least until the outbreak of Dutch elm disease in the 1970s.” Smithsonian Institution-Bureau of American Ethnology Annual Report 43 (1928): 264– 270. Portland. Herbal Folklore.” for a large range of ailments in addition to sore throat. and upset stomach (Meyer 1985: 235. Vickery. Freeman. Tantaquidgeon. Native Americans had many uses for elm. Mary Thorne. Weather-Lore and Superstitions.

Davys et al.” Smithsonian InstitutionBureau of American Ethnology Annual Report 44 (1928): 273–379. Native American Ethnobotany. In Ireland. 1998. 1985. In Aberdeenshire. Glenwood. Iroquois Medical Botany. Other amulets include the skin of a wolf. and Gabrielle Hatfield. OR: Timber Press. 3 (1972). and Mary U.. A medal made from coffin handles was worn as an amulet against epilepsy in the Scottish Highlands (Souter 1995: 37).Epilepsy : 139 See also Bleeding. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. thesis. Hamel. Dublin: F. Burns. Vickery. Coughs. Threlkeld. This unease is reflected in the wide range of magical and semi-magical “cures” in British folk medicine. An alternative was to wear nine pieces of elder. Portland. Beatrice. Moerman. which was valued in England as well as on the continent of Europe (Black 1883: 153). the skull was particularly valued (Black 1883: 96.” Ulster Folklife 18 (1972): 66–79. Sylva. Hooper. 1977. Indigestion. Transference. “Plants Used by the Bois Fort Chippewa (Ojibwa) Indians of Minnesota. 97).. Frances. they were distributed by reigning monarchs until the death of Mary Tudor (Thomas 1978: 235). Originally they had been made from “Maundy Money. Again.” the royal offering to the church on Maundy Thursday. but later they were purposemade. cut from between two knots (Black 1883: 120). Sprains. Some of the remedies for epilepsy have a strong association with death. Synopsis Stirpium Hibernicarum. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. David E. Sore throat. and it still is to- day. no. Daniel E.. and even the eminent eighteenth-century physician Sir Thomas Browne recommended that it be worn as a precaution against epilepsy (Black 1883: 196). State University of New York. Scotland.). Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. Enza (ed. Mistletoe was thought to prevent harm from witches. Herrick. Lois Freeman. Gladys. and in Scotland too the bones of a man were regarded as a cure for a woman. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. Chiltoskey. “Traditional Herbal Cures in County Cavan: Part 1. Frank. James William. “Uses of Plants by the Chippewa Indians. Wounds. Colds. there was a belief that burning the clothes of a person who had had a fit would produce a cure (Black 1883: 72). Clarence. 1998. North American Folk Healing: An A-Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. 1726. Portland. Chandler. Jaundice. Rings that had been hallowed by the king were another popular charm against epilepsy. 1975. without telling them what they were for. It was reputedly used by the Druids against epilepsy (Souter 1995: 41). Eye problems. “Herbal Remedies of the Maritime Indians. Paul B. 1995. Albert B. Epilepsy This disease has always been regarded with fear and superstition.” Pennsylvania Historical Commission Anthropological Papers. in press. Tantaquidgeon. Albany. Reagan. Oxford: Oxford University Press. IL: Meyerbooks. “Folk Medicine of the Delaware and Related Algonkian Indians. These were then placed secretly in a bag around the child’s neck. NC: Herald. The child had no further fits until the bag was .” Wisconsin Archaeologist 7(4) (1928): 230– 248. grated human skull has been ingested to cure epilepsy. particularly during the sixteenth century. and Shirley N. A strange survival of the idea of coins curing epilepsy is recorded from Sussex in the twentieth century. Roy. Caleb. and those of a woman for a man.D. Micheletti. OR: Timber Press. Maloney. The mother of a young child suffering from fits was told to collect seven threepenny bits from seven strange men. American Folk Medicine.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1 (1979): 49–68. Ph. Meyer. References Allen. R. Densmore.

Near the head of Loch Torridon in Wester Ross there is a well that within living memory was used to treat a man suffering from epilepsy. A cross of ropes was laid on his body. a cure that com- bines many of these different epilepsy treatments in one. In a symbol of rebirth. Another Sussex belief was that eating ashes of a roast cuckoo was a cure for fits (Allen 1995: 42). The patient had to drink blood taken from his left foot. There is on record from the early twentieth century the story of a cure for epilepsy practiced in the Isle of Lewis by a healer. Epilepsy Man having an epileptic seizure. There was a belief that a piece of coal found under a mugwort plant (Artemisia vulgaris) was a cure for epilepsy (Radford and Radford 1961).140 . Some of the remedies for epilepsy have a strong association with death. the ends of the ropes being knotted. large standing stones with a hole in them were employed as a gateway to health. For example. Interestingly. He was instructed to drink its water from the skull of a suicide and thereafter to abstain from excessive alcohol and not to act as a coffin bearer (Beith 1995: 131). He had toe and finger nail clippings and hair clippings from moustache and eyebrows wrapped in parcels. nor rain could reach them. This is reflected in the wide range of magical and semi-magical ‘cures’ in British folk medicine. In Sussex and elsewhere in England there was belief that sleeping under a walnut tree could lead to fits or madness (Souter 1995: 172). Mistletoe was used especially in southern England. in Cornwall a person suffering from epilepsy would be passed naked through the hole of the “Men-an-Tol” (Souter 1995: 37). together with the clippings were buried in a place where neither sun. A black cock was buried at the place where the patient had had his first fit. while “cuckoo sorrel” (Rumex acetosa) was similarly used in Cumbria (Newman and Wilson 1951: 252–266). the plant known as cuckoo-flower (Cardamine pratense) had a reputation in the Scottish Highlands for soothing epileptic fits (Beith 1995: 213). (National Library of Medicine) seen by another child (Esdaile 1942). Epilepsy has always been regarded with fear and superstition. Herbal treatments for epilepsy in British folk medicine are comparatively few in number. The patient was then instructed to drink water out of a human skull (Henderson 1910: 319–320). also in southern Ireland . wind. The knots were then cut off and wrapped and.

cow parsnip seeds (Heracleum maximum) (Partridge 1838: 286–288). Juniper berries (Juniperus communis) were used in the Scottish Highlands (Carmichael 1900– 1971. burning its clothes will stop them (Browne 1958: 23). Newbury: Countryside Books. David E. and drank it to cure herself (Hand 1970: 325). and in Cavan the fern known as spleenwort (Asplenium rutamuraria) was infused in milk to treat epilepsy (Maloney 1972: 66–79). buried either under the bed (Wilson 1908: 70) or in a hole in an oak tree (Simons 1954: 3). and dog fennel (Anthemis cotula) (Pickard and Buley 1945: 44). take two pieces of coal from there. Elder. are not very numerous in North America. in press. collected some of the dead man’s blood. pansies (Viola sp.Epilepsy : 141 (Allen and Hatfield. OR: Timber Press. holding a child in the smoke from burned black chicken feathers was a cure suggested in Alabama (Browne 1958: 23). Many of the remedies show an association with blood or death. as in Britain. Mistletoe. suggesting a Native American origin for these remedies.) (UCLA Folklore Archives record number 2_6245). Skull. passing a worm dipped in alcohol down the sufferer’s throat on a thread during a fit and pulling it up gradually (UCLA Folklore Archives 4_6245). the fits will cease. References Allen. and. A woman who had epilepsy witnessed an execution at Karis. 1995. Portland. was a suggested cure for epilepsy in Pennsylvania (Smith 1950: 4). Beith. 1995. Another precaution against getting epilepsy is to crush the shells of eggs after eating them (Kanner 1930: 192). See also Amulet. eating beaver fat (Hendricks 1953: 126). as in Britain (McAtee 1955: 172). An idea remarkably similar to one found in Britain is to dig under the roots of red wormwood. They include nibbling the end of a hop (Humulus lupulus) vine every morning for seven mornings in the spring before sunrise (Hyatt 1965: 248). Rubbing a naked baby with a newly born pig is an example of transference in epilepsy treatment (Bourke 1894: 119). All the elements of folk healing discussed above are also to be found in North American remedies for epilepsy. Miscellaneous “cures” for epilepsy include getting the patient to drink out of a dish from which a crossbill has drunk (Brendle and Unger 1935: 108). Mary. Less drastically. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. The fresh blood of a turtle dove. Hair cuttings from the patient. were believed to stop epilepsy. from Arizona. 4: 268). In Alabama there was a belief that if a baby has convulsions. drunk. . in press). and Gabrielle Hatfield. Andrew. then eat one and wear the other as a cure for epilepsy (Brendle and Unger 1935: 105). Witch. and cowparsnip is used similarly by the Winnebago (Gilmore 1919: 107). Herbal treatments for epilepsy. Allen. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. Of these herbal treatments. wearing an amulet made from the backbone of a rattlesnake is a suggested precaution in California (UCLA Folklore Archives record number 3_6245). Mugwort. Edinburgh: Polygon. To avoid “catching” epilepsy. If an epileptic’s shirt is burned (Kanner 1930: 208) or pulled over his head and pulled up through the chimney of the house and buried (UCLA Folklore Archives 2_6805). dog fennel is used by the Cherokee to treat epilepsy (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 32). A large number of other plant genera were employed by the Native Americans in treating epilepsy (Moerman 1998: 769–770). Other herbal remedies involve fresh parsley (Petroselinum crispum) (Randolph 1947: 110). A piece of rope with which someone had hanged himself was believed to be a cure for epilepsy (Fogel 1915: 292).. Cuckoo ashes were recommended for epilepsy.

Brendle. “Of the Cow-Parsnip. 1965.. and M. Sussex Notes and Queries. Folklore Studies 9. and E. The Norse Influence on Celtic Scotland. E. Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations. Moerman. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. 1947. 1995. Richard. and R. “Popular Medicine. Native American Ethnobotany. His Ills. 9 (1942). Sylva. E. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation.” In Medieval Literature and Folklore Studies: Essays in Honour of Francis Lee Utley. Leo. K. 1945. 1970. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Rosenberg. Oliver and Boyd (1940–54). and Mary U. George D. Newman.” Folk-Lore 62 (1951): 252–266. J.” Midwest Folklore 5 (1955): 169–183. Wayland D.. Partridge. Souter. Isaak Shirk. London: Folklore Society. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. London: Hutchinson. Portland. Henderson. and as an aphrodisiac.. (3 and 4 ed. Black. 381–387. 1975. the Gallows and the Dead Man’s Hand in American Folk Medicine. “Notes on Folk Medicine. Radford.” Americana Germanica 18 (1915). Thomas. OR: Timber Press. F. Kanner. 1961. “Dutch Folk-Beliefs.” Smithsonian Institution-Bureau of American Ethnology Annual Report. Keith. Crawfordsville. Simons. a cure for coughs and colds (Shenstone 1887). Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. and Claude W.142 . NC: Herald. In the latter role they are mentioned by Shakespeare in The Merry Wives of Windsor (5. A. 1950). Daniel E. 1883. McAtee.” Medical Life 37 (1930): 167– 214.” Journal of American Folklore 7 (1894): 119–146. Gilmore. Esdaile. Daniel. George. Thomas R. “Odds and Ends of North American Folklore on Birds. William George. Wilson. Edited and revised by Christina Hole. 5 and 6 ed. Hand. A. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. Oliver. Hyatt. Carmichael. 323–329. Vance. “Uses of Plants by the Indians of the Missouri River Region. Melvin R. Part I. Ray B. M. “Hangmen. 33 (1919). Browne.” Pennsylvania Dutchman 5(14) (March 15. Hendricks.” Pennsylvania Dutchman 2(8) (September 15. Pickard. 6 vols. Edinburgh: Constable (1900). “Beliefs and Superstitions of the Pennsylvania Germans. Chiltoskey. “Traditional Herbal Cures in County Cavan: Part 1. Glasgow: James Maclehose.5). “Folk-Lore Survivals in the Southern ‘Lake Counties’ and in Essex: A Comparison and Contrast. London: Peregrine. W. “Collecting Folk Cures in Lebanon County. Hamel. John G. Carmichael Watson. edited by Jerome Mandell and Bruce A. Cures and Doctors.” Boston Medical and Surgical Journal 18 (1838): 18. New York: Columbia University Press. Randolph. 1954): 2–3. Madge E. Beatrice. 1958. Bourke. 1910. NJ: Rutgers University Press. Customs and Superstitions of the Rio Grande. Edwin Miller. Banta. Encyclopaedia of Superstitions. Saffron Walden: C. 1998. Fogel. Angus Matheson). 1978. Eryngo of Epilepsy. IN: R. L. ed. Harry Middleton. Charles Bundy. New Brunswick.” Western Folklore 12 (1953): 119–127. Smith. Ozark Superstitions. The Midwest Pioneer. Wilson. W. no. Keith. Lewes: Sussex Archaeological Society. Carlyle Buley.. “The Folklore and Cultural History Eryngo The roots of sea-holly (Eryngium maritimum and other species) were highly prized in the past in both official and folk medi´ Sı cine as a tonic and worm-treatment (O ´ocha ´in 1962). Religion and the Decline of Magic.” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45 (1935). Maloney. “Misconceptions Concerning Western Wild Animals.. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. Radford.” Ulster Folklife 18 (1972): 66–79. . Vol. “Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans: The Non-Occult Cures. Paul B. Unger. L. Alexander. 2nd rev. Scottish Academic Press (1971). 15.” Journal of American Folklore 21 (1908): 68–73.

More prosaically. Also from Indiana comes the suggestion of collecting nine catkins from a birch branch on a Friday morning. References ´ Sı O ´ocha ´in. 209). passing a shovel of burning coal in front of a patient. in rural areas leeches were applied to remove the “bad blood” of erysipelas (Rider Haggard 1974: 17). a similar medley of magical and practical remedies for erysipelas has been reported. without speaking to anyone. and herb Robert (Geranium robertianum) (Gregor 1881: 47). Dublin: ´ ireann. May 1623). Individuals were sometimes credited with the power of healing erysipelas.d. washing in running water and applying hog’s lard was considered effective (Perth Kirk Session Record.” Blood from either a black cat (as in Ireland) or black hen was used in Pennsylvania (Weiser 1954: 6. and rubbing them on the affected area (Pickard and Buley 1945: 79). C. 1962. 6: 179). In East Anglia.” and cures for it include the blood of a black cat (Wilde 1898: 30).” Essex Naturalist 1 (1887): 30– 33. reduced to ashes and ingested. elder scrapings. In Ireland. In Pennsylvania there was a blacksmith credited with the power to heal erysipelas (Shoemaker 1951: 2). Foilsiu ´ cha ´in E Shenstone. See also Button snakeroot. this disease. or blood. In North American folk medicine. the disease was also known as “wildfire. In Wales. and these have been used in a variety of ways in North American folk medicine. the disease was sometimes called “wild fire. other members of the genus are. Though Eryngium maritimum is not native to North America. “A Report on the Flowering Plants Growing in the Neighbourhood of Colchester. There are a number of cures involving fire—for instance. Rubbing with a dead toad was suggested in Indiana (Brown 1952–1964. P. Amulets worn for erysipelas include elder (as in Britain) (Puckett 1981: 368) and green glass beads (Whitney and Bullock 1925: 93). In East Anglia. Scotland. In Pennsylvania. J. it was believed that the sparks struck from stone and steel against the face would cure erysipelas (Radford and Radford: n. Herbs used to treat the condition in Scotland were stonecrop (Sedum acre).Erysipelas : 143 Colchester in Essex was famous for many centuries as the center of the eryngo trade. or Cahill family was considered to be an erysipelas cure (Black 1883: 140). A. agrimony was used (Agrimonia eupatoria) (Taylor MSS). practiced in Maryland (Whitney and Bullock 1925: 90). in Ulster. Erysipelas In Christian times. up to the nineteenth century. . an ointment for treating erysipelas was made from sheep tallow. was once considered a cure for erysipelas (Black 1883: 190). 115). Aran. blackberry leaves (Beith 1995: 244. became associated with Saint Anthony. Apart from numerous charms (preferably including a line of Latin [Beith 1995: 197]). Anthony’s fire. as in Ireland. Islands of Legend. water. There.. In Ireland. An amulet made from elder on which the sun had never shone was a seventeenthcentury remedy for erysipelas (Blochwich 1665: 54). Walch. and by the sixteenth century he was credited with the power not only of relieving it but also of inflicting it (Thomas 1973: 29). Frogspawn was used in the Scottish Highlands (Beith 1995: 176). or striking sparks from an Indian arrowhead (Hyatt 1965: 264). In the seventeenth century in Perthshire. 14). and goose dung (Fogel 1915: 270). the ailment attracted a number of folk remedies involving either fire. salted butter was a cure for erysipelas (Hickey 1938: 268). also known as St. the blood of a member of the Keogh. The left shoe of a person of the opposite sex from the patient.

Puckett. Toads and frogs. Brown. 1975. Carlyle Buley. Herbal treatments for the condition include a poultice of cranberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) (Meyer 1985: 108). Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture.D. Albany. a very large number of other plants were used in treating skin complaints in Native American practice (Moerman 1998: 783–788).) (Michael and Burrow 1967: 782) or the oil from infusing blossoms of dog fennel (?Anthemis cotula) in the sunshine (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_6245). thesis. 1958. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. 1952–1964. Pauline Monette. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Ph. Poke.” Journal of the Florida Medical Association 54(8) (August 1967): 778–784. London: Folklore Society. Durham. Judy. Harry Middleton. May 1623. American Folk Medicine. or with egg wine. IL: Meyerbooks. vol. Michael. Chiltoskey. Studies in Language. Frank C. Other herbal poultices include aralia roots (Aralia sp. The Midwest Pioneer. Poultices prepared from beans.. while the roots of Rhus copallinum were used by the Delaware to treat skin eruptions (Tantaquidgeon 1972: 32). Perth Kirk Session Record. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. State University of New York. 1945. NC: Herald. Black. have also been used (Meyer 1985: 107–108). Notes on the Folk-Lore of the North-East of Scotland. Blochwich. Ray B. and peach leaves were used by the Cherokee for a number of skin conditions (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 47). and Lizzie Ledford. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. a poultice was prepared from red beets and fresh-cut chewing tobacco (Black 1935: 18). Iroquois Medical Botany. M.” Americana Germanica 18 (1915). Poultice. 2nd rev. and Criticism 15. a preparation made from sumac roots (Rhus sp. Max. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. London: Publications of the Folklore Society. Native American Ethnobotany. James William. sprinkling with starch or wheat flour. Madge E.. Gregor. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. “Medical Superstitions in Ireland. and R. William George. Martin. Pickard. and Mark V. Newbell Niles. Literature. 7 vols. Anthemis cotula was given by the Iroquois to children with “red spots” (Herrick 1977: 471). the Anatomie of the Elder. (1967): 25–28.. and bathing with a solution of sodium bicarbonate or with a mixture of salt and brandy. 1883. References Beith. a poultice was made from cornmeal and peach leaves (Prunus persica) (Brown and Ledford 1967: 28). E. Paul B. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Clarence. OR: Timber Press. Edinburgh: Polygon. Herrick. Hickey. “Beliefs and Superstitions of the Pennsylvania Germans. In addition. Foxfire 1(2).” Ulster Medical Journal 2 (1938). Cures and Doctors. Moerman. 1881. Indiana: R. Edwin Miller. In Nebraska. Lincoln: University of Nebraska. Nebraska Folk Cures. Portland. Sylva. Jr. “‘Old Timey’ Remedies of Yesterday and Today. Daniel E. with buttermilk. Banta. Crawfordsville. 1665. Fogel. His Ills. Superstitions. Anatomia Sambuci: or. NC: Duke University Press. with glycerine. and Mary U. . Popular Beliefs and Super- Simple household remedies for erysipelas include boric acid solution. or from onions and bran. 1998. At least some of these remedies are probably borrowed from Native American usage.144 . Burrow. 1977. See also Amulet. Brown. Hamel. Hyatt.) (Pickard and Buley 1945: 45) and houseleek (Browne 1958: 61). Folklore Studies 9. Mary. 1985. Glenwood. Browne. ed. 7. Blackberry. Sweet fern (Comptonia peregrina) and berries or roots of poke have also been used (Meyer 1985: 108). E. Houseleek. 1935. Erysipelas Black. 1965. In Georgia. Meyer. Walter. Blacksmith. 1995.

The ancient Egyptians used as an amulet the eye of Horus. 1951). The woman was thought to have the evil eye since she praised a young child who subsequently died (Tongue 1965: 68). E. written prayers could be used as an amulet. while in Rome horseshoes were nailed to the doors of houses to provide protection against the evil eye (Souter 1995: 31).” She was never allowed to look at a newborn baby. 1079). Cures and Usages of Ireland. 1954). Similar beliefs are to be found in North American folk medicine. and its effects were countered with elaborate ceremonies (Black 1883: 22– 23).” Pennsylvania Historical Commission Anthropological Papers. London: Ward and Downey. London. A witch in a Norfolk village in the twentieth century was reported to have obtained services free from her neighbors. Amulets worn to avert the evil eye include a locket in the shape of a heart and a red spot on the forehead. Religion and the Decline of Magic. Lady (Jane). Protection against it could be obtained by using certain plants. certain people regarded as having the evil eye were not allowed to look at a baby (UCLA Folklore Archives 11_5413). no. alternatively. : 145 Evil eye The idea that disease can be caused by being “overlooked” (i. 1973. Boston: G. In the Mexican tradition there was a belief that when admiring a child. Lilias (ed. Rev. to ward off the evil eye (Dodson 1932: 84).. Hand. Porter describes several twentieth-century individuals in East Anglia who were thought to possess the evil eye (Porter 1974: 154– 155). Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. such as mugwort (Black 1883: 201).” Pennsylvania Dutchman 3(6) (August 1. . Snake skin or snake heads have also been used as amulets (Cannon 1984: 319).” Pennsylvania Dutchman 5(14) (March 15. looked at) by someone with evil powers is a very ancient one. 1078. Tantaquidgeon. 1898. Keith.e. and M.). Daniel. Radford. Tongue recalls as a child being hidden when a certain woman passed by. Protection against the evil eye has often been provided by wearing amulets. 3 (1972). “Folklore from Maryland. 3 vols. Shoemaker. Thiederman. “for fear of the Evil Eye” (Taylor 1929: 129–130). and Caroline Canfield Bullock.” Memoirs of the American Folklore Society 18 (1925). Protection could be had by embroidering spiders on the child’s clothing or giving it coral to wear (Baca 1969: 2174). As recently as the early years of the twentieth century. “Braucherei. It still lingers today in folk medicine across the world. Taylor in the Norfolk Record Office. 1974. 1981.d. I Walked by Night. it was necessary to touch the child at the same time. Taylor MSS. When meeting a cross-eyed person it has been suggested that one must cross one’s fingers to avert the evil eye (Brown 1952– 1964. Manuscript notes of Mark R. Radford. Hall. As in Britain. Woodbridge: Boydell Press. a practice still current in Britain and elsewhere. Headaches in babies were thought to be caused by the evil eye (Jones 1951: 17). Encyclopaedia of Superstitions. In the nineteenth century in both England and Scotland there was still a firm belief that certain individuals possessed the evil eye. and Sondra B. 7: 136). Alfred L. among its many powers. Ancient Charms. Weiser. for fear of her powers of “overlooking. Gladys. “Folk Medicine of the Delaware and Related Algonkian Indians. Anna Casetta. Whitney. In the Native American tradition garlic. Norwich. “Blacksmith Lore. A. Annie Weston. Rider Haggard. A red ribbon helped to protect a baby against the evil eye. MS4322. Thomas.. recorded in ancient Babylon five thousand years ago (Souter 1995: 29). Edited by Wayland D. or crossing oneself could provide protection (Puckett 1981: 131. K. Wilde.Evil eye stitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. n.

Taylor. It is not al- ways appreciated that official medicine employed animal products. and Sondra B. 1995. in his Flora Scotica. Human feces. Edited by Wayland D. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. Mark R. and fresh pig dung has served to staunch a nosebleed (Marwick 1975: 130). Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. “Folk Curing among the Mexicans. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.146 . Ruth. Somerset Folklore. inflammation. In North American folk medicine there is a similar usage of dung. Lightfoot (Lightfoot 1777) recorded the use of human feces as a poultice for snake bite (Beith 1995: 173). Cowpats were used to poultice wounds in Hampshire in the nineteenth century (Black 1883: 161) and to help in the removal of splinters (Hatfield 1994: 11). Jones. A Yorkshire remedy for arthritis was a poultice of cow dung and vinegar (Souter 1995: 135). “Some Health Beliefs of the Spanish Speaking. Edited by Wayland D. Dodson.” or tonsillitis (Beith 1995: 172). Enid. Louis C. References Baca. In folk medicine the excreta of various animals has been used. 1965.” Folk-Lore 40 (1929): 113–133. Souter. Josephine Elizabeth. Daniel. gout. Frank C. Human excre- .” Western Folklore 10 (1951): 11–25. London: Folklore Society. Durham. Sheep droppings have been used in the Scottish Highlands as an infusion in milk for smallpox. Native American tradition. Boston: G. Hand and Jeannine E. Saffron Walden: C.” Publications of the Texas Folklore Society 10 (1932): 82–98. “Norfolk Folklore. Mugwort. As a hot poultice. dried and powdered. William George. 1952–1964. Black. “The Evil Eye among EuropeanAmericans. W. In the eighteenth century. Anna Casetta. Mexican tradition. and that at least some of the folk uses may in fact have been derived from book knowledge. The Folklore of East Anglia. it was used to treat children in Ireland with measles in the nineteenth century (Black 1883: 157). and erysipelas (Logan 1972: 154). K. Logan records the use of human excrement in Ireland in the treatment of quinsy. Talley. County Folklore 8. Excreta was thought to ward off the evil eye (UCLA Folklore Archives 9_6794). In Scotland cow dung has also been used to treat blotches on the face. Hall. The white part of hen’s dirt has been used to draw pus (Beith 1995: 173). scalds and burns. NC: Duke University Press. Excreta The dung of a wide range of animals has been used in British folk medicine from early times to the present day. have been blown into the eyes for blindness (Beith 1995: 173). Puckett. 1974. 1984. Hand. Tongue. London: Batsford. Sheep’s dung and water have been used to treat jaundice and whooping cough in Scotland (Gregor 1881: 46). 7 vols. Anthon S. See also Amulet. including their feces. William Salmon’s English Physician of 1693 gives the official uses of the dung of no fewer than thirty-four different birds and beasts (Salmon 1693). Newbell Niles. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. Keith. Witch. as well as “quinsy. Bird dung has been used as a remedy for baldness. Cannon. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. Porter. 1981. 1883. 3 vols. Ruth L. Edited Katharine Briggs.” American Journal of Nursing 69 (October 1969): 2172–2176. Brown. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. cow dung has been used to treat a badly swollen knee (Prince 1991: 111) and to bring an abscess to a head (Allen 1995: 42). London: Folklore Society. Mixed with porter and sulphur. Thiederman.

The dung specifically of a black cow has been suggested as a treatment for a whitlow (inflammation of finger or toe. 6: 220). Unger. Toothache. It has been claimed to be commonly used to treat toothache in the New World and Spain (Foster 1953: 213–214. Cow excrement has been used. “Popular Medicine. Mary. Goose dung has been used to treat burns and erysipelas (Brendle and Unger 1935: 82. nosebleed (Riddell 1934: 43). 1952–1964. White dog feces are specified as a treatment for sore throat (Saucier 1956: 23) and pneumonia (Parler 1962: 819). Quinsy. Texas Folk Medicine. Indigestion. Baldness. Poultice. Customs and Superstitions of the Rio Grande. Sheep dung has been used particularly in the treatment of measles (see. “Relationships between Spanish and Spanish-American Folk Medicine. Black.Excreta : 147 ment has been used to treat “felons” (infected sores usually under the finger nail) (see. 1970. Hog dung has been used to treat diphtheria (Hoffman 1889: 29). 1970. as an infusion to treat measles (Anderson 1970: 51).) Dried and powdered. This practice has also been recorded among the Mohegan (Tantaquidgeon 1928: 268). 7 vols. Hives. and Claude W. whooping cough (Anderson 1970: 91). W.” Journal of American Folklore 7 (1894): 119–146. Rheumatism. Bourke. It has also been used to treat scarlet fever (Brendle and Unger 1935: 90) and hives (Anderson 1970: 42). Asthma. Whooping cough. it has been used to treat scorpion bites (UCLA Folklore Archives 12_6180) and cramps (Espinosa 1910: 411). Eye problems. Austin: Encino Press. 153). Anderson. Warts. Gout. In Spanish American folk medicine. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Brown. G. Welsch 1966: 368). Frank C. John Q. it has been recommended for epilepsy and for intermittent fevers (Saul 1949: 65). Colic. Beith. Burns.. Durham. As a poultice it has been applied to boils (Wintemberg 1950: 11) and for rheumatism (Wintemberg 1918: 127). Espinosa. Burying in a hole in a tree the excrement of a person suffering from asthma is said to be a cure of African American origin (Hyatt 1970. diphtheria (UCLA Folklore Archives 9_6261). Brendle. Wheeler 1892–1893: 66). Chicken excrement has been used to treat hives in children (Hendricks 1966: 48). and as a deterrent to thumbsucking (Frankel 1977: 128). A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. Wounds. Andrew.” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45 (1935). Cramp. for instance. The water collecting on cowpats has been used to treat warts (Waugh 1918: 23). and mumps (Brendle and Unger 1935: 137). Felons. “New Mexican Spanish Folk-Lore. John G. for example. References Allen. Reprinted New York: Burt Franklin. George M. 1995. Finally. Boils. Aurelio M. Sore throat. Edinburgh: Polygon. Snake bite. like that of sheep. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. Erysipelas. and again the cowpat and urine of a black cow are recommended for scabs (Bourke 1894: 139–140). London: Folklore Society. There are records of the use of dog feces among Native Americans in Mexico in the treatment of burns and scalds (Vogel 1970: 214). 1995. Foster. NC: Duke University Press.” Journal of American Folklore 23 (1910): 395–418. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. as in Ireland. 1883. wolf dung was recorded by Josselyn in the seventeenth century as a treatment for colic (Josselyn 1833: 238). Nosebleed. as well as warts (Puckett 1981: 474). See also Abscesses. Smallpox. especially at the nail) (Riddell 1934: 43). 1: 386).” . Newbury: Countryside Books. “Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans: The Non-Occult Cures. Jaundice. Thomas R. Dog excrement has been applied to the stomach for indigestion (Brown 1952–1964.

Boston: G. Harry Middleton. John. 1977. 1995. 7. Corinne L. William. 1881. Mary Celestia. Traditions de la Paroisse des Avoyelles en Louisiande. Philadelphia: Dorrance. Saffron Walden: C. 1950. Wintemberg.” Journal of American Folklore 2 (1889): 23–35. Marwick. “Folk-Lore of the Pennsylvania Germans. Mice and Mustaches: A Sampling of Superstitions and Popular Beliefs in Texas. “Folk-Lore Collected in Toronto and Vicinity. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. The Folklore of Orkney and Shetland. Logan.” The FolkLorist 1 (1892–1893): 55–68. Helen M. in press). 1777. Dennis. 1966. Philadelphia: American Folklore Society. 1949. Welsch. Tantaquidgeon. Eye problems Saul. F. Thiederman. Zinc sulphate solution was used to bathe sore eyes (Prince 1991: 107). Flora Scotica. Making the Cure: A Look at Irish Folk Medicine. Folk-Lore of Waterloo County.148 . F. Keith. Ontario: National Museum of Canada. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.” Journal of American Folklore 31 (1918): 125–134. MA: Historical Society Collection III. Ontario. infections of the rim of the eye. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. 1966. 1962. 5 vols. Notes on the Folk-Lore of the North-East of Scotland. American Indian Medicine. Anthropological Series 28. Gregor. Frankel. In Ireland. Hoffman. W. MD. W. 173). “Canadian Folk-Lore from Ontario. 1972. For stys. Wheeler. 3 vols. Anna Casetta. Salmon. Witchcraft. and Sondra B. J. William. Saucier. Patrick. Roger L. Journal of American Folklore 66 (1953): 201–217. For foreign bodies in the eye. Ernest. Virgil J. Vogel. DC: 1928. London. William Renwick. Woodbridge: Boydell. 1956. Waugh. K. W.” Journal of American Folklore 31 (1918): 4–82. Weather Lore and Superstitions. Hatfield. Mirrors. J. George D. Souter. Walter. 1975. Pink Pills for Pale People. Josselyn. Two Voyages to New England. London: Fontana. Lightfoot. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. 1925–1926. Grandmother’s Cures: An A-Z of Herbal Remedies. Hall. the seeds of clary (Salvia verbenaca) were used (Allen and Hatfield. “Mohegan Medicinal Practices. Bulletin 116. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. . Prince. 15 volumes. In contact with the film of water on the surface of the eye. a cure was to pick ten thorns of the gooseberry (Ribes uva-crispa). The Compleat English Physician. Hoodoo. vol. 1994. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. 1991. Childbirth in the Ghetto: Folk Beliefs of Negro Women in a North Philadelphia Hospital Ward. London: 1693. Austin: Texas Folklore Society. Hand. San Francisco: R and E Research Associates. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Riddell. and University Student Contributors. 1970. Washington. 1970. Barbara. Parler. 1981. the mucilaginous seeds swell up. J. “Some Old Canadian Folk Medicine. Conjuration. J. and particles in the eye can be easily removed along with the swollen seed. Hyatt. Gabrielle. Puckett.” In Forty-third Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology.” Canada Lancet and Practitioner 83 (August 1934): 41–44. London: Batsford. “Illinois Folk-Lore. Wintemberg. Dublin: Talbot Press. Cambridge. W. 1833. rubbing with hair from the tail of a black cat or with a gold wedding ring was recommended (Black 1883: 116. Hendricks. One was thrown away. Eye problems British folk medicine has recommendations for most eye problems. Daniel. Newbell Niles. London: Publications of the Folk-Lore Society. nine were pointed to the eye and then buried (Vickery 1995: 155). W. A Treasure of Nebraska Pioneer Folklore. Edited by Wayland D. Gladys. Rootwork.

For a sty one recommendation in the Scottish Highlands was to stand on one’s head in the sea until nine waves had passed over. the common speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys) was known as “sore eyes” because an infusion of the little blue flowers was used for this purpose (Hatfield 1994: 37). Foreign particles were often removed from a child’s eyes by the mother licking them out (Beith 1995: 103). diluted witch hazel extract (Hamamelis virginiana). In Cornwall leaves of the tree mallow (Lavatera arborea) were used to treat kennings or stys (Vickery 1995: 375). which in some parts of England was known as “kenning herb. and finely chopped leaves of hemlock (Conium maculatum). red ochre. witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) was recommended. Asking a man on a white horse to remove a sty was a method practiced in Aberdeenshire (Beith 1995: 178). as its country name suggests. If just one eye was sore. a country remedy for these was an ointment made from the creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens). bay salt. In the eighteenth century it was known as “break spectacles water.” Another herb used for this purpose was the greater celandine (Chelidonium majus) (Davey. a cure for blindness was to dry and powder human excrement and blow it into the eyes (Beith 1995: 173).Eye problems : 149 In the Scottish Highlands. or a piece of raw steak laid on the eye. 1909: 10.” so high was its reputation (Gunton Household Book). this was thought to be more effective if a frog’s eye were licked first (Beith 1995: 176). For a black eye. as were the flowers of plantains (Plantago lanceolata and Plantago media) (Beith 1995: 213. 234). In parts of Norfolk. once a common field weed. Eating raw seaweed was thought to improve eyesight (Beith 1995: 241). is now comparatively scarce. For sore eyes. For infections of the eye the herb eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis). The liquid from boiled mallow leaves was used to bathe sore eyes in Cornwall (Vickery 1995: 230). Compresses made from the flowers of chamomile and infusions made from the shoots of ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) were other applications used for sore eyes (Hatfield 1994: 37). was widely used. zinc sulphate was again recommended as an eyewash. to be applied to the healthy eye (Porter 1974: 43). In the west Highlands. For inflammation of the eyelid. a remedy from Suffolk suggested an ointment of egg white. a poultice of watercress (Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum) was used in East Anglia (Hatfield 1994: 37). as well as many more besides. Among the Celts. In the Scottish Highlands. For eyestrain and tired eyes. the gall of the hare was used to treat eye problems (Beith 1995: 177). In the Scottish Highlands eyebright was infused in milk and applied to the eye with a feather (Beith 1995: 215). cheeseplant (Malva neglecta) leaves. the flowers of the cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) have been used as an infusion at least since the eighteenth century. a slice of raw potato was used (Beith 1995: 235). or to count to one hundred without drawing breath (Beith 1995: 135). Ulcers of the eye used to be termed “kennings”. or simply warm water or milk. The juice of houseleek was dripped into children’s eyes to treat conjunctivitis (Hatfield 1994: 37). a slice of cucumber laid on the closed eyes. 23). Water collected among the basal leaves of teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) was widely suggested to sooth sore eyes (Latham 1878: 45). This flower. In Devon scarlet pimpernell (Anagallis arvensis) was used to treat sore eyes (Vickery 1995: 336). Daisy flowers (Bellis perennis) were also used in Scotland for eye troubles. or a moistened teabag were recommended. or roots in infusion. In North American folk medicine many of the same remedies as in Britain have been recorded. or water in . or boracic powder. For failing eyesight. ordinary tea. individuals were credited with the power to soothe eye inflammations by rubbing the eye with a stone on which they had placed soot and spittle (Beith 1995: 94).

Flaxseed (Linum spp. See also Amulet. and purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)—all formed eyewashes. OR: Timber Press. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter . Other recommendations include a poultice of slippery elm or of the fresh mashed roots of Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum spp. Poultices for soothing sore eyes were made from grated raw potato. as in Britain. Passing over the sty a pebble or a doorknob that has gathered dew is a suggested cure from the western South (Perez 1951: 110). Eye problems which seeds of quince (Cydonia oblonga) have been soaked. Slippery elm bark has been used by the Iroquois. Portland. the White Mountain Apache. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. the old leaves of a beech tree (Fagus grandifolia) steeped in water. Mallow. Conversely. The amount of folklore surrounding the subject of stys is enormous. Carrying a nutmeg as an amulet is claimed to prevent stys (Bergen 1899: 100). Golden seal. and Gabrielle Hatfield. or a decoction of the roots of soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) (Meyer 1985: 112). Fanny D.). to aid removal of foreign particles in the eye.. the Shoshoni. about two hundred different genera are recorded by Moerman (Moerman 1998: 793–794). Mary. or bathing with hot water. like those of clary in Britain. Sassafras has been used by five different tribes as an eye medicine (Moerman 1998: 519–520). Fumes from cajuput oil (Melaleuca cajuputi) were found beneficial.) has been used by the Great Basin Indian. Witch hazel. There are about a thousand cures for stys recorded in the UCLA Folklore Archive. David E.) was widely used to treat eye problems. Excreta. roots of basswood (Tilia americana). the Catawba. an infusion of hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) leaves. Sassafras twigs boiled and with mare’s milk added.” Memoirs of the American Folklore Society 7 (1899). Another frequently cited “cause” is urinating on the sidewalk (Puckett 1981: 456). or cold tea. Poultice. was widely used (Meyer 1985: 109–114). Toads and frogs. Houseleek. Bergen.150 . Edinburgh: Polygon. has been used by the Chippewa to treat sore eyes (Gilmore 1933: 31). Even looking at another person’s stys can cause them in the viewer (Parler 1962. raw steak was used. slippery elm (Ulmus fulva). chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) simmered in milk. Other cures include salt pork (Simon 1953: 93) or fresh urine (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_6515). and the Ramah Navajo to prepare eye medicine (Moerman 1998: 309). British and Irish Plants in Folk Medicine. an infusion of blue violet (Viola cucullata) tops and roots. For a black eye. As in Britain. eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis). while carrying a sweet potato is said to cure them (Parler 1962. Many of the plants mentioned in these cures have been reported in use by Native Americans for eye problems. 3: 939). rosewater and witch hazel. The seeds were used. the Paiute. Sassafras. In addition. Golden seal (Hydrastis canadensis). there is an idea that cats cause stys (Cannon 1984: 126). References Allen. a great number of other plants have been used in the treatment of eyes by Native Americans. “Animal and Plant Lore Collected from the Oral Tradition of English Speaking Folk. for instance. William George. 1995. Flaxseed (Linum spp. the bark of green ozier (Cornus circinata). Black. in press. Beith. Elm. beetroot. Eyedrops have been prepared from Golden Seal by the Iroquois (Moerman 1998: 270). The plant was also used to treat eye problems in general and was still found to be widely used in the 1960s (Humphrey 1970: 287–290). 3: 938). the tail of a black cat or rubbing with a gold ring are suggested cures (Kimmerle and Gelber 1976 [unpublished]: 31). and the Potawatomi for sore eyes (Moerman 1998: 577). Dew. sometimes combined with other herbs.

Daniel E. Boulder: University of Colorado. Hatfield. Newbell Niles.” American Journal of Ophthalmology 70(2) (August 1970): 287–290. Hand. Hamilton.” Western Folklore 12 (1953): 85– 93. 1883. Vickery. Boston: G. Woodbridge: Boydell.” Folk-Lore Record 1 (1878): 1–67. 1981. Porter. C. Anthon S. Soledad. Sondra B. Flora of Cornwall. . Cannon. Collection of seventeenth and eighteenth-century remedies. Prince. Marjorie. : 151 Meyer. Kimmerle.” Publications of the Texas Folklore Society 24 (1951): 71–127. Parler. London: Fontana. 1962. 1995. IL: Meyerbooks. Mary Celestia. “Beliefs and Customs Reported by Students at Tokyo American School. Edited by Wayland D. Gabrielle. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Hand and Jeannine E. 1998. Some Chippewa Uses of Plants. American Folk Medicine. 15 volumes. Perez. 1984. William T. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Colorado. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Clarence. London: Batsford. 1933. 1991. Penryn: F. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. F. Native American Ethnobotany. 1985. Portland. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. London: Folklore Society. Peter Mancroft. 3 vols. Church of St. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Humphrey. and Mark Gelber. 1974. Hall. K. “Flaxseeds in Ophthalmic Folk Medicine. Gilmore. Moerman. Anna Casetta.Eye problems in the History of Culture. Clegwidden. The Folklore of East Anglia. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. OR: Timber Press. Davey. Glenwood. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Talley. Texas. Enid. Norwich.1909. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. Grandmother’s Cures: An A-Z of Herbal Remedies. and University Student Contributors. Latham. “Some West Sussex Superstitions Still Lingering in 1868. Thiederman. Gladys Hughes. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. Roy. Melvin R. Dennis. Puckett. 1976 (unpublished). 1994. Simon. Gunton Household Book. Edited by Wayland D. “Mexican Folklore from Austin.

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Snake bites were treated with butter from a cow of one color (preferably white) (Beith 1995: 173– 174). Hedgehog fat. spread on brown paper. and skunk oil have all been used to clear the wax from ears (Meyer 1985: 103). 6: 249). Lard has been used as the basis for ointments—for example. as well as the basis of ointments. goat. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Rheumatism. 1985. Grease from a buzzard. Croup. Frank C. or black dog has been used as a rheumatism treatment (Brown 1952– 1964. 6: 167. Quinsy. was used as a wrap for the chest during the winter. Clarence. goose grease was applied to burns (a practice not recommended today) and. Meyer. Bear fat was highly regarded in nineteenth-century domestic medicine and was used to treat quinsy and stiff joints (Meyer 1985: 19). eel oil. Bruises. for treating piles (Brown 1952–1964. NC: Duke University Press. lard and brown sugar have been applied to bruises. IL: Meyerbooks. 6: 255–256). The fat of deer was especially valued as a basis for ointments and was also used to treat chapped hands and feet. 6: 278–279). butter or lard has been applied to burns (Brown 1952–1964. Butter was rubbed onto sore lips or noses. and smeared on muslin it has formed a wrap for sore throat. Clarified lard (usually pork lard) was used as the basis for many ointments (Prince 1991: 107). Ringworm. fats have been used similarly. Goose grease has been rubbed into muscles to make them supple and with molasses has been used to treat croup (Brown 1952–1964. Jones. and into the hair to treat head lice. 236). In North American folk medicine. Anne E. and butter with oatmeal was used to bring boils to a head and to soothe chapped skin. It was also used to treat chapped hands (Souter 1995: 142). 135–137). and whale oil has been applied to athlete’s foot (Meyer 1985: 116). 7 vols. Durham. In England. Pork fat has treated boils. Chapped skin. to help ward off colds and infection. Colds. References Beith. “Folk Medicine in Living Memory in Wales. Goose grease was rubbed into swollen joints (Jones 1980: 62). 1995. American Folk Medicine. See also Boils.” Folk Life 18 (1980): 58–68. Mary. Pork fat and snake fat have both been used to treat snake bites (Brown 1952–1964. In Wales. . Burns. 1952–1964. Snake bite.. pork fat has been used to treat ringworm. Piles. Edinburgh: Polygon. Sore throat. In the Scottish Highlands.F: Fat Animal fats have been used as remedies for a wide variety of ailments. Brown. 6: 130. Glenwood. bruises were treated with butter or fat bacon. Collection of North Carolina Folklore.

white birch bark (Betula papyrifera). it has also sometimes referred to other skin conditions. known as felons (Colgan 1904: 309). and in some English counties this plant is known as felon-wood or felon-wort. Dennis. named as such. in the twentieth century. and red pepper pods (Brown 1952– 1964. bugle (Ajuga reptans). In the Mexican tradition. and bluebell (Hyacinthoides nonscripta) (Allen and Hatfield. mouse-ear hawkweed (Hieracium pilosella). Birch. Berkeley and . 6: 186). such as tying on a toad bone or applying a salve of soap and turpentine (Brown 1952– 1964.) (Browne 1958: 64) or jimson weed (Datura sp. warmed prickly pear with the thorns removed was used as a poultice (Dodson 1932: 85–86). but there are no convincing records of its use in folk as opposed to official medicine. 1995. known as felons (Parkinson 1640: 534). Frank C. Dock. in press). also known as “ring-arounds. Earth. Navelwort (Umbilicus rupestris) has been used in the Isle of Man (Roeder 1897). A hand that has squeezed a mole to death is believed to be capable of curing a felon (Porter 1894: 111). Saffron Walden: C. Plant remedies include lemon. A remedy from the Native American tradition is a salve prepared from the bark of wild red cherry (Prunus serotina) (Meyer 1985: 122).154 . Collection of North Carolina Folklore. The sod was then turned. There are a number of folk medical records from Ireland for treating whitlows. Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema sp. In Ireland. yellow dock root. Poke. and in the time the grass took to rot away the felon would heal (Puckett 1981: 375). sweet potato leaves. Sassafras.). Urine. W. Various native plants have been used in British folk medicine to treat felons.” However. felons. Poultice. Placing the sore finger into the ear of a cat (Fogel 1915: 272) is a felon cure that depends on transference. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). In the African tradition. In the eighteenth century a poultice of the very poisonous hemlock waterdropwort (Oenanthe crocata) was used for felons (Watson 1746: 228). 6: 186). London: Fontana. Socalled whitlow-grass (Draba verna) was recommended in the herbals. An alternative was to place the palm of the hand on the grass and cut out the turf in the shape of the hand.). NC: Duke University Press. Felons Prince. 7 vols. Transference. They include gorse (Ulex europaeus). Daniel. Ray B. Poultices of red oak bark (Quercus sp. smartweed (Polygonum sp. 1991. Parkinson also recorded the use of butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris) for hands chapped by wind. Mexican tradition. Poultices of raw onion or of sassafras root bark. Parkinson recorded that country people used crushed berries of bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara) to treat felons (Parkinson 1640: 350). or true love leaves (Trillium erectum) are other recommendations (Meyer 1985: 120–123).” were treated with the patient’s urine. blue flag root (Iris versicolor). 1952–1964.) (Puckett 1981: 375) have been recommended. In North American folk medicine there are various miscellaneous cures for felons. hounds tongue (Cynoglossum officinale) was used to treat arm rashes. In the seventeenth century. Folklore Studies 9. References Brown. poke root. daisy (Bellis perennis). with cow dung or by pressing the affected finger into the mud (Hyatt 1965: 327). Durham. See also African tradition. Grandmother’s Cures: An A-Z of Herbal Remedies. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Keith. Browne. Excreta. Souter. Felons In folk medicine this term has been applied mainly to the inflamed sores on fingers known today as “whitlows.

Pine bark .” Folk medical treatment for it included willow bark. : 155 Fevers Until late in the nineteenth century. Flora of the County Dublin. Nathaniel. John.” Yn Lioar Manninagh 3 (1897): 129–191. 3 vols. Theatrum Botanicum. tea was made from dried mistletoe for treating fevers.” Journal of American Folklore 7 (1894): 105– 111. In the fenland districts of England.Fevers Los Angeles: University of California Publications. “Folk Curing among the Mexicans. In the Inner Hebrides. Thiederman. Scotland. This was one of the illnesses often referred to as “ague. “Notes on the Folk-Lore of the Mountain Whites of the Alleghenies. succo viroso crocante of Lobel. Roeder. 1958. Dublin: Hodges. Dodson. Parkinson. where the abundant marshes made malaria a particular problem. was attributed to the fact that the house had been “hung about” with onions (Hatfield 1999: 108). C. Other tree barks too were employed in fever treatment. American Folk Medicine. 1640. Figgis. notably poplar (Tongue 1965: 40). An infusion of sorrel (Rumex acetosa) was given as a cooling drink during fevers (Beith 1995: 243). many people wore leaves of toadflax (Linaria vulgaris) under the soles of their feet to ward off certain types of fever (Ewen and Prime 1975: 80). Meyer. it rapidly became a household item for most fenland families. As commercial “laudanum” became available and cheap. and the survival of one family in an epidemic that wiped out most of the village in the eighteenth century in Angus. 1981.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 44 (1746): 227–242. J. “Critical observations concerning the Oenanthe aquatica. Newbell Niles. 1965. Puckett. according to the botanist John Ray. Glenwood. Porter. In the seventeenth century. opium poppies were frequently grown for the relief they could bring. In Bedfordshire one woman was renowned for her cures of fevers using meadowsweet and green wheat (Aubrey 1881: 255). ed. poultices of chickweed were applied to the neck and shoulders of a person recovering from fever. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. and Sondra B.” Publications of the Texas Folklore Society 10 (1932): 82–98. “Contribution to the Folk Lore of the South of the Isle of Man. Anna Casetta. Hampden. Wood-sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) was used similarly (Beith 1995: 251). Hall. W. Fogel. Fuller’s teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) was used as a fever cure in some parts of England (Black 1883: 202). Harry Middleton. 1985. Blackthorn berries (Prunus spinosa) were used in the Scottish Highlands for treating fevers (Beith 1995: 205). “Beliefs and Superstitions of the Pennsylvania Germans. Onions hung in the house were thought to attract fevers. Edwin Miller. Hyatt. Clarence. Ladies smock (Cardamine pratense) and butterbur (Petasites albus) are other plants used to treat fevers in the Scottish Highlands (Beith 1995: 209. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett.. K. Watson. malaria was endemic in large areas of Britain. a remedy still in use at the end of the nineteenth century (Beith 1995: 227–228). 1904. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. Edward Stone in the eighteenth century that eventually led to identification of the salicylates and later to the development of aspirin. In the eighteenth century. It was observation of this practice by the Rev. IL: Meyerbooks. Boston: G. Colgan. Tansy (Tanacetum parthenium) leaves were worn in the shoes to prevent ague (Borlase 1758: 126). The great Celtic hero CuChulainn was said to have been cured of a fever by bathing in a meadowsweet infusion (Filipendula ulmaria) (Beith 1995: 236). Ruth. 2nd rev.. 213). London: Thomas Cotes. Edited by Wayland D.” Americana Germanica 18 (1915). Hand.

A bag of asafoetida (Ferula assafoetida) hung around the neck was claimed to ward off fevers (Lary 1953: 11). as in Britain (Brown 1952– 1964: 149). as will eating hailstones on Ascension Day (Brendle 1951: 1. otter skin was used to make a potion for curing fevers (Beith 1995: 180). In Northamptonshire a lace given freely by a woman must be worn by a fever sufferer for nine days (Notes and Queries: 36). various poultices were similarly applied to the soles of the feet to “draw” fevers. Some fever treatments depended on transference. the patient blows into the hole. the ague will depart (Black 1883: 58). as was the seventh son of a seventh son (Wilde 1919: 205). A freshly killed chicken split open and applied to the chest was a remedy from Indiana (Brown 1952–1964: 187). and the water was drunk to cure the fever (Beith 1995: 154). were also used to treat a fever (Beith 1995: 203). Salt has been used similarly. In parts of Scotland. “Melts” from the butcher’s shop tied to a child’s feet were another fever remedy from Hampshire (Prince 1991: 109). Pieces of rose quartz known as “fever stones” were also used in Scotland. Fevers was used in the Scottish Highlands in the treatment of agues (Beith 1995: 233). In North American folk medicine. In the west of Scotland. In Ireland. In North Carolina it has been . a woollen sock was filled with earthworms and placed around a feverish child’s neck (Prince 1991: 119). Amulets used to cure fevers include a spider worn around the neck. ague patients were given the snuff of a tallow candle on sugared bread and butter to eat (Black 1883: 183). and horseradish leaves (Meyer 1985: 128). notches in a stick were cut equal in number to the attacks of fever. They were dipped into water. Apples. An undyed woollen cord worn by a mother was thought to protect a child from fevers until it was weaned (Editor 1893: 66) (compare this with the blue woollen thread mentioned above as used in Scotland). Onions were used in this way. slices of potato. Warmed salt placed inside socks is a gypsy cure reported from Hampshire (Prince 1991: 124). In South Wales. A suggestion from Pennsylvania is that three kinds of food set out on the window sill on Christmas Eve and eaten the following morning will prevent fevers. A spider worn in a nutshell around the neck was held to cure fever. Also in the Highlands of Scotland. then burning the rods one at a time. This remedy. Examples of transference of fevers from North American folk medicine include boring a hole in the south side of a tree. a son born after his father’s death was held to have the power to cure fevers. A method reported from New England involved cutting a number of willow rods corresponding to the hour of the day. which was secretly thrown into a pond. The right foot of a dead black dog hung on the arm was said in Scotland to be a fever cure (Black 1883: 148). and giving the cake to a dog to eat (Black 1883: 35). pronouncing at the same time that as the rod burns. which is then plugged (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_5684). pills made from cobwebs were used to treat fevers (Black 1883: 60). In Hampshire. In East Anglia in the nineteenth century.156 . ague was sometimes treated by making a cake with barley meal and the urine of the sufferer. as in Britain (Simons 1954: 2). 7). taking the fever with it (Black 1883: 58). can be traced back to Dioscorides (Black 1883: 59). Inhaling the smell of a burning leather shoe was claimed to prevent fevers in Nottinghamshire (Addy 1895: 92). for example. A stone was then tied to the stick. still practiced in Leicestershire in the nineteenth century. blue woollen threads worn around the neck were thought to avert fever (Black 1883: 113). Some folk medical treatments were thought to “draw out” the fever. combined with charms. as were heated bags of hops.

and drinking sarsaparilla mead was very popular in the eighteenth century (Pickard and Buley 1945: 267). Dogwood (Cornus sanguinea) has been used particularly in the treatment of malaria (Cadwallader and Wilson 1965: 221). a tea made from black oak (Quercus velutina) was used to treat malaria (Parler 1962: 516).Fevers : 157 Until the late nineteenth century. or ?Cryptantha sp. This was one of the illnesses often referred to as “ague. black and sky colored) (Cobb 1917: 103) was recommended.” borage (Borago sp. Herbal preparations used in North American folk medicine for fever treatment are very numerous and include willow (as in Britain. one of the nastiest-sounding is pills made from dried and powdered human excrement (Saul 1949: 65). also known as “ague weed. malaria was endemic in large areas of Britain.” (National Library of Medicine) suggested that keeping an ear of purple corn in the house will keep away fevers (Clark 1961: 11) From Mississippi there is a report of a custom of hanging empty blue quinine bottles on tree limbs beside a house to ward off fevers (Orr 1969: 109). Eating water melons or bilberries (two kinds. Of cures ingested for fever. Dietary recommendations in fevers were very numerous in North American folk medicine. although probably different species) and snakeroot (Aristolochia sp. a tea made from the black jack vine (Berchemia scandens) or a poultice made from castor bean leaves (Ricinus com- . Another simple remedy for fevers from Tennessee was to swallow peppercorns as pills (Wilson 1965: 36). while feverweed tea (?Triosteum perfoliatum) was given to counteract the high temperature of the patient (Rogers 1941: 15. In Kansas.). Strawberry leaf tea was another cooling drink recommended during fevers (Hoffman 1889: 29).). 86). Other plants used in fever treatment include boneset. Rattlesnake gall mixed with clay was made into pills for fever (Masterson 1946: 185). Peppermint tea was also recommended (Puckett 1981: 377).” Pictured here is Ayer’s Ague Cure “Warranted To Cure All Malarial Disorders. In Tennessee pennyroyal tea (Hedeoma pulegioides) and lobelia tea were given for a “slow fever” to clear out the poison. 17). combined with white-walnut bark peeled upward (Juglans cinerea) (Pickard and Buley 1945: 40). and slippery elm (Lick and Brendle 1922: 70. Among numerous other plant remedies for fevers.

” Boston Medical and Surgical Journal 177(4) (1917): 97–105.” Pennsylvania Dutchman 3 (November 15. J. Marie. 1951): 12. “Plant munis) was used in Georgia (Campbell 1953: 3). Frank C. Seventh son. Preston A. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Ray’s Flora of Cambridgeshire. London: Folklore Society. “Popular Medicine. E. “Popular American Plant . may have their origins in official herbalism. Elder. Rev. Borlase. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. The Natural History of Cornwall. Mistletoe.) in the Great Smokies (Peattie 1943: 118). and F. Editor. and the root of wolfsbane (Aconitum sp. Thomas R. Aubrey.) See also Amulet. Wisdom and Healing: The History of Domestic Plant Medicine. Memory. 1758. Onion.” Journal of American Folklore 7 (1894): 119–146. Many of these plant remedies clearly originate from Native American practice—for example. Brown. 1999. Lobelia. Oxford: privately published. 7 vols. Gabrielle. “William’s Township Lore. Edinburgh: Polygon. Cadwallader. Derby and Nottingham.” North Carolina Folklore 9(2) (1961): 4–22. Fevers Names II. Browne. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. 1995. W. Other suggestions for fever treatment include the inner membrane of the pomegranate (Bourke 1894: 127) and a poultice of cinnamon and saliva. Poultice. J. see Moerman 1998: 794–796. Customs. A tea made from five finger grass (Potentilla sp. and Superstitions of the Rio Grande. London. 1895. broom weed (?Gutierrezia sp. Otter. Mary. Lick. D. Ray B.158 . (For the numerous other plants used by the Native Americans to treat fevers. Fanny D. G. “Customs of the Year in the Dutch Country. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Wilson. Dog. Boneset.) has been used in Alabama (Browne 1958: 65). “Folk Remedies from South Georgia.” Journal of American Folklore 2 (1889): 23–35. Willow. Clark. Folk Medicine. Elm. could have come from either tradition. A Chapter in the History of Culture. “Folk-Lore Scrap Book.” Journal of American Folklore 6 (1893): 135–142. Bourke. Spider.” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 19 (1953): 1–4. Phoenix Mill: Sutton. Others. Joseph D.) in Texas (UCLA Folklore Archives record number 11_5379).. Ewen A. the use of slippery elm and of boneset in fevers (Vogel 1970: 303). Campbell.. “Folklore Medicine among Georgia’s Piedmont Negroes after the Civil War. Prime. London. Remaines of Gentilisme and Judaisme. 1881. Apple. Carolus M. References Addy. Folklore Studies 9. David E. H. Household Tales with Other Traditional Remains Collected in the Counties of York. Lincoln.” Journal of American Folklore 6 (1893): 63–67. Durham. Hatfield. Hoffman. MD. In the eastern states a tea was made from evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) for fevers (Bergen 1893: 142). Beith. Chickweed. Sidney Oldall.” Collections of the Georgia Historical Society 49 (1965): 217– 221. Excreta. and Thomas R. Poppy. Cobb. “Folk-Lore of the Pennsylvania Germans. Brendle. Lary. Yet others. “Superstitions from North Carolina. John G. Brendle. such as asafoetida. used in California (UCLA Folklore Archives record number 3_6249). NC: Duke University Press. Bergen. 1952–1964. Transference.” Pennsylvania Dutchman 5(2) (June 1953).. 1883. 1975. John. A tea made from cherry and apple bark mixed was used in North Carolina (Brown 1952–1964: 187). “Some Medical Practices among the New England Indians and Early Settlers. Edited and annotated by James Britten. Hitchin: Wheldon and Wesley. such as elder. 1958. W.. and C. T. William. Black.

E. and R. Glenwood. Mistletoe. London. Lady. Banta. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. In Native American medicine they have been used for skin conditions and as a blood tonic after childbirth. Puckett. 1965. 1991. Ellen. 1945. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. The Midwest Pioneer. OR: Timber Press. Meyer. Roderick (ed. 174–188. TN.” Mississippi Folklore Register 3(2) (1969): 109–111. Simons.. but less widely (Lafont 1984: 36). Virgil J. County Folklore 8. Fish In British folk medicine there are a number of remedies involving fish. Glenwood. Mary Celestia. Meyer. 1985. Mystic Charms and Superstitions of Ireland. 15 vols. 1962. “Dutch Folk Beliefs. Pink Pills for Pale People. London: Chatto and Windus.” Proceedings and Addresses of the Pennsylvania German Society 33 (1922). New York: Vanguard Press. Carlyle Buley. “The Bottle Tree. Like mistletoe. Gordon. David. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. London: Fontana. Portland. American Folk Medicine. For whoop- . Briggs. Lafont. American Folk Medicine. Tonic.). His Ills. as well as for poor vision (Moerman 1998: 524). Wilde. and Gabrielle Hatfield. Portland. Hand. Pickard. Tongue. “Travellers’ Tales of Colonial Natural History. OR: Timber Press. Herbal Folklore. The Great Smokies and the Blue Ridge. Grandmother’s Cures: An A-Z of Herbal Remedies. Notes and Queries. London: Folklore Society. Bideford: Badger Books. Wilson.” Pennsylvania Dutchman 5(14) (March 15. VI: Folk Remedies. G. Murfreesboro. Somerset Folklore. R. Cures and Doctors. IL: Meyerbooks. 1954). Their use in folk medicine is relatively slight. Piles. 1st series. Isaac Shirk. Different species of figwort are native to North America. L. 1984. Figwort (Scrophularia spp. 1949. Daniel E. Moerman. One of its Irish names translates as “under elder.) This plant has been highly valued in British and especially in Irish folk medicine. Vogel. Clarence. References Allen.” indicating that it shared the magical powers of that tree. Madge E. Peattie. and Sondra B. IN: R. K. Native American Ethnobotany. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. 2: 36. 108). F.” Journal of American Folklore 59 (1946): 51–67. Daniel E. Newbell Niles. 1998. Anne-Marie. Boston: G. Edited by Wayland D. In Ireland it was known as “queen of herbs” and was used as a tonic and was made into salves for treating piles and skin conditions. Native American Ethnobotany. 1919. American Indian Medicine. Ancient Legends. Parler. M. It was used in England similarly for skin conditions. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. Clarence. E. They have been used as a blood tonic and for treating erysipelas (Meyer 1985: 40. Rogers. 1970. it was thought to lose its effectiveness if it touched the ground (Allen and Hatfield. IL: Meyerbooks. 1985. Dennis. “Studying Folklore in a Small : 159 Region. MD. Moerman. Masterson. 3 vols. 1943. See also Elder. and University Student Contributors. James R. Orr. Crawfordsville.” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 31 (1965): 33–41. Saul.Fish Names and Plant Lore among the Pennsylvania Germans. in press). Early Folk Medical Practice in Tennessee. 1981. Erysipelas. Philadelphia: Dorrance. Anna Casetta. OR: Timber Press. Thiederman. Prince. 1941. William. Edited by K. Hall. 1998. in press. Portland.

Harry Middleton. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Linum catharticum. Cod-liver oil. Dogfish oil was given to asthma sufferers (Beith 1995: 174). 1952–1964. 6: 351). In North American folk medicine.). William George. Linum usitatissimum. Earl J. the basis for a poultice for treating boils and respiratory complaints (Chevallier 1996: 227). NC: Duke University Press. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Beith. 1998. the juice of the cuddy fish was used to treat indigestion. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. Cultivated flax. Some Native Americans used fish-liver oil to treat rickets.160 . known as the doctor fish. Indigestion. and boiled herring was similarly used. Stout. 153. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. Durham. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. was used to treat jaundice (Radford and Radford 1974: 339). placing a live fish in the mouth has been widely recommended (Black 1883: 36). 7 vols. Frank C. burns and piles (Micheletti 1998: 61. an ointment prepared from the liver of a fish was taken on board to heal burns. In the Scottish Highlands. Encyclopaedia of Superstitions. A. especially in the Highlands of Scotland. E.. has been widely used to treat rickets (Brown 1952–1964. Rubbing a teething child’s gums with a minnow and returning the fish to the water is another example of transference (Barker 1941: 250). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Oil from the liver of a sting-ray was used to treat rheumatism. 1941. 1965. Flax ing cough. 1974. Slime from the skin of a fish has been used to soothe nettle stings (Welsch 1966: 359). Rheumatism. Black. Rickets. Whooping cough. boils. it swims away taking the illness with it. Fish have been bound onto sore feet (Hyatt 1965: 222). is native to Britain and has been used in folk medicine for centuries as a purge and. ed. for “suppressed menses” (Robertson 1768. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. 2nd rev. 1966. Transference. Fish oil has been rubbed into sore joints (UCLA Folklore Archive 12_5423). and M. London: Folklore Society. ID: Caxton. 1883. Mary. Jaundice. Hyatt. Brown. Flax (Linum spp. A Treasury of Nebraska Pioneer Folklore. 194). Catherine S. In East Anglia in the days of steam trawlers. 1995. Welsch. The tench. and also applied to the feet for treating typhoid fever (Stout 1936: 190). “Folklore from Iowa. The seeds of flax swell in water to form a thick mucilaginous mass. as well as arthritis. when it is released in the water. 6). Piles. Caldwell. Radford. for most people nowadays a “shop medicine” and only marginally a part of folk medicine. In present-day herbalism such poultices are still used. which has been used in cattle feed but also as a basis for poultices for man and beast alike. See also Asthma. a very clear example of transference. has been grown as a source of fiber and of linseed. the fish has also been used as a whooping-cough treatment (Brown 1952–1964. It has also been used to treat rheumatism (Pratt 1855). Micheletti. Roger L. Burns. Edited and revised by Christina Hole. Boils. Yesterday Today.” Memoirs of the American Folklore Society 29 (1936). Edinburgh: Polygon. Radford. North American Folk Healing: An A-Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. Sore feet. and rubbed over the throat for mumps (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_5435). London: Book Club Associates. 69. quoted in Beith 1995: 96). a frequent occurrence on these vessels (Hatfield MSS). .) So-called fairy flax. References Barker. Enza (ed.

6: 250). have been used to remove foreign particles from the eye (Puckett 1981: 360) and splinters from the flesh (Lewis 1938: 267). being the most readily available. The cultivated flax (Linum usitatissimum). many of these same uses are found. Both hand lotion and hair-setting lotions have been prepared from flaxseed (Cannon 1984: 85. honey. and flaxseed (Brown 1952–1964. boils. . It has even been drunk for heart ailments (Marie-Ursule 1951: 174).Flax : 161 In North America. or an emulsion of the seeds used as an enema (Meyer 1985: 192). The plant has been used to treat piles. Its use has extended to the treatment of sore teeth and gums (Meyer 1985: 247) or of a sore and swollen throat (Meyer 1985: 253). Its use has extended to the treatment of sore teeth and gums or a sore and swollen throat. and tuberculosis with lemon. 6: 308). It is not surprising that a plant with so many uses has in addition been credited with the power to prevent or avert disease. The water in which flaxseed has been boiled has been applied for headache (UCLA Folklore Archives 3_1913) and drunk as an aid to digestion (UCLA Folklore Archives The major use of flax in folk medicine has been to poultice swellings. The species of flax most widely used is the prairie flax. flaxseed has been used to treat a miscellany of other conditions. has been used to treat headache and to ease labor (Moerman 1998: 308). In addition. whooping cough has been treated with a mixture of honey and flaxseed (Clark 1970: 34). as a mild diuretic (Meyer 1985: 154). and stys (Puckett 1981: 456). as well as infected wounds (UCLA Folklore Archives 6_5292) and even (during the eighteenth century) bullet wounds (Vogel 1970: 129). while a child failing to grow has been passed through a loop of flax thread: as the thread wears out. and styes. linseed oil has been rubbed on piles. Flax fiber has been braided around the neck to prevent mumps (Levine 1941: 490). Another species. to ease labor (Puckett 1981: 20). Linum catharticum has been introduced. This has been used for swellings. Flaxseed meal and vinegar have been used to relieve pain (Puckett 1981: 422). Linum lewisii. In Native American medicine. boils (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_5296). which swell in water. the plant has also been used to treat respiratory complaints: pneumonia has been treated with a poultice of mustard and flaxseed (Brown 1952–1964. so will the child grow (Fogel 1915: 136). and for kidney trouble (Koch 1980: 63). String or cloth made from flax has been worn to prevent croup (UCLA Folklore Archives 4_7593). Constipation has been relieved by eating flaxseed (Randolph 1947: 97). as an eyewash. A flaxseed poultice has treated chicken pox (Lathrop 1961: 5) and smallpox (Lathrop 1961: 14). UCLA Folklore Archives 1_5910). Flaxseed has also been used as the basis of a soothing drink during fevers (Meyer 1985: 132). Linum australe. is probably the species most widely used in folk medicine. (Library of Congress) 3_5360). and to treat diabetes (Puckett 1981: 360). Flax seeds. while diarrhea has been treated using the scraped root of flax (Browne 1958: 41). and to aid digestion (Moerman 1998: 309). The major use of flax in folk medicine has been to poultice swellings (Meyer 1985: 243). As in Britain.

New York: Columbia University Press. Sore feet. Croup. pimples (Wilson 1967: 300). 1958. Forge water Great Britain. Folklore from Adams .” Publications of the Texas Folklore Society 14 (1938): 267–268. Koch. Durham. Ray B.” Western Folklore 20 (1961): 1–22. Levine. KS: Regent Press. and freckles (Brown 1952–1964. NC: Duke University Press. Talley. Lathrop. Childbirth. 6: 198). Soeur. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.” Les Archives de Folklore 5–6 (1951): 1–403. Hand and Jeannine E. com. Diabetes. eczema (Hyatt 1965: 263). 1970. Puckett. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions.. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. Vance. It was used as a mouthwash for a sore mouth (Wintemberg 1950: 13) and as a soak for sore hands and feet (UCLA Folklore Archives 7_7592). Anthon S. 5 vols. Cannon. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. 1984. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. Poultice. 1960s. References Brown. 3 vols. 1995. IL: Meyerbooks. Portland. Blacksmith. Frank C. Diarrhea. American Folk Medicine. 1947. Whooping cough. K. Mary. The Flowering Plants and Ferns of Forge water The water in which a blacksmith had quenched iron was regarded as therapeutic in British folk medicine. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Boston: G. Edited by Wayland D. Edwin Miller. Lewis. Freckles. Fevers. Daniel E. “Civilisation Traditionelle des Lavalois.” New England Journal of Medicine 224 (1941): 487–492. Folklore from Kansas: Beliefs and Customs. 1994). 140). Harold D. 1952–1964. 7 vols.162 . More generally. Moerman. Glenwood. Fogel. 1952–1964. pers. It was recommended in Ireland for tiredness as well as for chilblains and for warts (Logan 1972: 68. American Indian Medicine.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. Manuscript notes at University College London. Brown. In the East Anglian fens it was recommended for whooping cough (J. and Sondra B. “Old-Time Remedies from Madison County. Edited by Wayland D. Native American Ethnobotany. Virgil J. Chevallier. 1996. Hand.” Americana Germanica 18 (1915). 120. “Folk Medicine in New Hampshire. Sore throat. Eye problems. “Beliefs and Superstitions of the Pennsylvania Germans. Folklore Studies 9. 1980. 7 vols. Harry Middleton. 1998. See also Anemia. Constipation. Vogel. Eczema. Hall. “Pioneer Remedies from Western Kansas. Randolph. Amy. Gabe. English Folklore Survey. Newbell Niles. Joseph D. Frank C. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. William E. 1981. Andrew. Browne. See also Boils. Ozark Superstitions. Chilblains. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Thiederman. Rheumatism. Smallpox. 1855. Whooping cough. Meyer. Clarence. In Suffolk it was recommended for “delicate boys” and for toughening fighters’ fists (EFS MSS). Marie-Ursule. Anna Casetta. NC: Duke University Press. Hyatt. References Beith. it was considered a good tonic for anemia and weakness (Souter 1995: 122). Anne. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Pratt. 3: 1078). London: Dorling Kindersley. EFS. Warts. Heart trouble.C. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Tuberculosis. 1985. Durham. Lawrence. forge water was used to treat a number of skin conditions including warts (Parler 1962. Edinburgh: Polygon. Clark. Piles. Headache. Wounds. OR: Timber Press. In North American folk medicine.

Mary Celestia. Dublin: Talbot Press. . (Blue Lantern Studio/CORBIS) edge of the plant’s dangers when taken internally. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. before the days of Withering. Keith. Ontario. Saffron Walden: C. Daniel. although. of which there are a number. 1962. Making the Cure: A Look at Irish Folk Medicine. This was a widely used remedy in Ireland (Allen and Hatfield. the plant was widely known to be poisonous but was nevertheless used in a number of ailments. Parler. children suffering from scarlet fever were given leaves of the foxglove to wear in their shoes for a year (Vickery 1995: 141). : 163 Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) Thanks to Withering’s careful research in the eighteenth century into a Shropshire folk remedy for dropsy. Ontario: National Museum of Canada. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. and University Student Contributors. Logan. “Swallow It or Rub It On: More Mammoth Cave Remedies. after it was noticed that geese died after eating the plant. particularly from Ireland. Anthropological Series 28. The folk records for the treatment of heart disease. the development of digoxin in treatment of heart disease has made foxglove one of the best known plants of herbal medicine. 2nd rev. in press). Bulletin 116. Wintemberg. some people in Derbyshire used the brew as a cheap form of intoxication (Withering 1830). In the Forest of Dean up to the twentieth century. J. used for treating boils and other skin conditions. Patrick. Folk-Lore of Waterloo County. There are numerous records of fatalities among children in Scotland through drinking foxglove tea (Dalyell 1834: 113). ed. 15 vols. Foxglove tea was used in the treatment of coughs. Wilson. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. it was not used at all in human folk medicine. In Orkney. presumably this custom arose out of knowl- Book illustration depicting a girl among foxglove. but was nevertheless used in a number of ailments. 1972. the foxglove plant was widely known to be poisonous. in Fife in Scotland (Simpkins 1914: 133). Gordon W. 1950. colds and fevers— for example. W. It formed an all-purpose salve.Foxglove County Illinois.” Southern Folklore Quarterly 31 (1967): 296–303. Souter. may represent a secondary use. In British folk medicine. the large leaves of the foxglove were wrapped around the breasts to stop lactation at weaning (Hatfield MS). for example in the Isle of Man (Fargher 1969) and in the Highlands (Beith 1995: 219). Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. 1965. according to Withering’s son. In Shropshire. 1995. infiltrating from learned medicine and from the publicity surrounding Withering’s work. W. In British folk medicine. The foxglove was introduced to North America in colonial times.

1830. Beith. The Manx Have a Word for It. Fractures By far the commonest plant remedy in British folk medicine used for helping bones to heal is comfrey. barley and white of egg was applied to a broken limb. a dressing of egg white beaten with salt was used for simple fractures (cf. 1985. Coughs. John’s wort. Port Erin: privately published. 6: 193). D. it can produce remarkable results (Hatfield 1994: 6). skilled in massage and manipulation (Micheletti 1998: 236). Deafness. Meyer records a nineteenth-century folk remedy for deafness caused by accumulation of wax in the ears. Medicinal Plants in Folk Traditions. Martin 1934 [1703]: 230). It was also used for sores (the fresh juice) and for healing wounds (the fresh leaves bound on) (Meyer 1985: 273). John Ewart. Glenwood. 1914. Vickery. John’s wort was used throughout Britain to help heal broken bones (Carmichael 1900–1971. killing a wren could lead to a broken arm shortly afterward (Brown 1952–1964. Manx Gaelic Names of Flora. The Darker Superstitions of Scotland. Clarence. Portland. An Arrangement of British Plants. Meyer. mixed with brandy and used as ear drops (Meyer 1985: 103). The Mexican equivalent of Scotland’s bonesetter was the sobador (or sobradora). (ed. stepping over someone’s leg could cause it to break. and lard to make an ointment for hard swellings (Meyer 1985: 244). 1995. See also Boils. and stalks of foxglove. John’s wort. Fevers. A poultice of Yerba Pasma was used to relieve the swelling of fractures (UCLA Folklore Archives 7_6259). 4: 208). 402). In general North American folk medicine. No Native American records of medicinal usage have been traced. David E. Foxglove was mixed with white rose petals. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Edinburgh: Waugh and Innes. 1834. in press). In the Scottish Isle of Skye in the seventeenth century.). Mallow was occasionally used in Ireland for treating fractures (Allen and Hatfield. Sometimes.” who was often the local blacksmith (Buchan 1994: 27–30). Extract of the root produces a sludgelike putty that can be moulded around a broken limb. J. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Roy. St. which was then splinted (Beith 1995: 204). Dropsy. chewed peyote root (Lophophora williamsii) was applied to fractures (Vogel 1970: 166). In the Isle of Man. Even acting as though an arm was .. Jr. elder flowers. a charm accompanied the application (Tongue 1965: 37). 1969. Fractures The foxglove is not native to North America but was introduced in colonial times. and Gabrielle Hatfield. With expert splinting. with Some Notes on Clackmannan and Kinross-shire. William. London: Longman. 1995. Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) was also used in Scotland for healing broken bones (Beith 1995: 221. Mary. leaves. American Folk Medicine. G. Edinburgh: Polygon. In northern Mexico. as in Somerset. Oxford: Oxford University Press. C. Fargher. 7th ed. Dressings of cow dung were sometimes applied to fractures (Randolph 1947: 99). Examples of Printed Folklore Concerning Fife. Carrying a raw potato in the pocket was supposed to prevent fractures or to avoid complications (Puckett 1981: 330. 5. a preparation of sanicle (Sanicula europaea) was used (Quayle 1973: 70). It uses the fresh juice of flowers. Colds. An alternative in the rural past was a visit to a “bonesetter. IL: Meyerbooks. Withering. OR: Timber Press (in press). Dalyell. above) (Puckett 1981: 330).164 . St. London: Sidgwick and Jackson. There were some strange folk beliefs concerning fractures. the remedy from Skye. References Allen. Simpkins. St.

Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. London: Folklore Society. Warner. Another widely . 5 & 6. 1947. 7 vols. In the Native American tradition. Poultice. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. Douglas: Courier Herald. Woodbridge: Boydell. Victoria: Royal British Columbia Museum. Iroquois Medical Botany. Boston: G. Vogel. State University of New York. One of the most poetic British remedies is to bathe in early morning dew. Vance. London: A. York. Durham. Thompson. Ozark Superstitions. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Excreta. Beith. as were cottonwood (Populus sp.” Canadian Medical Association Journal 61(2) (August 1949): 177–183. Frank C. (Page references cited are from the 4th edition of 1934 [Stirling: Eneas Mackay]: ed. Freckles Freckles are in no way a serious medical condition. Browne. James William. 1958. 3 vols. M. ed. 1990. Edited by Katharine Briggs. Anna Casetta. Alexander. Hall. Ray B.Freckles : 165 broken could cause a later breakage of the arm (Browne 1958: 42). Scottish Academic Press. 1965. Mary. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. thesis. 1971. Hand. Carmichael Watson. Folklore Studies 9. 1998. 1973. Martin. Comfrey. New York: Columbia University Press. Puckett. a poultice of mallow was used to help the healing of fractures (Herrick 1977: 385). Sprains. Folk Tradition and Folk Medicine in Scotland: The Writings of David Rorie. Edinburgh: Polygon. Enza (ed. 1900. 1981. St. Donald J. Randolph. H. “Food and Medicinal Plants Used by the Indians of British Columbia. 1990: 154. Carmichael. North American Folk Healing: An A-Z Guide to Traditional Remedies.. Albany. Turner. Ph. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. David E. 6 vols. and spruce gum (Pinus rigida) was used to immobilize fractures (MacDermot 1949: 182). Hatfield. John’s wort. Quayle. Laurence C. Wells.D. 1994. Mallow. as were species of biscuitroot (Lomatium spp.” North Carolina Medical Journal 15 (1954): 281– 287. and Sondra B. Thompson Ethnobotany: Knowledge and Usage of Plants by the Thompson Indians of British Columbia. 1977. Bell. Gabrielle. Somerset Folklore. Terry Thompson. A Description of the Western Isles of Scotland. Portland. 1994. County Folklore 8..) and cedar branches (Micheletti 1998: 315). and Annie Z. Thornapple. See also Birch. Newbell Niles. Oliver and Boyd. Virgil J. Ruth L. 1952–1964. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Tongue. Herrick. Martin. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. Birch bark and rawhide were used to form splints (Wells 1954: 282). MacDermot. Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations. 1970.) (Turner et al. “Surgical Practice in North Carolina: A Historical Commentary. Edinburgh: Canongate Academic. Edinburgh: Constable. Edited by Wayland D. ed. preferably on the first day of May (Hatfield MSS). J. American Indian Medicine. Angus Matheson). David. Nancy J. The root of jimson weed was used as an anaesthetic during setting of fractures (Vogel 1970: 84). Brown.). 1940–54. K. Macleod.) Micheletti. 170). OR: Timber Press (in press). Blacksmith. (3 & 4. Thiederman. 1995. Buchan. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. Legends of a Lifetime: Manx Folklore. and Gabrielle Hatfield. References Allen. Various species of Artemisia were used as bone setters. George E. J. NC: Duke University Press. which makes the frequency of folk remedies for them surprising. ed. 1703.

Morning dew appears in freckle remedies in North America. Dew. Roy. McNeill. Kavasch. and rainwater (UCLA Folk- lore Archives 11_5385) have also been suggested. and Karen Baar. Other suggestions are to lie face down in cow manure (Brown 1952–1964. Calgary. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. “Notes on FolkMedicine. Meyer. Edited by Wayland D. as in Britain. Excreta. Yucca roots and cornmeal make a face mask recommended for all kinds of skin blemishes (Kavasch and Baar 1999). American Indian Healing Arts. 1995. An infusion of fumitory (Fumaria spp. In North American folk medicine. American Folk Medicine. Edinburgh: Polygon. Native American tradition. Texas Folk Medicine.) mixed with milk was used on Colonsay in Scotland. or egg-white and alum (Wilson 1908: 71). or the juice from chickweed. Durham. 6: 194) or to plaster the freckles with red mud (Brown 1952–1964. washing the face in red clover in the morning dew is claimed to prevent freckles (UCLA Folklore Archives 14_5387). William George.) was used in Wiltshire (Vickery 1995: 143). 6: 195). Freckles used remedy was to wash them in an infusion of elderflowers. This country remedy was also used to remove the blackish discoloration of skin from sunburn. 7 vols. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. Applying vinegar (UCLA Folklore Archives 10_5988). References Anderson. Charles Bundy. ALTA: Wild Rose College of Natural Healing. Beith. Talley. Terry. 1979. 1970. Carol. Rituals and Remedies for Every Season of Life.166 .) bruised in vinegar (Meyer 1985: 225). As in Scotland. Honeysuckle flowers (Lonicera periclymenum) crushed in boiling water were used to remove freckles and sunburn in the Highlands of Scotland (Beith 1995: 223). Urine. Oxford: Oxford University Press. See also Chickweed. 1883. In Scotland. lavender water. Hand and Jeannine E. Anthon S. Black. Wilson. New York and Toronto: Bantam Books. 1910. Cannon. John. IL: Meyerbooks. Brown. Colonsay: One of the Hebrides. An infusion of elderflowers was recommended. Murdoch. Toronto: Octopus. Dandelion. Grated horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) is another suggestion (Bishop 1979: 130). and alcohol (UCLA Folklore Archives 12_5385). Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. 1992. 1995. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. The juice of sundew (Drosera spp. Frank C. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. The Book of Home Remedies and Herbal Cures. Edinburgh: David Douglas. Barrie. or carbonic sulphur. . salt. 6: 194). An infusion of cleavers (Galium aparine) has been recommended. Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains and Neighbouring Territories. NC: Duke University Press. Clarence. 1985.” Journal of American Folklore 21 (1908): 68–73. Nonplant remedies include buttermilk applied (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_5385). 1952–1964. London: Folklore Society. Lemon juice was also recommended. Mary. 1984. 1999. buttermilk in which the leaves of silverweed (Potentilla anserina) had been steeped for nine days formed a face wash for removing freckles (Black 1883: 119). In one. Freshly cut potato has been used (Anderson 1970: 36). or the seeds of marshmallow (Malva sp. Sunburn. E. Herbs. Bishop. evidently the addition of milk made this “an innocent and safe application to remove freckles and sunburn” (McNeill 1910: 123). or ammonia. both applied externally and drunk (Willard 1992: 189). or an infusion of meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria). Glenwood. Austin: Encino Press. In the Native American tradition. Willard. Dandelion juice was claimed to prevent freckles (Cannon 1984: 109). urine was claimed to be effective (Brown 1952–1964. numerous plants were used to remove freckles. Elder. Vickery. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture.

1965. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. William E. References Beck. Wrapping frostbitten feet in the skins of rabbits has also been suggested (Thomas and Thomas 1920: 103). Philadelphia and New York: J. ed. Talley.” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 2 (1936): 33–48. In North America. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. The boiled inner bark of pine has been used (Beck 1957: 45). 1957. Harry Middleton. Frostbite This is not a common enough problem in Britain to have attracted a repertoire of folk remedies. Fanny D. Cannon. Boston and New York: Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society 7. B. Elder bark boiled in hen’s oil has been recommended (Meyer 1985: 133). T. Animal and Plant Lore Collected from the Oral Tradition of English Speaking Folk. J. 1958. and roast turnip (Meyer 1985: 133) as poultices. These last two remedies are probably of Native American origin. Bergen. Beliefs and Customs. “A Collection of Middle Tennessee Superstitions. Frazier. as has a beech leaf poultice (Fagus grandifolia) (Maxwell 1918: 100). See also Birch. KS: Regent Press. Suggestions for treating frostbite include bathing the feet in a westward-running stream (Thomas and Thomas 1920: 104) or soaking in rum (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_6305). 1980. Farr. Among numerous plant-based remedies are warm roast potato (Browne 1958: 67). 2nd rev. Raw beefsteak (UCLA Folklore Archives 7_6834) or cow’s gall (UCLA Folklore Archives 6_6834) has been applied. Ray B. Cedar branches are burned to treat a large number of dermatological conditions (Moerman 1998: 282– 292). The Potawatomi use beech leaves to “restore” frost-bitten extremities (Smith 1933: 58). Lippincott. Walking barefoot three times round the outside of the house in the first snow is a poetic alternative (Farr 1935: 318–336). “Riddles and Superstitions of Middle Tennessee. A mixture of water and wood ashes has been recommended (O’Dell 1944: 3). or chicken dung in hot water (Hyatt 1965: 221). The smoke from burning cedar boughs (Juniperus sp. A newborn baby should have his or her feet and hands bathed in spring water to prevent suffering from frostbite later (UCLA Folklore Archives 12_5389). however. Poultice. Wearing snuff (UCLA Folklore Archives 2_6305) or salt (Hyatt 1965: 221) in the shoes has been suggested as a means of warding off frostbite. Hu. Bread and milk has also been used as a poultice (Puckett 1981: 383). Hand and Jeannine E. “Indian Medicines: Numerous Popular Remedies Obtained from Forest . Soda. 1899. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation.Frostbite : 167 Frogs See Toads and frogs.) has been used (Frazier 1936: 35). Elder. or a poultice of cow manure and milk (Beck 1957: 45). Browne. 1984. Folklore from Kansas. Pine. Edited by Wayland D. Neal. Lawrence. Maxwell. or wiping with an old dishrag (Hyatt 1965: 221) or with a mixture of soda and molasses (Frazier 1936: 35). Hyatt. as has the inner bark of birch combined with cod oil (Bergen 1899: 110). rotten apple (Cannon 1984: 109). Horace P. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. Koch. Folklore Studies 9. Anthon S. Rubbing with various oils has been tried—for example. there are a host of suggestions for preventing and treating frostbite. The Folklore of Maine.” Journal of American Folklore 48 (1935): 318–336. olive oil (Browne 1958: 68) or skunk oil (Koch 1980: 1931) or rabbit grease (Puckett 1981: 383). Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah.

1920. Ruth W. K. Thiederman. Daniel Lindsay. O’Dell.168 . Boston: G. OR: Timber Press.” Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 7 (1933): 1– 230. Clarence. Edited by Wayland D. American Folk Medicine. “Signs and Superstitions. Hand. Anna Casetta. Trees. Princeton. Moerman. 1985. 3 vols. Hall. IL: Meyerbooks. 1981. and Sondra B. NJ: Princeton University Press. Daniel E. Puckett. Portland. 1998. Kentucky Superstitions. Newbell Niles. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore . Frostbite from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Thomas.” Scientific American Supplement 86(2224) (August 1918): 100–103.” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 10(2) (1944): 1–6. Huron H. Glenwood. Smith. Native American Ethnobotany. Meyer. “Ethnobotany of the Forest Potawatomi Indians. and Lucy Blayney Thomas.

garlic was thought to protect against smallpox (Brendle and Unger 1935: 97). Garlic hung over the front door was thought to prevent disease entering the house (UCLA Folklore Archives 6_6352). colds. mumps (UCLA Folklore Archives 7_5435). as well as in treatment of whooping cough in East Anglia. coughs. The number and diversity of ailments to which garlic has been applied in North American folk medicine are impressive. used to treat toothache. There seems to have been a widespread belief that many illnesses could be prevented by surrounding oneself with garlic. Both these species are eaten as a spring vegetable. where it has been suggested that all sickness can be combated or prevented by wearing a bag containing garlic. and in twentieth century Suffolk (Hatfield 1999: 134). In the same area. some children were sent to school with garlic bags around their necks (Hand 1958: 65). and indigestion (Allen and Hatfield in press). Worn on the person. it was ´ heven held to prevent blood clots (O Eithir). and cheese.. as in Britain. During epidemics in Pennsylvania. where it has been carried as a prophylactic against fever. boils. . Both the cultivated garlic and wild garlic or ramsons (Allium ursinum) have been used in folk medicine. a bag of garlic has been claimed to keep away all infections (Cannon 1984: 113). an ointment of garlic and lard was rubbed on the soles of the feet to treat bronchitis (Tongue 1965: 37). tied with a red ribbon (Cannon 1984: 80). it has been credited with curing influenza (UCLA Folklore Archives 7_5423). There are records of garlic used for treating worms in children in eighteenth century Scotland (Lochead 1948: 338). where it has variously been rubbed into the hands and feet. In recent North American folk medicine. sulphur. A mixture of garlic and May butter was regarded as a cure-all in the Scottish Highlands (Beith 1995: 176). and in the Aran Islands. worn in the socks. and it has been grown in European gardens since at least the sixteenth century (Grieve 1931: 343). In Utah. garlic was used in poultices to treat diphtheria and bad knees (Beith 1995: 231). The ultimate accolade also comes from Utah. garlic was cultivated in ancient Egypt. Wearing garlic has been used to treat as well as prevent disease. Its country name of “ramsons” is reflected in the name of “ramp” applied in North America (where this species does not occur) to Allium tricoccum. Placing garlic under the pillow was another way of avoiding illness (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_6352). worms. Worn around the neck. In Somerset. Wild garlic has been used especially in Ireland. records do not usually specify what type of garlic was involved. or made into an ointment (Taylor MSS).G: Garlic (Allium sativum) Like the onion.

and to prevent snoring (Parler 1962: 891) or bedwetting (Browne 1958: 29). Garlic hung over the front door was thought to prevent disease from entering the house. the folk uses of garlic have been equally diverse. malaria (UCLA Folklore Archives 15_64046). and a clove of garlic has been placed in the ear for earache in much the same way as onions have been used in Britain (Doering 1945: 153). diabetes (UCLA Folklore Archives 6_5358). Garlic In North American folk medicine. It has been rubbed onto the rash of poison oak (UCLA Folklore Archives 22_6429) and of shingles (UCLA Folklore Archives 13_7616). An ointment for wrinkles has been made from garlic and honey (UCLA Folklore Archives 12_5964). Eating garlic has been recommended for sore throat (UCLA Folklore Archives 2_6499). and hiccups (Funk 1950: 66). Worked into and around finger nails. As a poultice. Anderson 1970: 76). tuberculosis (Webb 1971: 297). it has been claimed to strengthen them (UCLA Folklore Archives 6_6003). stomachache . as in Britain (UCLA Folklore Archives 10_587). tuberculosis (Puckett 1981: 468).170 . It has been used to treat sores (UCLA Folklore Archives 9_2584). and stys (UCLA Folklore Archives 4_6485). sinus problems (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_5467). fainting (Puckett 1981: 373). It has been applied to ringworm (Parler 1962: 864). Garlic has been eaten to treat gout (Koch 1980: 128). croup (Davis 1945: 48) and asthma (Pickard and Buley 1945: 41). As a topical application. It has been eaten to lower blood pressure (Clark 1970: 13) and to treat hardening of the arteries (Koch 1980: 127). bees (Cannon 1984:114). The fumes from garlic have been used to treat eye disease (Puckett 1981: 369). for example. mashed garlic has treated headaches (Lick and Brendell 1922: 115). as in Britain. colic (Louisiana State Guide 1941: 97). Garlic placed in the shoes is a remedy suggested for insomnia (Hyatt 1965: 270). spasms in infants (Saucier 1956: 139). Garlic has been given to children to rid them of worms. and arthritis (Puckett 1981: 309). to the stings of wasps (Parler 1962: 918). and scorpions (Brown 1952–1964: 292) and to snake bites (Pickard and Buley 1945: 42). stone bruises (Fentress 1934: 88). there was a widespread belief that many illnesses could be prevented by surrounding oneself with garlic. Garlic has been widely used to treat toothache (see. 501). colds and whooping cough (Puckett 1981: 346. and. moles (Herrera 1972: 43). or rubbed into the scalp for baldness (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_6830). The juice of garlic has been dripped into the ear for a migraine headache (UCLA Folklore Archive 19_2185) and rubbed into muscles to cure cramps (UCLA Folklore Archives 13_5592). bunions (UCLA Folklore Archives 9_6200). (Library of Congress) goiter (Puckett 1981: 385). croup (Anderson 1970: 24). It has been claimed that eating garlic will prevent mosquitoes from biting (UCLA Folklore Archives 6_6820). worms (Puckett 1981: 503).

Ringworm. 1952–1964. Tuberculosis. Piles. Beith. References Allen. Croup. OR: Timber Press. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. Shingles. A Modern Herbal. As an enema. Cannon. Cramp.. C. Sylva.” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45 (1935). Joseph D. Constipation. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. “Hiccup Cure. Brendle. depended largely on native plants for their folk medicine. Current research on the chemistry of garlic and other Allium species is vindicating a large number of earlier folk uses (Crellin and Philpott 1990: 319). Bed-wetting. deafness. Edited by Wayland D. Whooping cough. Cultivated garlic is one of a number of plants in which there is currently a middleclass resurgence of interest. “Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans: The Non-Occult Cures. Boils. in press. Earache. Durham. In Native American practice. Creighton. Anderson. London: Jonathan Cape.” Western Folklore 9 (1950): 66-67. “Popular Beliefs and Super- . Toronto: Ryerson Press. Coughs. Snake bite. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Colds. 1945. pneumonia (Creighton 1968: 225). New York: Rinehart and Company. Poison oak. Davis. 1931. 1995. garlic has been used to treat “locked intestines” (Kay 1972: 183). Chiltoskey. Toothache. Julia. croup. Mrs. Wayland D. and Mary U. Helen. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands.. For all the other numerous uses of garlic recorded in North American folk medicine. See also Asthma. Hamel. Collection of North Carolina Folklore.” Journal of American Folklore 58 (1945): 150-155. 1958. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions in Nova Scotia. Browne. Paul B. A Reference Guide to Medicinal Plants. 1968. it is difficult to tell whether they arrived with immigrants or were borrowed from the Native American tradition. Scurvy. on both sides of the Atlantic. John K. Sore throat. and worms (Street 1959: 84). Bluenose Magic. Talley. NC: Herald. Where our forebears. Grieve. Ray B. J.. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. Clark. Austin: Encino Press. we now buy packaged extracts of their cultivated relatives. Vogel records how soldiers at Camp Missouri in 1819–1820 were cured of scurvy using green herbs and the bulbs of wild garlic (Vogel 1970: 109). Thomas R. Sleeplessness. 1984. Leyel. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. Hiccups. Brown. Folklore Studies 9. numerous species of Allium have been widely used as food and medicine. M. constipation (UCLA Folklore Archives 18_6276). 1990. Fevers. and yellow fever (Hendricks 1980: 109). Durham.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1-66. worms. Frederick. Edited by Mrs. William D. Western State Teachers College. 7 vols. Texas Folk Medicine. as part of the trend toward “natural” medicines. David E. Frank C. Hand. 1934. NC: Duke University Press. Elza E. hemorrhoids (Parler 1962: 811). Diabetes. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. asthma and colic (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 35). Funk. Doering. Anthon S. Smallpox. Edinburgh: Polygon. Deafness. and Claude W. “More Folk Customs from Western Ontario. Fentress. and Jane Philpott. Mary. 1970. MA thesis. F. Gout. and Gabrielle Hatfield. Indigestion. 1975. Worms. Hand and Jeannine E.. The Shenandoah: Rivers of America. John Q. Portland. Headache. Poultice. Insect bites and stings. Colic. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. NC: Duke University Press.Garlic : 171 (Puckett 1981: 453). Crellin. Cultivated garlic has been used by the Cherokee for scurvy. Superstitions of Grayson County (Kentucky). Unger.

Boston: G.. Ginger and honey tea has been taken as a cure for stomach ulcers (Clark 1966: . Somerset Folklore. E. Harry Middleton. “The Miseries and Folk Medicine. Ginger Street. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. The plant has a quite different history in North American folk medicine. 1965. Galway. Anna Casetta. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. George D. Ruarı O ´. Thiederman. Vogel. as a digestive tonic. Mary Armstrong. “Plant Names and Plant Lore among the Pennsylvania Germans. Introduced into North America by the Spaniards. and to treat an upset stomach (Meyer 1985: 239. Philadelphia: American Folklore Society. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press. was cultivated. stitions from Pennsylvania. and Thomas R.” Proceedings and Addresses of the Pennsylvania German Society 33 (1922). New York. 179). Lochead. Folk Medical Beliefs and Practices in the Aran Islands. Traditions de la Paroisse des Avoyelles en Louisiane. Herrera. Tongue. Phoenix Mill: Sutton. Kay. Wisdom and Healing: The History of Domestic Plant Medicine. Webb. dissertation. 1956. Virgil J. Taylor Manuscript notes in the Norfolk Record Office. 1941.” Keystone Folklore Quarterly 3 (1958): 61–74. American Indian Medicine. Hyatt. County Folklore 8. M. Folklore from Kansas: Beliefs and Customs. Madge E. ´ hEithir. 1983. Ph. Louisiana Voodoo and Superstitions Related to Health. 1970. Master’s thesis. “Medicine Populaire des Iles Saint-Pierre et Miquelon. Parler. it became naturalized there. 15 vols. IN: R. William E. 2nd rev. Ruth L. Memory. Lawrence. Corinne L. and Sondra B.” North Carolina Folklore 20 (1972): 42–46. Co. MS4322. 1999.D. Hall. 1972. Rhymes and Railroad Tracks: A Second Sampling of Superstitions and Popular Beliefs in Texas.” Arts et Traditions Populaires 7 (January–June 1959): 75–85. Marion. Taylor MSS. Not only has it been used in official medicine and herbalism. and R. The Midwest Pioneer. Briggs. Roosters. Anne C. KS: Regent Press. ed.172 . Mary Celestia. Edinburgh: Moray Press. 261). London: Folklore Society. 3 vols. Hendricks. Mark R. It has been used to treat nausea and vomiting. University of Arizona. The plant is not native to Britain. HSMHA Health Reports. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. 1945. Louisiana State Guide. Its only apparent role in British folk medicine is a recent one: it is used as a home remedy to check nausea and indigestion (Souter 1995: 169. Brendle. Cures and Doctors. nor can it be readily cultivated there.. Edited by Wayland D. 1981. Health and Illness in the Barrio: Women’s Point of View. indicating one of its medicinal roles. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. and University Student Contributors. 1980. Julie Yvonne. Federal Writers Project. Lick. in both Scotland (Beith 1995: 60) and England (Pechey 1694: 262) and is used in official herbalism today (Chevallier 1996: 153). Ginger (Zingiber officinale) The name of this Asian spice has passed into colloquial English as a verb meaning to stimulate. Hatfield. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. Hand. His Ills. 1965. and became a valuable export during the sixteenth century (Grieve 1931: 353). Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. K. Gabrielle. Norwich. Koch. 1948. David E. Puckett. Crawfordsville. Banta. Newbell Niles. 256. Carlyle Buley. 86 (April 1971): 291–301. Saucier. 1962. Edited by K. It formed a constituent of the official Materia Medica. but it has a well-established place in North American folk medicine as well. It is therefore unsurprising to find that its uses in British folk medicine are very limited. National University of Ireland. The Scots Household in the Eighteenth Century. Pickard. 1980. Margarita Artschwager.

It has had varied gynecological uses: for leucorrhoea. Neal. Diarrhea. vomiting. Mrs. Tennessee. Ginger ale is recommended for hiccups (Barrick 1964: 106).” North Carolina Folklore 14: 1 (1966): 3–40. for painful or profuse periods (Meyer 1985: 165. Sprinkled on brown paper. Edited by Mrs. 1958. ginger seems to have played only a minor role (Moerman 1998: 613). Sleeplessness. Browne. D. Headache. Andrew. Mary E. “North Carolina Superstitions. Coughs. It also has been used to treat nausea. high blood pressure (Puckett 1981: 402). and insomnia (Roy 1955: 76). Rheumatism. Mary. upset stomach. Folklore Studies 9. OR: Timber Press. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Grieve. headaches (Browne 1958: . London: Dorling Kindersley. IL: Meyerbooks. Leyel. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Moerman. Edinburgh: Polygon. Nausea. Mac E. J. Hiccups. 1996. Native American Ethnobotany. Ginger has treated a number of respiratory conditions. (Library of Congress) References Barrick. Wild ginger has been widely and variously used in Native American practice. It has relieved neuralgia (Meyer 1985: 186) and formed the basis of a “drawing” poultice. With molasses it has formed a cough syrup (UCLA Folklore Archives 4_7597). Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines in the Highlands and Islands. “Folk Medicine in Cumberland County. 217. Glenwood. M. C. Meyer. London: Jonathan Cape. Miller.Ginger : 173 70). 1998. Clarence. Ray B. Indigestion. E. for obstructed menstruation. in addition to being used in the treatment of rheumatism and as a constituent of a tooth-cleaning powder (Meyer 1985: 201. Clark. 246). Ginger has helped bring out a rash (Puckett 1981: 430). 174. It has treated fainting (a remedy from the Chinese tradition) (UCLA Folklore Archives 22_6303). The so-called wild ginger (Asarum canadense and other species of Asarum) is botanically unrelated. “Grandad-Pioneer Medicine 10). it has formed a poultice for a chest cold (Neal 1955: 286).” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 24 (1958): 57–71. 1995. 171. It has been an ingredient of a syrup taken for asthma (Miller 1958: 64). treat a fever (Wilson 1968: 78). See also Asthma. and a number of respiratory conditions. “A Folklore Survey of Dickson County. belonging to the birthwort family. Fevers. 175).” Keystone Folklore Quarterly 9 (1964): 100–110. ginger has been widely used as a digestive tonic. In Native American practice. Poultice. Beith. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Portland. For diarrhea and dysentery. Colds. 1931. American Folk Medicine. and another for sore throat (Puckett 1981: 446). Janice C. 1985. Daniel E. Popular in North American folk medicine. an infusion of ground ginger has been used (Browne 1958: 41). Sore throat. A Modern Herbal. Chevallier. Dysentery. and relieve a hangover (Paulsen 1961: 157).

Daniel E. It has also been recommended for its aphrodisiac properties— for example. its use has endangered the plant in the wild and driven up its price (Micheletti 1998: 174–175). New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. Newbell Niles. Paulsen. Folklore of the Mammoth Cave Region. Hand. London: 1694. 1995. ranging from intestinal worms to tuberculosis. Chevallier. “A Hair of the Dog and Some Other Hangover Cures from Popular Tradition. by the Pawnee (Gilmore 1919: 106). Adelbert. the plant did not reach official medicine and herbalism until the eighteenth century (Chevallier 1996: 116). Andrew The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.). Meyer. ward off heart attack (Clark 1970: 23).” Texas Folklore Society Bulletin 3 (1937): 11–40. North American Folk Healing: An A–Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. In North America. Ottawa: Ministre de Nord Canadien et des Ressources Nationales. Bowling Green. Hall. Durham.” Journal of American Folklore 74 (1961): 152–168. Boston: G. Clark. 1998. Glenwood. The one most commonly used medicinally is the American ginseng. Micheletti. NC: Duke University Press. Native American Ethnobotany. even as a panacea (Smith 1928: 204). 1985. KY: Kentucky Folklore Society. Joseph D. IL: Meyerbooks. Portland. and the plant has played no part in British folk medicine. Anna Casetta. American Folk Medicine. 1996. to soothe nervousness (Meyer 1985: 141. Numerous other ailments. Bulletin 134. OR: Timber Press.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. and to “comfort the bowels” (Brown. The Compleat Herbal of Physical Plants. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. Gordon. 1952–1964. In Britain. Among the Seminole. Saffron Walden: C. and Sondra B. Sr. have also been treated with ginseng by Native Americans (Moerman 1998: 373–377). It has been chewed to . Hives. Usage among the Native Americans has been similar. various species of Panax are native. Redfield. where no ginseng species is native. Panax quinquefolius. Moerman. References Brown. This has been prized in both official and folk medicine. Gilmore. The root chewed can soothe a tickling throat (Meyer 1985: 255). Clarence. Pechey. “Uses of Plants by the Indians of the Missouri River Region. Thiederman. 1952–1964: 134). Collection of North Carolina Folklore. 7 vols.) In China ginseng has been used as a medicinal plant for several thousand years. 1998. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. Keith.174 . Edited by Wayland D. W. “Ethnobotany of the Meskwaki Ginseng (Panax spp. Folklore Series 4. and since it is the root that has been mainly used. Tuberculosis. 3 vols. W. 1955. London: Dorling Kindersley. Wilson. Smith. Souter. See also Asthma. 1981. 1968. “Superstitions and Folk Beliefs. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. La Litte ´rature Orale en Gaspe ´sie. and the smoke from burning dried ginseng has been inhaled for asthma (Redfield 1937: 14). Melvin R. Tonic. they have continued to import it from other tribes (Snow and Stans 2001: 43). Ginseng Man. Daniel. Enza (ed. Frank M. Puckett. John.” New York Folklore Quarterly 11 (1955): 277–291. K. Huron. Panax quinquefolius has been widely valued as a tonic. In folk medicine the plant has been used as a tonic. ginseng has been so highly valued that long after being displaced from their original territories. 185). Frank C. Roy.” Smithsonian Institution-Bureau of American Ethnology Annual Report 33 (1919). Carmen. 36 de la Serie Anthropologique. a treatment for hives. Worms.

native to Canada and the eastern United States. The Cherokee used it as a tonic and to treat local inflammations (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 36). ranging from abortion (Micheletti 1998: 180) to prevention of pitting from smallpox (Grieve 1931: 364). Golden seal (Hydrastis canadensis) This plant. ed. Enid. Ringworm. County Folklore 8. Alice Micco. Edited by Katharine Briggs. A gold ring has been rubbed on a sty and on ringworm (Brown 1952–1964. fever.) Settlers in North America adopted the plant and found numerous uses for it. ed. 1994: 242). Rubbing a sty with a gold ring is a commonly known remedy in British folk medicine (Porter 1974: 43). Wearing a gold ring has been thought to guard against leprosy (Cannon 1984: 116). Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. Buchan. Frank C. Scotland. and in- . Cannon. often of gold. A suggested cause of heart trouble is to wear a gold watch near the heart. impetigo. London: Folklore Society. Brown. Anthon S. Souter. 1995. Ruth L. In Fife. Jaundice. Saffron Walden: C. 1974. and Susan Enns Stans. Epilepsy. Wearing one or more gold rings was held to prevent epilepsy (Tongue 1965: 39).. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Earrings. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. 1965. obviously a remedy only for the wealthy. Eye problems. (For other uses by Native Americans. See also Cuts. jaundice. has been extensively used in folk medicine both by Native Americans and by settlers. A golden goblet. Warts. ed. The Folklore of East Anglia. 1994: 242). 253). Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. The Iroquois used it in addition for liver trouble. Durham. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. David. 274). and scrofula (Herrick 1977). Snow. Folk Tradition and Folk Medicine in Scotland: The Writings of David Rorie. was considered to protect the person who drank from it from leprosy. A string of gold beads has been worn around the neck to prevent or treat goiter and quinsy (Brown 1952–1964. 6: 270. 1883. Among the uses for it described by Meyer in folk medicine are treatment of weak eyes. Talley. W.” Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 4 (1928): 175–326. Somerset Folklore.Golden seal Indians. Keith. were worn to improve eyesight or treat inflammation of the eyes (Buchan. London: Folklore Society. London: Batsford. Hand and Jeannine E. Gold Especially in the form of a wedding ring. Heart trouble. gold has been used quite extensively in British folk medicine. 6: 183. and heart disease (Souter 1995: 43). Healing Plants: Medicine of the Florida Seminole Indians. : 175 References Black. a gold ring has also been used to treat ringworm (Buchan. 295). Edited by Wayland D.. Tongue. 1952–1964. 1994. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. Gold rings have also been used to treat warts and cuts “throughout Christendom” (Black 1883: 173). In North America a similar range of conditions has been treated with gold in folk medicine. 1984. Daniel. as well as for sore eyes (Grieve 1931: 363). Edinburgh: Canongate Academic. Porter. 6: 201. Earrings of gold have been worn to strengthen the eyes and to prevent sore eyes (Brown 1952–1964. NC: Duke University Press. pneumonia. 7 vols. see Moerman 1998: 270. Native Americans used the plant as a tonic and soother of the digestive tract. William George. as well as cold sores (UCLA Folklore Archives 4_6275). 2001.

OR: Timber Press. Portland. North American Folk Healing: An A–Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. 239. Enza (ed. Edited by Mrs. Albany. for jaundice. 256).” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 28 (1962): 1–8. In the Scottish island of St. London: Jonathan Cape. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. 93. F. 60. In combination with other herbs. Clearly the plant was very widely used. chicken pox. Golden seal is not native to Britain and is not easily grown there. in folk medicine (Newman 1945: 355). State University of New York. 1998. A poultice of horseradish root (Armoracia rusticana) was also used (Taylor MSS) or a preparation of tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) (Vickery 1995: 367). Roy. Constipation. 112. Samuel. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. in press). 175. A Modern Herbal. Clarence. where it was grown commercially. sore throat. Overcollection in the wild brought the plant near to extinction. Jaundice. Eye problems. and Mary U. sore eyes. Leyel. 1975. Glenwood. Ozark Superstitions. Carmen. Joseph D. La Litte ´rature Orale en Gaspe ´sie. and the plant was adopted by the Thomsonian herbalists and by European herbalists. 1998. 147. Tennessee. liver complaints. still sometimes used today in the official treatment of gout. Ph. Polk. 133. Long records its use for treating night sweats and constipation and adds that it was regarded as a cure-all (Long 1962: 3). diarrhea. and vervain (Verbena officinalis) used as a plaster in the eighteenth century (Quincy 1718: 133). In Ireland elder has been used (Maloney 1972). thesis. Meyer. 1910–1927. Fevers. 1955.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. . digestion (Meyer 1985: 113. Wounds. as well as comfrey (Logan 1972: 125) and ash leaves (Allen and Hatfield. Gout There were a number of herbal and dietary recommendations for gout in British folk medicine. 151. Randolph. C.. Native American Ethnobotany. 1947. Vance. Roasted hemlock roots were used to treat gout (Radford and Radford 1974: 189). 243. female “weakness. Bulletin 134. and as a general tonic (Meyer 1985: 51. See also Abortion. M. Sylva. Moerman. Grady M. heavy periods. Diarrhea. he reports its use for bronchitis. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. 1931. Herrick. ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria) is also known as goutweed and was used in both official medicine and in folk medicine (Vickery 1995: 162). NC: Herald. 168. Long. 36 de la Serie Anthropologique. Indigestion.176 . Kilda. Daniel E. who still use it and prize it. sore mouth. Bradley and Meigs Counties. It was used for kidney troubles (Clark 1970: 24) and lack of appetite (Roy 1955: 66). 1985. Paul B. Smallpox. Ottawa: Ministre de Nord Canadien et des Ressources Nationales. Iroquois Medical Botany. but it is now cultivated for medicinal use. Chiltoskey.” as a tonic after flu. Grieve. 179. a seventeenth-century remedy (Lankester 1848: 238). “Folk Medicine in McMinn. Other plant remedies include bryony. Thomson. James William. IL: Meyerbooks. saffron (from the stigmas of Crocus sativus) was used in both official medicine and. 250. Hamel. From this plant colchicine was derived. In more recent times. herb Robert (Geranium robertianum) was used in Devon (Lafont 1984: 46). Mrs. gastric ulcer. and the dry root was powdered and applied to wounds (Randolph 1947: 101). Among the plants used. 336). Tonic. Sore throat. the ashes of a crow were used to treat gout (Beith 1995: 165). Walking through dew References Clark.D. American Folk Medicine. During the nineteenth century its reputation spread. Tuberculosis.). In the seventeenth and eighteenth century. 1977. Gout Micheletti. New York: Columbia University Press. to help alcoholism. 135. 124.

Gout : 177 Beltran 1950: 494. Miscellaneous treatments include tying a string dipped in meat grease around the toes. “Occult Healing Practices in . strawberries (Pickard and Buley 1945: 45). Other remedies included snake oil (Knortz 1913: 66) and placing the feet in manure (Carranco 1967: 171) or in hot water (UCLA Folklore Archives 19_5393). OR: Timber Press. There was considerable overlap between folk remedies for gout and for rheumatism. References was a seventeenth-century recommendation for gout (Radford and Radford 1974: 133). placing a bowl of water and turpentine under the bed (Parler 1962. The foot of a frog wrapped in deerskin and worn as an amulet was thought to prevent gout (Black 1883: 63). Black. in press. Spring waters were recommended too. Mary. Man with gout. William George. Cantero. 284). Durham. In British folk medicine. Garlic. “Las Daturas en la Colonia. 1995. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition.. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. burning a string equal in length to the patient’s girth (Brown 1952–1964. or cherries (UCLA Folklore Archives 6_5392). 1883. Allen. 6: 201). Thornapple. Elder. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Comfrey. Urine. gout could be transferred to a dog by laying on it the painful foot. eating fruit. Browne. Rheumatism. Edinburgh: Polygon. Bathing the afflicted joint with urine was suggested in Ireland (Logan 1972: 77). 1958. Alternatively. Folklore Studies 9. and burdock (Clark 1970: 22). 1952–1964. Gonzalo. Ash. and eating bread and water (Puckett 1981: 386) or garlic morning and evening (Koch 1980: 128). such as Chippewa natural spring water (Saul 1949: 58). Bryony. Portland. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Hemlock.” Anuario de la Sociedad Folkloria de Mexico 6 (1950): 493–502. North American folk medicine offers dietary advice for gout: abstention from alcohol. Plants used in treating gout include thornapple (Aguirre Aguirre Beltran. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. there were a number of herbal and dietary recommendations for gout. Burdock. (National Library of Medicine) See also Amulet. aralia (Pickard and Buley 1945: 45). Collection of North Carolina Folklore. London. Dew. Ground elder was also known as goutweed and was used in both official medicine and in folk medicine. Folklore Society. Boneset. Excreta. Brown. NC: Duke University Press. 7 vols. Ray B. Antonio. David E. and Gabrielle Hatfield. 3: 662). Beith. Frank C. Plant remedies used in the Native American tradition include boneset and a hallucinogenic mushroom called Teonanacatl (Vogel 1970: 164. or transferring the illness to a tree or to a cat or dog (Cantero 1929: 306). such as apples (Browne 1958: 69). Transference. 502).

15 vols. Wild garlic was recommended for the stone. Taylor in the Norfolk Record Office MS 4322. Hall. Lafont. Banta. Karl. Vogel.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. Bideford: Badger Books. Knortz. Part 1. Pickard. Madge E. Puckett. KS: Regent Press. London: A. Pharmacopoeia Officinalis et Extemporanea. Thiederman. Amerikanischer Aberglaube der Gegenwart zur Volkskunde. Clark. the blood of wild goats was believed to dissolve both kidney and bladder stones (Beith 1995: 177). Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. as was dulse (Rhodymenia palmata) boiled and eaten in its own juice (Beith 1995: 219. Newman. 1848. Edited and revised by Christina Hole. Philadelphia: Dorrance. 1913. Beatrice. A remedy provided by the Laird of Innes consisted of the inner bark of the ash. In Staffordshire. 1945. F. Gravel and stone Vickery. Manuscript Notes of Mark R. and University Student Contributors. Burdock was another suggestion. the blaeberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) was valued as a remedy for kidney stones (Beith 1995: 206). Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. 1972. Quincy. The Correspondence of John Ray. Virgil J. More pleasantly. Newbell Niles. His Ills. London: Ray Society. From a wheelwright he had the suggestion of using grated carrot in white wine. L. 1970.178 . Leipzig: T. In Sutherland. Boston: G. Saul. 1980. 3 vols. some of the remedies he collected from individuals clearly fall into the category of folk medicine. and R. Bell et al.” Ulster Folklife 18 (1972): 66–79. Gerstenberg. Herbal Folklore. Radford. Koch. Carranco. Gravel and stone There are innumerable folk remedies for these painful conditions in British folk medicine. Edwin. Pink Pills for Pale People.” Western Folklore 26 (1967): 169–176. Roy. William. Radford.” Canadian Medical Association Journal (New Series) 29 (1929) 303– 306. “Some Notes on Folk Medicine in the Eastern Counties. Parler.. 1984. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. and Sondra B. Dietary advice included avoiding salt (Beith 1995: 160). 1718. drinking one’s own urine was recommended for gravel (Bergen 1899: 148). One gentleman in Scotland kept a diary of his own health matters during the seventeenth century and built up a collection of remedies for gravel and stone over the years. Edited by Wayland D. A. Encyclopaedia of Superstitions.. 241). Making the Cure: A Look at Irish Folk Medicine. parsley piert (Aphanes arvensis) was used to treat gravel (Vickery 1995: 276). Anne-Marie. F. Hand. William E. in Ireland. In the West Midlands. and M. Joseph D. The Midwest Pioneer. 1949. Lankester. fasting spittle taken internally was recommended for gravel and stone (Gutch 1901: 177). American Indian Medicine. the water . K.. ed. Patrick. Logan. “Traditional Herbal Cures in County Cavan. Anna Casetta. Carlyle Buley. Crawfordsville. Folklore from Kansas: Beliefs and Customs. E. Lawrence. IN: R. Dublin: Talbot Press. Though Clerk of Penicuik was a member of the landed gentry and therefore had access not only to medical books but also to the orthodox medicine of his day. Taylor MSS. Maloney. 1995. “A Miscellany of Folk Beliefs from the Redwood Country. E. In the Highlands of Scotland. London: Book Club Associates 1974. Cures and Doctors. Lynwood. John.” Folk-Lore 56 (1945): 349–360. dried and powdered (Clerk of Penicuik Papers). A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. French Canada. 1962. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Mary Celestia. 1981. In Yorkshire. An eighteenth-century Sussex remedy for the stone entails roasting a hedgehog skin and adding the powdered prickles to a drink (Allen 1995: 81).

Bean seeds. bearberry (Arctostaphlos uva-ursi). Ash. may owe their place in North American folk medicine to the European tradition. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. there is a suggestion that applying to the abdomen a hot greasy plate used over cooking beans or meat can bring relief from pain. Bergen. Arctostaphylos uva-ursi has been used as a tonic for the kidneys and bladder by the Okanagon (Perry 1952: 40). “Animal and Plant Lore Collected from the Oral Tradition of English Speaking Folk.) (Yoder 1965–1966: 48) were also used. eating strawberries is recommended (Meyer 1985: 161). have been used. or carrying a snail shell as an amulet (Brown 1952–1964. Joe-Pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum) was used to treat gravel. Jeanne Cooper. or pansy (Viola sp. Infusions of flaxseed. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. As its alternative name of “gravel-root” implies. Folklore Studies 9. 1958. Tea made simply from “boiled grass” has been used (Brown. buttonweed roots (?Cephalanthus occidentalis) (Puckett 1981: 409). There are a large number of different herbal teas recommended for treating gravel and stone. a number of fruit and vegetables have been used in treating gravel and stone. beans were considered to promote formation of kidney stones (Packard. Burdock. Clerk of Penicuik Papers. Andrew. and F. include cleavers (Galium aparine). such as broom.Gravel and stone : 179 from a particular well at Larne was drunk to cure gravel (Foster 1951: 115). a slave. Newbury: Countryside Books. In North Carolina a tea made from sunflower seed (Helianthus sp. Ray B. 6: 201). In North American folk medicine. Colic. A remedy for gravel consisting of red onion juice and horsemint tea was so successful that the patient gave his informant. Eliza. Durham. Spit. milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). Many of these plants have been used to treat urinary complaints by the Native Americans too. Mary.” Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society 7 (1899).). Gutch. Carter. honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera). References Allen. To prevent formation of gravel and stones. NC: Duke University Press. From the same area. Mrs. 7 vols. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. For instance. 1995. Others. broom tops (Cytisus scoparius).). Frank C. Belfast: H. mountain mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum). prickly pear (Opuntia sp. smartweed (Polygonum spp. spleenwort (Asplenium trichomanes). 1952–1964. Equisetum arvense by the Potawatomi (Smith 1933: 55). Corn. nephritic plant (Parthenium integrifolium). Ulster Folklore. wild carrot (root and seeds) (Daucus carota). 1952–1964. The kernels of peach stones eaten first thing in the morning have brought great relief to some (Hohman 1930: 26–27). Examples of Printed Folk-Lore Concerning the North Riding of Yorkshire. 6: 201). an infusion being made from the roots (Bergen 1899: 112). used alone or in combination. 1951. Edinburgh: Polygon. J. GD18 2125. 1995. shave grass (Equisetum arvense). or of the leaves and stems of huckleberry (Vaccinium sp. and thimbleweed (Anemone virginiana) (Meyer 1985: 161–163). See also Amulet. Fanny D. Browne. Brown.). Frank C. Urine. Scottish Record Office Edinburgh. Other plants. or an infusion made from corn silk. as have parsnips and onions. or sarsaparilla (Browne 1958: 69). Flax. pods and leaves. Beith. They include watermelon seed tea (Harder 1956: 98). Foster. and Galium aparine by the Ojibwa (Smith 1932: 386). Packard 1981: 9). R. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. his freedom in thanks for it (Meyer 1985: 161). Sarsaparilla. and green coffee has been used (Parker 1907: 249). Garlic.). In Suffolk in the seventeenth century. Peach. .

. J. F. Meyer. Clarence. “Ethno-Botany of the Indians in the In- . Gravel and stone terior of British Columbia. Packard.” Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 7 (1933): 1–230. Kelsie B. “Ethnobotany of the Ojibwe Indians. Herbal Review. Huron H. London: The Herb Society.180 . London: Folk-Lore Society. “Ethnobotany of the Forest Potawatomi Indians. Vickery. “Folk-Lore of the North Carolina Mountaineers.” Bulletin of the Public Museum of Milwaukee 4 (1932): 327–525. Monroe Aurand. 1981. 3 vols. Harrisburg. Don. K. Packard. or Book of Pow-Wows: A Collection of Mysterious and Invaluable Arts and Remedies for Man as Well as Animals. Hall. John George.” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 22 (1956): 97–98. Jr. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Puckett. American Folk Medicine. Hand. Vol. Smith. Hohman. ———. Yoder. 1901. “Home Remedies in Perry County. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Glenwood. 1995. Tennessee. York and the Ainstie.” Pennsylvania Folklife 15(2) (Winter 1965/66): 36–52. Perry. Edited by A. “Official Religion Versus Folk Religion. Newbell Niles. Haywood. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Roy. 1985. Long Lost Friend. IL: Meyerbooks. Vol. Edited by Wayland D.” Journal of American Folklore 20 (1907): 241–250.. Boston: G. PA: The Aurand Press 1930. Anna Casetta. Parker.” Museum and Art Notes 2(2): 36–43 (1952). Thiederman. 2 of County FolkLore. and F. Harder. 6 (1981). and Sondra B.

especially for blonde hair (Vickery 1995: 63). Various species of Yucca (known as soapwort) have a reputation as a hair tonic and to prevent baldness (Willard 1992: 58). Abies lasiocarpa (McClintock 1909: 273). Sage (Salvia officinalis) has been used as a hair tonic and to darken hair going grey (Quelch 1941: 274). An infusion of the chopped leaves is added to the final rinse water (Vickery 1995: 319. In Saskatchewan.. and one Mexican remedy suggests instead the juice of the Cholla cactus (Opuntia sp. In Texas. after ringworm—it was claimed that the powder of a burned cork rubbed into the scalp would help (Taylor MSS). Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) is widely used as a rinse. persimmon juice (Diospyros sp. In Canada.) has been recommended . Proprietary shampoos often contain rosemary extract. a mixture of castor oil (from Ricinus communis) and iodine has been suggested (UCLA Folklore Archives 16_5393). watercress (Nasturtium officinale) has been found useful to prevent falling hair (UCLA Folklore Archives 16_5391). Sagebrush tea (Artemisia spp.) was found to help hair grow and prevent greyness and hair loss (Fife 1957: 155). A hair oil was prepared by the Blackfoot from the balsam fir. which thickens the hair and leaves it shiny. A gypsy cure for thinning hair was prepared from rosemary and hedgehog fat (Souter 1995: 164). Burdock has been claimed to aid regrowth of hair (Prince 1991: 95). Norfolk Record Office). Also in Saskatchewan. a number of folk remedies have been recorded from North America. a folk cure was to rub a raw egg into the scalp before washing (Prince 1991: 21). On the other hand. Head lice have been treated with a preparation of spindle berries (Euonymus europaeus) (Freethy 1985: 100).) (Bourke 1895: 48). this plant apparently causes rashes in some people. Olive oil to strengthen the hair and correct split ends is a remedy used in Mexico (UCLA Folklore Archives 3_5592).) (UCLA Folklore Archives 10_5590). In North American folk medicine a remedy used by early settlers to thicken the hair was made from shavings of hartshorn mixed with oil (Robertson 1960: 6). In the nineteenth century the juice of houseleek was used (Weston. Specifically to treat falling hair. Taylor MSS).H: Hair Problems Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is one of the most commonly recommended plants for hair problems. To prevent dandruff. Native Americans made a hair oil from the sunflower (Helianthus sp. Castor oil (from Ricinus communis) and corn oil (from Zea mays) have both been used in Vermont to improve the health of the hair and remove dandruff (Jarvis 1961: 146. 150). it is cultivated worldwide. Native to southern Europe. To encourage regrowth of hair—for example.

Cleaning the head with kerosene is an old-fashioned remedy for head lice used in both Britain (Hatfield MS) and North America (Cannon 1984: 116). D. Among the Native Americans. The maidenhair fern (Adiantum spp. Rattlesnake oil was used by the Nahuatl to make the hair grow “as long as a snake” (Madsen 1955: 132). the commonest in North America seems to concern disposal of hair combings. Collection of North Carolina Folklore.) has been used as a hair wash by the Lummi. This plant is on record as used by the Kwakiutl for treating dandruff (Turner and Bell 1973: 273) and by the Shushwap to make hair grow on a bald head (Palmer 1975: 55). the Micmac used an eel skin to tie the hair. hence many spells and curses employ hair from the would-be victim.D. The Blackfoot used a wash of little blanket (Apocynum cannabinum) or of bear grass (Yucca glauca) to prevent hair falling out (McClintock 1909: 276. Anthon S. Hair Problems (Hendricks 1980: 85). there seems to have been a belief among African Americans that this same practice would cause lice to breed (Bergen 1899). the berries were rubbed into the scalp to treat head lice (Compton 1993: 85). In the nineteenth century. Talley. Lowell John. 274). others that cutting hair on the first day of March ensures its health (Puckett 1981: 163). and Skomish (Gunther 1973: 14). References Bean. straighten it (Bean and Saubel 1972: 136). The Chinook used fermented urine for healthy. Oddly. Upper North Wakashan and Southern Tsimshian Ethnobotany: The Knowledge and Usage of Plants. Houseleek. Perhaps this explains in part the large number of superstitions surrounding hair. Bergen. flea-free hair (LaBarre 1951: 175). Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. or lose all his or her hair. Burdock. 1972. John G. Makah. 7 vols. 1984. Josselyn reported the use of Hellebore root (probably Veratrum viride) in New England for the treatment of head lice (Josselyn 1833: 262). various species of sage (Salvia spp. Hand and Jeannine E. Of these. Edited by Wayland D. onions steeped in rum (UCLA Folklore Archives 12_5391). “Folk-Foods of the Rio Grande Valley and of Northern Mexico. See also Baldness. 6: 202. The berries of Devil’s Club (Oplopanax horridus) were used as a hair tonic and to treat dandruff in young children (Willard 1992: 151). 203).” Journal of American Folklore 8 (1895): 41–71. and even.” Memoirs of the American Folklore Society 7 (1899).) have been used to strengthen the hair. dye it. F. “Animal and Plant Lore. dis- . if a bird acquires the combings. A German-American belief is that to cut the hair when the moon is increasing will ensure a healthy luxuriant head of hair (Starr 1891: 322). among the Cahuilla. Compton. and in Oregon. Durham. Bourke. These beliefs are reported from North American too (Brown 1952–1964. Brian Douglas. Among the Oweekeno. CA: Malki Museum Press. go mad. Banning. 6: 121). Some suggest that March is an unlucky time to cut hair (Brown 1952– 1964. Temalpakh (From the Earth): Cahuilla Indian Knowledge and Usage of Plants. Ph. which would ensure the hair grew long (Parsons 1926: 485). NC: Duke University Press. 1952–1964. and when the moon is waning for slower growth (Radford and Radford 1974: 177). Cannon. Brown. Frank C.182 . Hair has always been regarded as a symbolic part of a person. Yucca root has been recommended for dandruff (UCLA Folklore Archives 20_6282). the owner will die. and Katherine Siba Saubel. In Britain it has been believed that hair should be cut when the moon is waxing to ensure it grows quickly. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. Among Native Americans.

Valley of Mexico. TX: Southern Methodist University Press. Weston. Radford. Terry. Jarvis. Mary Thorne. and Sondra B. (1907–1986) Born in New Zealand and a student originally of German. University of British Columbia. Edited by Wayland D. Hall. He was president and a fellow of the American . Edited and revised by Christina Hole. 1960. Boston: G. London: Book Club Associates 1974. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1973. Among his many publications. Maryanne. Puckett.” Journal of American Folklore 68 (1955): 123–139.” Economic Botany 27 (1973): 257–310. 1981. 1941. Vickery. “Pioneer Mormon Remedies. Taylor MSS. Calgary. He gave the firstever undergraduate lectures in folklore at the university. McClintock. Parsons. “Aymara Biologicals and Other Medicines. Anna Casetta. Frederick. Robertson. 1980. Grandmother’s Cures: An A–Z of Herbal Remedies. “Hot and Cold in the Universe of San Francisco Tecospa. Freethy. Gunther. A.” Journal of American Folklore 64 (1951): 171–178. Wayland Debs Hand taught at the University of Minnesota before joining the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). W. LaBarre. 1991. 1995. Ron. M. Souter. Starr.. Norwich. D. NS: Cape Sable Historical Society. London: Fontana. Willard. Nancy Chapman. Quelch. 1993. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. Daniel. From Agar to Zenry. Hand. Erna.” Zeitschrift fu ¨ r Ethnologie 11 (1909): 273–276. Austin E. ALTA: Wild Rose College of Natural Healing. Folk Medicine. sertation. Rev.” Syesis 8 (1975): 29–51. Herbs for Daily Use. 1663. Weston.” In A Second Sampling of Superstitions and Popular Beliefs in Texas. Encyclopaedia of Superstitions. 1961. Walter. 1995. His work in collecting and archiving folk medical remedies led directly to the formation of the Folklore Archive at UCLA.” Journal of American Folklore 4 (1891): 321–326. Roy. 1985. Newbell Niles. a subject to which he devoted the rest of his life. Keith. Turner. An Account of Two Voyages to New England Made during the Years 1638. Marion. John. Thiederman. Wayland D. Saffron Walden: C. Here he developed his studies of folklore. Marlborough: Crowood Press.” Journal of American Folklore 39 (1926): 460–485. E. Josselyn. “Materia Medica of the Blackfeet. Bar- : 183 rington. ed. Palmer. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Hendricks. Taylor in Norfolk Records Office. Dallas. Hand. Vancouver. “The Ethnobotany of the Southern Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia. 1992. Manuscript notes of Mark R. Madsen. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Reprint 1833. London: Pan Books. one of the most famous is The Encyclopedia of American Popular Belief and Superstition. Norwich NRO MC 43/9. Prince. “Micmac Notes.Hand. K. Old Settlers’ Remedies. “Shuswap Indian Ethnobotany. London: Faber and Faber. Fife.” Western Folklore 16 (1957): 153–162. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Radford. C. Rhymes and Railroad Tracks. published in 1976. 3 vols. Gary. and Marcus A. Seattle: University of Washington Press. now a world-famous resource. MS4322. “Roosters. George D. Elsie Clews. Bell. and M. “Some Pennsylvania German Lore. He edited and annotated volumes 6 and 7 of the Frank C. Diary notes in Norfolk Record Office. Ethnobotany of Western Washington. Wayland D. Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains and Neighbouring Territories. Dennis. William.

the bark has also been used for sore throat (Beith 1995: 221).. Reference Cattermole-Tally. The young leaves (known as “bread and cheese” in many country areas of England) are eaten by country children in the spring. some remedies gain power by being associated with it. was thought to ensure a beautiful complexion (Souter 1995: 147). Crataegus spathulata was used by the Cherokee [Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 37]). The leaves were used as a poultice to bring boils to a head and to remove stubborn splinters (Souter 1995: 128). in much the same way raspberry leaves are widely used. A twentieth-century toothache remedy from Ireland is to chew hawthorn bark (Westropp 1911: 57–58). Hawthorn (Crataegus spp. pers. Because the hawthorn was revered. In British folk medicine there are records from Devon and the Isle of Man of its use as a heart tonic (Lafont 1984: 44.184 . but evidently there was at least scattered knowledge of its use long before then. A common wart cure involved rubbing The hawthorn tree has attracted numerous superstitions. Thompson et al. Vickery 1995: 170). including the idea that it is unlucky to bring its flowers into the house (Vickery 1995: 166). (Pat Jerrold) the wart with a slug or snail. Journal of American Folklore 102(404) (1989): 183–185. using berries and bark (e. In Britain.A. English may (after which the Mayflower was named) was taken to North America by English settlers.g. Meanwhile. Quayle 1973: 70) and from Scotland of its use in controlling blood pressure (Beith 1995: 221)—both uses familiar to modern-day herbalists.) Also known as “may” in many country areas. The “discovery” of hawthorn as a blood tonic is attributed to a nineteenth-century Irish physician (Chevallier 1996: 86). the numerous native species of hawthorn were already in use by Native Americans. Dew from the hawthorn tree. including the idea that it is unlucky to bring its flowers into the house. rubbing the face with dew from a hawthorn bush on the first day of May was believed to remove freckles and ensure a good complexion. Interestingly. this tree has attracted numerous superstitions.. com. and traditionally the afterbirth of a cow was hung in the thorn to prevent milk fever and ensure fertility of the cattle for the following year (W.g. Mistletoe growing specifically on hawthorn was regarded as a cure for epilepsy (Leather 1912: 79). Turner. Trunch. Frances. (For further Native American uses of hawthorns see Moerman 1998: 182–183. In East Anglia an infusion of the leaves has been used to ease labor pains (Newman and Wilson 1951). Other Native American uses for hawthorn include treatment of diarrhea.) . An infusion of the leaves was used to treat anxiety and to stimulate the appetite (Souter 1995: 134). Norfolk 1980.. gathered on the first day of May. Hawthorn Folklore Society and was awarded a knighthood in Finland. some of these were used to improve blood circulation (e. In the Highlands of Scotland. 1990: 258).. Hawthorn was often planted in the hedges around pastures. Obituary: Wayland Debs Hand (1907–1986). which was then impaled on a hawthorn twig.

Keith. Saffron Walden: C. Sylva. American Folk Medicine. 1995. W. NC: Herald. Westropp. “A Folklore Survey of County Clare. 1995. Edited by Wayland D. Nancy J. Roy. K. Clarence. Antonio. 1912. Thiederman. Newbell Niles. OR: Timber Press. See also Amulet. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Lafont. Vickery. and Annie Z. Chevallier. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Diarrhea. Terry Thompson. Glenwood. Toothache. 1990. Hamel. References Beith. or from vinegar and horseradish (Armoracia rusti- . York. In North American folk medicine recommendations include rubbing the ears until they are red and hot. Daniel. Thompson. Daniel E.” Folk-Lore 22 (1911): 49– 60. an example of transference (Cantero 1929: 306). Hereford and London: Jakeman and Carver. “Occult Healing Practices in French Canada. Lime water and milk has been suggested as a hay fever medicine. M. Newman. “Folk-Lore Survivals in the Southern ‘Lake Counties’ and in Essex: A Comparison and Contrast. Thomas. com. Quayle. Meyer. Herbal Folklore. rubbing the face with dew from a hawthorn bush on the first day of May was believed to remove freckles and ensure a good complexion (Puckett 1981: 383). and University Student Contributors. IL: Meyerbooks. Anne-Marie. Canadian Medical Association. Ella Mary. Moerman. 1985. hawthorn berries have been used in a mixture to treat rheumatism (Meyer 1985: 215). Laurence C. Hand. anyone touching them would acquire the ulcers. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Parler. Edinburgh: Polygon. and Sondra B. 20 (1929): 303–306.. Rheumatism.” Folk-Lore 62 (1951): 252–266. Another remedy was to inhale the fumes from Friar’s balsam and to drink sherry with hot milk and sugar (Prince 1991: 32). Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. Legends of a Lifetime: ManxFolklore. 1973. Boils. Native American Ethnobotany. Freckles. Thompson Ethnobotany: Knowledge and Usage of Plants by the Thompson Indians of British Columbia. 1962. Andrew. Boston: G. L. New Series. Anna Casetta. inhaling the fumes from coffee sprinkled on hot coals. Wilson. Dew. Mary Celestia. 1995. 1981. is a remedy of gypsy origin (Vickery 1995: 240). Part I. Warts. Simply wearing hawthorn around the neck as an amulet was an alternative recommended in Arkansas (Parler 1962. Turner. The Folk-Lore of Herefordshire Collected from Oral and Printed Sources. 15 vols. 3 vols. Inhaling the scent of mint. Chiltoskey. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. Leather. Mary. A French Canadian cure for stubborn ulcers was to hide the dressings under a hawthorn. London: Dorling Kindersley. 1984. 1977. Puckett. As in Britain. Victoria: Royal British Columbia Museum. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Portland. Douglas: Courier Herald. and Mary U. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. Sore throat. Transference. M. Paul B. Hall. 3: 854). by placing it under the pillow and wearing a sprig during the day. 2002). and E..Hay fever : 185 In general North American folk medicine.. 1975. George E.” Canadian Medical Association Journal. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Souter. Cantero. Hay fever One of the most interesting folk treatments for hay fever in Britain is the use of honey. Poultice. F. Mistletoe. 1998. Bideford: Badger Books. 1996. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Heart trouble. Honey produced locally (and therefore containing the pollen from the local flora) and eaten throughout the winter has been found very helpful by some sufferers from hay fever (pers.

American Folk Medicine. Alternatively. “Folk Remedies for Divers Allergies. Washington. Strawberry (Fragaria sp. and W. or from a pungent oil such as peppermint (cf. Percy. Vickery. Talley. Henrichs. and Mary U. Sylva. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. Lying on a pillow of hemlock boughs (Tsuga sp. Edited by Wayland D. London: Pan Books.) infused in boiling water can cure hay fever (Meyer 1985: 135–136). NC: Herald. Clarence.). 15 vols. Prince. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Chiltoskey. As in Britain. Medicinal Uses of Plants by Indian Tribes of Nevada. Biscuitroot (Lomatium dissectum) is one of the plants used by Native Americans to treat hay fever (Train. Doering. Train. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Thiederman. or inhaling the smell of freshly crushed milkweed (Asclepias sp. and a pillow stuffed with “life everlasting” (Gnaphalium obtusifolium) (Micheletti 1998: 185). Department of Agriculture. Glenwood.S. D. Austin: Texas Folklore Society. Grandmother’s Cures: An A–Z of Herbal Remedies. and Sondra B. Anthon S. Hay fever cana). Mary Celestia. Hand. Roy. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Anna Casetta. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Hamel. as has mint (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 427). British remedy above) or rosemary. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. Terry. Walking barefoot in the dew at the time of a new moon has also been suggested (Puckett 1981: 388). Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. Newbell Niles. Drinking sassafras tea in the spring was thought to help prevent hay fever (UCLA Folklore Archives 16_5394). Micheletti. 1966. A poetic hay fever remedy is to eat the color out of violets in the spring (Cannon 1984: 110). use of snuff made from yellow dock root. Enza (ed. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. North American Folk Healing: An A–Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. James R. Mullein.) are alternatives. Dock. 3 vols. Smoking dried life everlasting. 1998.). Hand and Jeannine E.. Chewing honeycomb is also recommended (Hendricks 1966: 46). Parler. K.186 . one can cut a willow branch the same length as the sufferer and put it in the loft. Hendricks.) and golden rod (Solidago sp. also known as rabbit tobacco. 1941. By the time it is dry. Henrichs. 1981. 1961. C. Frederick. 1995. Hall. 1991. London: Fontana. Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains and Neighbouring Territo- . George D. 1984. Dennis. Cannon. the hay fever will be better (Browne 1958: 70). Boston: G. See also Dew. Mice and Mustaches: A Sampling of Superstitions and Popular Beliefs in Texas. Other herbal treatments include inhalation of steamed camphor. smoking mullein leaves. IL: Meyerbooks. Jarvis. Inhaling salt and water has been suggested (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_6308). Mirrors. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. has been tried (Browne 1958: 70). or bathing in vinegar and warm water (Doering 1944: 141). Sassafras.” Journal of American Folklore 57 (1944): 140–141. 1962. Drinking an infusion of the weed thought to be the cause of the hay fever is another remedy (Parler 1962.) has also been used (Willard 1992: 112). 3: 708). References Browne. Puckett. 1958. It has been claimed that the leaves and flowers of ragweed (Ambrosia sp. Willard. local honey is recommended to “immunize” against hay fever (Jarvis 1961: 115–119). J. DC: U. Paul B. 1975. Honey. Ray B. 1985. and University Student Contributors. Meyer. Folklore Studies 9. Andrew Archer. and Archer 1941: 97–100). Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Edited by Wayland D. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Folk Medicine.

Water from a particular healing well was sometimes reckoned especially effective (Beith 1995: 142). worn as a bandage.) was also used as a headache cure in Scotland (Beith 1995: 250). Various species of willow were used as poultices or infusions. Could this have been borrowed from the Native American tradition? (see below). A modification of this idea was to wrap round an aching head part of a sheet that had wrapped a corpse (Wilde 1919: 82). com. Headache There are some very strange magicomedical folk cures for headache. pers. Calgary. a use that may have given the plant its country name of “headache flower” (Hatfield 1994: 40). a garden plant. Some of these are recognizably the same as British ones. in press). a belief that can be traced back to the writings of Pliny (Peacock 1896: 272).) (from which aspirin was developed) and meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) (Beith 1995: 123). viper’s bugloss (Echium spp.). 1992.. : 187 Head lice See Hair problems. Jack and Jill’s famous recipe of vinegar and brown paper has actually been in use in British folk medicine until very recent times. In Suffolk. the seeds of the wild poppy (Papaver rhoeas) were chewed for a hangover. Yarrow leaves (Achillea millefolium) were used in Norfolk for soothing headache (Bardswell 1911: 132) and in Ireland for provoking a nosebleed and thus relieving headache (Allen and Hatfield.. . Many more prosaic folk remedies for headache involve cold or hot compresses applied to the head. Rhubarb and cabbage leaves were used in Britain as cooling applications (Hatfield 1994: 39). this remedy was in use in Sussex as recently as the nineteenth century (Allen 1995: 169). as has a towel wrapped tightly round (UCLA Folklore Archive 25_6290). and the vinegar could have extracted some of the active ingredients of the pine (C. and mint were all used in Somerset (Tongue 1965: 40). 6: 208) or of the rattles from a rattlesnake (Wilson 1968: 63) have been widely reported from North America. In both Ireland and Scotland. The rope by which a man had been hanged was also thought to be a cure for headache (Black 1883: 100). Other headache remedies relied on such actively painkilling remedies as willow (Salix spp. The sloughed skin of a snake. also now known to contain salicylates. The wearing of a snakeskin (Brown 1952–1964. or the bark was chewed (Hatfield 1994: 40). 2001). dried ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) was ground into a snuff and sniffed up for headaches (Beith 1995: 221). a piece of the shroud of a man who had died prematurely was said to be good for headaches (Souter 1995: 165). In North American folk medicine there were many and miscellaneous folk cures for headache. the simplest being a cloth wrung out in cold water and applied to the forehead. brown paper used to be made from pine wood.Headache ries. the owner of the hair would suffer from headaches (Black 1883: 16). In the Scottish Highlands. In Britain. Wearing a jet necklace (Brown 1952–1964: 210) or cornbeads (Roberts 1927: 166) has also been suggested. ALTA: Wild Rose College of Natural Healing. Interestingly. In the west of Scotland there was a belief that if hair cuttings were used by a bird to build its nest.H. American cudweed (Anaphilis margaritacea) was smoked for headache (Jobson 1967: 59). was said to help headaches. Betony (Stachys officinalis). Violet (Viola spp. Putting a tight band of some description around the head has been recommended. One man in Cambridge made an income from selling snakeskins for this purpose (Black 1883: 156).

UCLA Folklore Archive 13_6289). 13). particularly for a migraine headache (UCLA Folklore Archive 10_6288). an infusion of yarrow (UCLA Folklore Archive 11_6289) or elderflower (Roberts 1927: 166). Other items carried as amulets to prevent headache include a nutmeg on a black thread (UCLA 4_6312) and a buckeye (Fentress 1934: 78).) in a clay pipe to arrest a developing headache (Meyer 1985: 138). the owner of the hair would suffer from headaches. for example. A pillow of pine needles has been used. A preparation of lady slipper (Cypripedium spp. was used by the Navajo for treating headache (Vestal 1952: 12. As in Britain. Perhaps as an extension of this idea. a headache cure was to bury secretly hair from the sufferer under a stone for seven days (UCLA Folklore Archives 22_6311). Headache Another cure was to wear around the neck a string with nine knots (Parler 1962. Coffee is found helpful in some headaches (UCLA Folklore Archive 3_5393) and is a component of many proprietary headache pills. or plantain leaves lightly salted and crushed (Curtin 1930: 190). In North America. Allowing the head to get wet in the first rain of May was thought to ensure a headache-free year ahead (UCLA Folklore Archives 18_6811). Salt placed on the head was recommended (Brown 1952–1964. Applying urine was also suggested (UCLA Folklore Archive 4_6312). Among numerous plant remedies used in North American folk medicine are catnip (Campbell 1953: 3). willow bark was chewed (Micheletti 1998: 190).) has been used (Clark 1970: 22). A simple remedy for a headache reported from Illinois was to watch a spider from the ceiling drop down to the floor (Hyatt 1965: 235). A remedy involving transference was to lean against a tree while someone hammered a nail into the opposite side of the tree (Anderson 1968: 198). Numerous other plants have also . The California poppy (Escholtzia californica) was used in Mendocino County as a wash for headache (Chesnut 1902: 351). Another species of pine. Meyer reports the smoking of dried sumach leaves (Rhus sp. 6: 210). cactus juice (Hendricks 1966: 47). The leaves of the buttercup (Ranunculus acris) were crushed and sniffed for headache by the Montagnais Indians (Vogel 1970: 297). Indian turnip (Argemone triphyllum). Peppermint oil was a popular headache remedy in the early twentieth century (Micheletti 1998: 190). Blowing smoke into the ear or inhaling the smoke from a burning hemp rope are other suggestions (UCLA Folklore Archive 1_5395. 3: 680). The brown-paper remedy finds an echo in the use by the Ojibwa of steam from the crushed needles of white pine (Pinus strobus) or from the leaves and bark of red pine (Pinus resinosa) for treating headache (Hoffman 1891: 198). The Native Americans bound sliced raw potato to the head (Micheletti 1998: 191). as in the west of Scotland. Pinon (Pinus edulis). Jack and Jill’s vinegar and brown paper was widely recommended (Brown 1952–1964: 209). The leaves of jimson weed or of mallow have been applied (Puckett 1981: 379. was used by the Pawnee as a dusting powder for headache (Micheletti 1998: 191). Yarrow was used by. Having a seventh child blow into the ear of the sufferer was another folk cure for headache (Anderson 1970: 36). A piece of raw potato bound to the head is another recommendation (Meyer 1985: 138). or alternatively a red ribbon (Hyatt 1965: 234). the Algonquin (Raymond 1945: 118) and the Iroquois (Herrick 1977: 469). cabbage leaves laid on the forehead (Puckett 1981: 390). UCLA Folklore Archive 1_6287).188 . there seems to have been a widespread belief that if a bird used hair cuttings for its nest. A relative of the poppy. It was therefore advisable to burn or bury hair cuttings. Cobwebs placed across the bridge of the nose were thought to be helpful for headache (as well as nosebleed) (UCLA Folklore Archive 7_6811).

J. Hyatt. “The Midewiwin or ‘Grand Medicine Society’ of the Ojibwa. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. V. Superstitions of Grayson County (Kentucky). and Gabrielle Hatfield.” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 19 (1953): 1–4. Mary. Frances Anne. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. Campbell.” Contributions from the U. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. Hamel.) (Moerman 1998: 218. Chesnut. and C. Paul B. ed. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. The Herb-Garden. 1934. Plantain. John. See also Amulet. thesis. Austin: Texas Folklore Society.A. W. Harry Middleton. George D. Texas Folk Medicine. DC: 1891. Interestingly. which has received much attention recently as a treatment for migraine. for fever—although in official medicine it was used for headaches and migraine too. “Pioneer Medicine in New Mexico. In our own time it has become well known as a migraine treatment (UCLA Folklore Archive 10_6288) and accepted by orthodox Western medicine after successful clinical trials (Johnson et al. Migraine.. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. On the whole its use in folk medicine seems to have been as a general painkiller. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. Hair problems. London: A. James William. California. John Q. “Plants Used by the Indians of Mendocino County. feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium). 1977. L. 2nd rev. Eliza E. Elder. Black.” Folk-Say (1930): 186–196. Joseph D. 1994. thesis.Headache : 189 been used by the Native Americans in headache treatment. Ph. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Western State Teachers College. Brown. 1965. Washington. Austin: Encino Press. Beith. Clark. Micheletti. OR: Timber Press. M. K. Sylva. 7 vols. 1985: 569–573). as it was in Suffolk. Urine. as its common name suggests. Enza (ed. . Black. 1966. Cabbage. and Mary U. 1967. Allan. William George. et al.. Nosebleed. seems in the past to have been used in folk medicine mainly for other ailments—especially. 1985. Frank C. Fentress. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. Catnip. Clarence. 1952–1964.S. Andrew. NC: Herald.). American Folk Medicine. References Allen. Marie. 1883.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. 1911. In Suffolk Borders. “Magical Transference of Disease in Texas Folk Medicine. Portland. Hendricks. Hatfield. Newbury: Countryside Books. S. Allen. 7. Albany. Anderson. Transference. London: Folklore Society. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. Glenwood. 1975. Curtin. David E. Snake. Anderson. 1995. Gabrielle. Yarrow. 1970. S. Edinburgh: Polygon. Bardswell. Pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea) was used by the Cherokee for headache (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 48). There is a reference to its use in “hemicrania” in John Pechey’s herbal of 1694 (Pechey 1694: 81). Hoffman. State University of New York. Pine. IL: Meyerbooks. London: Robert Hale. Iroquois Medical Botany. “Folk Remedies from South Georgia. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. 219). Mirrors. Mice and Mustaches: A Sampling of Superstitions and Popular Beliefs in Texas. Meyer. Durham. NC: Duke University Press.” Smithsonian Institution-Bureau of American Ethnology Annual Report No. M. North American Folk Healing: An A–Z Guide to Traditional Remedies.” Western Folklore 27 (1968): 191–199. in press. British Medical Journal 291 (1985): 569–573. E. National Herbarium 7 (1902): 295–408. 1995.. including fleabane (Erigeron spp. Johnson. Woodbridge: Boydell. Mallow.D. Chiltoskey. Herrick. Thornapple. England. Jobson.

Lady. Those who administered it were often family members or friends. Wilson. 1968.” Contributions de l’Institut Botanique de l’Universite ´ de Montre ´al 55 (1945): 113–134. in East Anglia. The Beaton clan in the Scottish Highlands. KY: Kentucky Folklore Society. handed down by word of mouth. such as Mrs. Virgil J. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Souter. Mary Celestia. London. and. Healer New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. Even then.” and in such cases written records do sometimes exist. Keith. often doubled as herbal practitioners as well as layers-out of the dead. and Wales the situation was somewhat different. 1998. Saffron Walden: C. Daniel E. London: Chatto and Windus. Vogel. In these cases the boundaries between folk and official medicine break down almost entirely. American Indian Medicine. Goody Shepherd was the wise woman of Upton. and Sondra B. sometimes an individual became locally. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.” Folk-Lore 7 (1896): 268–283. Edited by Katharine Briggs. Wesby. and University Student Contributors. Wilde. Roberts. 1981. “Notes Ethnobotaniques sur les Te ˆte-de-Boule de Manouan. 1919. 1970. Sr. both in Gloucestershire. certain trades were associated with healing. Somerset Folklore. Hall. Ancient Legends. Anna Casetta. we are often offered only tantalizing glimpses. was disabled and unfit for manual work. Thiederman. “Executed Criminals and Folk Medicine. 1962. Kentucky Folklore Series 4. K. but prospered as a local healer (Anderson 1791). Native American Ethnobotany. Edited by Wayland D. Raymond. Pechey. Portland. Healer British folk medicine has largely been community medicine. 15 vols. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. and the thirteenth-century Physicians of Myddvai in Wales are examples. The Complete Herbal of Physical Plants. However. Local midwives. the woman who taught Samuel Thomson .” Journal of American Folklore 40 (1927): 144–208. Moerman. Hilda. and widow Bernard was similarly regarded in Severn Stoke. 3 vols. Peacock. Gordon. Ireland. Doubtless within any given community there were individuals famous for their knowledge of herbs. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. John. 1998. London: Folklore Society. Folklore of the Mammoth Cave Region. who published pamphlets on her herbal cures in the mid-nineteenth century (Wesby 1855). W. until the twentieth century.190 . Boston: G. or even nationally. Vestal. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. County Folklore 8. Mystic Charms and Superstitions of Ireland. but of their practices we have no details (Lawson 1884: 103). famous for his or her “cures. In Scotland. Mabel. Examples of such local healers are Mrs. Tongue. who became famous and wealthy for her remedy for scrofula using brooklime ´ Clara’” 1978: (Veronica becccabunga) (“‘O 35). Puckett. thus the blacksmith was often regarded as a healer. “Louisiana Superstitions. 1995. He was born in 1703 into a poor family. In addition. Newbell Niles. Parler. Eileen Pearsons in Ireland. Bowling Green. Benton. In North American folk medicine the picture is more complex. Paul A. Hand. Daniel. In Aberdeenshire the life of Adam Donald of Bethelnie has been documented. Ruth L. and very few documented records exist except in the recent past. “The Ethnobotany of the Ramah Navaho. such as a name only. Mrs. Marcel. OR: Timber Press. 1965. 1694.” Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology 40(4) (1952): 1–94. So many different traditions have contributed to its folk medicine that generalizations are impossible. in that local families became famous as physicians.

a traditional preventative of angina was to wear brown paper coated with fat and brown sugar (Souter 1995: 167). Wearing a cork as an amulet was reputed to prevent heart attacks (Notes and Queries. Hawthorn was regarded as a heart tonic—for example. Coffey. NC: Duke University Press. E. Fox. Foxglove is probably one of the most famous plants of herbal medicine in the West. In Ireland. “Life of Adam Donald.Heart trouble : 191 (Fox 1924: 22). 1855. who were herbalists. or chest pain. In England an infusion of the flowers of wild pansy (Viola tricolor). A Few Words of Friendly Advice. Snake bite. As in Britain. 1998. all of which are sometimes symptoms of heart disease. “merry-curvye. Wesby. Fasting and drinking one’s own urine were apparently recommended too (Souter 1995: 167). Medicine man. Crellin. fortunately. Durham.. Dandelion leaves were recommended in Irish folk medicine for every illness. John K. Trying to Give Ease: Tommie Bass and the Story of Herbal Medicine. and Jane Philpott. 1924. after whom one species of Eryngium is named. New York: Facts On File. documentation of such people is largely lacking. Heart trouble Many of the symptoms of heart disease recognized in modern medicine were not related to the heart in folk medicine in the past. In Yorkshire.. bogbean was regarded as good for the heart (Beith 1995: 207).” Cork “‘O Holly Bough (Christmas 1978): 35. James. the medicine men among many Native American tribes. Nation in a Parish. References Anderson. The History and Folklore of North American Wildflowers. 1791). 1884. London. Lawson. within each tradition there were recognized hierarchies of healers: the curanderismo in Mexico. 1993. folk remedies specifically for heart conditions are probably underre- presented in the literature. was used (Wharton 1974: 185). England (Kanner 1939: 922). in Devon (Lafont 1984: 44)— and it is used in modern herbalism (Chevallier 1996: 86). .” She publicized its use for snake bite (Coffey 1993: 159). William. in folk medicine it had. Pearson. Another example is Mary Curby of Louisiana. prior to that. drawing on the Native American knowledge as well as their own. Sheffield: William Fox and Sons. a heart patient was given the last nine drops of tea from the teapot after guests had departed (Kahn 1913: 93). including a weak heart (Vickery 1995: 104). Family Botanic Guide. 384).” Bee 6 (December 21. As a result. These include rock samphire (Crithmum maritimum) and watercress (Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum) (Vickery 1995: 313. his practice and life have been very well documented (Crellin and Philpott 1998). See also Blacksmith. Padraig:’ The Big Mrs. Timothy. In Oxfordshire. 1849: 449). Dr. some of them being “hidden” under the categories of breathlessness. Norwich. Tommy Bass in the Appalachians is an example of this type of healer. a cup of oatmeal covered with a cloth was placed over the heart patient’s chest and bandaged in place (Logan 1972: 29). dropsy. a number of native plants have been used in treating heart disease. Especially in Irish folk medicine. or Every Man His Own Doctor. Doctress. In the Highlands of Scotland. Mistletoe was also used for heart trouble in the Scottish Highlands (Beith 1995: 227–228) and in Gloucestershire. also known as heart’s-ease. been used mainly in the treatment of dropsy (in some cases a symptom of heart disease) and as a salve. Uncatalogued pamphlet in Local Studies Library. Specialist. Midwife. Emily M. ´ Clara. and the so-called Indian root-doctors. Although Withering developed the use of the plant in treating heart disease. Mrs. Apart from individual experts.

An infusion of porcupine quills has been recommended in Quebec for heart disease (Roy 1955: 28). Wearing a nutmeg as an amulet above the heart was claimed to cure “fluttering” of the heart (Brown 1952–1964. Wearing copper (Cannon 1984: 111) or a piece of silver (UCLA Folklore Archive 2_7608) has been recommended for heart trouble. as was orange blossom tea (Kay 1972: 178). 6: 211). the rattles of a rattlesnake wrapped in silk (Hyatt 1965: 331). Other amulets worn for heart disease include a wasp nest in the breast pocket (Campbell 1953: 2). Tying a red tape around the chest was recommended in Canada for palpitations (Riddell 1934: 262). 6: 211). White clay was eaten for heart trouble in Illinois (Hyatt 1965: 331). boiled sweet lemon (Agastache sp. a remedy reminiscent of the Oxfordshire cure above. Spitting three times on a stone and throwing it over the shoulder was reputed to cure palpitations (Fogel 1915: 286). Wearing a gold watch near the heart was said to cause heart disease. A number of North American folk remedies for heart diseases involve ingesting the blood or the heart of an animal (UCLA Folklore Archives 6_5401). Heart trouble In North American folk medicine. Yellow clay poultices on the soles of the feet were a cure for palpitations from Illinois (Hyatt 1965: 331). In Louisiana. A recommendation from Texas was to kill a woodpecker and drink its blood (UCLA Folklore Archives 2_5404). clove water (from Syzygium aromaticum) was rubbed on (Vestal 1973: 168). eating plenty of honey was considered good for the heart (Roy 1955: 68). this strange remedy is fully vindicated by modern science: toad skin has been shown to contain cardiac glycosides called bufadienolides. In Mexico. There was a widespread belief in Europe and North America that roasted toads were good for heart trouble (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_5403). Eating garlic every day was recommended for keeping the heart healthy (UCLA Folklore Archives 8_5416). drinking buttermilk was recommended (Browne 1958: 72). General recommendations for avoiding or treating heart disease include always sleeping on the right side (Lathrop 1961: 15) and sleeping in a north-south orientation (Hyatt 1965: 331). or a heart-shaped bag containing hair from a child born after the death of his or her father (Marie-Ursule 1951: 174). which have a direct action on the heart (Allen 1995: 159). but wearing brass rings on the fingers could cure heart trouble (Brown 1952– 1968. ants were considered good for heart trouble (Roberts 1927: 169). Lukewarm tea rubbed into the chest was recommended for heart pains in Minnesota (Lathrop 1961: 10. a bag containing camphor (Puckett 1981: 395). Eating gold leaf and dried venison was claimed to help heart disease (UCLA Folklore Archives 7_5416). or red clover tea (Trifolium pratense) was drunk (UCLA Folklore Archives 11_6437). Perhaps surprisingly. Dill seeds were used in New Mexico (Curtin . note 12). In French Canada. while in Illinois for strengthening a weak heart a black silk string was tied around the left arm (Hyatt 1965: 331).192 . In Alabama. there seems to have been a widespread association of metals with heart disease. Eating a boiled roadrunner was also suggested (Hendricks 1966: 47). a buckeye (Puckett 1981: 395). From Alabama also comes the suggestion that smelling one’s own farts will cure a heart attack (Puckett 1981: 395). There are a very large number of plant remedies in North American folk medicine for treating the heart. A glass of water recently brought from the river drunk on five consecutive nights was said to cure heart sickness (Dodson 1954: 265). a remedy imported from Austria. In Mexico. blood from a deer was mixed with powdered antler and given for heart trouble (Smithers 1961: 24). For palpitations.) was recommended for pains in the heart (Woodhull 1930: 61).

Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. a large number of plants have been used to treat heart conditions. Simply wearing a bag of herbs around the neck has been suggested (Puckett 1981: 395). (For other plants used by the Native Americans in heart disease. Another plant also called heart’s ease. Durham.). 7 vols. Chewing ginseng was recommended to ward off heart trouble (Clark 1970: 23). cherry (Puckett 1981: 395). 1995. so a preparation of fern leaves. bugleweed (Lycopus sp. a person with heart disease should wear red clothes (Madsen. was used for heart disease in New England (Levine 1941: 488). Cherry. Brown. References Allen. .Heart trouble : 193 1930: 188). David E. 1995. A broth of heart-shaped leaves has been claimed to cure heart trouble (UCLA Folklore Archives 3_6437). known also as arbor-vitae (Tantaquidgeon 1972: 266).) See also Amulet. Ray B. was given (Brown 1952–1964. 1955: 130). Collection of North Carolina Folklore. “Animal and Plant Lore Collected from the Oral Tradition of English Speaking Folk. Anthon S. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. which has heart-shaped spots on its leaves. Marie. and lily-of-the-valley (which could refer to the European lily-of-the-valley. Portland. OR: Timber Press.” Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society 7 (1899). Sympathetic magic. Chewing the root of butterfly root (Asclepias tuberosa) was recommended in Arkansas (Parler 1962: 687). 1958. The preparation was composed of wild ginger root (Asarum canadense) (Vogel 1970: 391). they offered him their medicine for the heart palpitations from which he was suffering and were offended when he declined.) (Lathrop 1961: 16). Cayenne. as well as the pisissewa and Prunella mentioned above in general folk medicine (Moerman 1998: 801–802). Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. and of the Yoloxochitl plant (Loomis 1944: 95). Edited by Wayland D. Beith. Bogbean. Newbury: Countryside Books.. In Nahuatl lore. heart’s-ease or heal-all (Prunella vulgaris) (Bergen 1899: 110). Poultice. Edinburgh: Polygon. Cannon. or pipissewa (Chimaphila umbellata). see Moerman 1998: 801–802. and skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) (MacDonald 1959: 222). Ginseng. Among the Cherokee. When in 1837 a party of Canadian Indians visited Dr. Folklore Studies 9.) (Rayburn 1941: 250). Gold. A suggestion implying little faith in the medical profession is to take two-thirds of the prescribed medicine and bury it (Cannon 1984: 111). which in nature uncurl as they grow. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Campbell. Dandelion. Cayenne pepper in a glass of cold water has been recommended for a heart attack (Cannon 1984: 111). Mistletoe. or to a species of Maianthemum). Mary. Other plant remedies that may be examples of sympathetic magic include the use of smartweed (Polygonum persicaria) (Bergen 1899: 115). Frank C. Deerfield. in press. 6: 211).) was drunk in Virginia (Musick 1948: 6). NC: Duke University Press. Convallaria majalis. Allen. These include white cedar (Thuja sp. Bergen. wintergreen (Gaultheria sp. Toads and frogs. Fanny D. Hawthorn. A tea made from Lady’s slipper (Cypripedium sp. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. there was apparently a belief that heart trouble was caused by the lungs being wrapped around the heart. Folk Remedies from South Georgia. In Native American practice. Andrew. and Gabrielle Hatfield. Among numerous other plants used to treat heart conditions are costmary (Balsamita major) (Puckett 1981: 395). Dropsy. which has heart-shaped flowers. Foxglove. Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 19 (1953): 1–4. Browne. 1952–1964.

” Sul Ross State College Bulletin 41(3) (1961): 24. “Western Virginia Folklore. no. Levine. Souter. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Loomis. C. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. Roberts. Making the Cure: A Look at Irish Folk Medicine. Vestal. Hilda.” Medical Record 140 (1934): 262. Daniel E. 1972.” Publications of the Texas Folklore Society 26 (1954): 264–270. Anne-Marie.” Popular Science Monthly 83 (1913): 81–96. Harold D. Elizabeth. Carmen. Musick. Newbell Niles. 1995. Bulletin 134. Leo. Moerman. Edwin Miller. Joseph D. D. “Beliefs and Superstitions of the Pennsylvania Germans.” Americana Germanica 18 (1915). Roy.M. “Mistletoe. 36 de la Serie Anthropologique.” Pennsylvania Historical Commission Anthropological Papers. Max. London: Dorling Kindersley. “Indian Medicine in New Brunswick. Vol. Patrick. “Hot and Cold in the Universe of San Francisco Tecospa. Sloan and Pearce. Bideford: Badger Books. and Sondra B. “Vulgar Specifics and Therapeutic Superstitions. Edited by Wayland D. Hand and Jeannine E. 1981. Mice and Mustaches: A Sampling of Superstitions and Popular Beliefs in Texas. 1941.” Hoosier Folklore 7 (1948): 1–14. “Pioneer Remedies from Western Kansas. “The Curandero of Los Olmos. London: 1849. Kanner.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. Magic and Medicine. OR: Timber Press. 1966. Dodson. Talley. K. Riddell. 3 vols. Jr. Ottawa: Ministre de Nord Canadien et des Ressources Nationales. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. American Indian Medicine. Clark. Valley of Mex- . Austin: Texas Folklore Society. Lafont. “Louisiana Superstitions. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. Mary Celestia.” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 7 (1939): 875–936. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Kay. 2nd rev. Ruth. MacDonald. Logan. Notes and Queries. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas.” Folk-Say (1930): 186–196. Amy.” Western Folklore 20 (1961): 1–22. Hendricks. 1965. dissertation. 1998. Dublin: Talbot Press. “Nature’s Pharmacy and the Curanderos.” Les Archives de Folklore 5–6 (1951): 1–403.” New England Journal of Medicine 224 (1941): 487–492. 1995. Daniel. 1970. William Renwick. “Herb Workers in Scotland and Robeson Counties. Ph. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Chevallier. W. 1996. University of Arizona. “Civilisation traditionelle des Lavalois. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Kahn. Parler. Andrew. 1984. 15 vols.194 . Curtin. Otto Ernest. Paul K. 1984. Gladys. Smithers. New York: Duell. ed. Health and Illness in the Barrio: Women’s Point of View.” Journal of American Folklore 68 (1955): 123–139. 1972. Portland. 123. and University Student Contributors. Ozark Country. Ruth Ann. 3 (1972). Folklore from Adams County Illinois.” Canadian Medical Association Journal 80(3) (1959): 220–224. “Some Old Canadian Folk Medicine. Mirrors. Vickery. W. Anna Casetta. “Pioneer Medicine in New Mexico. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. Keith. Saffron Walden: C. Harry Middleton.” California Folklore Quarterly 3 (1944): 91–101. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. (1955): 61– 105.. Virgil J. L. Hall. Roy. Soeur. Thiederman. Lathrop. “Folk Medicine of the Delaware and Related Algonkian Indians. Puckett. Grant. Rayburn. Fogel. Margarita Artschwager. William. La Litte ´rature Orale en Gaspe ´sie. Native American Ethnobotany.” Journal of American Folklore 40 (1927): 144–208. Hand. Oxford: Oxford University Press. “Folk Medicine in New Hampshire. Madsen. Herbal Folklore.” North Carolina Folklore 21 (1973): 166–170. George D. S. Vogel. Tantaquidgeon. Heart trouble ico. “Some Mexican Lore Prior to 1670. Hyatt.D. 107–136. Boston: G. Marie-Ursule. 1962.

Encyclopaedia of Superstitions. ed. 1898. and M. Richard.Hemlock spruce Wharton. Woodhull.. The most widespread use of hemlock in British folk medicine has been as an external poultice applied to sores and ulcers (Hart 1898: 378). Portland. 215. : 195 pears to have been only slight. this plant has been used in British folk medicine. Radford. Cambridgeshire Customs and Folklore. London: Cadell and Davies. The water in which hemlock bark has been boiled has been used to . Hemlock (Conium maculatum) Despite its very poisonous nature. 96. in press). London: Routledge. Polwhele. London: Book Club Associates 1974. 5. Lying on fresh hemlock boughs has been found to help hay fever. A similar salve was used in Yorkshire by the Fairfax family. Edited and revised by Christina Hole. University of Leeds. 81. 1969. Vol. 1973. “Ranch Remedios.D. Enid.” Oenanthe crocata. Poultice. Radford. but in this instance it was applied to the arm on the opposite side from the sore eye (Radford and Radford 1974: 189). not the sore one! (Porter 1969: 43). A. Among the Klamma Native Americans it was rubbed on a woman’s body to make her attractive to men (Gunther 1973: 42). The Civil and Military History of Cornwall. Frost. and Walker. Porter. Heartburn See Indigestion. Seattle: University of Washington Press. OR: Timber Press. 224). The Folklore of South Warwickshire: A Field Collection with Comparative Annotations and Commentary. Ethnobotany of Western Washington. Gunther. Hemlock was introduced into North America. Erna. Bryers. 156. and even to cancers. 1806. Rheumatism. Henry Chichester. The pulverized bark has been used for chafed skin (Meyer 1985: 135. In Cornwall a man claimed to have cured himself of cancer by drinking hemlock juice (Polwhele 1806: 76). A Suffolk ointment for sore eyes was prepared from hemlock but was applied to the healthy eye. David E. E. Cancer.” Publications of the Texas Folklore Society 8 (1930): 9–73. Flora of the County Donegal. the twigs of hemlock pounded with lard have been used to treat chilblains. Rev. Essence of hemlock was an ingredient of cough medicines. This latter use may have been influenced by the eighteenth-century cancer “cure” promoted by the Viennese physician Storck. In North America. thesis. C. Ph. and Gabrielle Hatfield. particularly to “water-hemlock. Hart. so that it is not always possible to assign a record with certainty to the “true” hemlock. References Allen. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. 257). in press. The name “hemlock” has been applied to various other species of umbellifers too. but evidently folk medicine in some instances adopted the plant for this use. 1969. See also Abortion. Eye problems. Hemlock spruce. The name hemlock in North America generally refers to the unrelated hemlock spruce. The inner bark of the hemlock tree has been used to treat dysentery and as a constituent of a tonic (Meyer 1985: 62.) This tree is not native in Britain and is unknown there in folk medicine. Its use there in folk medicine ap- Hemlock spruce (Tsuga spp.. Dublin: Sealy. In Ireland the plant was also used for treating rheumatism (Allen and Hatfield. Hemlock bark has been used in urinary incontinence and in a mixture for rheumatism. Hemlock was a constituent of pills given to procure abortion (Porter 1969: 11).

Portland. Clarence. thesis. B. such as chamomile tea or peppermint (Mentha x piperita). 1970. In North America. drinking water while standing on one’s head. Newbell Niles. Dysentery. American Folk Medicine. Additional uses include burns (Smith 1929: 51). closing the mouth. Glenwood. 1975. A nineteenth-century “cure” is to spit on the forefinger of the right hand and make a cross on the front of the left shoe while saying the Lord’s prayer backward (Hawke 1973: 28). 1977. Boas. In Ireland gorse (Ulex europaeus) has been used to treat hiccups (Lucas 1960: 185). Vogel. Smith. Hall. See also Burns. and Thomas R. Coughs. Meyer.” National Museum of Canada Bulletin 56 (1929): 47–68. Virgil J. and counting to twenty backward is a Somerset suggestion (Tongue 1965: 40). Iroquois Medical Botany. and tuberculosis (Herrick 1977: 268). Franz. James William. 1981. Horace P. American Indian Medicine. Hemorrhoids Moerman. Harlan I. Chapped skin. Chilblains. The Folklore of Maine. drinking from the far side of a glass of water. 1985. Hiccups For a usually trivial ailment. IL: Meyerbooks. and pulling on the tongue (Micheletti References Beck. Herrick. and Sondra B. Thiederman. this has gathered a surprising amount of folk-lore. Hemlock. Daniel E. Hay fever. Philadelphia and New York: J. as well as dropsy (Lick and Brendle 1922: 281).D. Lippincott. Rheumatism. Dropsy. The gum of the tree has been used to treat eye inflammation (Boas 1932: 190). Lick. Hamel. Native American Ethnobotany. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press..” Journal of American Folklore 45 (1932): 177–260. Hand. and persuading someone to give the sufferer a fright. K. Paul B. 3 vols. “Current Beliefs of the Kwakiutl Indians. Sore feet. “Materia Medica of the Bella Coola and Neighboring Tribes of British Columbia. breathing into a paper bag.. Sylva. . In Native American medicine these uses and many others have been recorded (Moerman 1998: 570–573). Confusingly.” Proceedings and Addresses of the Pennsylvania German Society 33 (1922). Ph. David E. gynecological problems (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 38). Boston: G. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. they include swallowing sugar or vinegar. Hemlock is believed by some to be the plant used in the sixteenth century by Native Americans to cure the explorer Jacques Cartier’s men of scurvy (Vogel 1970: 316). and Mary U. Albany. State University of New York. 1998.196 . Hemlock tea has been used to treat measles (Puckett 1981: 413). The same infusion has been used to treat itches and sore feet (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_5418). Brendle. Chiltoskey. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. NC: Herald. Puckett. Various plants found to soothe digestive problems have been used. Hemorrhoids See Piles. Recommendations in British folklore include holding the breath. OR: Timber Press. 1957. Holding the nose. “Plant Names and Plant Lore among the Pennsylvania Germans. hemlock in Britain refers to the unrelated and highly poisonous plant Conium maculatum. Tuberculosis. Edited by Wayland D. snuffing up pepper to provoke sneezing. there is a wealth of hiccup cures. Scurvy. treat dandruff (Beck 1957: 78). Anna Casetta. In addition to those mentioned for Britain. Tonic.

as was ground-ivy tea (Glechoma hederacea) (Mullins 1973: 38). T. Edited by Katharine Briggs. See also Chamomile. 1960. Holding the breath has often been found to help. Treatment for hives included an infusion of herb Robert (Geranium robertianum). Herbal suggestions include cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum).” thought to be due to overeating. A. onions. 1985.) or of valerian (Valeriana spp. In Ireland. Somerset Folklore. 7 vols. Superstitions and Remedies. Use of the term extended further to different types of hives. NC: Duke University Press. tea made from catnip (Brown 1952–1964. Various teas were given to a baby to “bring out” the hives. Sipping sugared water. IL: Meyerbooks. 6: 213–215). where blood was sucked out from small slits made between the infant’s shoulders (Brown 1952–1964. 6: 213). “hivie. Water in which nine pieces of buckshot (Randolph 1947: 111) or a bor- References Brown. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. Kathleen. Hives This is a disease commonly mentioned in folk medicine but difficult to define in terms of modern medicine. Frank C. Glenwood. such as “bowel-hives” (a form of diarrhea) and “bannock-hive. Micheletti. mint.). Other infusions were used to treat the hives—for example. Clarence. Ruth L. The term hives is used in North American medicine. as is sucking a lump of sugar through a slice of lemon or tomato (Meyer 1985: 140).) (Parler 1962. 3: 250.Hives : 197 1998: 195). dill (Anethum graveolens).) was used to treat bowel hives in children (Vickery MSS). Tongue. or maple leaf (Acer sp.” meaning that a child was ill from almost any cause. chewing crushed ice. It was recommended to give a newborn baby a drop of its own blood to prevent it from dying of hives (Hatcher 1958: 152). 1965. Durham.) was recommended (Micheletti 1998: 195). 1998. . as it was believed this was desirable. 1952–1964. mullein. North American Folk Healing: An A–Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. Hawke. The word was even used as an adjective. Other treatments for hives had a magical element. 704). Meyer. mistletoe (Browne 1958: 20). Furze: A Survey and History of Its Uses in Ireland. fennel (Foeniculum vulgare). Drinking sips of water of varying number and with deep breaths between was a common recommendation (Brown 1952–1964. an infusion of juniper (Juniperus spp. Cornish Sayings. Lucas. ragwort (Senecio sp. as has giving the sufferer a shock (Brown 1952–1964. County Folklore 8. The Gaelic name for this plant means “plant for the hives” (Beith 1995: 223). London: Folklore Society. 6: 215– 217). and peppermint (Mentha x piperita) (Meyer 1985: 140). it refers to almost any condition in a child that involves skin eruptions thought to be caused by some internal disorder (Buchan 1994: 110). American Folk Medicine. where it seems to refer sometimes to an urticarial (nettle-like) rash (Buchan 1994: 111). drinking sips of water while keeping the ears blocked is another suggestion. and drinking cold soda water have all been tried. Among Native Americans. Chewing pine straws and eating damson jam have also been recorded (Brown 1952–1964. A more drastic treatment involved a form of cupping. Enza (ed. 1973. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Placing a hand on the pit of the stomach and applying pressure is another suggestion (Meyer 1985: 139). Bullnettle tea (Cnidoscolus stimulosus) was given for this purpose (Anderson 1970: 42). Redruth: Dyllanson Truran. 6: 52– 53). In Scotland. Dublin: Stationery Office. 6: 52–53).

See also Bee. 15 vols. This perhaps led to the idea still prevalent today that it is unlucky to cut down hollies (Vickery 1995: 181). Holly Children. Texas Folk Medicine. holly has been used for one purpose above all others— treating chilblains. but was used in the past to mark out boundaries—it was a crime to cut down such boundary hollies. Beith. “The Folk Healer Calling and Endowment. By beating the affected toes and fingers until they bled. Vickery MSS. Holly (Ilex aquifolium) Christian symbolism now overlies what was probably a much older tradition of reverence for this tree. 7 vols. Neal. Hand. 1962. 1952–1964. A tea made from the hind legs of crickets (Parler 1962. Buchan. including Wiltshire (Whitlock 1976: 167) and Essex (Hatfield 1994: 27). Gladys.” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 2 (1936): 33–48. Ray B. Folklore Studies 9. Parler. Mary Celestia. Wearing a nutmeg (Farr 1939: 113) or a bag containing nine silverfish (Browne 1958: 20) was claimed to cure hives. it was thought that the local circulation could be improved and the chilblains helped to heal.” Journal of History of Medicine 26 (1971): 263–275. J. Wayland D. Caul. and University Student Contributors. it was suggested that a baby be exposed to the sunshine on three successive mornings (Brewster 1939: 36). “Superstitions in Middle Tennessee. To prevent hives occurring. “Tennessee Folk Beliefs Concerning . 1958.” Southern Folklore Quarterly 3 (1939): 33–43. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Frank C. manuscript material. “Herbs of the Southern Highlands and Their Medicinal Uses. Roy Vickery. Austin: Encino Press. References Anderson. NC: Duke University Press. John. New York: Columbia University Press. Brown. Farr. Cricket. T. 3: 706) were other recommendations. Paul G. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Onion. Folk Tradition and Folk Medicine in Scotland: The Writings of David Rorie. The holly not only symbolizes survival. That the use of holly was not merely symbolic is shown by the fact that in some areas. in press). Randolph.” Journal of American Folklore 52 (1939): 112–116. “A Collection of Middle Tennessee Superstitions. This practice has been recorded from Norfolk and Oxfordshire (Allen and Hatfield.198 . 1994. with its tough evergreen leaves and its very slow rate of growth. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. 3: 702) or from the stings of nine honeybees (UCLA Folklore Archive 19_5890) was given to a child with hives. Mary. Edinburgh: Polygon. Passing a baby backward through a horse collar (UCLA Folklore Archive 5_5685) or allowing a stud horse to breathe on the child (Parler 1962. 1947. 1970. as could a man who had never seen the baby’s father (Hand 1971: 265) or a man born with a caul (Parler 1962. Hatcher. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. rowed silver dollar (Frazier 1936: 34) had been soaked was suggested. In British folk medicine. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Mullein. Edinburgh: Canongate Academic. Mistletoe. an ointment made up of holly berries and lard was used to treat chilblains.” Southern Folklore Quarterly 19 (1958): 150–155. Vance. The breath of various humans was considered curative. David. 1995. Brewster. ed. 3: 706). Mildred. Browne.” Kentucky Folklore Record 19 (1973): 26–41. A seventh child could cure hives by blowing into a child’s mouth (UCLA Folklore Archive 9_5415). Catnip. Durham. Mullins. Frazier. “Folk Cures and Preventives from Southern Indiana. Ozark Superstitions.

in much the same way that ash trees have been more generally used. the root of English holly (Ilex aquifolium) is used in treating coughs. Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 12. Chilblains. just as in England. and kidney complaints (Chandler. for example. 62). the process involved drying and grinding the leaves. holly leaf tea was regarded as a tonic (Clark 1970: 10). Often there is no precise information about which species was used in folk medicine. . holly leaves were used to treat burns (Allen and Hatfield. There is also an isolated record from Limpsfield. 6: 114). and there is a record from Hampshire of a treatment for whooping cough by drinking milk out of a cup made from wood from a variegated holly (Notes and Queries 1851: 227). to scratch cramped muscles (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 38) provides an interesting echo of the British folk uses for holly as a counter-irritant. Some of these folk uses of holly are recognizable from Native American practice. Evidently. and Hooper 1979: 57). Holly leaf tea has been used to treat measles (Brown 1952–1964. among the Micmac. Burns. and boiling the powder in beer (Kalm 1747–1751: 185). 6: 234). A mixture of honey and holly ashes was used to treat thrush (Brown 1952–1964. a tea made of yaupon (holly) was used in the South to treat ulcers (Woodhull 1930: 66). The belief is reported from Scotland that at Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) if a boy is beaten with holly he will live a year for every drop of blood spilt (Banks 1937–1941. 2: 42). has provided an emetic. An infusion of the leaves was used as a rheumatism treatment in Devon (Lafont 1984: 47). Ireland.Holly : 199 In British folk medicine. There is a record from New England of the use of powder of dried “French” holly (variegated garden holly) for treating worms in children (Fosbroke 1835: 165). Tonic. Surrey. Ilex vomitoria. American holly. has been reported from Ohio (Puckett 1981: 396). In North America. by beating with holly twigs—for example. and presumably one of the indigenous species was used by Swedish colonists for the treatment of stitches and pleuritic pains. used by several Native American tribes to provoke vomiting and induce hallucinations (see. Freeman. with one suggestion that “he-holly” is good for boys. During the Civil War. of the holly tree’s being used in a cure for hernia in children. Rheumatism. Walking through a split trunk of holly as a cure for hernias. The use of leaves of Ilex opaca. In Waterford. a stiff neck was treated similarly (Allen and Hatfield. in press). influenza has been treated with a tea made from holly and holly leaf tea has been used to treat measles. in press). in Somerset (Tongue 1965). for example. Ireland. consumption. holly has been used to treat chilblains. In Meath. See also Ash. and the plant is also used for treating fevers. Influenza has been treated with a tea made from holly (Wilson 1968: 323). Whooping cough. English holly was introduced in North America and arises occasionally in folk medicine. (North Wind Picture Archive) Rheumatism and arthritis were sometimes treated in a similar way. “she-holly” for girls (Brown 1952–1964. Ilex opaca is used by the Catawaba to treat measles (Speck 1944: 41). as its specific name suggests. 6: 65).

Local honey has been recommended for pollen allergies in Oklahoma (UCLA Folklore Archive . Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. and Sondra B. Gabrielle. Lafont. 1994.200 . Paul B.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. Anna Casetta. London: 1937–1941. alone or mixed with sugar. Hand cream was once made from honey and lard (EFS 241). Frank C. Here is one folk remedy that will not go away. Chandler. “Ranch Remedios. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Other folk uses include its use (often mixed with lemon juice or vinegar) to soothe a sore throat (EFS 155 Sf). Speck. in press. at least for some sufferers. Mixed with butter and sulphur it has been used to treat burns (Anderson 1970: 11). Mrs. Gordon. honey can accelerate the healing of obstinate sores and help in the treatment of burns (RootBernstein 2000: 31–43). Brown. OR: Timber Press. Edited by Wayland D. Hamel. NC: Herald. Herbal Folklore. Banks. R. and Gabrielle Hatfield. Somerset Folklore. M. Modern clinical studies pioneered in Argentina and in Mississippi are demonstrating the use of honey and sugar in aiding the clean healing of surgical wounds (Root-Bernstein 2000: 36). showing that.. Sylva. Woodbridge: Boydell. Hooper. Frank.” Journal of American Folklore 57 (1944): 37–50. Vickery. Hatfield. and Shirley N.” Southern Folklore Quarterly 32 (1968): 320–327. Hall. Notes and Queries. Travels in North America (1747–1751). Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. P. honey has been used in the treatment of wounds. Chiltoskey. 1984. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Roy. MacLeod. David E. It was used. Frost. “On the Effects of Male Fern Buds. Lois Freeman. honey was used in many of the same ways. Barre: Imprint Society. Frank G. in time it may well be adopted and adapted into mainstream medicine. Thiederman. British Calendar Customs: Scotland. The Folklore of Wiltshire. Kalm. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Recent scientific studies have largely vindicated its use. “Catawba Herbals and Curative Practices. Joseph D. Ruth L.. Boston: G. Red clover honey has been recommended for a sore throat (Smith 1930: 76). Briggs.” Publications of the Texas Folklore Society 8 (1930): 9–73. Puckett. 1995. Honey is an important ingredient of many salves and cosmetic products. “Herbal Remedies of the Maritime Indians. 7 vols. 1975. London: Folklore Society. was used to treat infected wounds and bites in Suffolk (EFS 155 Sf). 1937. London: Batsford. series 1. 4 (1851): 227. in Cases of Worms. K. 1976.” Boston Medical and Surgical Journal 13(11) (1835): 165– 168. Newbell Niles. NC: Duke University Press. M. Hand. Clark. Wilson. Benson. or honey mixed with meal. Pure honey. Edited by A. “Local Plants in Folk Remedies Honey As far back as records go and on both sides of the Atlantic. for example. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. and Mary U. 1972. 1952–1964. K. Portland. Ed. P. Tongue. Oatmeal gruel mixed with honey was used for treating coughs in the Highlands of Scotland (Beith 1995: 231). Honey made by local bees and eaten throughout the winter seems to confer protection against hay fever. John. Fosbroke.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1 (1979): 49–68. References Allen. New York: WilsonErickson. Durham. In North American folk medicine. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Honey in the Mammoth Cave Region. Reprint. 3 vols. Whitlock. by the ancient Egyptians and by the Aztec. Bideford: Badger Books. 1965. Anne-Marie. 3 vols. 1981. Woodhull. Ralph.

the well-known exponent of cider vinegar. mixed with other herbs taken internally for bronchitis. Root-Bernstein. “Northwestern Oklahoma Folk Cures. Glenwood. 53. Clarence. Marion. oatmeal and almondpaste it formed a remedy for chapped hands (Robertson 1960: 6. NS: Cape Sable Historical Society. it has also been widely cultivated in Britain since the sixteenth century. Manuscript notes from the 1960s. lapuloides) is in fact a native is a matter of disagreement (Crellin and Philpott 1990: 248). Maggots. 1970. as a chest poultice on the lungs and throat for chest colds (Meyer 1985: 46. in press). C. as a fomentation on its own or mixed with lobelia or thornapple for constipation. 50. Old Settlers’ Remedies. 67). and as a component of cough mixtures References Anderson. and Miche `le Root- . gives numerous folk uses of honey in his books (e. In North America the plant has a surprisingly high profile in folk medicine. Wounds. Hops (Humulus lupulus) The pollen of this plant has been identified from prehistoric sites in Britain. However. and Pearce. Chapped skin. making it likely that it is native. 1941. New York: Duell. A Treasury of Nebraska Pioneer Folklore. Bee. 1985. Barrington. Jarvis. Texas Folk Medicine. Jarvis 1961: 95–119). 217). it has been used for rheumatism (UCLA Folklore Archive 2_6466). Edinburgh: Polygon. John. Welsch. the plant has been widely used in general North American folk medicine as a sedative. when it replaced ground-ivy (Glechoma hederacea) as a flavoring for beer. as a hot fomentation applied externally for pleurisy. Austin: Encino Press. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Bernstein. especially in Ireland (Allen and Hatfield. and rheumatism (Meyer 1985: 38. Rogers L. Sloan. Robertson. given that the plant is not native there. Ozark Country.g. 1960. Robert. In Native American medicine. 2000. Smith. Whether the so-called American hop (Humulus lupulus var. 51. Other products of the bee are also used in folk medicine. and hop pillows are sold commercially.. 10). Mud. Burns. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands.Hops : 201 3_5256). Honey has even been used to treat bee stings (Rayburn 1941: 60). Insect bites and stings. burns. and Other Medical Marvels: The Science Behind Folk Remedies and Old Wives’ Tales. See also Asthma. Folk medical supplies of the plant may therefore have come mostly from the cultivated plant. Meyer. in University College London. Folk Medicine. In England a poultice of bread and hops was used as a dressing for obstinate sores and ulcers (Quelch 1941: 99). rosewater. 1961. Rayburn. D. English Folklore Survey. there have been many cosmetic uses of honey. American Folk Medicine. In addition. London: Pan Books. IL: Meyerbooks. 1966. Early settlers infused honey with vine tendrils and rosemary tops to form a wash to thicken hair. Sore throat. Coughs. Walter R. There are records of its use in folk medicine as a sedative. hog’s lard. Beith. Mary. Rheumatism.” Publications of the Texas Folklore Society 8 (1930): 74–85. In addition. while with egg-yolk. it has been used as an external poultice for inflamed bowels. Mixed with vinegar. Either way. Honey. Jarvis. EFS. both whole bees and honey are widely used in healing preparations. in preparations to treat ailments as diverse as bee-stings and bronchitis. It is thought to help insomnia. Hay fever. London: Pan Books. Honey with sulphur has been taken for asthma (Welsch 1966: 360). Otto Ernest. 1995. Meyer gives numerous folk medical uses of honey.

A Reference Guide to Medicinal Plants: Herbal Medicine Past and Present. Sylva. “Pioneer Remedies from Western Kansas. applied in heated bags to the feet and wrists for a fever. 180. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. 139). Wild hops have been made into a brew to feed to babies (Lathrop 1961: 5). Thornapple. Hop tea has been drunk for bladder inflammation (Browne 1958: 33). 1958. References Allen. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. It has been used in the treatment of erysipelas. Sleeplessness.. Tonic. in a mixture inhaled for sore throat or tonsillitis. Amy. David E. and heated in a pillow for headache and neuralgia (Meyer 1985: 109. given as a tea for headache. 258). Hamel. 2nd rev. Carr. 80. In this way it was used to treat earache and toothache among the Delaware (Tantaquidgeon 1972: 31) and pneumonia among the Shinnecock (Carr and Westey 1945: 120). Breast problems. Paul B. Erysipelas. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. Edited by Wayland D. 198). and the hop shoots themselves have been used as a chest poultice for colds (Pope 1965: 43). a warm application of the herb is a common method of preparation. Crellin. Hyatt. Folk faith in hops extends to the use of a hop-filled pillow under the bed to treat rheumatism (Cannon 1984: 121). Chiltoskey. Hops have even figured in a treatment for epilepsy. Colds. Asthma. Childbirth. Lathrop. as a mouthwash for thrush. As in general folk medicine. Melvin R. Headache. Jaundice. Fevers. Gilmore. 251. Folklore Studies 9. and Mary U. or a bag of hops carried as an amulet to prevent motion sickness (Thomas 1920: 121). A recommendation for asthma has been to sleep on a pillow filled with hops (Puckett 1981: 312). Flannels dipped in a hot infusion of hops have been used to poultice mumps (UCLA Folklore Archives 17_6410). Ray B.. Talley. Durham. 252. 174.” Journal of American Folklore 58 (1945): 113–123.” Western Folklore 20 (1961): 1–22. A decoction of the fruit has been used to treat intestinal pain and fever among the Dakota (Gilmore 1913: 32). 1975. John C. as a fomentation for the after pains of childbirth. and Carlos Westey. 1965. Cannon.202 . 1984. Coughs. 128. Toothache. and Jane Philpott. 137. Earache. 210. (For other Native American uses of hops see Moerman 1998: 269–270. Hand and Jeannine E.. as an infusion drunk for indigestion. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. As a syrup with sugar it has been given for jaundice. Epilepsy. “Surviving Folktales and Herbal Lore among the Shinnecock Indians. . Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. Hops fried in lard have been applied to caked breasts (Browne 1958: 42). NC: Herald. Browne. Harry Middleton. Rheumatism. Lloyd G. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. Hops (Meyer 1985: 71. suggesting that they may have been learned from there rather than imported from European usage. NC: Duke University Press. Lobelia. Portland. and as a constituent of a general tonic (Meyer 1985: 152. Poultice. as an infusion for period pain. by the Mohegan (Tantaquidgeon 1972: 130) and the Cherokee (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 39). in press. Some of these uses can be traced in the records of Native American medicine. and Gabrielle Hatfield. “Some Native Nebraska Plants with Their Uses by the Dakota. a regimen involving visiting a hop vine for seven consecutive mornings and biting the end of a shoot (Hyatt 1965: 248). Indigestion. ed. 1990. An infusion of the blossom has been widely used as a sedative—for example.. Folklore from Adams County Illinois.” Collections of the Nebraska State Historical Society 17 (1913): 358–370. Anthon S. OR: Timber Press.) See also Amulet. 238.

Bleeding. IL: Meyerbooks. 1985. Horehound candy has been used for stomach ache and heartburn (Meyer 1985: 235). to treat jaundice (Campa 1950: 341). and coughs (Meyer 1985: 80). and to aid weight loss (Meyer 1985: 265). as a diuretic (Bean and Saubel 1972: 88). colds (Cannon 1984: 99). Thiederman. as a diuretic (Browne 1958: 111). and. including whooping cough (Brown 1952– 1964: 353). Daniel E. 168). scanty or painful menstruation (Randolph 1947: 194). Princeton. 1981. 6: 114). the plant has been used to treat worms in children (Browne 1958: 30). sore throat (Elmore 1944: 73). Tantaquidgeon. Both diarrhea (Black 1935: 19) and constipation (UCLA Folklore Archives 11_6391) have been treated using horehound. The plant was also made into beer. and for treating rheumatism (Allen and Hatfield. it has been used to treat boils (Bocek 1984: 16) breast complaints (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 39) and has been given before and after childbirth (Vestal 1952: 41). 1920. 3 vols. K. “female weakness” (Meyer 1985: 124). as have kidney and liver complaints (Meyer 1985: 157. Mary Thorne. Breast problems. 1941. Horehound candy could still be bought in chemist shops in the late twentieth century. It has been used to treat bronchitis (Meyer 1985: 51). colds (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 39). Puckett. Perhaps as an extension of this use. 1998. In either tea or candy form. Kentucky Superstitions. There were a few more minor uses for it in folk medicine: mixed with rue it was used in East Anglia as a contraceptive. Hand. combined with raspberry. Edited by Wayland D. In Native American practice the plant has had similar uses: for coughs. croup (Rogers 1941: 18). Glenwood. its primary use has been for the treatment of respiratory complaints. : 203 Horehound (Marrubium vulgare) This common hedgerow plant has had a reputation in both official and folk medicine in Britain for treating coughs and colds. asthma (Puckett 1981: 311). Herbs for Daily Use. Clarence. Portland. In addition it has been used to treat sore throat (Smith 1929: 76). Horehound tea has been used as a tonic. “Superstitions and Beliefs of Fleming Country. In addition.Horehound Meyer. which was considered a good tonic. As a tea the plant has been used for colic (Wilson 1968: 71). Its uses in Ireland include headache. Childbirth. catarrh (Meyer 1985: 59). Moerman. Native American Ethnobotany. It was introduced to North America. . Boston: G. Colds. Boils. no. Pope. Newbell Niles. Genevieve. A slave in Carolina in the eighteenth century was awarded his freedom for revealing a cure for rattlesnake bite consisting of horehound and plantain (Scho ¨ pf 1788). as a heart tonic. Thomas. and Sondra B. As in Britain. Hall. as Marrubia. as in Britain (Brown 1952–1964. and Lucy Blayney Thomas. the juice has been recommended for poisons generally (Brown 1952–1964: 251). American Folk Medicine.” Pennsylvania Historical Commission Anthropological Papers. earache. 3 (1972). “Folk Medicine of the Delaware and Related Algonkian Indians. Its use in Alabama to stop profuse bleeding and to soothe toothache has been reported (Browne 1958: 108). Daniel Lindsay. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. NJ: Princeton University Press.” Kentucky Folklore Record 11 (1965): 41–51. Anna Casetta. others seem to be unique to North America. London: Faber and Faber. and although some of its uses there in folk medicine are similar. Colic. Quelch. it has been used. and in Cumbria it was used to treat nosebleeds. In the Mexican tradition. and for stomach ache (Vestal 1952: 41). See also Asthma. Gladys. in press). OR: Timber Press.

J. Houseleek (Sempervivum tectorum) This is a plant very widely used in British folk medicine and known by a variety of local names. Scho ¨ pf. 7 vols. Travels in the Confederation (1783–1784). NM: School of American Research. Boston: G. It has been used within living memory in East Anglia. Paul A. Lincoln: University of Nebraska. Jaundice. New York: Columbia University Press. Browne. Anna Casetta. it must have been an early introduction from Central Europe. England. Anthon S. Whooping cough. Constipation. In Devon one of its uses . and Sondra B. Campa. 1911. Houseleek Rogers. University of Nebraska Studies in Language. Tonic. A. CA: Malki Museum Press. 1929. NC: Herald. Chiltoskey. E. Norman: Oklahoma Folk-Lore Society. Early Folk Medical Practices in Tennessee. Contraception. 1958. Arthur L. which means that it is dependent for its spread on vegetative reproduction alone. Coughs. “Ethnobotany of Costanoan Indians. Ozark Superstitions. Brown. Hall. TN: Rogers. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Johann David. deafness. Sore throat. “The Ethnobotany of the Ramah Navaho. Glenwood. Newbell Niles. Rheumatism. Wilson. and fevers (Beith 1995: 224). Temalpakh (From the Earth): Cahuilla Indian Knowledge and Usage of Plants. Francis H. Talley. 1944. Edited by Wayland D. Headache. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Black. Murfreesboro. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Snake bite. 3 vols. 1984. and Mary U. Vance. Durham. Botanically it is a sterile hybrid. References Bean.204 . NC: Duke University Press. Cannon. Translated by A. Harrington. Pauline Monette. Folklore of the Mammoth Cave Region. the fact that it is now so common and widespread in Britain on walls and roofs probably is a direct result of its importance in folk medicine. Santa Fe. Kentucky Folklore Series 4. 1975. Morrison. 1968. Croup. Sylva. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. 1985. Edited by B. Walter R. American Folk Medicine. for treating eczema (Hatfield 1994: 50). Bowling Green. is of Anglo-Saxon origin and translates as “house plant. Banning. Hand and Jeannine E. Randolph. 1788. Ray B. Lowell John. Literature and Criticism 15. Folklore Studies 9. Botkin. 1941. One such name. IL: Meyerbooks. Earache. Hamel. 1981..” Economic Botany 38(2) (1984): 240–255. 1952–1964. 1935. Nebraska Folk Cures. Clarence. KY: Kentucky Folklore Society. and Katharine Siva Saubel. Country people had many more prosaic uses for it: it has been used for treating corns and warts. California: Based on Collections by John P. In the Highlands of Scotland it was used for treating earache.. Reprint Philadelphia: Campbell. Puckett. Thiederman. shingles. Diarrhea. Paul B. Vestal. Nosebleed. Sr. Animals and Plants in Oklahoma Folk Cures: Folk-Say—A Regional Miscellany.” Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology 40(4) (1952): 1–94. Frank C. sengreen. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. G. Bocek. 1947. Smith. Gordon. Meyer. 1972. The Romans claimed that it would protect a house from lightning and dedicated the plant to Jupiter (an association reflected in the name “thunder plant”). Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. and the juice has been dropped into sore eyes and into ears for earache.” Western Folklore 9 (1950): 338–347. Ethnobotany of the Navajo. Hand. K. Barbara R. Mexican tradition. Edited by Wayland D. Worms. Toothache. Elmore. “Some Herbs and Plants of Early California.” Though not a native of Britain. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History.

Beith. Crellin. The name “houseleek” has also been applied in North America to species of stonecrop. Aloe vera. and swellings (UCLA Folklore Archive 9_6259). Toads and frogs. Folklore Studies 9. had houseleek poultices applied to them (Porter 1974: 47). 1990. 1952–1964. 1995. Mary. Warts. species of Sempervivum have been used in treatment of earache. Edinburgh: Polygon. Chilblains. Glenwood. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. cancerous growths. A Reference Guide to Medicinal Plants. Ringworm. John H. Sedum (Crellin and Philpott 1990: 256). Earache. NC: Duke University Press. Durham. Eczema. and Jane Philpott. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Lafont. Hatfield. bruises. Epilepsy. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. “Some Country Remedies and Their Uses. 1994. uses in folk medicine. Brown. after the application of a toad. Portland. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Bideford: Badger Books. Poultice. It seems that the role of houseleek in treating burns in domestic medicine (Meyer 1985: 54) has largely been replaced in recent times by the use of aloe (Crellin and Philpott 1990: 46). though not widespread. . sore eyes were treated with its juice (Hatfield 1994: 37. Barbour 1897: 388). 1974. In North American folk medicine. Frank C. London: Batsford. it is not clear which plant is being used.. Deafness. and ear problems. Fevers. houseleek is often grown on roofs and is claimed to protect the house from lightning. In both England and Ireland. Asthma. In some of the folk records. Houseleek was used in an ointment to treat ringworm. It was used for “risings” (Browne 1958: 92) and References Allen. 1984. 327). the juice was mixed with cream and applied (UCLA Folklore Archive 24_5615). Moerman. Gabrielle. American Folk Medicine. For improving the complexion. Durham. Barbour. while it is claimed that the leaves of the houseleek “make the best salve known for wounds” (Meyer 1985: 273). NC: Duke University Press. Native American Ethnobotany. eye. Shingles. There is a nineteenth-century report of its use for clearing blocked ears (Meyer 1985: 103). Herbal Folklore. OR: Timber Press. The Folklore of East Anglia. It has been widely used to treat skin. John K. Daniel E. In Cambridgeshire. Eye problems. corns. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. The plant has succulent rosettes of leaves and has been used as a poultice to treat abscesses (Hatfield 1994: 21). which has also been used in treating skin complaints. Portland. See also Abscesses. Meyer. while there are also reports of its use in the treatment of asthma and epilepsy (Allen and Hatfield. Clarence. and salivary gland swelling (Moerman 1998: 526). 1998. David E. 1985. IL: Meyerbooks.” Folk-Lore 8 (1897): 386–390. in press). Anne-Marie. In Native American practice. was the treatment of chilblains (Lafont 1984: 48). 7 vols. Browne. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. in press. Ray B. OR: Timber Press. and Gabrielle Hatfield. and the fresh split leaf was applied to warts (Brown 1952–1964. the plant has had similar. Porter. 1958. (Sarah Boait) for cuts. Woodbridge: Boydell. 6: 269. Enid.Houseleek : 205 In Britain.. Cuts.

Among the Cherokee. in press). Canadian clearweed (Pilea pumila) was used by the Cherokee to curb excessive hunger in children (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 52. The latter is a component of a number of modern proprietary slimming aids. folk medicine has been more concerned with the suppression of appetite when food was scarce and work had to be done and journeys undertaken on an empty stomach. is used similarly (Romero 1954: 66). Sassafras albidum was used to help fight obesity both among the Native Americans (Perry 1975: 44) and in general folk medicine (Meyer 1985: 264). an African cactus is being developed as a slimming aid (Henderson 2001). County Meath. In Native American traditional herbal medicine. Chewing tree leaves has been reported . The use of this plant in the Celtic tradition can be traced back at least to the first century A. In the past. When chewed.) was thought to protect against hunger if simply carried as an amulet (Beith 1995: 207). a number of plants were eaten to quell the sense of hunger. While working on the seashore. Hunger Hunger One of the ironies of modern civilization is the present quest for agents that will reduce appetite and so help in slimming.206 . like the tuberous vetch of Scotland. An infusion of Oenothera biennis is taken by the Cherokee for reducing weight (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 33). Among its other magico-medical properties. water in which chickweed had been boiled was recommended (Beith 1995: 211).. An infusion of cleavers (Galium aparine) or of fennel seed (Foeniculum vulgare) was claimed to reduce the sense of hunger (Meyer 1985: 262. The inner bark of slippery elm was used much like chewing gum (Micheletti 1998: 307). 264). while among the Mahuna an infusion of witch grass. the butterwort plant (Pinguicula sp. a large number of plants have been used to remove the sensation of hun- ger. was used as a cold infusion by the Navajo and Ramah to reduce appetite (Vestal 1952: 45). the buds of the ash tree were used as an aid to slimming (Allen and Hatfield. Saturejo douglasii was used by the Pomo to help weight loss (Gifford 1967: 15). the root of a tuberous vetch (Lathyrus linifolius) was chewed to satisfy a sense of hunger (Pennant 1774: 310). as used also in the Scottish Highlands. There is an anomalous tradition in parts of Ireland that walking on a certain type of grass makes one extremely tired. Vickery 1995: 199– 200). As an actual slimming aid in the Highlands. The powdered root of Mirabilis multiflora is mixed with flour and made into bread to decrease appetite among the Zuni (Camazine and Bye 1980: 377). Panicum capillare. a remedy echoing the English one above.D. among them elm leaves (Hatfield MS). the roots taste like licorice (Beith 1995: 247–249). Scottish highlanders chewed the seaweed known as dulse (Rhodymenia palmata) (Beith 1995: 240) to ward off hunger. The Devil’s Club (Oplopanax horridum) has been used during fasts to relieve hunger and assist in visions (Willard 1992: 151). The root of Balsamorrhiza sagittata was chewed and sucked for hunger among the Thompson tribe (Steedman 1928: 493). 53). Plantago patagonica. it tastes of licorice. In British folk medicine. an infusion of the root of Agrimonia gryposepala was given to children to quell hunger (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 22). A tea made from the leaves of the ash tree was drunk to reduce weight. in communities where food is abundant. and sea-wrack (Fucus vesiculosus). Other plants used in European-American folk medicine include chickweed. woolly plantain. It is known as “hungry grass. In Scotland. Some such agents are currently under investigation by pharmaceutical companies—for example. Ireland 2001. In Gloucestershire.” and this tradition still survives (pers. com.

“Ethnographic Notes on the Southwestern Pomo. 1998. Sylva. Micheletti. Enza (ed. 1995. Beith. W. “A Study of the Medical Ethnobotany of the Zuni Indians of New Mexico. NC: Herald. E. Myra Jean. Camazine. 1975. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. and Gabrielle Hatfield. . Calgary. A Tour in Scotland and Voyage to the Hebrides. Gifford. Elm. Roy. Chickweed. Mark. Henderson. University of Tennessee. Bye.. Clarence. and Mary U. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. North American Folk Healing: An A–Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. 2001.Hunger : 207 as a way of removing hunger (UCLA Folklore Archive 1_5725). 1985.). Vickery. Knoxville. Hamel. April 14. Chester: John Monk. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Celtic tradition. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. IL: Meyerbooks. 1975. Thomas. American Folk Medicine. 1995.” Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology 40(4): (1952): 1–94. Glenwood. in press. Paul B. Meyer. New York: Vantage Press.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2 (1980): 365–388. Ash. Portland. Terry Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains and Neighbouring Territories. ALTA: Wild Rose College of Natural Healing. Pennant. David E. Edinburgh: Polygon. Chiltoskey. Perry. See also Amulet. “The Ethnobotany of the Thompson Indians of British Columbia. Sassafras. Scott. The Botanical Lore of the California Indians. Oxford: Oxford University Press. V.” Anthropological Records 25 (1967): 10–15. John Bruno. 1774. Paul A.” (London) Times. References Allen. M. 1954. E. OR: Timber Press.S. Steedman.” Smithsonian Institution-Bureau of American Ethnology Annual Report 45 (1928): 441– 552. Willard. Romero. and Robert A. thesis. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. “Cactus Pricks Obesity Problem. “The Ethnobotany of the Ramah Navaho. Vestal.. 1992. Food Uses of “Wild” Plants by Cherokee Indians. Mary.

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dulse soup prepared from the seaweed Rhodymenia palmata was used as a treatment for indigestion (Beith 1995: 240). recorded from both Canada and the United States (see. chamomile was used to treat indigestion. 6: 223). salt and water. Dill (Anethum graveolens) has been used to treat indigestion especially in infants (Lafont 1984: 34). A preparation known as salep was also used in the Scottish Highlands for soothing indigestion. the gizzard of the wild pigeon is used (McAtee 1955: 172). In the Scottish Highlands. a use made famous in Beatrix Potter’s “Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies.I : Indigestion There are numerous herbal infusions recommended in British folk medicine for treating indigestion. and rue (Ruta graveolens) (Hatfield 1994: 54). using green thread. A mixture of sodium bicarbonate and peppermint has been recommended (Prince 1991: 33). prepared by pricking fresh sloes (berries of blackthorn. Houseleek (Sempervivum tectorum) has been used similarly. In the Scottish Highlands. dried and powdered. and the inner bark of barberry (Berberis vulgaris) was used there too (Beith 1995: 204). Bathing in hot water was an alternative (Brown 1952–1964. and lemon juice and water. has been used to treat indigestion (Meyer 1985: 238). and in particular peppermint (Mentha piperita).” Field gentian (Gentiana campestris) was a well known “bitter. The Papago are reported to eat the red earth taken from under a fire with salt added as an indiges- . Other simple household recommendations are sodium bicarbonate solution.). She eyed the patient from head to foot and measured him on three successive mornings before sunrise. sloe gin. Coarse sand is another suggestion. for example. Among the most commonly used are infusions of various mints (Mentha spp. One of the simplest treatments in North American folk medicine for indigestion is to drink hot water (Meyer 1985: 237).. Chicken gizzard. a tea prepared from the bark of white poplar (Populus alba) has been used (Tongue 1965: 40). In Somerset. In Northern Ireland in the nineteenth century there was a woman who specialized in curing indigestion. The main ingredient of this is the twayblade (Listera ovata) (Beith 1995: 232). Bradley 1964: 28). Throughout Britain. the patient then ate three dandelion leaves in the name of the Blessed Trinity on three successive mornings (M’Lintock 1899: 224). apples were regarded as a cure for indigestion (Beith 1995: 203). In Bedfordshire. In a variation on this remedy. Prunus spinosa) with a silver pin and steeping them in gin (EFS 195Bd) was a pleasant remedy for indigestion. The root of dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) has been similarly used (Taylor MSS).” considered to stimulate digestive juices and counter indigestion.

golden seal. and bark of prickly ash root and mayapple root (Podophyllum peltatum) (Meyer 1985: 237–240). or a tea made from white oak bark (Quercus alba) (Randolph 1947: 97). was found to help indigestion (Rogers 1941: 16). carrying a castor bean has been recommended as an amulet (Brown 1952–1964. or an infusion of yarrow blossom in water (Browne 1958: 73. Francis W. See also Alder. Ray B. and Archer 1941: 117). Collection of North Carolina Folklore. 1958. Henrichs. 577). K. peeled and eaten. Indigestion tion cure (Vogel 1970: 202).) or maplewood (Acer sp. or poke root (Phytolacca americana) (Redfield 1937: 18). Amulet. Several species of hickory have been used in Native American tribes to invigorate the stomach. turn over a rock. White oak bark has been used for indigestion by the Cherokee (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 46). The Mendocino have used the leaves and flowers of yarrow for stomachache (Chesnut 1902: 391). NC: Duke University Press. Some other simple recommendations for indigestion are to bend over. Hops. The inner bark of the slippery elm. presumably their use was developed by settlers. Chesnut. Pine resin from Pinus monophylla has been used by the Paiute for indigestion (Train. parched corn or pine rosin (Brown 1952–1964: 221. Performing a somersault is another suggestion (UCLA Folklore Archives record number 11_5414). A remedy with an Irish origin reported from Nova Scotia is to pass a child with indigestion backward around a table leg seven times (Creighton 1968: 221). Inhaling underarm smell is claimed to be good for indigestion (Brown 1952–1964. Dandelion roots have been used as in Britain.” North Carolina Folklore 12(2) (1964): 27–28. Eating raw parsley (Petroselinum crispum) (Lick and Brendle 1922: 182) or the root of Indian turnip (Arisaema triphyllum) (Wilson 1968: 323) are further suggestions for indigestion. Alder (Alnus rubra) has been used by the Mendocino for stomachache (Chesnut 1902: 332). and walk straight forward without looking back (Musick 1964: 46). Yarrow. Soda. Houseleek.). Chamomile. References Beith. Mary. Dandelion. Durham. hops. Among herbal recommendations are gentian (as in Britain). Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. samphire (Salicornia maritima). alder. Ash. Carya alba has been used in this way by the Cherokee (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 38). Both slippery elm and calamus have been very widely used by Native American tribes (Moerman 1998: 46–48. Calamus root (Acorus calamus) has been given for indigestion (Clark 1970: 23). Popular Beliefs and Practice from Alabama. 1995. chamomile (as in Britain). Browne. others are chewing parched coffee. Some of the herbs mentioned above have been used in Native American practice for indigestion. 74). Edinburgh: Polygon. 6: 223). Golden seal (Hydrastis canadensis) has been used for dyspepsia by the Cherokee (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 36). Bradley. Brown. Cigar smoke inhaled is claimed to help indigestion (UCLA Folklore Archives record number 8_5494). Golden seal. “Plants Used by the Indians of Mendocino County. To prevent indigestion. 7 vols. 1952–1964. Frank C. The other herbs mentioned above do not appear to have been used for treating indigestion in Native American practice. 222). Folklore Studies 9. as has a tea made from the ashes of hickory wood (Carya sp. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. lovage (Levisticum officinale).” Contri- .210 . Elm. Hop has been used for intestinal pain by the Dakota (Gilmore 1919: 77) and chamomile by the Mahuna for unsettled stomachs (Romero 1954: 7). “Sandlappers and Clay Eaters. V. 6: 221). California.

“Superstitions and Folk Beliefs.S. Redfield. Gilmore. Joseph D. and Mary U. Wilson. a poultice of dock root was applied to bee or nettle stings (Beith 1995: 214). Brendle. County Folklore 8. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. was another recommendation (Taylor MSS). IL: Meyerbooks. Letitia. Early Folk Medical Practice in Tennessee. Washington. In North American folk medicine.” Proceedings and Addresses of the Pennsylvania German Society 33 (1922). Hamel. Helen. DC: U. dock. M. “Uses of Plants by the Indians of the Missouri River Region. elder. R. Adelbert. The Botanical Lore of the : 211 California Indians. 1968. include plantain. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. In the Scottish Highlands. Medicinal Uses of Plants by Indian Tribes of Nevada. 1941. urine. Hatfield. Bideford: Badger Books. London: Fontana. Native American Ethnobotany. soda. 1985. Musick.. Raw onion juice was widely used (Hatfield 1994: appendix). which could otherwise cause swelling (Prince 1991: 117). no. 1970. Clark. Vogel. Toronto: Ryerson Press. Randolph. Ruth Anne (ed. Gordon. sometimes mixed with milk or cream. National Herbarium 7 (1902): 295–408.S. Sylva. Train. such as am- . Grandmother’s Cures. G.” Gentleman’s Magazine 286 (January–June 1899): 221–228. Herbal Folklore. Lick. John Bruno. and Thomas R. 1984. An A-Z of Herbal Remedies. Glenwood.” West Virginia Folklore 14 (1964): 38–52. “Plant Names and Plant Lore among the Pennsylvania Germans. 33 (1919). Ozark Superstitions. Manuscript notes at University College London.” Midwest Folklore 5 (1955): 169–183. L. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.” Southern Folklore Quarterly 32 (1968): 320–327. Taylor MSS. The juice of houseleek. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions in Nova Scotia. James R. Paul B. M’Lintock.” Smithsonian Institution-Bureau of American Ethnology Annual Report. Romero. McAtee. “Odds and Ends of North American Folklore on Birds. W. Vance. “Local Plants in Folk Remedies in the Mammoth Cave Region. W. Briggs. Manuscript notes of Mark R. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. 1960s. Tongue.). OR: Timber Press. Daniel E. Virgil J. Chiltoskey. Scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) was used in Devon (Vickery 1995: 336). Somerset Folklore. Taylor in the Norfolk Records Office. Portland. Woodbridge: Boydell. New York: Vantage Press. the washday “blue bag. in the form of the crushed leaves. Murfreesboro. Gabrielle. EFS. Henrichs. and dandelion (Vickery 1995: 105). Betony (Stachys officinalis) was made into an ointment with unsalted lard to treat bites and stings (Thompson 1925: 160). Norwich MS4322. TN: Mid-South. 1941. American Indian Medicine. English Folklore Survey.. Bluenose Magic. 1994. London: Folklore Society. NC: Herald. Percy. Spit. New York: Columbia University Press. Meyer. David E. American Folk Medicine. Edited by K. Lafont. Melvin R. 1991. Rogers. chickweed.Insect bites and stings butions from the U. insect bites and stings have attracted a whole host of household and botanical remedies in British folk medicine. 1975.” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 3 (1937): 11–40. An onion was found to be particularly valuable for stings inside the mouth. Moerman. Plant remedies applied fresh. and W. and wellchewed tobacco have all been used within living memory. “Superstitions. 1954.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. Anne-Marie. E. Prince. Insect bites and stings As a common minor emergency. L. Dennis.” vinegar. “Some Superstitions of the Ulster Peasant. remedies for bites and stings also include a number of domestic remedies. 1947. Department of Agriculture. Creighton. 1998. Clarence. 1965. Andrew Archer.

Insect bites and stings monia. Many plant remedies were used in Native American practice. 6: 293). and well-chewed tobacco have all been used. Melvin R. The crushed leaves of sassafras were used similarly. Sylva. Cabbage leaves have been recommended in Arkansas (Parler 1962: 912). References Beith. Poultice. Elder.) (Hewitt 1906: 184). Plantain leaves have been used. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Hamel. 33 (1919). Gilmore. A remedy from Kansas for a spider bite is to split open a live chicken and put it on the wound (Koch 1980: 103). Cabbage. Durham. and damp tea leaves for wasp stings. Tobacco. The powdered root of black cohosh was used to treat insect bites and stings (Micheletti 1998: 97). 1975. Mary. and Kennedy 1980: 131). as well as sliced potato. and sassafras by the Koasati (Taylor 1940: 24).212 .” Smithsonian Institution-Bureau of American Ethnology Annual Report. Peach. Snuff has been suggested. and honey was recommended for bee stings and mosquito and spider bites. Brown. toad oil smeared on the body was claimed to immunize against insect bites. castor oil. Woodbridge: Boydell. Soda. Paul B. olive oil. Spit. Spit. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. 1994. As in Britain. Olive oil. Dock. “Uses of Plants by the Indians of the Missouri River Region. especially for spider stings. 7 vols. (National Library of Medicine) Echinacea was used by the Dakota for bites and stings (Gilmore 1919: 131). Sassafras. Bouchard. See also Black cohosh. and rubbing alcohol. Gabrielle. both garlic and onion have been used. urine. A remedy from a Pawnee Indian was to use the juice of the wild locust shrub (? Robinia sp. Toads and frogs. as well as Plantago lanceolata and Plantago major. and Mary U. Urine. especially for hornet or yellow jacket bites (Meyer 1985: 38). Hatfield. 1952–1964. vinegar. dough. Frank C. Houseleek. In Georgia. From the same area. lemon juice. no. . For a centipede bite. Lobelia. Various species of plantain have been used in Native American practice to treat insect bites and stings. the washday “blue bag. NC: Duke University Press. lemon juice. (Killion and Waller 1972: 104). NC: Herald. Echinacea.” vinegar. Onion. a poultice made from ground peach seeds. a suggestion is to rub it with brandy in which centipedes have been soaked (Brown 1952– 1964. 1995. Chickweed. sweet oil. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands.. The Cherokee used Plantago aristata (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 50). There is a suggestion in Illinois that an insect bite will not swell if the body of the insect is rubbed on the wound (Hyatt 1965: 204). Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. ammonia. Insect bites and stings have attracted a whole host of household and botanical remedies in both British and North American folk medicine. Vinegar. Chamomile. and kerosene have all been used. as has the juice of tobacco (Meyer 1985: 39). Plant remedies include preparations of lobelia or of chamomile flowers. Chiltoskey. soda. Honey. Edinburgh: Polygon. Dandelion. Plantain. The chewed leaves of Rosa acicularis were used for bee stings by the Okanagan-Colville (Turner. bicarbonate of soda. Garlic.

Parler. London: Fontana. this woody evergreen climber has been extensively used in British folk medicine. “A good wine needs no bush. Norwich. including ringworm. 1998. ed. R. Across the Plains and over the Divide. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1995. Prince.” Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society 3(4) (1925): 159–172. from Norfolk. Vickery. : 213 Insomnia See Sleeplessness. MA: Botanical Museum of Harvard University. it is stipulated that an ivy leaf growing on an ash tree is a cure for corns (Hatfield 1994: 53). Turner. Waller. Dennis. Sometimes the leaves were soaked in vinegar (Hatfield 1994: 52).). Manuscript notes of Mark R. Glenwood. W. Killion. In folk medicine. Harry Middleton. Plants Used as Curatives by Certain Southeastern Tribes. William E. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. and for “nerves” in Gloucestershire (Gibbs 1898: 57). Taylor MSS. North American Folk Healing: An A–Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. 1906. and Charles Y. A bush of ivy was used as a sign outside British taverns. Enza (ed. Lawrence. In Ireland it has been recorded that a cap made from ivy leaves was used as treatment for eczema. 1940. Folklore from Kansas: Beliefs and Customs. In the distant past it had religious and magical connotations. honeysuckle. Nancy J. Randall H. Meyer. Ethnobotany of the OkanaganColville Indians of British Columbia and Washington. Bouchard. and Dorothy I. 128). The juice of the leaves has been snuffed up the nose to cure a cold (Radford and Radford 1974). 7 [1853]. Linda Averill. Cambridge. A Treasury of Georgia Folklore. Micheletti. Hyatt. hence the saying. American Folk Medicine. 1962. D. series 1. An infusion of ivy leaves has been used throughout Britain to treat sore eyes (Jobson 1967: 59). and University Student Contributors. Ronald G. In one record. 15 vols. MS4322. for mumps in Devon (Lafont 1984: 49). Koch. and eczema.. a wreath of three plants twisted together— ivy. Victoria: British Columbia Provincial Museum. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. Kennedy. From Devon there is a record of using a wash of ivy leaf infusion on the throat as a cure for stutters . Bacchus’s wreath was composed of ivy leaves. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. Taylor. Atlanta: Cherokee. 1980. T. 1965. boils. UK. Taylor in the Norfolk Record Office. Clarence. Grandmother’s Cures: An A–Z of Herbal Remedies. “English Gypsy FolkMedicine. 2nd rev.. 1991. Roy. Ivy (Hedera helix) Common throughout Britain. New York: Broadway. ivy has been used particularly extensively in the treatment of corns. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. and rowan—was placed over the lintel of a cow byre to protect the cattle from evil of all sorts (Darwin 1996: 72). 1985. 1980. The juice of ivy leaves was used in Ireland to treat wounds (Logan 1972: 69). The berries have been used for aches and pains in Ireland (Barbour 1897: 386–390). a remedy recorded from both Scotland and Ireland (Allen and Hatfield in press). and ancient writers maintained that the plant could prevent intoxication. It has been used for a variety of other skin complaints. IL: Meyerbooks. In other instances the leaves were simply worn inside socks. Crushed in oil.” In Scottish lore. 1972. KS: Regent Press.Ivy Hewitt. ivy leaves formed a treatment for burns . Mary Celestia. a remedy that perhaps reflects the reverence in which the ash tree is held in folk medicine worldwide. Thompson. while in Shropshire drinking from a cup made from ivy wood was considered a cure for whooping cough (Notes and Queries.

John H. Edited Katharine Briggs. Arthur. Colds.. Ivy (Prince 1991: 103). . 1965. 1941. 1994. London: John Murray.). Roderick (ed. Darwin. p. Jobson. Eczema. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. Allan. 3_1904). 1974. and an infusion of the leaves has been given for croup (UCLA Folklore Archive 11_5355). Radford. It is possible that some of the records above may belong to one of these. No Hedera species is native to North America. Making the Cure: A Look at Irish Folk Medicine. David E. Notes and Queries. 1967. Encyclopaedia of Superstitions. ivy does not figure significantly in North American folk medicine. Crushed leaves rubbed onto the forehead or the juice snuffed up the nose has been used for treating headache (UCLA Folklore Records 4_1904.” as it is also applied to the unrelated ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) and to poison ivy (Rhus radicans). There are records of its use for kidney trouble (Peattie 1943: 113). E. In Suffolk Borders. Patrick. in press. Jerry S. Not surprisingly. 1972. Eye problems. County Folklore 8. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. Ruth L. Prince. Hives. References Allen. The Scots Herbal: The Plant Lore of Scotland. J. An infusion of ivy leaves has been given to children suffering from hives (Rogers 1941: 38). Anne-Marie. Poultice. Warts. series 1. Dennis. Whooping cough. Rogers. 1984. Somerset Folklore. 1996. “Some Country Remedies and Their Uses. Lafont. London: Robert Hale. Edited by Christina Hole. Hatfield. A. Headache. although Hedera helix has become naturalized and ivies are grown horticulturally. A Cotswold Village. and Gabrielle Hatfield. Croup. Warts have been treated with ivy leaves steeped in vinegar (Tongue 1965: 43). Tongue. Gibbs. vol. TN: Mid-South. See also Ash. Early Folk Medical Practices in Tennessee. Wounds. Herbal Folklore. and M. Parr. E.214 . There is some confusion arising from the name “ivy. London: Folklore Society. Logan. vii. G. 1853. New York: Vanguard Press. 1898. Ringworm.. OR: Timber Press. Burns.” Folk-Lore 8 (1897): 386–390. London. London: Fontana. Murfreesboro. Peattie. Woodbridge: Boydell. Bideford: Badger Books. Dublin: Talbot Press. Barbour. Tess. Grandmother’s Cures: An A–Z of Herbal Remedies. “Folk Cures of Middle Tennessee. London: Book Club Associates. Gabrielle. Edinburgh: Mercat Press. Radford. 128. 1991. 1943. Boils. A poultice of ivy leaves has been used to treat boils (Parr 1962: 9). Portland.” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 28 (1962): 8–12. The Great Smokies and the Blue Ridge.

J: Jaundice In British folk medicine there are some unusual remedies for jaundice. as were the flowers of gorse (Ulex europaeus) (Vickery 1995: 158). In West Sussex. Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) is known in Cornwall as the “jaundice tree” and has been widely used in England and Ireland for treating jaundice. There are a number of herbal remedies as well. In Scotland. Alternatively. and cowslip in England.) was used for treating jaundice (Beith 1995: 207). A bizarre superstition from Staffordshire is that if a bladder is filled with the patient’s urine and placed near the fire. There is a record from Wales of the leaves of the . as was cooked mouse (Black 1883: 159). Primrose (Primula vulgaris) has been used in Ireland. means “yellow sickness plant” (Vickery 1995: 42). urine was mixed with milk and drunk for jaundice (Logan 1972: 47). An issue of the North British Mail for 1883 records a jaundice remedy from the island of Tiree involving boiling nine stones in water taken from the crests of nine waves. for treating jaundice. The patient’s shirt was then dipped in this water and put on while still wet. Bogbean’s name in Shetland. dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) has been used. there was a belief that jaundice could be cured by giving the patient a violent fright (Beith 1995: 103). as it dries out. Bogbean combined with raspberry and wild mint (Mentha spp. A Yorkshire version of this remedy suggests baking a rye cake with the patient’s urine and then burning it slowly. and roasted and powdered earthworms have been used in Ireland (Radford and Radford 1961: 155. In Ireland. Also in Scotland. as it burns. the illness will abate (Gutch 1901: 191). Sweetened urine was another remedy for jaundice used in the Highlands of Scotland (Beith 1995: 188). gulsa girse. 218). Infantile jaundice was treated in the Isle of Wight with a preparation of the greater celandine (Chelidonium majus) (Bromfield 1856: 26).. Broom (Cytisus scoparius) has also been used for treating jaundice (Vickery 1995: 51). the patient will recover (Black 1883: 56). A decoction of the common slater (woodlouse) in beer was also used in Scotland to treat jaundice (Beith 1995: 159). Particularly in Ireland. Live head lice ingested were a jaundice treatment in Westmoreland. the water could come from nine springs where cresses grow (North British Mail. In the seventeenth century. snails were recommended for jaundice (Antrobus 1929: 78). March 20. Ale made from nettle roots was used in Scotland for treating jaundice (Gregor 1884: 377). a live spider rolled up in its own web and swallowed as a pill is a cure for jaundice (Black 1883: 60). sheep’s dung in water was reputedly used to treat jaundice (Black 1883: 157). 1883). A decoction of the bark was used (Vickery 1995: 25).

sometimes ingested (Meyer 1985: 152). as used in Britain. A remedy strikingly similar to the one reported from Yorkshire suggests baking a cornmeal cake with the patient’s urine. and cinquefoil (Potentilla canadensis) (Meyer 1985: 150– 152). and barberry.) being used to treat jaundice (EFS record number 221). hops. chickweed and salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius) have been used in jaundice treatment (Newman 1945: 354). Sowbugs (the equivalent of the English woodlouse. Other herbal infusions used include St. Jaundice “savage tree” (?Juniperus sp. Various forms of lice figure in a number of them. as has goosemanure tea (Hyatt 1965: 329). greater celandine. amber (Curtin 1907: 465). including jaundice (Wildes 1943: 313). boneset. 1930: 5). Eating shellfish is a recommendation of Japanese origin (UCLA Folklore Archives. larger but equally miscellaneous. a custom apparently of Russian origin (Crosby 1927: 307). placing it between two pillows. burning it. The inner bark of the elm (Ulmus spp. In East Anglia.) have been used (Lick and Brendle 1922: 35). Less unpleasant suggestions were pearls dissolved in vinegar (De Lys 1948: 285) and a mixture of horn scrapings and honey (Allen 1963: 86). Hard-boiled eggs were placed under the armpits overnight (Hyatt 1965: 329) or strung on a necklace overnight. new cider. red beets worn round the neck (Wine 1957: 151). for a jaundiced baby. a wedding ring worn round the neck. Herbal remedies include dandelion. There is a similar. 1959: 112). Tying a fish against the stomach was a suggestion from California (UCLA Folklore Archives. mulberry roots (Morus nigra) (Mason . Urinating through a bored-out carrot (Lick 1922: 107) or filling a scoopedout apple or turnip with urine (Hyatt 1965: 329) were other suggestions. record number 17_6404). and a five dollar gold piece strapped to the chest (Puckett 1981: 407). Sometimes the celandine (Chelidonium majus) was worn in the shoes (Lick and Brendle 1922: 215). including eggs. and throwing it away (Hyatt 1965: 329).) boiled in milk was taken for jaundice in Herefordshire (Leather 1912: 80) and in Ireland (Vickery 1995: 127). yarrow (Hendricks et al.). and the patient white (Rogers 1941: 31). Next morning the egg-whites would be yellow. walnut bark (Juglans sp. There were a number of household remedies ingested for jaundice. wild cherry bark. “Taking the waters” at Schooley’s Mountain in western Morris County was reckoned to be a cure for many ailments. Miscellaneous remedies include having someone spit on the patient three times during the night without his or her knowing (Puckett 1981: 407) and. In Ohio parched wood lice have been given mixed with molasses (Puckett 1981: 407). mayapple root (Podophyllum peltatum) (Clark 1970: 24). John’s wort (Wilson 1960: 317). There were numerous amulets used in North American folk medicine to protect against jaundice or to cure it. to “bleach” out the jaundice (UCLA Folklore Archives record number 23_58900). Fishworms rolled in lard made an alternative (Randolph 1947: 107). Other botanical remedies include the leaves or the bark of peach (Prunus persica). Strawberry leaves (Fragaria spp. Sheep lice in milk have been used in Illinois. From Pennsylvania the practice has been reported of dressing the patient in yellow clothes to cure jaundice. vinegar. black alder (Ilex verticillata). They include a copper necklace or penny worn around the neck (UCLA Folklore Archives record number 11_6404). and a tea made from oats (Avena sp. as has a tea made from catnip (Puckett 1981: 407) or from mullein (Parler 1962: 735). There are also examples of jaundice remedies involving transference.). Scottish slater) boiled in water have been taken to treat jaundice (Brown ca.216 . record number 23_5423). group of remedies for jaundice in North American folk medicine.

Various vegetables were used in jaundice treatment. and wild poplar root (Populus sp. Mary. “Scraps of English Folklore. 1883. Mullein. Crosby. Ray B.) has been used to treat jaundice. It was believed that tobacco (Nicotiana spp. Dock. Spider. Durham. wild cherry bark (Prunus sp.) was used in Indiana (Halpert 1950: 3–4). Beith. “Duhamel. In Native American practice. Chickweed. 7 vols. Collards were eaten for jaundice by the Catawba (Speck 1944: 46). Frank C. for instance. Campa. Hops. “Some Herbs and Plants of Early California. Snail. Prunus cerasus has been used by the Cherokee (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 28). 1995. Browne. and sowbugs (Mellinger 1968: 49). Arthur L. Urine. Brown. In New Mexico. Bruised lobelia with red pepper pods in whisky was used by the pioneers in the Midwest (Pickard and Buley 1945: 43). Specifically for treating jaundice. John R.” Alberta Folklore Quarterly 1 (1945). Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. swallowing a louse for jaundice was collected from Alberta as a Native American remedy (Adam 1945: 14). John’s wort. 12–17. Charles E. Flora Vectensis.” Folk-Lore. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. Brown.). Several herbs were sometimes combined. A. transfers from the patient to the liquid (Curtin 1930: 195). William George. 1930. ca. NC: Duke University Press.). Yarrow. Cherry. Horehound.Jaundice : 217 1957: 31).) could destroy jaundice (Smith 1929: 74). WI: State Historical Museum. Cowslip. London: Folklore Society. a large number of plants have been used to treat liver disorders in general (Moerman 1998: 806). calamus root (Acorus calamus) (Puckett 1981: 407). Bromfield. Francois. Allen. XVII. Edinburgh: Polygon. ironwood bark (Carpinus caroliniana). American Folklore: Insect Lore.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. the yellow color.” Western Folklore 9 (1950): 338–347. bitter root (Lewisia sp. Mouse. IL: Southern Illinois University. The liquid extract is drunk. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. molasses. 1963. Gold. Antrobus. W. it is hoped. Various species of Prunus have been used. such as artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus) (UCLA Folklore Archive record number 6_7607) and collards (Brassica oleracea) (Browne 1958: 75). while daisies (Bellis perennis) were credited with the ability to restore color after jaundice (Clark 1970: 11). and a glassful is placed on a window sill for the patient to gaze at. London: 1856. Transference. Interestingly. Many other plants used to treat jaundice by Native Americans have not been traced in general folk usage in North America. Bogbean. Rev.). 6: 227). Sarsaparilla. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. 1958. “Modern Witches of Penn- . Legends and Lore of Southern Illinois. Madison. See also Amber. St. A. Clark. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Joseph D. Carbondale. Boneset. A remedy unusual for combining plant and animal ingredients is a mixture of Aralia racemosa. A. root of yellow dock (Rumex crispus) (Lick and Brendle 1922: 295). 40 (1929): 77–83. horehound (Campa 1950: 342). Juglans cinerea has been used by the Iroquois (Herrick 1977: 295). “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. John W. Black. 1952–1964. Lobelia. Stinging nettle. and crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) (Rogers 1941: 17). red sumac (Rhus sp. References Adam. rosemary leaves (Rosmarinus offficinalis) (UCLA Folklore Archives record number 4_2092). A mixture of sarsaparilla root. Amulet. as in a pleasant-sounding remedy from Carolina consisting of a tea brewed from wild oranges and basil (Brown 1952–1964. Folklore Studies 9. logwood (Haematoxylon spp.

. Hamel. New York: Philosophical Library. Chiltoskey. 1975. Glenwood. Logan. Murfreesboro. Smith. The Midwest Pioneer. “The Medical Superstitions of Precious Stones. 1945. Mellinger. 1962. and Sondra D. David E. Twin Rivers (Rivers of America). York and Ainsty.” Journal of American Folklore 40 (1927): 304–309. Leather. Including Notes on the Therapeutics of other Stones.” Western Folklore 18 (1959): 107–120. Hyatt. Paul B. Bantam. L. Speck. New York: Columbia University Press. County Folk-Lore 2.” Journal of American Folklore 57 (1944): 37–50. S. Claudia. Crawfordsville. Rogers.” Journal of the Indiana State Medical Association 53(2) (February 1960): 316–317. 1901. Ph. Botkin. Iroquois Medical Botany. 1941. “Plant Names and Plant Lore among the Pennsylvania Germans. G. Daniel E. Curtin. Walter R. Edited and revised by Christina Hole. W. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. John’s Wort. George D.” Folk-Lore 56 (1945): 349–360 Parler. Wilson. Thiederman. and M. Newman. thesis..” Folk-Lore Journal 2 (1884): 377–378.” Hoosier Folklore 9 (1950): 1–12. Madge E. ed. A Dictionary of Plant Lore.” Folk-Say (1930): 186–196. London: Hutchinson. Halpert. Brendle. London: Folklore Society. Harry Emerson. Radford. Marie B. Native American Ethnobotany. The Folklore of Herefordshire Collected from Oral and Printed Sources. “St.” Proceedings and Addresses of the Pennsylvania German Society 33 (1922). F. and Mary U. State University of New York. Animals and Plants in Oklahoma Folk Cures: Folk-Say—A Regional Miscellany. Radford. Mary Celestia. Anna Casetta. Norman: Oklahoma Folk-Lore Society. Early Folk Medical Practice in Tennessee. 1981. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. 1985. and Thomas R. Miki. Vance. His Ills. 1948. 1998. Hand. M. Mrs Eliza Examples of Printed Folk-Lore Concerning the North Riding of Yorkshire. Wine.” Midwest Folklore 7 (1957) 149–159. Albany.218 . 1929. English Folklore Survey. Martin L. E. L. New York: Farrar and Rinehart 1943. et al. 1972. 1947. Hall. Gregor. Patrick. 2nd rev. Newbell Niles.D. and R. 1965. 1960s. Encyclopedia of Superstitions. Portland. “Catawba Herbals and Curative Practices. Mason. Roland G. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. OR: Timber Press. 15 vols. K. “Some Notes on Folk Medicine in the Eastern Counties. Meyer. Violetta. Hendricks. Wildes. Ozark Superstitions. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Roy. A. and London: Sidgwick and Jackson. sylvania. E. Edited by B. “Pioneer Medicine in New Mexico. “Utah State University Folklore Collection. 3 vols. Manuscript notes in University College London. “Folk Cures from Indiana. Printed extracts 4. Jaundice ginia. Pickard. Boston: G. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Frank G. Ella Mary. 1961... Curtin. IN: R. Hereford: Jakeman and Carver. Gutch. “Superstitions Collected in Chicago. James William. “Sang Sign. EFS. Randolph.” Bulletin of the American Academy of Medicine 8 (December 1907): 444–494. Herrick. Carlyle Buley. E. IL: Meyerbooks. Edited by Wayland D. Lick.: Mid-South.” Foxfire 2(2) (1968): 15. Dublin: Talbot Press. NC: Herald. Vickery. James. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. A Treasury of American Superstitions. 1995. Moerman. Tenn. Clarence. Puckett. De Lys. 1977. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. 1912. “Unspoken Nettles.. American Folk Medicine. 47–52. Cures and Doctors. A.” West Virginia Folklore 7 (1957): 27– 32. Harry Middleton. Making the Cure: A Look at Irish Folk Medicine. and University Student Contributors. “Home Remedies in West Vir- . Sylva.

1672) and An Account of Two Voyages to New-England. where his brother was a wealthy landowner. Beasts. 1674). Made During the Years 1638. Reference Felter. . W. “The Genesis of the American Materia Medica including a Biographical Sketch of Josselyn. no. Josselyn (1608–1675) made two visits to the colonies. 1663 (London. H. John : 219 Jimson weed See Thornapple. Fishes. John Born in the early years of the seventeenth century. The earlier of these books contained the first account of the local plants to be published in English. Josselyn. and Plants of That Country (London. Much of the plant natural history that he recorded constituted a very valuable contribution to the knowledge of the plants of that region and their medicinal applications.). (ed. Serpents. 25 (1927).” Bulletin Lloyd Library. He published two books as a result of his nine years spent in North America: New England’s Rarities Discovered in Birds.Josselyn.

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K: King’s Evil See Tuberculosis. ..

.

reflecting its main uses in folk medicine. In cases of pneumonia the herb was used as a chest poultice (Brown 1952–1964. A native of North America. In Native American usage. it was introduced to Britain by the Thomsonian school of herbalism in the nineteenth century. 33). and sprains (Meyer 1985: 71. it formed a treatment for consumption (Richmond and Van Winkle 1958: 124). It seems likely that many of the American folk medical uses have been learned from Native American practice. 6: 250). a tincture of the plant was used to make ear drops for deafness (Stout 1936: 191). (Chevallier 1996: 108). interestingly.. With red pepper and whisky. as have many of the present-day uses in British herbalism. and ironically it finds a use today in reducing nicotine addiction to the “true” tobacco. Widely used by the Native Americans for a variety of respiratory problems. 123. It is still used in herbal practice in Britain but has no role there in folk medicine. this species of lobelia has been used by the Cherokee in very similar ways. especially as a treatment for coughs and asthma. it was adopted into herbalism and then into folk medicine. or the herb was boiled and sweetened to make a syrup (Meyer 1985: 32. or the swellings of mumps. it was prepared in a number of ways. The plant is poisonous. It has also been used. to soothe whooping cough. and Samuel Thomson was actually tried for murder in 1809 after treating one of his patients unsuccessfully. 232). it has been chewed for sore throat and given for croup as well as asthma. New Englanders called the plant “colic weed” and used it to treat gastritis (Jordan 1944: 146).L: Lobelia (Lobelia inflata) This herb has attracted a great deal of attention and even some notoriety among medical practitioners on both sides of the Atlantic. and sores. 181). Other more minor uses in North American folk medicine include application of the herb as a fomentation to boils. For croup in infants. 111. it has been applied externally for aches and pains. The dried seed pods were crushed and eaten. 187. and as an eye wash for sore eyes (Meyer 1985: 44. mixed with raspberry vinegar and honey. and. it has been used to “break the tobacco habit” (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 40). It is often called Indian tobacco. Described by a mid-nineteenth century writer as “a grand article to be relied upon for the alleviation or cure” of asthma. bites. In North America it was one of the important herbal discoveries in early colonial days. . felons. it was given mixed with molasses (Jack 1964: 36). colic. Mixed with glycerine. It was also used externally as a fomentation for treating neuralgia. It was one of the herbs grown commercially by the Shakers. In Maine it is called asthma weed or pukeweed. Nicotiana spp.

Ph. “Folk Medicine from Western Pennsylvania. Croup. used to treat syphilis among both Native Americans and European settlers. 1975. Samuel. Coughs. Herrick. “Botanic Medicine in the Western Country. Clarence. Felons. Tuberculosis. State University of New York. which had a wide variety of uses and was considered a panacea by the Iroquois (Herrick 1977: 453). References Brown. Hamel. Iroquois Medical Botany. Glenwood.” Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 4 (1928): 175–326. Thomson. Frank C. Chevallier. NC: Duke University Press. A related species. “Folklore from Iowa. thesis. Whooping cough. Chero- Lumbago See Backache. Durham. See also Asthma.D. and Elva Van Winkle. Andrew. was. IL: Meyerbooks. Philip D. Huron H. Among the Meskwaki this plant was also used as a love medicine. Phil R. Albany. Sprains. Boils. “Ethnobotany of the Meskwaki Indians. Shakers. “Is There a Doctor in the House?” Indiana History Bulletin 35 (1958): 115–135. especially Lobelia cardinalis. Lumbago kee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. 1996.224 . Stout.” Memoirs of the American Folklore Society 29 (1936). and Mary U. Paul B. 1977. American Folk Medicine. Sylva.” Ohio State Medical Journal 40 (1944): 143–146. Edson. Meyer.” Pennsylvania Folklife 14(2) (October 1964): 35–37. . James William. Richmond. London: Dorling Kindersley. eaten by a couple to avert divorce (Smith 1928: 231). Jack. Jordan. Smith. Chiltoskey. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Other species of lobelia have been used more extensively by Native Americans. as its name implies. Lobelia siphilitica. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. NC: Herald. Deafness. 1952–1964. 7 vols. Poultice.. Colic. 1985. Earl J. W.

Wales. One such was described in use in about 1806 in Frederick County. As in Britain. Similarly. to treat hydrophobia. In Alabama. n. Salt was valued as a bandage for the bites of mad dogs (Black 1883: 131). various parts of the dog that had bitten were used in cures. “Madstones” were used in treating hydrophobia and protecting against it. rounded stones. It was claimed to have cured eighty cases (Blanton 1935: 272). Plantago coronopus (Cullum MS). One of the Newmarket huntsmen of James II told the king of a cure for hydrophobia using a plant called “star-of-the-earth. should be fed to a chicken: if it died. laid over the bite.d. which even today is normally fatal to humans. for treating dog bites (Trevelyan 1909: 313). In North American folk medicine as in British. has naturally led to a diversity of folk medical treatments for the bite of mad dogs. in the early nineteenth century (Trevelyan 1909: 314).” which was subsequently shown to be buck’s-horn plantain. Black reports a practice in Scotland of drying the heart of a mad dog and giving it to the person bitten as a cure. madstones were used in treatment of hydrophobia. 1: 181) and was still in use relatively recently in Glamorgan. who sold it to a farmer in Kentucky. the ash-colored liverwort (Peltigera canina) was used. These remedies are clearly sympathetic in nature. as it was also in official medicine. the touch of a seventh son was believed to cure hydrophobia (Wilde 1919: 201). Wales. In the sixteenth century. after being boiled in milk (Koch 1980: 90). said to have been concretions formed inside one of a variety of animals. The stone was sometimes applied warm to the bite. found in Switzerland. The farmer is said to have used it to cure fifty-nine people of hydrophobia (Black 1883: 144). in order to tell whether a dog bite was that of a mad dog. the dog causing the bite was a mad one (Allen 1995: 59–60). The powdered . the grass in a particular churchyard was held to be a cure for hydrophobia (Black 1883: 96). M: Mad dog. In British folk medicine. a case was reported in the 1860s of a child bitten by a rabid dog who died despite having been given a slice of its liver roasted (Black 1883: 51–52). bite of Fear of rabies.. it was held that a roasted walnut. A preparation of the leaves of scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) was used in the past for treating the bites of mad dogs (Nuttall. Such stones have been used therapeutically since the thirteenth century (Black 1883: 145). One such stone.. In Ireland. The distinction between bezoar and madstones is unclear. was obtained by an Italian. These were smooth. In South Wales. It was still in use in Caernarvonshire. a madstone derived from a deer was recommended (Browne 1958: 78).

London: Folklore Society. known in Britain as scarlet pimpernel. and Claude W. Crawfordsville. Ray B. See also Amulet. KS: Regent Press. Garlic. Browne. The Midwest Pioneer. E. jawbone was part of a mixture applied to bites (Pickard and Buley 1945: 80). “Madstones: With an Account of Several from Virginia.” Annals of Medical History 7 (1935): 268–273. Cauterizing the wound with a hot metal bar made from a horseshoe was recommended (Brendle and Unger 1935: 215). Boston: G. or a mixture of soda. Hand-written notes by Sir John Cullum in his copy of Hudson’s Flora Anglica.” Pennsylvania Dutchman 5(14) (March 15. Carlyle Buley. Anna Casetta. Lawrence.) The common mallow (Malva sylvestris) has held an important place in British folk . Ancient Legends.” Wearing a tooth taken from a mad dog as an amulet against hydrophobia was another suggestion (UCLA Folklore Archives 25_7597). “Practice of Medicine in Berks from Time of Early Settlers to 1824. His Ills. 3 vols. Folklore from Kansas: Beliefs and Customs. Pickard. G. kerosene. 1995. Banta. Newbell Niles. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Marie. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter Mallow (Malva spp. above. Wyndham B. mugwort.” Medical Record 48(8) (October 1957): 247–250. Edited by Wayland D. Hetrick. 1981. the touch of the hand of a seventh son was believed to cure the bite of a mad dog (Puckett 1981: 363). Hand. “Superstitions and Folk Beliefs of Overton County. “Dutch Folk-Beliefs. 1909. Cures and Doctors. much as in Scotland. Mallow in the History of Culture. Plant remedies used to treat hydrophobia in North American folk medicine include elecampane (Inula helenium) (UCLA Folklore Archives 8 6478). Lady. Mugwort. IN: R. K. Wild Flowers as They Grow. Mystic Charms and Superstitions of Ireland.” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 7 (1941): 13–27. London: Elliot Stock. and rattlesnake plantain (Goodyera pubescens) (Bergen 1899: 166). mint (Mentha sp. Newbury: Countryside Books. Clark. Bergen. Thomas R. They include deer gall (Browne 1958: 78). Folk-Lore and Folk-stories of Wales. George.) mixed with salt (Clark 1970: 23). Andrew. Brendle. and tobacco (McGlasson 1941: 18). red chicken weed (Anagallis arvensis. 1762. and R. Fanny D. and Sondra B. McGlasson. Simon..” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45 (1935). Trevelyan. Black. Puckett.” Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society 7 (1899). Folklore Studies 9. Hall.. see above) (Hetrick 1957: 249). “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. 1883. References Allen. 1954): 2–3. William E. Blanton.d. Isaak Shirk. A variety of substances were recommended as applications to the bite of a mad dog. alcohol. “Animal and Plant Lore Collected from the Oral Tradition of English Speaking Folk. 215). A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. Koch. Sympathetic magic. Burdock. Unger. 1980. Cleo. 1958. Clarke.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Cullum MS. Joseph D. The liver of the dog was claimed to cure the bite of the same dog (Bergen 1899: 77). n. Wilde. William George. Madge E. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. and garlic and burdock (Brendle and Unger 1935: 214. As in Ireland. 15. 1945. Suffolk Record Office. Seventh son. “Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans: The Non-Occult Cures.226 . remedies such as this are presumably the origin of the phrase “hair of the dog. Thiederman. A person bitten by a mad dog was advised to eat some of its hair in a bread and butter sandwich (Simon 1954: 2). Wrapping a chicken round the bite was suggested (Puckett 1981: 362). Nuttall. 5 vols. London: Waverley Book. 1919. London: Chatto and Windus.

In Mexico. has been used for headache. the fruits have been eaten as a gentle laxative (Hatfield 1994: 28). it is not clear which species of mallow is involved. Malva rotundifolia. An infusion has been used to treat falling hair (UCLA Folklore Archives 3_1890). 267. and sore feet (Lick and Brendle 1922: 77). mixed with vinegar.e. In Devon. 225.” has been used similarly by Native Americans. for treating cuts and sores. the named species Malva rotundifolia has been used to treat wounds (Wintemberg 1950: 15). and its flowering shoots have been crushed and used as a poultice for healing boils and abscesses. ulcers. varicose veins. Other folk uses for the plant include treatment of burns. known as “cheese plant. The plant has also been used to treat kidney troubles (as a diuretic) (Lawton 1967: 12) and to treat bed-wetting (Fogel 1915: 281). was the mallow recommended by the herbals and used in official medicine in the past. Malva sylvestris is naturalized in North America and has been used similarly for poulticing and reducing pain and inflammation. bruised mallows are recommended to soothe a wasp sting. Cheeseweed (Malva parviflora) has been used to treat piles (Browne 1958: 84). and in present-day medical herbalism. However. while the root of marshmallow mixed with poppy heads and conserve of roses is suggested as a cough medicine (Robertson 1960: 12. 141. and it still is today (Kavasch and Baar 1999: 143). this species has been used as an infusion to treat wounds. In Ontario. The far less common marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis). Headache and fever have been treated with a poultice of mallow (Saucier 1956: 36). famous for the sweets originally made from its root. Mallow has been widely used to treat coughs and colds and related complaints. A modern use there is as a wash for treating hair loss after chemotherapy (Kay 1996: 188).Mallow : 227 medicine. 228. In these remedies. It is reported that a tea made of one mallow species (Malva neglecta) has been used in New Mexico to ease labor pains (Willard 1992: 139). The dried roots of marshmallow boiled in milk have been used for “chincough” (i. 42. Meyer reports a similar use for an infusion of mallow flowers to loosen phlegm. 29). 243). The crushed leaves have also been used for treating bruises (Hawke 1973: 28). in press). Among the Iro- . and sore feet (Tongue 1965: 37. and as “biscuities” in Scotland (Vickery 1995: 229). Mallow juice has been placed in the ear for earache (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_1545). Sometimes known as the “cheese plant. nettle rash. Although this species is native in a few places in Britain. as a poultice for sore throat and mumps.” mallow has also been made into an ointment for treating eczema and used to treat sore eyes. marsh mallow has been used to treat bruises and blisters. sore and strained eyes. and gastric ulcers (Meyer 1985: 105. whooping cough). and internally for stomach and kidney complaints. Another mallow. and for soothing sprains and rheumatic joints. and digestive complaints (Kay 1996: 188). Malva parviflora. since common mallow is also called “marshmallow” by many. sores. 43). These fruits were known as “cheeses” in East Anglia. it has probably never been common enough to be exploited as a folk remedy on a large scale. 276). skin rash. have been used to remove skin discoloration. colic (Valleta 1965: 37). the seeds of marshmallow. 39. 110. Less common has been its use for kidney complaints (Allen and Hatfield. fever. In addition. while the mashed leaves can be used to remove splinters and made into an ointment for wounds and salves (Meyer 1985: 191. there is inevitably some confusion here. and the roots have been given to teething babies to soothe their gums (Lafont 1984: 53). Like several other species of mallow.. It is a common and widespread plant in Britain. Among a collection of “Old Settlers’ Remedies” from Shelburne County.

NS: Cape Sable Historical Society. Clement. Traditions de la Paroisse des Avoyelles en Louisiane. Corinne L. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. New York: Bantam Books. “Beliefs and Superstitions of the Pennsylvania Germans. London: Folklore Society. Headache. The botanically “true” mandrake (Mandragora officinarum) is a native of the Mediterranean and the Near East. Kavasch. and Thomas R. Edwin Miller. Sprains. where it is held sacred as well as used medicinally. Roy. Burns. Colic. Fevers. Rheumatism. David E. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Boils. Ontario: National Museum of Canada. in press. Blisters. Meyer. Anthropological Series 28. “Plant Names and Plant Lore among the Pennsylvania Germans. Edited by Katharine Briggs. Several species of mallow have been used by Native Americans for treating headache and fevers (Moerman 1998: 334–335). Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains and Neighbouring Territories. Ontario. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Malva neglecta has been used to treat swellings and broken bones (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 385). Eczema. IL: Meyerbooks. Colds. Saucier. Woodbridge: Boydell. 1995. Fractures. The plant was brought to Britain by the Romans and cultivated for medicinal use through the medieval and Tudor periods. Lafont. Arthur J. American Folk Medicine. 1958. Ray B. Marion. Chiltoskey. 1992. Fogel. 1956.” Pennsylvania Folklife 16(4) (Summer 1967): 10–15. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. OR: Timber Press. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. Barrington. Terry.228 .. Anne-Marie. Margarita Artschwager.” Pennsylvania Folklife 14(3) (Spring 1965): 36–45. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Ruth L. narcotic. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Willard. References Allen. Lawton. Brendle. E. Rituals and Remedies for Every Season of Life. Gabrielle. Earache. Somerset Folklore. 1973. As a native of . Kay. Glenwood. 1950. Insect bites and stings. 1985..) Cornish Sayings. Cuts. Piles. County Folklore 8. See also Abscesses. Wounds. W. 1965. Folklore of Waterloo County. Philadelphia: American Folklore Society. Eye problems. quois. “Living History. Clarence. and Mary U. Bruises. Bulletin 116. Vickery. ALTA: Wild Rose College of Natural Healing. Herbal Folklore. Poultice. Calgary. Paul B. Old Settlers’ Remedies. Kathleen (comp. Robertson. Daniel E. Pennsylvania 1890– 1915. Native American Ethnobotany. Mandrake of the Pennsylvania German Society 33 (1922). Hamel. David. It contains hallucinogenic. Barrie. 1998. and Karen Baar. Valleta. 1984. 1960. 1975. Redruth: Dyllanson Truran. 1994. 1999. and Gabrielle Hatfield. J. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Sylva. 1996. Browne. American Indian Healing Arts: Herbs. Portland. Tongue. Whooping cough. Wintemberg. “Italian Immigrant Life in Northampton County. OR: Timber Press. Bideford: Badger Books. Lick. Hatfield. Moerman.” Proceedings and Addresses Mandrake In different cultures. Folklore Studies 9. Healing with Plants in the American and Mexican West. and highly poisonous compounds and was used three thousand years ago in Persia as an anesthetic. Hawke. this name has been applied to different plants. It is especially revered in India and Persia (Simoons 1998: 101–133). Sore feet.” Americana Germanica 18 (1915). NC: Herald. Superstitions and Remedies. The tap root of the plant is divided into two and bears some resemblance to the human form. Coughs. Childbirth. Portland.

Particularly in horse medicine it was . In British medicine the mandrake has been “paired” with the unrelated black bryony (Tamus communis). the tap root of which bears a resemblance to that of the true mandrake. violent purgative. In time a thriving counterfeit industry grew up. but other plants took its place. This legend was recorded by Gerard in his sixteenth-century herbal and has been repeated in Western writings ever since. as in East Anglia. It became known as English mandrake. This was one of the plants from which counterfeit mandrakes were produced from the seventeenth century onward. one female. The plant became highly fashionable in official medicine in Britain. its cultivation stopped. as a narcotic. including white bryony. it was difficult to grow. John Ray in 1691 came across an old woman who had cured her gout using this plant (Lankester 1848: 238). The various legends that grew up around the plant included the suggestion that it shrieked when dug up and that the person who harvested it would die—so a dog should be used instead to uproot it. one was regarded as male. hallucinogen. or. (National Library of Medicine) The idea of male and female mandrakes has persisted into recent times. and aphrodisiac. hallucin- ogen. On account of its cost. (National Library of Medicine) warmer climates.Mandrake : 229 The mandrake plant became highly fashionable in official British medicine as a narcotic. and when the British climate became colder during the sixteenth century. simply as mandrake. and aphrodisiac. false mandrake. it commanded a very high price. in which fake mandrake roots were sold for high prices. and the plant was imported instead. true mandrake probably never figured in British folk medicine.

and its medicinal use seems to have been adopted direct from Native American usage into official North American medicine (Crellin and Philpott 1990: 299). This concept spread into folk medicine. though much darker in color than that of white bryony. Ralph. Andrew. it is a powerful purgative. 1992. Crellin. Its reputation as an aphrodisiac has persisted into recent times. Lincolnshire Folk Names for Plants. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. In recent folk medicine. See also Amulet. Rheumatism. The Folklore of Gloucestershire. Wiltshire Folklore and Legends. One man recalls that as a boy in the 1930s in Norfolk he went hunting for bryony roots because he could get a good price for them—half a crown (the equivalent of about ten pounds today). John K. and Jane Philpott. Gout. Roy. North American medicine also has its “mandrake”. for instance. black bryony was regarded as an aphrodisiac—for example. Frederick J. Durham. the “female” white bryony men and stallions (Rudkin 1933). E. Whitlock. Palmer. The horseman he supplied roasted and grated the root and fed it to his horses. Oddly. one was regarded as male. one female. Indigestion. in Lincolnshire (Woodruffe-Peacock 1894– 1897)—and in addition was widely used for treating rheumatism. Any plant called “mandrake” would obviously share something of the “true” mandrake’s aura of magic. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. Adrian. the “male” black bryony was used to treat women and mares. and. white bryony figures occasionally—for example. London: Routledge. according to Rudkin. the mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) is also known as the American mandrake. The idea of male and female mandrakes has persisted in the fens into recent times (Randell 1966). Tiverton: West Country Books. A Reference Guide to Medicinal Plants. 1966. Headache. gout. 1995. London: Robert Hale. Ethel H. Plants of Death. and chilblains (see. Probably this was due to early herbalists’ identifying the white bryony and the black bryony respectively with the plants recorded by Dioscorides as “ampelos leuke” and “ampelos agria. which also has a large tap root. though in light of the usual secrecy surrounding horsemen’s remedies. “Lincolnshire Folklore. In Sussex as recently as the twentieth century there was a mandrake seller who sold the roots of white bryony as mandrakes for healing rheumatism. Randell. Arthur R. Lincolnshire Notes and Queries (1894–1897). NC: Duke University Press. Edited by Enid Porter. it is very difficult to know to which plant any particular record refers. Like the “true” mandrake. and some herbalists referred to it as womandrake (Allen 1995: 111). White bryony was regarded as female. The Correspondence of John Ray. Simoons. Bryony. Medicine man highly prized. in British medicine this plant has been “paired” with the unrelated black bryony (Tamus communis). References Allen. ostensibly to improve the condition of their coats (Hatfield MS). or as devil’s apple. 4. 1998.). and headaches (Allen 1995: 113). Newbury: Countryside Books. Sixty Years a Fenman. became known as hemandrake. Because of the confusion in names.” FolkLore 44 (1933): 189–214. indigestion. Medicine man This name for a Native American healer is thought to have been invented by French . Chilblains. London: Ray Society. 1990. Edwin (ed. Whitlock 1992: 104). Lankester. Rudkin.230 .” The black bryony. Plants of Life. or just mandrake.. as a chilblain remedy and carried as an amulet for rheumatism. at least in Gloucestershire (Palmer 1994: 122). malaria. pains in the chest. 1848. Woodruffe-Peacock. even in recent times. In British folk medicine. it is difficult to find out how it was used. 1994.

Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. .) was suggested (Parler 1962. Meyer records the use of motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) at change of life. CA: ABC-CLIO. Chewing peach kernels was held to shorten menopause. a tea prepared from parched eggshells or from green coffee was drunk during menopause (Killion and Waller 1972: 105). Santa Barbara. and Susan Enns Stans. The medicine man is responsible in many tribes for keeping the sacred medicine bundles used in ceremonies (Snow and Stans 2001: 27). From Yorkshire comes the suggestion that eating a cock’s liver after fasting will cure the hot flushes of menopause (EFS: 90Db). and a sack of meal (Parler 1962. It is the medicine man (or.Menopause : 231 Jesuit missionaries in the seventeenth century. Teas made from sage (Salvia officinalis) (Hatfield 1994: 95) or from chamomile (Mrs I. The Spanish-Americans of New Mexico use a tea made from the leaves of the wormwood (Artemisia franserioides) to treat the hot flushes of menopause (Kay 1996: 106). Suffolk.) (Roy 1955: 78). Chestnut leaf tea (Castanea sp. woman) who uses prayer and chants to render the medicine effective (Snow and Stans 2001: xi). A mixture called “mother’s friend” was composed of white plantain (Anten- naria plantaginifolia). Menopause Because of the reticence surrounding so many “women’s complaints. In North America there is again a relative paucity of folk remedies. Ray B.P. Chamomile. 2001. Mexican American women use a tea made from the leaves of Ambrosia to treat menopausal symptoms (Kay 1996: 71). Medicine of the Florida Seminole Indians. and of nutmeg in Jamaica rum. Many other plant remedies used in Native American practice are described as treating “female weakness” or “women’s complaints. Peach. A remedy of Catawba origin was an infusion of sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum) (Speck 1944: 47).” Doubtless some of these were used to ease menopause. It is not quite synonymous with the term “shaman. In Georgia.. folk remedies for menopause as for other “women’s complaints” are probably underrepresented in the literature. Folklore Studies 9. 1958.” Shamans depend for their powers on reaching an altered state of consciousness. yellow dock (Rumex crispus) or burdock. References Browne. Jamaica ginger (Zingiber officinale) tea was given (UCLA Folklore Archives 22_5431). In Arkansas chewing cinnamon bark (Cinnamomum sp. whereas medicine men do not. Also from Arkansas comes the suggestion of curing hot flushes. 1989) have also been used to treat the hot flushes of menopause. more rarely. and devil’s bit (Leatris spicata) (Meyer 1985: 176). 3: 1112). Alice Micco. Encyclopedia of Native American Healing.) was recommended in Alabama to be drunk during menopause (Browne 1958: 65). A remedy of French origin was to drink savory tea (Satureja sp. Healing Plants. by placing under the bed an axe. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. See also Burdock. or flashes. 3: 1112). Gainesville: University Press of Florida. com. Drinking parsley tea (Petroselinum crispum) every day during the change of life was also recommended (EFS: 100Db). Some individuals combine both roles (Lyon 1996: 168–169). William S. 1996. a pan of water. pers. or a tea made from mayapple roots (Podophyllum peltatum) (UCLA Folklore Archives 12_5210). sumac leaves (Rhus glabra). Snow. In California.” and the fact that many folklore authors are male.. The Iroquois used false Solomon’s seal (Maianthemum stellatum) during menopause (Herrick 1977: 283). References Lyon.

Raspberry tea was used in much the same way as in Britain. 1955. A plant used in present-day herbalism to reduce heavy bleeding at menstruation is yarrow. Healing with Plants in the American and Mexican West. since many so-called emmenagogues doubled as abortifacients. Waller. 1962. including blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides). Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) is one of the few native British plants known to have been used to ease period pain (Hatfield 1994: appendix). fairy flax (Linum catharticum) was one of these (Allen and Hatfield in press). Tucson: University of Arizona Press. and Charles T. Clarence. Menstrual problems EFS. this is now known to be rich in iron and also to have hemostatic properties. logwood (Haematoxylon campechianum). Atlanta: Cherokee. Perhaps women were forced to be more stoical in the past. “Catawba Herbals and Curative Practices. Killion. In general. Frank G. State University of New York. extract of Viburnum (Viburnum spp.232 . Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. Speck. so that it would have served the double function of correcting anemia and reducing menstrual flow.D.” In Scotland. Shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursapastoris) has been used in Essex for heavy periods (Hatfield 1994: appendix). including raspberry tea. 1994. A Treasury of Georgia Folklore. 1996. American Folk Medicine. English Folklore Survey. IL: Meyerbooks. James William. and pennyroyal (Hedeoma pulegioides). Menstrual problems Like other socially sensitive areas of enquiry. Woodbridge: Boydell. Albany.). Meyer. thesis. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. 1985. Mugwort was another “women’s herb. was used in Dorset for period pain (Dacombe 1935). one of the commonest was an infusion of nettles. where it was used for heavy uterine bleeding (Collyns 1827). 15 vols. but a lack of records seems to be a more likely explanation. Various tonics were recommended for the anemia that doubtless affected many. Scotland (Beith 1995: 132). Ronald G. Parler. Chamomile. 1977. 61– 105. Gabrielle.). This subject is considered under abortion. North American folk medicine information on this subject is less sparse. Among plant remedies. Iroquois Medical Botany. Hatfield. 107–136. Although there are many records of its use as a wound healer in the folk literature. Irregular periods could be treated with one of a number of plant remedies. One such was the Hart Fell spa in Dumfriesshire. Ph. Margarita Artschwager. as well as the root of the cotton . wormwood (Artemisia spp. Warming spices such as ginger were recommended for period pain. the only record of a gynecological use comes from Devon. 1972. Roy. the folk treatment of menstrual problems is probably underreported in the literature. La Litte ´rature Orale en Gaspe ´sie. Meyer lists a number of plants used for period pain. 36 de la Serie Anthropologique. With the benefit of modern knowledge. used generally in folk medicine as a painkiller. Carmen. Country people questioned about remedies used within living memory in East Anglia have mentioned only such simple measures as application of heat to ease period pain. Mary Celestia. The waters of certain springs were thought to be rich in iron and therefore good for treating anemia. Among the plants used in North American folk medicine generally. Manuscript notes. chamomile. University College London. and University Student Contributors. Glenwood. Bulletin 134.” Journal of American Folklore 57 (1944): 37–50. Herrick.” used for period pain in England and in Scotland (Hatfield 1999: 79).. Ottawa: Ministre de Nord Canadien et des Ressources Nationales. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. Various plants have been used for “women’s problems. hops. Kay.

avoidance of alcohol. as a douche or in a mixture with bayberry and ginger. To regulate periods. Meyer mentions the use of a plain diet. and prince’s feather or amaranth (Amaranthus hypochondriacus). (National Library of Medicine) plant (Gossypium herbaceum). and herbal preparations including yarrow and shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursapastoris) (both used in Britain too.Menstrual problems : 233 In North American folk medicine. both mugwort and “Jillgrow-over-the ground” (Glechoma hederacea) have been used. witch hazel was also used to treat nosebleeds. witch hazel was used as a douche or taken in a mixture with bayberry and ginger to treat heavy menstrual flow. For reducing the flow of heavy periods. and sore throat. burns. see above). inflammation. both familiar in British . chilblains. As shown in this advertisement. black haw (Viburnum prunifolium) and wild alum root (?Geranium maculatum or Heuchera americana). Another plant used was witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana).

boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum). Frances. and wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) have all been used (Meyer 1985: 171–176). or one prepared from walnut or pecan. blood root (Sanguinaria canadensis). Beith. and Hooper 1979: 62). Woodbridge: Boydell. To provoke menstruation. 1935. Hooper. Chiltoskey. Blue cohosh. See also Abortion. tansy was used similarly by the Micmac (Chandler. (ed. is used to treat profuse and painful menstruation by the Menominee (Smith 1923: 25). David E. Paul B. Chamomile was used by the Cherokee as an abortifacient (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 28. for profuse menstruation (Smith 1923: 205). and the Potawatomi (Smith 1933: 43). Densmore. Chandler. for instance by the Meskwaki. Collyns. “Uses of Plants by the Chippewa Indians. Yarrow. and presumably learned from. W. Freeman. Dorset up along and Down Along. Mary. blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides). Lois Freeman. OR: Timber Press. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. such as A. among the Iroquois Viburnum acerifolium is used similarly (Herrick 1977: 447). The list of other plants used in Native American practice to treat gynecological problems is enormous (Moerman 1998: 799–801). NC: Herald.. Sylva. where the roots were used to procure an abortion. These species include Artemisia vulgaris. ludoviciana.. Kay records the use among Mexican Americans of various species of Artemisia to treat heavy periods.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1 (1979): 49–68. Gabrielle. and York 1990: 80) and the Navajo (Vestal 1952: 50). A douche of Ambrosia leaves. The use of cotton (Gossypium spp. Edinburgh: Polygon. Mugwort. Dacombe. Memory. Thompson. Blue cohosh was used. “Herbal Remedies of the Maritime Indians. Portland.) roots seems to come from the African American tradition. Dorchester: Dorset Federation of Women’s Institutes. is used to clear out the uterus after menstruation (Kay 1996: 71).234 . Wisdom and Healing: . and Gabrielle Hatfield. Heavy menstrual flow is checked using red baneberry (Actaea rubra) among the Chippewa (Densmore 1928: 358) and the Woodlands Cree (Leighton 1985: 25).” Smithsonian InstitutionBureau of American Ethnology Annual Report 44 (1928): 273–379. Moerman’s extensive survey of Native American ethnobotany reveals that various species of Artemisia are widely used for menstrual and other gynecological problems (Moerman 1998: 799–800). African tradition. Hops. juniper (Juniperus spp. “On the economical and medical uses to which various common wild plants are applied by the cottagers in Devonshire. Frank.). Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca). the Ojibwa (Smith 1932: 358). 1994. Menstrual problems folk medicine. native to North America but not to Britain. as well as squaw weed (?Senecio aureus). Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. but these examples serve to demonstrate that some at least of this knowledge was evidently shared by them with the colonists. seneca snakeroot (Polygala senega). Hamel. The roots of Ambrosia are used similarly. Hatfield. Marianne R. and Mary U. it becomes evident that many of them are similar to. Chamomile. Gabrielle. 1995.” Gardener’s Magazine 2 (1827): 160–62. tansy (Tanacetum vulgaris). R. again illustrating the overlap between stimulating menstruation and achieving abortion. Stinging nettle. Trying to trace these remedies to their origins. Erigeron species are used for menstrual pain by the Thompson (Turner. fennel seed (Foeniculum vulgare). in press.). Thompson. Hatfield. Native American practice. 30). the mugwort familiar in British folk medicine. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. and Shirley N. and other species. Caulophyllum thalictroides. References Allen. 1975.

” Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 7(1) (1933): 1–230. Ottawa: National Museums of Canada. American Folk Medicine. Meyer. 1990. has a strong spiritual side. Active participation of the patient is another important aspect of the treatment. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. Huron H. References Jones. Ysamur Flores-Pen ˜ a. Thompson Ethnobotany: Knowledge and Usage of Plants by the Thompson Indians of British Columbia.Midwife The History of Domestic Plant Medicine. Patrick A. Albany. thesis. “Invisible Hospitals: Bota ´nicas in Ethnic Health Care. Huron H. “Ethnobotany of the Forest Potawatomi Indians. 1996. 1998. Turner. would have been great for a people who historically have been impoverished and denied access to the health systems available to much of North America.). Smith. Healing with Plants in the American and Mexican West. Logan: Utah State University Press. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. 1985.” Bulletin of the Public Museum of Milwaukee 4(3) (1932): 327–525. forms a considerable part of the cure. 1996. “The Ethnobotany of the Ramah Navaho. OR: Timber Press.” Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology 40(4): (1952): 1–94. Moerman. Clarence. Thompson. Often she was regarded as a “wise woman. M. “Ethnobotany of the Ojibwe Indians. Enza (ed. Ph. North American Folk Healing: An A–Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. and Roberta J. “Curanderismo and Latino Views of Disease and Curing.D. 2001. Kay. Mercury Series 101. as with other folk medical traditions. Maduro. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. specialists in sprains and fractures. State University of New York.” In Healing Logics: Culture and Medicine in Modern Health Belief Systems. Phoenix Mill: Sutton. Margarita Artschwager.. James William. 1983. R. and the curanderos (or curanderas) themselves. including the recent past. who often also attended the dying and laid out corpses. basil. Smith. Terry Thompson. In addition. herbalists. Huron H. and Annie Z. 1977. Leighton. and particularly in the healer. Kay. Paul A. whose use can be traced back to Spanish origins. Native American Ethnobotany. Mexican tradition The system of healing known as curanderismo embraces four categories of healers: midwives. though it uses physical agents such as herbs. The importance of these plant medicines in the past.” Western Journal of Medicine 139(6): 868–874. Evanchuk. Victoria: Royal British Columbia Museum. 1985. IL: Meyerbooks. Iroquois Medical Botany. There is in addition a significant number of Mediterranean herbs. Micheletti. Polk. York. Daniel E. Margarita Artschwager. Herrick. The Mexican tradition of folk medicine. 1998.” Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 4(1) (1923): 1–174. 1999. Glenwood. Smith. Michael Owen. Nancy J. and marjoram. Anna L. edited by Erika Brady. Vestal. : 235 plants is concerned. there is a broad spectrum of folk medical knowledge passed down orally from one generation to the next and held in common among the whole community. Healing with Plants in the American and Mexican West.” . Portland. Wild Plant Use by the Woodlands Cree (Nihithawak) of East-Central Saskatchewan. as well—faith in the system. “Ethnobotany of the Menomini Indians. Mexican ethnobotany uses a number of South American plants and in addition a large number of plant species endemic to the southwest of North America. such as rosemary. As far as healing with Midwife In rural Britain until well into the twentieth century communities were dependent on the local nurse/midwife. Laurence C.

Wigby. In Bedfordshire in the late years of the nineteenth century. many of them men. One such person was Granny Davies from a village in Norfolk. Among Highland communities the socalled henwife often served as midwife too (Beith 1995: 95). Straw from the woman’s bed was formed into a rope and burned in the fire. by the medically trained obstetricians (Donnison 1988: 48). See also Amulet. . the role of the country midwife was largely taken over by “official” midwives. in rural Britain their role survived much longer. Pregnancy. The first record of a non-Indian midwife in Canada is that of Catherine Guertin. again to protect from evil (Beith 1995: 98). Midwife wrapping her kit to go on a call in Greene County. Some midwives were accused of sorcery. who is fondly remembered by Mr. Ash. Beans. its use accompanied by prayers (Beith 1995: 208). (Library of Congress) In colonial North America until the eighteenth century midwives were mostly untrained but experienced women. midwives often invoked both God and the moon to protect the expectant mother (Black 1883: 128). statistics are not available to show how the country midwives of the two nations compared. “Aunt Prudie. It is a testimony to the skills of such midwives that fewer colonial women died in childbirth than among their English counterparts (Micheletti 1998: 147). This could have been partly due to healthier living conditions than in England’s crowded cities. As its first drink. The midwife would ensure that all the locks in the house were open so that no ill could befall the mother and child. Childbirth. After the eighteenth century. elected as the community midwife by the citizens of Ville-Marie in 1713.236 . Since midwives were powerful figures in their own communities and were the first to make contact with newborn children. brought into the world by her in the early years of the twentieth century (Wigby 1976). During labor the woman might have iron in her bed and a Bible under the pillow. Midwife and the few records that exist show that she often had a wide knowledge of herbs. appeasing both the pagan and the Christian deities (Beith 1995: 98). the midwife would administer to the newly born child sap from an ash stick (Beith 1995: 208). Georgia. 1941. In Ireland. By the eighteenth century the official role of the village midwife was becoming usurped. as in Europe generally. and it was she who made sure that traditional protective customs were observed. at least in urban settings and among the richer classes. One such midwife. Jane Cullip attended women in childbirth and administered raspberry tea (EFS 195). and some even died as convicted witches in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Donnison 1988: 17). A sea-bean was often used as an amulet during delivery.” is said to have delivered nearly three thousand babies in her sixty-five years of practice in Mississippi (Meyer 1985: 4). both church and state were anxious to limit their influence.

which has recently sprung to fame as a migraine treatment. Meyer. Woodbridge: Boydell. Wigby. Donnison. 1996. was used in a number of folk remedies as a general pain reliever (Hatfield 1994: 90). Martin. In North American folk medicine there are a number of suggested applications to the head for easing migraine. In Suffolk. Talley. Jones. London: Folklore Society. London: Robert Hale. English Folklore Survey. Mary. Allan. wearing nutmeg around the neck has been suggested (UCLA Folklore Archives 8_6288). Migraine has not always been distinguished in folk medicine from other headaches. American Folk Medicine. yarrow is used as a snuff for headaches much as in British folk medicine (Moerman 1998: 42). London: Historical Publications. Hand and Jeannine E. Midwives and Medical Men: A History of the Struggle for the Control of Childbirth. Clarence. horseradish leaves (Armoracia rusticana) wrapped around the head (UCLA Folklore Archives 14_5430). Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. EFS. To prevent it. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. 1995. Llanwrst: Gwasg Carreg Gwalch. See also Corn. Reeve. North American Folk Healing: An A–Z Guide to Traditional Remedies.Migraine : 237 References Beith. R. Enza (ed. primrose (Primula vulgaris) was used in this way (Jobson 1967: 60). Both corn (UCLA Folklore Archives 6_5394) and corn oil (Jarvis 1961: 149) have been recommended to mitigate migraine. Jean. Manuscript notes at University College London. IL: Meyerbooks. Feverfew. Micheletti. Headache. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. Frederick C. Edinburgh: Polygon. Anthon S.). 1994. Poultice. In the Native American tradition. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Glenwood. Martin. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. 1988. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. Various seaweeds were used as poultices to relieve the pain of migraine. 1995. In Suffolk Borders. 1998. London: A. William George. Wymondham: Geo. the brain of a hare was used to treat severe headache. A Description of the Western Isles of Scotland. Yarrow. (Page references cited are from the fourth edition . References Beith. Jarvis. a mixture of betony leaves (Stachys officinalis) and primrose roots was used (Jones 1996: 89). Pine. D. The Botanists and Guides of Snowdonia. and treatments overlap. Yarrow leaves were used similarly (Pratt 1855). while placing the feet in plastic bags has been thought to ward off a migraine (Cannon 1984: 111). In the Isle of Skye. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. Cannon. dulse (Palmaria palmata) and “linarich” (?Ulva lactuca) were both used (Martin 1703: 203). C. London: Pan Books. Black. Edinburgh: Polygon. In Scotland. 1984. Hops. Bell. potato slices enclosed in a scarf similarly applied (UCL Folklore Archives 24_6288). in Wales. Gabrielle. Edited by Wayland D. Jobson. They include rags dipped in vinegar (UCLA Folklore Archives 2_6290). but as a migraine treatment its use belonged until the twentieth century to official medicine. 1967. Migraine A number of British folk remedies for migraine involve snuffing plant material into the nose. 1985. 1976. Mary. Hatfield. 1961. Folk Medicine. Dewi. 1703. resting the head on a pillow filled with pine needles (UCLA Folklore Archives 10_6288) or with dried hops (Puckett 1981: 414). 1883. including migraine (Beith 1995: 177). Just a Country Boy.

Diarrhea. was used for treating adder bites (Beith 1995: 174). and measles (Creighton 1968: 223). Edited by Wayland D. The milk from white cows was especially valued (Beith 1995: 168). Human breast milk has been widely used for eye ailments. Milk Milk from a variety of animals has been used in folk medicine. including warmed with honey as a drink for insomnia (UCLA Folklore Archives 11_6769). and burns (Anderson 1970: 12. in western Scotland. drinking buttermilk is recommended! (UCLA Folklore Archives 3_6772). . Newbell Niles. and Sondra B. OR: Timber Press. For the treatment of whooping cough both mare’s milk (Cannon 1984: 38) and goat’s milk (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_5570) have been recommended. 1855. boiled for diarrhea (UCLA Folklore Archive 13_6284). Tonic. Many of these uses for milk and more besides have been recorded in North American folk medicine. especially from the milk of a white cow. Macleod. Daniel E. was recommended for tuberculosis too (Pennant 1776). In Ireland. Cow’s milk has been used in innumerable ways. hives (Browne 1958: 57. 1998. 73). It has also been drunk to prevent asthma (Anderson 1970: 5). Burns. edited by Donald J. milk was sometimes poured on the ground as a sacrificial offering (Beith 1995: 139). Boston: G. and ulcers (Puckett 1981: 468). Both butter and cream were valued for healing. The Flowering Plants and Ferns of Great Britain. Thiederman. Color. Milk of 1934 [Stirling: Eneas Mackay]. Epilepsy. a goat. 3 vols. and mare’s milk was recommended for whooping cough (Beith 1995: 177. especially after influenza. rashes (Puckett 1981: 430). including stys (UCLA Folklore Archives 10_6515). Goat’s milk has been used for treating menstrual pain (Hendricks 1980: 89). Portland. Goat’s milk was valued as a tonic. Hives. For tuberculosis. Cream. typhoid (Hyatt 1965: 218). diabetes (UCLA Folklore Archives 11_6283). Butter. 18). Native American Ethnobotany. sow’s milk was recommended for epilepsy (Notes and Queries 1849). Snake bite. and even blindness at birth (Hyatt 1965: 241). Pratt. Whooping cough. or a donkey was particularly recommended as a drink for sufferers from tuberculosis (Beith 1995: 97). and goat’s milk was drunk for eczema (Logan 1972: 72). 1981.) Moerman. Sunburn. diphtheria. in the form of buttermilk. Cream has been used to treat chapped skin (UCLA Folklore Archives 3_6835). Mare’s milk has been rubbed on for croup (Campbell 1953: 2) and drunk for flu (Anderson 1970: 34). drunk to aid healing of a fracture (Cannon 1984: 108). To prevent one from getting old. Anna Casetta. Tuberculosis. Eczema.238 . 178). Eye problems. and as an antidote to poisons (Puckett 1981: 450) and to germs in the atmosphere (Hyatt 1965: 195). See also Asthma. sore eyes (Puckett 1981: 370). London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. Hand. Fractures. Sleeplessness. In the Scottish borders butter made from the milk of cows grazed in churchyards reputedly cured a blacksmith’s apprentice of tuberculosis (Black 1883: 96). In the Scottish Highlands milk of a mare. 5 vols. Chapped skin. for a premature child (UCLA Folklore Archives 17_6095). Anne. The mold growing on milk was used in Mull. Diabetes. In ancient healing rituals. mixed with wine. Cow’s milk. boiled until oily. K. A bath of milk was said to have saved casualties of a Pictish battle (Beith 1995: 167). was applied to burns (Beith 1995: 168). Hall. drinking the milk of a red cow was recommended (Hyatt 1965: 252). Puckett. for treating ulcerated legs (Beith 1995: 179). sunburn. as a bath. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett.

Notes and Queries. John. 2 vols. 3 vols. 1980. Thiederman. using the plant to treat palpitations of the heart (Beith 1995: 227– 228). It was widely used to treat St. Texas Folk Medicine. and Sondra B. Cannon. Anthon S. 1984. or imported. 1995. There is an interesting . it is a parasitic plant. and lime. London: Benjamin White. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. Browne. such as oak. Puckett. Hand.” indicating widespread use of this plant in the past. this plant has many folkloric beliefs associated with it. Hall. Edinburgh: Polygon. Hand and Jeannine E. “Folk Remedies from South Georgia. apple and poplar. Creighton. hawthorn. Vol. Hyatt. Harry Middleton. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Similar uses are recorded in Ireland. Talley. Bull 1907: 335 fn). leaving them on the bark. Hendricks. 11: 349.” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 19 (1953): 1–4. 1965. Helen. while in Essex a leaf soaked in milk has been eaten to prevent a stroke (Hatfield 1994: 91). Boston: G. growing on the bark of various trees. Folklore Studies 9. Pennant. London: Folklore Society. Ray B. where they may grow to form new plants. Dublin: Talbot Press. “Roosters.” A Second Sampling of Superstitions and Popular Beliefs in Texas. 1776. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. 1972. Toronto: Ryerson Press. William George. Patrick. and not surprisingly most of the records of its use in folk medicine are from these regions. An infusion was drunk for measles in Somerset (Plant Lore Notes and News 1992: 112). Edited by Wayland D. Austin. 1970. The mistletoe for treating measles in Somerset was gathered from the hawthorn (Vickery 1995: 243). Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Beith. The types of mistletoe grown on different species have been ascribed different powers. 1981. ed. Logan. Both the druid name for the plant and the present-day Gaelic name translate as “all-heal. Edited by Wayland D. Anna Casetta. Making the Cure: A Look at Irish Folk Medicine. K. 2nd rev. In Hereford. 1958. Dallas. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. It has been suggested that one reason why the plant was regarded as sacred was that it never touches the ground. Vitus’s dance (chorea)— for example. Birds eat the berries and brush the sticky seeds from their beaks. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions in Nova Scotia. TX: Southern Methodist University Press. There is a nineteenthcentury record of a woman in Invernessshire. Ed. Scotland. Campbell. George D. Marie. Thomas. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Mistletoe is commonest in the south and west of Britain. 2. In the eighteenth century Thomas Pennant reported on the practice in Scotland of keeping mistletoe all year round to use for fevers and other troubles. Bluenose Magic. in Wiltshire (Macpherson MSS) and in Sussex (Arthur 1989: 45). 1968. Epilepsy was treated with it in East Anglia and in Herefordshire (Jobson 1959: 144. TX: Encino Press. Mistletoe (Viscum album) Traditionally believed to have been a sacred plant of the druids. Newbell Niles. Black. London. 1849 ff. Rhymes and Railroad Tracks. 1772. 1883. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. the mistletoe growing on hawthorn was favored for treating epilepsy (Leather 1912: 79). A Tour in Scotland and Voyage to the Hebrides.Mistletoe : 239 References Anderson. These records from Scotland are of particular interest since the plant rarely occurs there in the wild and so was presumably deliberately grown for use. Mary.

Warts. Harvey Macpherson. 24 (1992): 112. In North American folk medicine there are records of the use of mistletoe for curing headache. 1994.). A Sussex Life. Epilepsy. no. 1967. palsy. also called mistletoe. Gabrielle. for dizziness (Wilson 1968: 323). Hatfield. Headache. rheumatism. 1944. Macpherson MSS. References Arthur. London: Phoenix House. Francis H. Santa Fe. London: Barrie and Jenkins. Heart trouble. Viscum album is not native to North America. Edinburgh: Polygon. “Folk Customs in Southeast Tennessee. The Englishman’s Flora. Grady M. 1958. Alternatively. Bull. Hereford and London: Jakeman and Carver 1912. Ray B. witchcraft. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. and tuberculosis are also treated with this species and the related Phoradendron flavescens (Kavasch and Baar 1999: 163). Epilepsy. Rituals and Remedies for Every Season of Life. Beith. 393–394). Vickery 1995: 242– 243. 1955. Ethnobotany of the Navaho. In Suffolk Borders. and for hives (Browne 1958: 20). and lightning (Notes and Queries. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Long. Leather. These varied surviving medical uses for mistletoe suggest a significant role indeed for the plant in the past. Reprint 1907. Countryman. G. high blood pressure. University College London. Popular Beliefs and Super- . and Karen Baar. strokes. Plant Lore Notes and News. Jobson. E. H. 1998. Geoffrey. have been used to treat a large number of conditions—for instance. An infusion made from the berries has been used to treat epilepsy (Long 1961: 80). 1989.240 . Barrie. Daniel E. in the archives of the Folklore Society. American Indian Healing Arts: Herbs. mistletoe has been worn as an amulet against epilepsy (Puckett 1981: 367). An echo of the English veterinary use of mistletoe is found in the Zuni use of Phoradendron juniperum to prevent postpartum bleeding in humans (Stevenson 1915: 55). hemorrhage. Grigson.” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 27 (1961): 76–84. Mistletoe record from seventeenth-century Essex of its use in cleansing cows of the afterbirth (Vickery 1995: 243). “The Mistletoe in Herefordshire. and sores (Moerman 1998: 84. Woodbridge: Boydell. 4 (1857) 506. Browne. Notes and Queries. In Native American medicine the related native genera Arceuthobium and Phoradendron. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. Collection of folk medicines compiled by J. Fevers. 4 (1857). (ed. Ella Mary. The Memories of Gilbert Sargent. Elmore. Instructions for gathering mistletoe sometimes specify that the plant must not touch human hands or the ground (Walker 1955: 10). The Folk-Lore of Herefordshire Collected from Oral and Printed Sources. OR: Timber Press. either by chewing the leaves or simply wearing them in a hat (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_5397). Portland. Whiting 1939: 72. Elmore 1944: 41). 1999. NM: School of American Research. warts. London: Robert Hale. An infusion of mistletoe has been drunk for high blood pressure (Puckett 1981: 367). 1995. Moerman. Baldness. In Herefordshire too the plant was given to cows and to sheep after giving birth (Grigson 1955: 202). Newbell Niles. Native American Ethnobotany. Mary. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Woolhope Naturalists’ Field Club (1852–65): 312–47. Dave. as well as baldness. This same species is used by Native American herbal healers today to treat diarrhea and stomach problems. Puckett. Diarrhea. Kavasch. Folklore Studies 9. Allan. Both European and North American mistletoes have magical associations and are traditionally believed to protect against poison. See also Amulet.” Trans. Hives. New York: Bantam Books.

in the twentieth century. Wilson. DC: Smithsonian Institution. the molds growing on the sides of caves were used in wound treatment. In Sussex. Hall. the properties of molds are referred to in ancient Egyptian writings of about 1500 B. small pieces were cut off. 3 vols. and plastered on the injury. “A Sampling of Folklore from Rutherford County. made into a mash. In much more recent times. The resulting ointment was much in demand locally (Wainwright 1989: 163). A seventeenth-eighteenth century household book from Norfolk records the use of a poultice of rotten apple to treat sore eyes. Roy. Stevenson. 1981. In the Highlands of Scotland. the fungus from around the bottom of beech trees was collected and mixed with vaseline and used for “septic places” (Prince 1991: 119). Anna Casetta. In Herefordshire. Thiederman. North Carolina. the mold was then scraped off into pots. Matilda Coxe. “Ethnobotany of the Hopi. The practice has been used within living memory in East Anglia (Hatfield MS).” Traditionally a small loaf from a baking on Good Friday was preserved. Vickery. John.” It consists of Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria) beaten in butter. mold from jam was applied to cuts before bandaging (Prince 1991: 113). K. : 241 Molds Long before the official Western “discovery” of antibiotics. A letter in the Daily Express in 1943 describes how a Suffolk lady used to smear copper pennies with lard and leave them in a damp place to grow mold. for use in first aid. Edited by Wayland D. “Local Plants in Folk Remedies in the Mammoth Cave Region. In Essex. In North American folk medicine. especially for damaged limbs (Beith 1995: 179). the blue mold from bread was used to prevent cuts from festering (Foster 1951: 62). Walker. In Devon and Cornwall. In Ireland.” Museum of Northern Arizona Bulletin 15 (1939). molds were used in much the same way. molds have featured in folk medicine. Boston: G. 1959: 343). Washington. (Kamel 1960: 487–488). 1995.Molds stitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. sometimes for many years. On the Scottish island of Mull. this procedure was used to treat animals as well as humans (Townend 1944: 158–159). Hand. and Sondra B. Alfred F. then left in a cellar to go moldy (Gunton Household Book).” North Carolina Folklore 3(2) (December 1955): 6–16.C. When a family member became injured. Meade records the use of moldy bread and milk to . Ethnobotany of the Zuni Indians. Bureau of American Ethnology Annual Report 30. The same manuscript contains the recipe for an ointment for treating “green wounds or any swellings. The mold from leather was used similarly (Wainwright 1989: 163) in Cambridge. Gordon.” Southern Folklore Quarterly 32 (1968): 320–327. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Moldy apples have been used in the twentieth century to treat stys (Anon. One of the best known and best-documented examples in Britain is that of “Good Friday Bread. moldy curd tarts were saved from Christmas baking and used to treat cuts (Prince 1991: 95). There are records of the use of moldy soya beans to treat wounds in China three thousand years ago (Bickel 1972: 60–61) and of a moldy corn mash in the Jewish Talmud (Townend 1944: 158–159). right up to the twentieth century. In Yorkshire. Molds on other foodstuffs were used in folk medicine. 1915. Whiting. the value of molds in healing had been realized and used by folk medicine for a wide variety of conditions. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. the cloth from around a cheese “with the mold still adhering” was used to heal wounds (Hatfield MSS). milk was kept until it went moldy and the mold used to treat ulcerated legs (Beith 1995: 179).

It was also unlucky to see the new moon through trees or other obstacles (Radford and Radford 1961: 237.” Folklore 70 (1959): 343–344. and the word “lunacy. Rise Up to Life.” Egyptian Medical Association Journal 43 (1960). Gabrielle. R. Wounds. M. Insanity was thought to be worse at the time of a full moon.” Folklore 100(2) (1989): 162–166. IL: Meyerbooks. G. A cure for whooping cough was to take afflicted children outside and let them look at the moon while their stomachs were rubbed and a charm recited (Radford and Radford 1961: 239). there is a record of using cheese mold to heal a sore (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_5474). Norwich. Vitamins and Hormones in History. Mary. “Home Remedies in Rural America. R. Poultice. Grandmother’s Cures: An A–Z Of Herbal Remedies. 1985. From the western South. “Antibiotics. In the UCLA folk medicine archives there are records of the use of moldy bread applied to wounds (Schedler 1971: 13). Edinburgh: Polygon. Milton. Meade. Church of St. Meyer. for at that References Anonymous. Foster. Can Dermatology Dis- . London: Angus and Robertson. Moon The moon has been regarded as a cause of mental illness by a very wide variety of different cultures. Manuscript Notes in Her Personal Possession. Clarence. “Penicillin in Folk Medicine. The phase of the moon at the time of a child’s birth was believed to control the child’s destiny and health. and over a great time span. there is a record of the use of wet tree mold to treat wounds (UCLA Folklore Archives 24_5574). B. Beith. Glenwood.” of course.242 .” Annals of the New York Academy of Science 120 (1965): 823–828. Kamel. Bickel. Moldy bread also features in an ointment used to treat animal bites (UCLA Folklore Archives 11_5260). See also Cuts. 1991. L. Ulster Folklore. 238). London: Fontana. Sleeping in moonlight was considered dangerous. Dennis. From Missouri. Hatfield. causing madness or blindness (Radford and Radford 1974: 239). treat infections (Meade 1965: 823–828). “Moulds in Folk Medicine. 1972. Moonlight plays a part in several wart cures: blowing on warts at the time of a full moon was one such cure. and in the Orkneys it was believed that a marriage celebrated at the time of a waning moon would not be fruitful (Radford and Radford 1961: 239). A child born under a waning moon would be unlucky. derives from this belief. Meyer records the use of pork rind “well molded” placed between bandages and applied to a wound to draw out infection. Peter Mancroft. even the sex of the next child to be born in the family (Black 1883: 128). Jeanne Cooper. American Folk Medicine. Eye problems. H. Carter. “Bathing” the warts in moonbeams in a metal dish was a folk remedy made famous by Sir Kenelm Digby in the seventeenth century. Schedler. Townend. Belfast: H. At least until the mid-nineteenth century it was traditional to curtsey to a new moon and unlucky to point at the moon. Prince. Moon place Dishrags?” Publications of the Texas Folklore Society 35 (1971): 11–17. an idea that is still controversial today. 1951. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicine of the Highlands and Islands.” Notes and Queries 186 (1944). 1995. “Gypsies’ Penicillin. “Folk Medicine in Denton County Today: Or. In Scotland it is suggested that medicine for treating worms is best administered at full moon. Manuscript Seventeenth/Eighteenth Century. The informant adds that the pork rind is kept in the cellar for use when needed (Meyer 1985: 278). Gunton Household Book. Wainwright. Paul W.

an idea which is still controversial today. 7: 184– 189). The rabbit skins used for treating frostbite should be from rabbits killed in the dark of the moon (Thomas and Thomas 1920: 103). In North American folk medicine there is a belief that conception is more likely to occur at the time of a full moon (Parler 1962. . 6: 293). (National Library of Medicine) time the worms are more likely to come out (Buchan 1994: 107). Many records document the idea that it is unlucky to view the moon through obstacles (including glass windows) and lucky to view it in other ways (Brown 1952–1964. Sitting under a full moon was reckoned to be a cure for freckles (Puckett 1981: 383). 3: 14). 7: 189). The phase of the moon. Sleeping in moonlight will make one go crazy (Brown 1952–1964. a belief evidently held on both sides of the Atlantic. Among the Native Americans the lunar cycle was the basis of the calendar. hysteria can be cured by dipping the sufferer in an icy stream at the same phase of the moon (Neal 1955: 291). could alter the outcome of a remedy. It was thought to control subconscious activity. It was unlucky to point at the moon—the finger would rot off (Cannon 1984: 108). The moon could indicate when the birth of a baby was imminent (Frankel 1970: 76). hair cut at full moon will grow faster (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_5657). Stomach ailments are under the control of the moon (Brown 1952–1964. 3: 166). Insanity was thought to be worse at the time of a full moon. Boys who learned to walk at new moon would be fast runners (Parler 1962. A child born at full moon was destined to become a lunatic (Cannon 1984: 34). it was believed. and one’s personality was affected by the phase of the moon at one’s birth.Moon : 243 The moon has been regarded as a cause of mental illness by a very wide variety of different cultures. and that it was bad luck to point at the moon (Brown 1952–1964. both beliefs found in Britain. 6: 356). the moon played an important role in their religious as well as healing ceremonies.

Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. These so-called mosses may well have been species of lichens. London: Book Club Associates 1974. Janice C. Encyclopaedia of Superstitions.” New York Folklore Quarterly 11 (1955): 277–291. 1952–1964. 7 vols. moss was used as an absorbent . Radford. and Lucy Blayney Thomas. 6: 123) or via the instrument causing the wound (Spicer 1937: 154). Boston: G. Other mosses in a general sense have been used in British folk medicine for treating insect bites and stings (Hatfield MS) and to staunch bleeding (Allen and Hatfield.). Frank C. Newbell Niles. wounds were treated with moss from human skulls (Logan 1972: 89). Warts. Hand and Jeannine E. the moss from tombstones was carried as a protective amulet against agues and rheumatism (Souter 1995: 35). 1962. in press. in British folk medicine different types of moss were often not distinguished. Edited and revised by Christina Hole. Whooping cough. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. and Sondra B. “Moss” from a dead man’s skull was famously used in both folk medicine and official medicine for curing bleeding and headaches (Black 1883: 96–97). Thomas. Portland. In North American folk medicine moss from a human skull was similarly recommended for treating a wound. Folk Tradition and Folk Medicine in Scotland: The Writings of David Rorie. Among the Pennsylvania Germans it was also used. Sphagnum moss. “Grandad: Pioneer Medicine Man. K. A. Moss See also Freckles. David (ed. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. Anthon S. William George. 3 vols. Bleeding. Kentucky Superstitions. for treating vomiting (Brendle and Unger 1935: 177). Such moss was sometimes a constituent of the so-called weapon salve. Puckett. Daniel Lindsay. Parler. Hand. Edited by Wayland D. M. “Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans: The Non-Occult Cures. NC: Duke University Press. See also Amulet. Anna Casetta. either directly (Brown 1952–1964. Princeton. References Allen. 7 vols.244 . and University Student Contributors. combined with marigold water.. Wounds. Frankel. Durham. Skull. Unger. London: Folklore Society. In Ireland. Frank C. 1970. which was popular in the seventeenth century (Radford and Radford 1974: 368). Hall. 1883. Mary Celestia. David. Black. in press). Worms. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. E. NC: Duke University Press. Buchan. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. and the term frequently covered some of the lichens as well. Durham. Headache. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. and Claude W.. and Gabrielle Hatfield. In general. Cannon. Thiederman.A. William George. 1952–1964. References Black. Barbara. Sympathetic magic. Brown. Insect bites and stings. Perhaps as an extension of this idea. Brown. 15 vols. Temple University. Frostbite. 1920. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. dressing and as a styptic. Radford. Talley. 1883. London: Folklore Society. Thomas R. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Neal. thesis. Edited by Wayland D. 1994. Edinburgh: Canongate Academic.” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45 (1935). OR: Timber Press. 1981. Childbirth in the Ghetto: Folk Beliefs of Negro Women in a North Philadelphia Hospital Ward. NJ: Princeton University Press. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. and M. such as Usnea. 1984. Brendle. Moss Apart from Sphagnum moss.

The whole mouse. Salmon’s English Physician. palpitations. and wearing a dead mouse was a recommended treatment for warts (Parler 1962. Spicer. “Medicine and Magic in the New England Colonies. the urine for gout. the dung for worms in children (Salmon 1693: 393– 397). as well as for bites and removing splinters. there are records of fried mice given for bedwetting. It was also used to treat diabetes (Allen 1995: 114). For pain. burned to ashes. Mouse broth was given. E. as well as for whooping cough (Allen 1995: 114). Scotland. A. squeezing a mouse to death was suggested (Browne 1958: 123). roast mouse was also considered a cure for bed-wetting. Reputedly. The powder. persisted in Scotland and parts of England well into the twentieth century (Prince 1991: 104). Encyclopaedia of Superstitions. Patrick. the milk in which a mouse has been boiled was used to procure barrenness in women in Ireland (Black 1883: 159 footnote). For infant colic the head of a freshly killed mouse was hung around the neck of the child (UCLA Folklore Archives 21_5889). is the basis of an ointment to treat baldness. at Naqada in Egypt (Beith 1995: 179). The dish apparently tastes similar to chicken (Hatfield MSS). Four thousand years later. and M. a mother in Cromarty. In ancient Egypt. Making the Cure: A Look at Irish Folk Medicine. Saffron Walden: C. published in 1693. W. The child recovered (Beith 1995: 8). A mixture of mouse meat and lard has been given to children to rid them of worms (Cannon 1984: 38). and an amulet consisting of a mouse bladder was used in the Scottish Highlands for the same purpose (Souter 1995: 137). and the liver is given for fever. was fed to a child to cure bedwetting. Daniel. Keith. Mice also figure in a quite different as- . : 245 Mouse The use of fried mouse for treating whooping cough is a folk remedy that. Roast mouse has also been used in Aberdeenshire for treating jaundice (Black 1883: 159). Dublin: Talbot Press. A Sussex variant is to bake the mouse to a cinder and powder it. but it is known that mouse was regarded by Eastern medicine as a remedy for a child in extremis. In North America. This remedy has also been reported from England (Prince 1991: 12). 48). 1995. To put all these strange remedies into perspective.. it should be remembered that the official materia medica of Western medicine contained many animal products right up to the eighteenth century. the blood is to be used for warts and to clear the eyes. The flesh of the mouse is recommended for consumption. Roast mouse has been eaten for measles (Welsch 1966: 363) and for fever (Whitney and Bullock 1925: 85). Radford. 6: 47. gave her seriously ill child the liver of a mouse. At least some of these mouse remedies can be found in official Western medicine. Edited and revised by Christina Hole.” Trained Nurse 99 (1937): 153–156. Roast mouse has been used to treat croup in children (Gutch 1912: 69). and it has been found in the alimentary canal of children’s remains dating to the fourth millennium B. The origin of the remedy is obscure. Souter. mixed with jam. and fried rat has also been recorded for the same purpose (Brown 1952–1964. surprisingly. Dorothy Gladys. included a chapter on mice. and faintings. 1974. 3: 1076).Mouse Logan. 1972. the gall for eyesight. Radford. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. more generally for “illness” (Koch 1980: 128). London: Book Club Associates. Ashes of mouse mixed with honey were rubbed on the teeth for bad breath (UCLA Folklore Archive 15_2196). In Sussex roast or stewed mouse was used as a treatment for consumption and diphtheria. the fat treats tumors.C.

In North America there are records of other associations between mice and teeth. Manuscript notes in personal possession of Gabrielle Hatfield. 7 vols. mugwort gave one the ability “to run all day” (Tongue 1965: 33). Printed Extracts 8. 1958. References Allen. London: Folklore Society. William E. The Compleat English Physician. 1995. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Worms. Parler. (Eliza). Whooping cough. Smoking the dried herb was found to prevent tiredness and increase appetite (Beith 1995: 229). Dennis. From all over the world there are reports similar to the practice in the Highlands of Scotland of placing a child’s milk tooth at the entrance to a mouse hole. Hand and Jeannine E. Roger L. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. As recently as the early years of the twentieth century a Somerset man claimed that if the plant is picked right. 1883. Keith. Prince. William. Talley. London: Folklore Society. Browne.246 . 15 vols. A Treasury of Nebraska Pioneer Folklore.” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45 (1935). Black. Brendle. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. “Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans: The Non-Occult Cures. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas.D. Salmon. 1995. G. Cannon. A string used to hang three mice was placed around a child’s neck to assist in teething (Brendle and Unger 1935: 120). “Folk-Lore from Maryland. Edited by Wayland D. Sir J. Welsch. Unger. London: Fontana. and University Student Contributors. Mary Celestia. Fevers. Colic. Brown. Examples of Printed Folk-Lore Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) This is one of the nine sacred herbs described in the Anglo-Saxon Lacnunga. Mrs. Durham. Wintemberg. M. Placed inside shoes. Jaundice. Beith. William George. 1923. 1980. Abridged edition. Bad breath. a cure for toothache is to eat a crust that the mice have gnawed (Wintemberg 1899: 48). W. Newbury: Countryside Books. Teething. See also Amulet. Frazer in the Golden Bough reports similar practices from Germany and from the Pacific island of Raratonga (Frazer 1923: 39). and asking for a strong new tooth in return (Beith 1995: 179). London. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. “Items of German-Canadian Folk-Lore. In folk medicine one of its main uses in Britain . Tuberculosis. Andrew. Whitney. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. London: Macmillan. Folklore Studies 9. 1693. 1952–1964. Saffron Walden: C. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications.” Journal of American Folklore 12 (1899): 45–50. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. KS: Regent Press. 1984. Daniel. 1962. Souter. Hatfield MSS. Thomas R. It was also considered to keep away evil spirits. Annie Weston. Koch. Anthon S. pect of folk medicine. Ray B. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion. 1912. Frank C. Bed-wetting. 1966. Lawrence. Toothache. and in British folk medicine it has filled a dual role of protection and therapy (Grigson 1955: 382). 1991. NC: Duke University Press. and Claude W. Warts. Grandmother’s Cures: An A–Z of Herbal Remedies. Mugwort Concerning the East Riding of Yorkshire. Croup. J.. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Folklore from Kansas: Beliefs and Customs. Gutch. Diabetes. Mary. and Caroline Canfield Bullock.” Memoirs of the American Folklore Society 18 (1925). Frazer. Edinburgh: Polygon. 1995. W. County Folk-Lore 6. there is nothing one cannot wish for (Tongue 1965: 33).

Brendle. is used for intestinal spasm and for treating diabetes (Kay 1996: 106). 189) and for women’s complaints (Lick and Brendle 1922: 39). the plant was used for treating edema. “For a poor country woman in labor. It was so highly valued that there is a Mexican saying. S. Rheumatism. difficult childbirth and retained afterbirth and to prevent infection of the umbilical cord (Kay 1996: 71). Beith. and as an aid to delivery (Moerman 1998: 101–102). the name “mugwort” usually being applied to other species of Artemisia. Unger. to induce sweating (Brendle and Unger 1935: 90. In Native American practice Artemisia vulgaris has been used for a number of conditions. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. 1995.Mugwort : 247 has been as a woman’s herb. It was also used in North American folk medicine to counteract plant poisoning (Meyer 1985: 200). the reputation of Artemisia in North America was similar to that in British folk medicine: it was primarily an herb for women (Le ´vi-Strauss 1966: 46). but estafiate never” (Campa 1950: 341). a footnote adds that the plant can be dried and kept for use all through the year. There is a proverb in Scotland.. to induce childbirth all that was necessary was to strap the herb mugwort to the left thigh (Chevallier 1996: 171). tilesii. and these have been used in a wide variety of disorders. pain. and Claude W. including rheumatism. This reputation was held in official medicine too: according to the thirteenthcentury physicians of Myddvai. “God may fail. In the 1920s the plant was still to be found growing in Pennsylvania “around very old gardens” (Lick and Brendle 1922: 298). And the mugwort flowering in the land?” It has a Welsh counterpart. ludoviciana. There are numerous species of Artemisia native to North America. Meyer records the use of mugwort to regulate menstrual function (Meyer 1985: 176). Artemisia vulgaris is known as common wormwood in North America. Until the twentieth century some gardens grew a clump of mugwort for use by the woman of the house (Hatfield 1999: 22). Confusingly. According to Le ´vi-Strauss. there is an entry headed. suggesting that this may have been a remedy that was actually used rather than merely recorded (Gunton Household Book). England. The plant was brought to the New World by European settlers and was reputedly used in frontier medicine to cure tics and twitches. native to North America. Another species of Artemisia. “Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans: . regulating the menstrual cycle and assisting in childbirth. fever. Edinburgh: Polygon. In a seventeenth-century kitchen book kept by successive generations of the Harbord family in Gunton. known in Mexico as estafiate or western mugwort. was used by the Cheyenne to drive away evil spirits (Coffey 1993: 245). A. Several different species have been used in New Mexico to treat dysmenorrhea.” Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 2(4) (1933). The same plant. Gifford. the sagebrush. notably for afterpains of childbirth (Schenck and Gifford 1952: 390) and for the treatment of rheumatism (Barrett and Gifford 1933: 167). “Miwok Material Culture. is very widely used by various Native American tribes for a variety of ailments. and E. W. A.” It consists of an infusion of mugwort. A.. “Wad ye let the bonny may die in your hand. Mary. References Barrett. See also Childbirth. has been called the panacea of the Eskimo peoples (Fortuine 1988: 215). the hands being bathed in water in which the plant had soaked overnight (Souter 1995: 192). Among the Pennsylvania Germans. Thomas R. Artemisia tridentata. Various other species of Artemisia were used similarly for these and many other complaints (Moerman 1998: 92–103).

248

;

Mullein

The Non-Occult Cures.” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45 (1935). Campa, Arthur L. “Some Herbs and Plants of Early California.” Western Folklore 9 (1950): 338–347. Chevallier, Andrew. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. London: Dorling Kindersley, 1996. Coffey, Timothy. The History and Folklore of North American Wildflowers. New York: Facts On File, 1993. Fortuine, Robert. “The Use of Medicinal Plants by the Alaska Natives.” Alaska Medicine 30 (1988): 185–226. Grigson, Geoffrey. The Englishman’s Flora. London: Phoenix House, 1955. Gunton Household Book. Seventeenth/eighteenth century manuscript, Church of St. Peter Mancroft, Norwich. Hatfield, Gabrielle. Memory, Wisdom and Healing: The History of Domestic Plant Medicine. Phoenix Mill: Sutton, 1999. Kay, Margarita Artschwager. Healing with Plants in the American and Mexican West. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1996. Le ´vi-Strauss, Claude. The Savage Mind (La Pense ´e Sauvage). London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1966. Lick, David E., and Thomas R. Brendle. “Plant Names and Plant Lore among the Pennsylvania Germans.” Proceedings and Addresses of the Pennsylvania German Society 33 (1922). Meyer, Clarence. American Folk Medicine. Glenwood, IL: Meyerbooks, 1985. Moerman, Daniel E. Native American Ethnobotany. Portland, OR: Timber Press, 1998. Schenck, Sara M., and E. W. Gifford. “Karok Ethnobotany.” Anthropological Records 13(6) (1952): 377–392. Souter, Keith. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. Saffron Walden: C. W. Daniel, 1995. Tongue, Ruth L. Somerset Folklore. Edited by Katherine Briggs. County Folklore 8. London: Folklore Society, 1965.

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
This plant has been used as long as records can be traced, in both official and folk

medicine, particularly for treating respiratory troubles. A cough mixture is made from the leaves (Newman 1945: 356); in Sussex, this has been used to treat whooping cough (Allen 1995: 46). In Ireland, the plant has been specially valued for treating tuberculosis; the leaves have been dried and smoked for the treatment of consumption and asthma (Vickery 1995: 251). The plant has also been used to treat colds, bronchitis, and catarrh. The soft flannelly leaves of mullein have been used in Ireland to treat running sores, stings, and goiter; the juice has been used as a rub for the pain of rheumatism (Allen and Hatfield, in press). At least since the seventeenth century, the plant has also been used to treat warts (Allen 1995: 178). One of its old English names is “hagtaper,” or hedgetaper, from the use of the plant in the past as a wick. One of its names in Ireland, Mary’s candle, also reflects this use. The plant was introduced in North America and has been widely used in folk medicine there in much the same way as in Britain. Meyer records its use for treating asthma and coughs (Meyer 1985: 33–35, 83). As in Ireland, it has also been used to treat tuberculosis; an infusion of the flowers was recommended for consumption (Anon. 1939: 210). The plant has also been used to treat bedwetting, diarrhea, sore feet, as a drink to soothe flu, and for treating hay fever (Meyer 1985: 36, 91, 120, 132, 136). An infusion of the seeds has been used to treat headache, and to control suppression of urine or loss of control of urination (Meyer 1985: 138, 155, 156). The juice of the fresh leaves has been snuffed up to stop nosebleeds, and as “Adam’s flannel” the leaves have been used as toilet paper and to treat piles (Meyer 1985: 189, 194). Even carrying the leaves in a pocket is said to prevent piles (Brendle and Unger 1935: 184). As in Ireland, the leaves have been used as a poultice for treating swellings, sprains, and inflammation. A tea made from the

Mullein

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flowers has been recommended for stomach upsets (Meyer 1985: 202, 236). Diarrhea has been treated with mullein tea, and the same infusion has been used as a lotion for swollen limbs in dropsy (Brown 1952– 1964, 6: 170, 173). Eczema has been treated with glycerine and mullein leaf tea (Browne 1958: 60). Diabetes has also been treated with mullein leaf tea (Wintemberg 1925: 621). In Native American medicine, the plant has been used to treat a wide range of ailments, including teething, rheumatism, cuts, fevers, piles, and respiratory troubles of all kinds (Moerman 1998: 590–591). The dried leaves have been smoked to treat fits, hiccups, and “craziness,” as well as asthma.
See also Asthma, Bed-wetting, Colds, Coughs, Cuts, Diabetes, Diarrhea, Dropsy, Eczema, Fevers, Hay fever, Headache, Nosebleed, Piles, Poultice, Rheumatism, Sore feet, Tuberculosis, Warts, Whooping cough.

References
Allen, Andrew. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. Newbury: Countryside Books, 1995.

Allen, David, and Gabrielle Hatfield. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. Portland, OR: Timber Press, in press. Anonymous. Idaho Lore. Caldwell, ID: AMS Press Incorporated, 1939. Brendle, Thomas R., and Claude W. Unger. “Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans: The Non-Occult Cures.” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45 (1935). Brown, Frank C. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. 7 vols. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1952–1964. Browne, Ray B. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Folklore Studies 9. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications, 1958. Meyer, Clarence. American Folk Medicine. Glenwood, IL: Meyerbooks, 1985. Moerman, Daniel E. Native American Ethnobotany. Portland, OR: Timber Press, 1998. Newman, Leslie F. “Some Notes on Folk Medicine in the Eastern Counties.” Folk-Lore 56 (1945): 349–360. Vickery, Roy. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995. Wintemberg, W. J. “Some Items of NegroCanadian Folk-Lore.” Journal of American Folklore 38 (1925): 621.

;N:
Native American tradition
Spirituality is the single outstanding characteristic of Native American healing. Religion and medicine are so closely intertwined that most religious ceremonies are associated with either healing or maintenance of health. Health is regarded as a state of balance, illness as a loss of this balance. Native American knowledge of the healing properties of plants is probably unsurpassed, but the plants themselves are regarded as only agents in the healing process. Of equal importance is the empowerment of the herbs, which can be done only by the doctor and the treatment that he provides, including the traditional songs that he sings over the patient (Snow and Stans 2001: xv). The medicine man, who may or may not be a doctor himself, is the keeper of the medicine bundles used in the most sacred healing ceremonies, such as the Green Corn Dance of the Seminole Indians, or the Nightway ceremony of the Navajo. To the rationalist Western mind, it is all too easy to dismiss the spiritual and magical elements in Native American healing; if we do this, we are ignoring a whole dimension of the healing process, a dimension well represented in Lyon’s fascinating study (Lyon 1996). Not only do the ceremonies vary from one tribe to another, but the plants used in healing also vary, as a glance at Moerman’s index of tribes will quickly demonstrate (Moerman 1998: 625–764).
See also Concepts of disease, Medicine man.

References
Lyon, William S. Encyclopedia of Native American Healing. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1996. Moerman, Daniel E. Native American Ethnobotany. Portland, OR: Timber Press, 1998. Snow, Alice Micco, and Susan Enns Stans. Healing Plants: Medicine of the Florida Seminole Indians. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2001.

Nausea
In British folk medicine for morning sickness during pregnancy, raspberry leaves have been eaten (CECTL MSS). For general nausea, an infusion of balm (Melissa officinalis) has been used (Lafont 1984: 11). Various mints (Mentha spp.) were used in herbalism for treating nausea and indigestion, and sometimes these were used in folk medicine too. In one remedy, a mixture of mint and ginger was used (F.C.W., pers. com., 1988). For travel sickness, jellied eel and pigeon pie have been recommended. Carrying a caul was thought to protect sailors against seasickness (Souter 1995: 40, 193). In North American folk medicine an in-

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Nettle Lafont, Anne-Marie. Herbal Folklore. Bideford: Badger Books, 1984. Larson, John A. “Medicine among the Indians.” Quarterly Bulletin of NorthWestern Medical School 27 (1953): 246–249. Macdonald, Elizabeth. “Indian Medicine in New Brunswick.” Canadian Medical Association Journal 80(3) (1959): 220–224. Meyer, Clarence. American Folk Medicine. Glenwood, IL: Meyerbooks, 1985. Smith, Walter R. “Animals and Plants in Oklahoma Folk Cures.” In Folk-Say: A Regional Miscellany. Edited by B. A. Botkin. Norman: Oklahoma Folk-Lore Society, 1929, 69–78. Souter, Keith. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. Saffron Walden: C.W. Daniel, 1995. Welch, Charles E., Jr. “Some Drugs of the North American Indian: Then and Now.” Keystone Folklore Quarterly 9(3) (1964): 83–99.

fusion of goldenrod (Solidago sp.) was used to treat nausea (Clark 1970: 11). Chamomile tea was used for nausea as well as indigestion (UCLA Folklore Archives 3_5431). Willow ashes in water were another recommendation (Smith 1929: 72), as was an infusion of dried chicken gizzards (UCLA Folklore Archives 4_5431). Other remedies include egg white and lemon, wormwood tincture (Artemisia sp.), cayenne pepper, strong green tea, chamomile tea, peppermint essence (from Mentha piperita), or chewing a leaf of mint (Mentha sp.) or sage (Salvia sp.) (Meyer 1985: 184). It was suggested that nausea in pregnancy could be prevented by ensuring that the husband sampled everything that the wife drank (UCLA Folklore Archives 2_6048). For general nausea, a dishrag on the throat or a red string tied around the waist are other suggestions (Brown 1952– 1964, 6: 236). For trainsickness, a piece of stationery placed on the chest is believed to be a preventative (Brown 1952–1964, 6: 307). Among the Native Americans, plants used to treat nausea include yarrow (Welch 1964: 84), spearmint (Mentha sp.) (Macdonald 1959: 222), and ragweed (Ambrosia spp.) (Larson 1953: 246). Indian cup-plant (Silphium perfoliatum) was used to alleviate pregnancy sickness (Meyer 1985: 208).
See also Caul, Cayenne, Chamomile, Indigestion, Willow, Yarrow.

Nettle
See Stinging nettle.

Nosebleed
Folklore has provided some novel ways of stopping nosebleeds, many of them based on coldness, such as sliding a cold key down the sufferer’s back, or holding a cold flannel on the forehead. The cold-key remedy has been claimed to be the remnant of an old Norse ritual connected with Thor (Black 1883: 183). A ceremonial treatment recorded from Worcestershire involves the “healer” bowing to the sufferer and touching his right forefinger if the bleeding is from the left nostril, and vice versa (Black 1883: 191). A shock tactic recorded from the Scottish Highlands was to hold a live toad in front of the sufferer’s face (Beith 1995: 187). More drastically, in Northamptonshire a toad was killed and hung around the person’s neck to stop nosebleed

References
Brown, Frank C. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. 7 vols. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1952–1964. CECTL MSS. Manuscript notes in the Centre for English Cultural Tradition and Language, University of Sheffield. Clark, Joseph D. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66.

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(Black 1883: 62). In the seventeenth century, Boyle recorded how he had cured his own nosebleeds by using moss from a human skull (Black 1883: 96). A skein of scarlet thread tied around the neck with nine knots was suggested to prevent nosebleeds in the nineteenth century. The knots were to be tied by a man for a woman patient, and vice versa (Black 1883: 111). In Norfolk in the twentieth century it was recommended to take a large marble with a hole in it and thread this onto a red thread, tying a knot every three inches. This was worn as a necklace to cure nosebleeds (Mundford Primary School project, 1980, unpub.). Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), sometimes called “nosebleed,” had an ambivalent role. It was used to stop bleeding from the nose taken as an infusion, but the leaves stuffed up the nose could provoke a nosebleed, leading to the superstition that if a girl wanted to know whether her boyfriend loved her, she could put the leaves up her nose: if her nose bled, then her love would be reciprocated (Page 1983: 41). This was surely preferable to the remedy recorded in Orkney and Shetland, which was to plug the nose with fresh pig dung to stop it bleeding (Markwick 1975: 130). In the seventeenth century yew berries were apparently used to treat nosebleed (Wright 1912: 233). A slice of cold raw potato held on the back of the neck, or a bunch of broom (Cytisus scoparius) around the neck, were Scottish remedies for a nosebleed (Beith 1995: 209, 235). A green seaweed applied to the temples was another remedy used in the nineteenth century in the Scottish Highlands (Beith 1995: 239). Meyer records a variety of North American folk treatments for nosebleeds, many of them the same as those recorded in Britain. Two of interest seem like “sanitized” versions of the Orkney remedy above— stuffing a wedge of salt pork, or ground

beef, up the nose. Raising one or both arms above the head is suggested. Soaking the feet in hot water is an alternative (Meyer 1985: 188–189). Putting a piece of newspaper between the upper lip and the gum (Killion and Waller 1972), tying a red thread around the thumb (similar to Britain, above) (Thomas and Thomas 1920: 95), or snuffing up ashes from a burned goose feather (Roy 1955: 79) are further suggestions for stopping a nosebleed. Allowing the blood to drip onto twigs placed in the form of a cross or onto the place where a brick lay, then replacing the brick, or inserting into the nostril an odd number of hairs plucked from the underarm, are further nosebleed remedies (Brown 1952– 1964, 6: 239, 243, 247). Herbal suggestions include snuffing up powder of horsetail (Equisetum spp.) or juice of mullein or witch hazel (Hamamelis mollis), all of which are known to staunch bleeding in general. Chewing the roots of nettles is suggested as a preventative for nosebleeds. It has been maintained that drinking an infusion of yarrow for three days will prevent nosebleeds for a year (Meyer 1985: 188–189). In the Spanish Southwest, the blue-green alga that forms slime on ponds was applied to the back of the neck and left to turn yellow as a preventative for nosebleeds (Micheletti 1998: 252). A few drops of dragon’s blood from the dragon tree (Arisaema sp.) simply held in the hand are maintained to stop a nosebleed (Wilson 1908: 70). In Native American practice, among the Blackfoot, pieces of puffball were held to the nose for nosebleeds (Hellson 1974: 84). A large variety of other plants have been used to stem a nosebleed, including woodland pinedrops (Pterospora andromeda). The stem and berries are used to make an infusion, which is snuffed up the nose (Grinnell 1905: 39).

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Nosebleed Meyer, Clarence. American Folk Medicine. Glenwood, IL: Meyerbooks, 1985. Micheletti, Enza (ed.). North American Folk Healing: An A–Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association, 1998. Mundford Primary School Project, Norfolk, England, 1980, unpublished. Page, Robin. The Country Way of Love. London: Penguin, 1983. Roy, Carmen. La Litte ´rature Orale en Gaspe ´sie. Bulletin 134, 36 de la Serie Anthropologique. Ottawa: Ministre de Nord Canadien et des Ressources Nationales, (1955): 61– 105, 107–136. Thomas, Daniel Lindsey, and Lucy Blayney Thomas. Kentucky Superstitions. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1920. Wilson, Charles Bundy. “Notes on FolkMedicine.” Journal of American Folklore 21 (1908): 68–73. Wright, A. R. “Seventeenth Century Cures and Charms.” Folk-Lore 23 (1912): 230–236, 490–497.

See also Bleeding, Color, Moss, Mullein, Puffball, Stinging nettle, Toads and frogs, Yarrow, Yew.

References
Beith, Mary. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Edinburgh: Polygon, 1995. Black, William George. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. London: Folklore Society, 1883. Brown, Frank C. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. 7 vols. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1952–1964. Grinnell, George Bird. “Some Cheyenne Plant Medicines.” American Anthropologist 7 (1905): 37–43. Hellson, John C. Ethnobotany of the Blackfoot Indians. Mercury Series 19. Ottawa: National Museums of Canada, 1974. Killion, Ronald G., and Charles T. Waller. A Treasury of Georgia Folklore. Atlanta: Cherokee, 1972. Markwick, Ernest. The Folklore of Orkney and Shetland. London: Batsford, 1975.

;O :
Onion (Allium cepa)
The origin of the cultivated onion is obscure, but it is known that both onion and garlic were cultivated in ancient Egypt (Harrison, Masefield, and Wallis 1985: 166). The onion vividly illustrates the overlap between food and medicine in folk practice. A particularly dramatic example of this is described in the ninthcentury Saga of King Harald. Warriors with severe abdominal injuries were given a meal of onions and herbs; if their injuries shortly afterward smelt of onions, this indicated internal organs were damaged, and they were given up for dead (Beith 1995: 34). Less drastically, onion gruel was regarded as a good cure for colds and fevers, right up to the twentieth century. A Scottish Highland remedy for pneumonia was to place a boiled onion in each armpit (Beith 1995: 231). Onions were cut open and placed in the sickroom, where it was thought that they attracted the infection to themselves, an example of transference. The fact that a cut onion left exposed to the air soon goes black may have supported the idea that it attracts infection. A Scotsman living in England has related the story, told to him by his grandmother, and to her by her grandmother, of a village in the Scottish Highlands where all but her own family were wiped

Like garlic, onions have been used to protect against infection. They have treated a wide range of conditions from earache to frostbite. (Sarah Boait)

out by an epidemic fever. The reason given for her family’s survival was that the house was “all hung about with onions” (Hatfield pers. com.). A much more modern story concerns a farm in Cheshire that escaped the 1988 foot-and-mouth epidemic. This was attributed to the farmer’s wife having placed cut onions along the sills and lintels of the cowsheds (Vickery 1995: 266). Another very widespread folk use for onion was in the treatment of earache: a small piece of roasted onion was placed in the ear. Onions also featured in

sliced onions were applied to the soles of the feet. 120). boils. but in their medicine they used a number of related native species. they were recommended for catarrh. and snake bite (Koch 1980: 112). Onions were also used to treat gravel and stone. or roasted and made into an ointment with soap. An infusion was taken for colic. onions have been used to treat falling hair (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_1872). Chilblains. and gave him his freedom (Meyer 1985: 161). in western Washington. such as wild onion (Allium cernuum) and ramp (Allium tricoccum). Gravel and stone. Syrup made from onions and honey or sugar was used to treat coughs in adults. Bee stings were treated with wild onion by the Native Americans (Vogel 1970: 306). and fevers. Hatfield MS). See also Amulet. Snake bite. For a fever. 266. A. earache. In addition. Sleeplessness. European settlers in North America used onions in folk medicine in many of the same ways. 67. while among the Quinault. rubbed onto the palm of the hand. for gravel and dropsy. Cooked onions were applied to sore feet (Meyer 1985: 118. see above) (UCLA Folklore Archives 11_5304). Colic. Onion cough medicine. to lessen the pain of caning (Opie and Opie 1959: 375). the nodding onion. The UCLA Folklore Archive contains more than two thousand records for folk medicinal uses of onion. 78. and the plant was fried and put on the chest for treating croup (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 47). Insect bites and stings. Corns. warts (Stout 1936: 178). Meyer records its use in treating wasp stings. diphtheria (Puckett 1981: 362). An onion poultice was used in the Scottish highlands for treating toothache (Beith 1995: 231). Onion has even been used by schoolchildren. Asthma. and croup in infants (Meyer 1985: 39. Poultice. were used to soften and remove corns. Onion has been rubbed on bruises and on chilblains (Vickery 1995: 267). while a poultice of salt pork and raw onion was recommended for a sore throat (Meyer 1985: 129. bought the slave. cooked as gruel for colds. A Baptist minister in Virginia was given a recipe for gravel by a slave. a poultice was applied for infections and for sore throats (Jones 1931: 20). 558). Raw. Sore . and to treat insect bites and stings (Hatfield 1994: 29. they provided a thick cough syrup. pneumonia (Browne 1958: 85). Croup. Garlic. it consisted of horsemint tea (Monarda punctata) and red onion juice. 86. burns (as in Britain. Onions soaked in vinegar.256 . Among the Isleta. asthma (UCLA Folklore Archives 10_6176). Fevers. was used as a poultice applied to the feet for fever by the Cherokee. 23. 253). The soaked bulbs were used to treat sores and swellings by the Southern Kwakiutl Indians (Turner and Bell 1973: 272). 65. Coughs. Burns. 43. Many of these are for coughs. cernuum. The minister was cured by this. There are twentieth-century records from the Shinnecock Indians of garden onion placed in the sickroom to draw out a fever (Carr and Westey 1945: 120). 247. whooping cough in children. 100. Colds. after horsemint tea. Sliced and sprinkled with sugar. Cooked onions with cayenne pepper were recommended for insomnia (Meyer 1985: 145). Raw onion was also used to treat minor burns. worms (Puckett 1981: 503). Bruises. and an onion has been carried in the pocket to ward off rheumatism. colds. the plant was chewed and applied to the chest for pleurisy pains (Gunther 1973: 24). and its juice was taken. Onions were not cultivated by the Native Americans in the remote past. Dropsy. Roast onion applied to the wrist on the opposite side of the body from the aching tooth was suggested as a cure for toothache. An onion poultice was applied externally for chest colds. Earache.

The Ethnobotany of the Isleta Indians. Vogel. Gunther. Oxford: Oxford University Press. American Folk Medicine. Hatfield. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Ray B. Nancy Chapman. Anna Casetta. 1958. American Indian Medicine. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Harrison. Otter In the Highlands of Scotland. IL: Meyerbooks.” Economic Botany 27 (1973): 257–310. 1975. Transference. Puckett. 1980. 1994. Hand. Boston: G. Virgil J. G. difficult childbirth was attended by the otter medicine man (UCLA Folklore Archives 20_5807). Thiederman. Volney H. Earl J. Clarence. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century.. For . The Oxford Book of Food Plants. Koch. Roy. Licking the liver of a newly killed otter was thought to give a person the power to cure burns (Goodrich-Freer 1902: 56). Lawrence. In the Native American tradition.Otter : 257 feet. G. Worms. London: Peerage.A. 1959. 1931. Ethnobotany of Western Washington. thesis. (Library of Congress) Vickery. References Beith. as well as being dried and powdered and taken as medicine for smallpox and fevers (Beith 1995: 180). and Mary U. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. Jones. 1985. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Among the Cheyenne. and Michael Wallis. Hall. Mary. the skin of the otter was used as an amulet during childbirth. Erna. Stout. “The Ethnobotany of the Southern Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia. 1981. S. Medicine bags were made from otter skin (Skinner 1925: 433). Opie. William E. M. Browne. 1970. Newbell Niles. Whooping cough. Meyer. Chiltoskey. Edinburgh: Polygon. In the Native American tradition too the otter is valued for its healing powers. 1973. KS: Regent Press. Edited by Wayland D. Rev.” Journal of American Folklore 58 (1945): 113–123. the otter was valued for its healing powers and medicine bags were often made from otter skin. The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren. Bell. “Surviving Folktales and Herbal Lore among the Shinnecock Indians.” Memoirs of the American Folklore Society 29 (1936). K. Toothache. Iona. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. NC: Herald. Gabrielle. Folklore Studies 9. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. In the Scottish Highlands. 1995. Sylva. B. Carr. Turner. Woodbridge: Boydell. “Folklore from Iowa. Glenwood. and Marcus A. London: Oxford University Press. Masefield.. licking the liver of a newly killed otter was thought to give a person the power to cure burns. 3 vols. 1995. 1985. and Carlos Westey. Warts. Hamel. Illness brought on by ingratitude to water animals on the part of a hunter could be cured by an otter medicine man (Vogel 1970: 15). and Peter Opie. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Paul B. ed. and Sondra B. University of New Mexico. M. Folklore from Kansas: Beliefs and Customs. Lloyd G.

” Foxfire 1(3) (1967): 13–20. Mary.” Journal of American Folklore 38 (1925): 425–506. Edinburgh: Polygon. Alanson. “More Folklore from the Hebrides. Marie B. Burns. . Vogel.” Folk-Lore 13 (1902): 29–62. “Traditions of the Iowa Indians. Otter Goodrich-Freer. A. Mellinger. Childbirth. Skinner. American Indian Medicine.258 . See also Amulet. 1995. Fevers. 65–72. Virgil J. lung trouble. 1970. otter brains and the water from a rock fissure was used by the Cherokee (Mellinger 1967: 20). “Medicine of the Cherokees. References Beith. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

3: 809). Thornapple. and Gabrielle Hatfield. Frances. See also African tradition. An African American suggestion was to tie a rope around each ankle to prevent the shaking of palsy (Parler 1962. York and Ainsty. In the Native American tradition the songs sung to treat a patient with palsy had a specially steady rhythm (Densmore 1954: 110). Brown. Paralyzed limbs have been rubbed with stinging nettles (Allen and Hatfield. ideally. because they tremble in the wind. In North American folk medicine jimson weed was sometimes used to treat palsy (Peattie 1943: 118). Printed Extracts Concerning the North Riding of Yorkshire. Spit. 27). Sympathetic magic. such trees became known as “shrew ashes” (Radford and Radford 1974: 308). This is an example of like curing like. David E.P: Palsy This is the old-fashioned term for paralysis. Woodsorrel (Oxalis acetosella) was also used. Stinging nettle. Densmore. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. 1952–1964. “Importance of Rhythm in Songs for the Treatment of the Sick by American Indians.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. ingested. The powdered root of cuckoo pint (Arum maculatum) placed under the tongue and swallowed with saliva was another Irish folk cure for palsy. but in folk medicine it also covered illnesses that caused trembling and shaking. Durham. A bundle of their feathers at the head of the patient’s bed was thought to cure palsy (Parler 1962.. Gutch. NC: Duke University Press. Leeches were also used in palsy treatment (Clark 1970: 26. References Allen. In Irish folk medicine there were a number of plant remedies used to treat it. II. when the animal died.. cured (Souter 1995: 40). The leaves of aspen (Populus tremula) were also used. OR: Timber Press. the patient was. in press. A very ancient remedy for paralysis (as well as lameness) was to place a live mouse or shrew in a box around the neck. 3: 808). 1901. was recommended as a cure for palsy in Yorkshire (Gutch 1901: 177–178). Joseph D. On the other hand. in press). The cowslip (Primula veris) was known as “palsywort” in some parts of Ireland and was used to treat the condition. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. 7 vols. Eliza. The animal was sometimes plugged into a hole in an ash tree.” Scientific Monthly 79(2) (August 1954): 109–112. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. Fasting spittle. to hold a dying chicken or other bird in the hand was thought to cause palsy (Brown 1952–1964. Clark. . Ash. Frank C. London: Folklore Society. County Folklore. Portland. Native American tradition. Vol. Fowl have been associated in folk medicine with palsy. 6: 247).

and M. Radford. and the water in which the leaves have been boiled reputedly prevents baldness (Puckett 1981: 315). Hiccups have apparently been cured by drinking juice from canned peaches (Hand 1966: 144). Peach Parler. Encyclopaedia of Superstitions. Peach (Prunus persica) This plant is thought to have originated in China and is one of the world’s most widely grown trees. 1995. the plant had magical associations and was used ceremonially. Dandruff has been treated with a tea made from peach leaves and sulphur (Clark 1970: 22). Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. Apart from these semimagical beliefs. Roderick. The Great Smokies and the Blue Ridge. Dried and powdered and mixed with chalk. has been stopped using a tea made from peach leaves (Browne 1958: 111). poison ivy and poison oak (UCLA Folklore Archives 2_6461). 1943. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas.260 . It has treated thrush (Browne 1958: 27). Edited and revised by Christina Hole. Keith. diarrhea (Clark 1970: 19). The water in which peach leaves have been boiled has been used as a hot compress to treat appendicitis (Parler 1962: 433). while a tea made from the leaves has been used for stomach ailments in general (Woodhull 1930: 66). ed. it is believed that mixing semen with peach sap will prevent a man being unfaithful to his wife (Hyatt 1978. respectively). its uses in North American folk medicine are widespread. New York: Vanguard Press. and burns have been soothed with a compress of peach leaves (Puckett 1981: 334). it does not appear to have had a role in British folk medicine. Rheumatism has been averted by wearing peach leaves in the hat as an amulet . insect bites and stings (Killion and Waller 1972: 104). In the African tradition. 15 vols. erysipelas (Brown and Ledford 1967: 28). vomiting. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day.. Another major use has been in pain relief. Mary Celestia. the leaves and the seeds were used to treat heartburn (Meyer 1985: 234). and constipation (Lick and Brendle 1922: 277) have all been treated with peach. 6: 237). and snake bite (Browne 1958: 95). Radford. 1962. Indigestion has been treated by chewing the kernels (Koch 1980: 90). were carried as amulets and believed to confer longevity. Although it has been grown in Britain since the sixteenth century and used in official medicine. E. Asian immigrants to North America brought this belief with them (Dwyer 1967). In contrast. 1974. including pregnancy sickness. Saffron Walden: C. Souter. Pain in the neck has been treated using a young twig tied around the neck (Brown 1952– 1964. 5: 415). The peach stones. A. A poultice of peach tree leaves has been used for removing splinters (Hudson 1928: 154) and treating boils (Mason 1957: 30). rashes in general (Puckett 1981: 430). itching (Clark 1970: 24). A peach leaf poultice was regarded as a good general standby for pain relief (Rogers 1941: 27). and University Student Contributors. W. particularly for treating worms in children (Black 1883: 199). In China. Gall stones (Brendle and Unger 1935: 192) and jaundice (Parler 1962: 735) have both been treated using peach (the kernels and a leaf tea. It has treated sore muscles (UCLA Folklore Archives 21_5432) and relieved stone bruises (Long 1962: 1). Daniel. or pits. the practical uses to which it has been put in folk medicine are impressively varied. and the bark was used for an upset stomach (Meyer 1985: 241). Colic was treated with a tea prepared from the bark of the peach tree scraped downward (Rogers 1941: 14). Mixed with buttermilk the leaves have been used to lighten the complexion (Parler 1962: 548). Peattie. London: Book Club Associates. Dysentery (Puckett 1981: 363).

Hassrick. The peach has had gynecological uses too in folk medicine. John. 1883. a use echoed in official medicine and herbalism in Britain. Snake bite. Rheumatism. Erysipelas. and kidney trouble (Speck. and peach kernels have been rubbed onto the forehead for a headache (UCLA Folklore Archives 3_1939). TX: Encino Press. E. Various infections have been treated using peach leaves. Judy. Samuel. Indigestion. 1970. peach seeds have been eaten to relieve swellings from bruises (Speck 1942: 46). Amulet. fever (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 47). Brown. Boils. J. Insect bites and stings.. Texas Folk Medicine. These included cholera (Cadwallader and Wilson 1965: 222. Menopause. 1958. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans: The Non-Occult Cures. 7 vols. Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45 (1935). Browne. “Folklore Medicine among Georgia’s Piedmont Ne- . The plant has in addition been used in many of the ways described above. Bleeding. Brown. and Claude W. asthma (McWhorter 1966: 13). Collection of North Carolina Folklore. In Native American practice. See also African tradition. Brendle. Peach has been used for a number of respiratory illnesses: for bronchitis (Clark 1970: 14). 1952–1964. and F. “Superstitions. Thomas R. Poultice. The “meat” of the peach stone was a nineteenth-century remedy for a sick headache (Meyer 1985: 138). Childbirth. Tonic.” Foxfire. 225). Austin. Wilson. Colic. Thomson. Tuberculosis. 1(2) (1967): 25–28. typhoid (Saxon 1945: 535). A cure for whooping cough from Randolph County involves passing the child through the fork of a peach tree (Richmond and Van Winkle 1958: 134). D. Folklore Studies 9. Sore throat (UCLA Folklore Archives 6_6500) and gum ailments (UCLA Folklore Archives 6– 6545) have both been poulticed with peach leaves. and Lizzie Ledford. The leaves (Tantaquidgeon 1972: 31) and the seeds (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 47–48) have been used to treat worms. William George.. Jaundice.Peach : 261 (Wilson 1968: 65). Poison ivy. pneumonia (Hall 1960: 52) and tuberculosis (Browne 1958: 110). Durham. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. and Carpenter 1942: 33). Frank C. References Anderson. as a tonic. Eating both leaves and bark was recommended for nervousness (UCLA Folklore Archives 22_6416). Unger. it treated caked breasts (Meyer 1985: 48). In the 1950s a tea was still being made. Asthma. including the treatment of vomiting. A syrup made from peach kernels has been dripped into sore ears (Parler 1962: 610). Cadwallader. Baldness. NC: Duke University Press. and malaria (Parler 1962: 763). Diarrhea. Labor has been hastened by drinking tea made from peach tree bark: again. London: Folklore Society. Black. As a poultice. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Worms have been treated with peach-leaf tea (Randolph 1947: 106) or with an infusion of the flowers (Meyer 1985: 270). Constipation. the bark should be scraped downward (Hyatt 1965: 135). constipation. from peach-tree bark (Browne 1958: 121). Hiccups. Breast problems. Warts. according to tradition. Whooping cough. Worms. Headache. Sore throat. Both bleeding (Guerin 1953: 55) and blood poisoning (Los Angeles News 1869) have been treated with peach leaves. Ray B. Eating peach kernels has been claimed to shorten change of life (Parler 1962: 1110). Peach stones were a constituent of a tonic prescribed by Samuel Thomson (Meyer 1985: 257). scarlet fever (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_5466). A wart cure from Kentucky involves cutting notches in a peach tree equal in number to the warts (Pope 1965: 46). Poison oak. mumps (Anderson 1970: 52).

Joseph D. Koch. 1980. 1978. “Ranch Remedios. “Superstitions from Russell County. and University Student Contributors. Boston: G. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. Frank G. Atlanta: Cherokee. G. ed.” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 28 (1962): 1–8. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. “Is There a Doctor in the House?” Indiana History Bulletin 35 (1958): 115–135. Folk-Lore and Science of Cures. Thiederman. McWhorter. Arthur Palmer.” Kentucky Folklore Records 12 (1966): 11–14. Polk. PA: Folklore Associates.” Proceedings of the Delaware County Institute of Science 10 (1942): 7–55. Mary Celestia. and Meigs Counties. Hamel. 1945. TN: Rogers. “Some Folkways of a Stewart County Community. Folklore from Kansas: Beliefs and Customs. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. R. no. A Treasury of Georgia Folklore. K. Gladys. M. Murfreesboro. Herbalism and Ritual: Folk Medical Practices Among Asian Immigrants in Southern California. Gumbo Ya-Ya. “More Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Pennsylvania. “Plant Names and Plant Lore among the Pennsylvania Germans. Newbell Niles. and Mary U. Lawrence. Early Folk Medical Practices in Tennessee.262 . Edson. “Home Remedies in West Virginia. and Elva Van Winkle. 1962.” Kentucky Folklore Series. Sylva. Carpenter. Anna Casetta.” Pennsylvania Historical Commission Anthropological Papers. Meyer.” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 19 (1953): 49–58. 137–164. Hoodoo. Boston: Houghton and Mifflin. Tantaquidgeon. Ann Arbor. no. Hyatt. “Folklore of the Mammoth Cave Region. David E. Gordon. Frost. 1981. TN: Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association. “Superstitions and Beliefs of Fleming County. and Thomas R. Ten- .” In Two Penny Ballads and Four Dollar Whiskey.A. Speck. 2nd rev. Hand. Rootwork. Hall. Ronald G. 1965. 1941. Dwyer. S. Byington and Kenneth S. Wayland D. Wilson. Glenwood. 1967. MI: Edwards Brothers. New York: Columbia University Press. Puckett. Vance. Lick. 1975. Joseph S. Speck. and E. Grady M.” Journal of American Folklore 57 (1944): 37–50. American Folk Medicine. edited by Robert H. 3 vols. Pope. Parler. Brendle. Hassrick. 4 (1968). William E. Waller. “Folk Medicine in McMinn.” West Virginia Folklore 7 (1957): 27– 32. Kentucky. Clark.” Collections of the Georgia Historical Society 49 (1965): 217– 227..” Publications of the Texas Folklore Society 8 (1930): 9–73. Killion. James. Philip M. Hand. Gatlinburg. Sr. 3 (1972). Witchcraft.. Unpublished dissertation. Bruce.” Kentucky Folklore Records 11 (1965): 41–51. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. “Folk Medicine of the Delaware and Related Algonkian Indians. Peach nessee. and Charles T. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. Long. 1972. Conjuration. Wayne. Saxon. KS: Regent Press. Chiltoskey. UCLA Folklore and Mythology Studies Center. 5 vols. Hatboro. April 14. “Catawba Herbals and Curative Practices. NC: Herald. Hall. Harry Middleton. Guerin. B. 1869. 1960. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. Harry Middleton. Clarence. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. 15 vols. Los Angeles News. Hyatt. Lyle. Genevieve. 1985.. groes after the Civil War. Specimens of Mississippi Folk-Lore. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. Woodhull. Bradley. Paul B. Mason. Hudson. 1928. Edited by Wayland D. W. E. 1966. 1947.” Proceedings and Addresses of the Pennsylvania German Society 33 (1922).. and Sondra B. Goldstein. Rogers. Frank G. IL: Meyerbooks. “Rappahannock Herbals. Richmond. Randolph. Smoky Mountain Folks and Their Lore.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. Ozark Superstitions. 1910–1927.

avoiding constipation and eating plenty of vegetables were recommended in British folk medicine (Prince 1991: 40). a decoction of yellow dock root. such as hot water and flaxseed (Meyer 1985: 192). elderberry leaves (Hyatt 1965: 250). brown sugar and walnuts (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_7593). the great majority of piles remedies were applied externally. roasted onions (Parler 1962: 811). This has been used both in folk medicine and official herbalism and continues in use. An ointment for treating piles was made from lard and the ground-up roots. These include chestnut (buckeye) (Aesculus sp. Carrying a rose-hip in the pocket as an amulet was thought to prevent piles (Hatfield 1994: 42–44). the best-known being lesser celandine. also known as pilewort (Ranunculus ficaria). There were a number of plant remedies used in the treatment of piles. In Devon. and raw potato and castor oil (Hyatt 1965: 250). 235). and scabious (Knautia arvensis) (Hatfield 1994: 42– 44). witch hazel or sumac leaves (Rhus glabra) (Meyer 1985: 195). Dietary recommendations for piles include whole black pepper (Hyatt 1965: 250). or of wild lettuce (Lactuca canadensis). a remedy for piles involved sitting over a pail containing smouldering leather (Simpkins 1914: 409). plantain juice was used to soothe piles (Lafont 1984: 68).) (UCLA Folklore Archives 21_6836). In the east of England a number of other plants were used. and using these velvety leaves in lieu of toilet paper is also recommended. essence of fir and tar water (Meyer 1985: 196). Rubbing with burned cork has been suggested (Puckett 1981: 423). oakum (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_7593). an infusion of elder flowers has been used (Vickery 1995: 124). . or the juice of pokeberries) (Meyer 1985: 195). Some folk remedies were taken internally for piles. In Lincolnshire. lemons (Hyatt 1965: 250). including red nettle (Lamium purpureum).Piles : 263 Piles A number of simple first-aid suggestions for treating piles included bathing them in fresh morning dew (the equivalent of today’s ice pack) (Hatfield 1994: 44). Sitting on a pine board sounds less comfortable (UCLA Folklore Archives 12_7595). nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) (Hyatt 1965: 250). Sitting on mullein leaves apparently soothes piles (Fogel 1915: 305). as in Britain (Welsch 1966: 342). Crouching over steam (Puckett 1981: 423) or over a pot of boiling rattlesnake broom (UCLA Folklore Archives 16_5445) are further suggestions. Both garlic and onion have been used (Hatfield 1994: 43. or a warm solution of alum (Browne 1958: 84). As preventative measures. 194). or the roots of ironweed (Vernonia sp. various species of figwort were known as “poor man’s salve” (Britten and Holland 1878–1886). and the rattles of rattlesnakes (Hyatt 1965: 250). In North American folk medicine.). Vickery 1995: 268) in treatment of piles. potato (Fogel 1915: 305). These include milk of sulphur (Meyer 1985: 192). a tea made from the leaves of wild currant bushes (Ribes sp. or an infusion of raspberry. In Scotland. A horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) has similarly been carried (Vickery 1995: 196). An ointment was made from the bulbils (small tubers in the leaf axils). However. a number of plant and animal products have been carried as amulets to prevent piles. the berries of mezereon (Daphne mezereum) were swallowed like pills to cure piles (Rudkin 1936: 26). ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria). In Devon. Some remedies were used in enema form. Epsom salts and sulphur (Hyatt 1965: 250). the fresh juice of mountain ash berries (Sorbus aucuparia) (Meyer 1985: 193.) infused and mixed with honey (Hohman 1930: 24). In Sussex. Figwort and puffball were both used in the Scottish Highlands in treating piles (Beith 1995: 216.

. and the leaves of sage (?Salvia sp. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Balm of Gilead. Harrisburg. Hohman.. rabbit fat (Brendle and Unger 1935: 184). “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions.264 .” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. Joseph D. Potato. Elm. Puffball. Unger. Edited by A. Mullein. jimson weed. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Frank C. 1994. Peach. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Brendle. Dock. 1952–1964. 1796. Figwort. Monroe Aurand.” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45 (1935). Mary. apple tree. Robert. and Claude W. Ray B. the flowers of butter and egg (Linaria vulgaris) (Lick and Brendle 1922: 130). Edwin Miller. sumac. Folklore from Adams . John George. In Native American practice. Thornapple. buckeye. 1995. “Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans: The Non-Occult Cures. Piles A great variety of ointments have been employed in the folk treatment of piles. frankincense (Gaine 1796: 19). Hyatt. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Dew. Hugh. Britten. Solomon’s seal root (Polygonatum multiflorum). Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. mutton tallow (Puckett 1981: 423). Plantain. black cherry (Prunus serotina). pokeberries (Clark 1970: 27). Clark.) (UCLA Folklore Archives 19_6532). These include peach (Browne 1958: 84). Folklore Studies 9. the bark of white pine (Pinus strobus) (Meyer 1985: 192). persimmon bark (Diospyros sp. mullein. Edinburgh: Polygon. James. 7 vols. as well as being carried as a preventative. Durham. Apple. Elder. 6: 249). or slippery elm bark (Meyer 1985: 194). balm of Gilead (Brown 1952– 1964. Brown.) were made into an ointment for piles (Meyer 1985: 193). Numerous ointments were prepared using plants. and Holland. 1958. Gaine. Fogel. Onion.) (McLean 1972: 26). The Journals of Hugh Gaine. Amulet. a very large number of different plants have been employed in the treatment of piles (Moerman 1998: 802). axle grease (Wilson 1968: 77). to produce a salve (Hyatt 1965: 250). and their use in general North American folk practice may have originated here. A remarkable recipe was to cook a wasp nest in honey. New York. A recommendation from the African tradition was to wipe the piles with a banana skin (Puckett 1981: 423). cinnamon (UCLA Folklore Archives 4_6438). persimmon are all used in Native American practice. Oak.” Americana Germanica 18 (1915). Gabrielle. London: Tru ¨ bner for English Dialect Society. red oak bark (?Quercus robur) (Browne 1958: 84). coal oil (UCLA Folklore Archives 13_6438). Long Lost Friend. PA: The Aurand Press. Oak. the leaves of fireweed (Erechtites hieracifolia) (Meyer 1985: 196). or Book of Pow-Wows: A Collection of Mysterious and Invaluable Arts and Remedies for Man as Well as Animals. and lard mixed with white droppings from a dog (Hyatt 1965: 250). or of celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) (as used in Britain too) (Meyer 1985: 195). Jr. Hatfield. References Beith. Browne. cheese plant (Malva rotundifolia) (Browne 1958: 84). lard and gunpowder (Puckett 1981: 423). Woodbridge: Boydell. buffalo tallow (Welsch 1966: 342). white oak. Poke. Chestnuts (Aesculus sp. “Beliefs and Superstitions of the Pennsylvania Germans. Flax. Harry Middleton. A complex ointment was prepared from the barks of witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana). Many forms of grease have been used: olive oil (UCLA Folklore Archives 78_6438). NC: Duke University Press. 1878–1886. 1930. See also African tradition. A Dictionary of English Plant Names. Thomas R.

ed. Welsch. The number of native pine species is large in North America. Bideford: Badger Books. and a similar record from Wales of an ill child being taken for a holiday to an area where pines were planted in order inhale the smell (Vickery 1995: 283). and Thomas R. especially in East Anglia. pine tree “pineapples” (presumably the young flowering shoots) were used to treat lice (Wright 1912: 230–236). Edited by Wayland D. 1984. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. IL: Meyerbooks. The folk medicine surrounding the tree has probably similarly declined. In North America. and the populations of this have declined over the centu- ries. Clarence. Anne-Marie. County Folk-Lore 7.. 1962. Portland. “Folklore of the Mammoth Cave Region. The young shoots were made into a cough syrup (Hatfield 1999: 169). There are large numbers of planted pines. Examples of Printed FolkLore Concerning Fife.” North Carolina Folklore 20 (1972): 21–29. Roy. leaving only small areas of natural pine forest in the Scottish Highlands. (North Wind Picture Archive) Pine (Pinus spp. Roger L. McLean. 1981. Mary Celestia. and pines have been very extensively used in folk medicine. Patricia S. The bark has been used for treating fevers (Beith 1995: 233). the Scots pine. Vickery. “Plant Names and Plant Lore among the Pennsylvania Germans. A remedy very similar to the Scottish one for a plaster uses the pitch pine (Pinus palustris). A Treasury of Nebraska Pioneer Folklore.” Kentucky Folklore Series. Sr. 1914. A Herbal Folklore. “Conjure Doctors in Eastern North Carolina. pine bark has been used for treating fevers and a plaster for treating boils and sores has been made from pine resin. Grandmother’s Cures: An A–Z of Herbal Remedies. of its former use. Glenwood. Rudkin. there is a record of a child suffering from a polio-like illness being taken to the pine woods (Hatfield MS).) In Britain the only native pine is Pinus sylvestris. 1985. Lick.” Proceedings and Addresses of the Pennsylvania German Society 33 (1922). K. 1995. Parler. the number of native pine species is large. in contrast. 1936. Wilson. Lincolnshire Folklore. 3 vols. 1998. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. John Ewart. Anna Casetta. with Some Notes on Clackmannan and Kinross-shire. : 265 In Scotland. E. 4 (1968). 2nd rev. OR: Timber Press. the pitch or resin is extracted and . Oxford: Oxford University Press. especially in Scotland. Puckett. Gordon. no. and Sondra B. Thiederman. Brendle. but there are remnants. Prince. David E. 1966. Boston: G. Dennis. Hand. Lafont. and a plaster for treating boils and sores has been made from the resin (McCutcheon 1919: 235). London: Fontana. Native American Ethnobotany. London: Gainsborough. Meyer. and even their smell has been considered therapeutic. 15 vols. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. and pine has been extensively used in North American folk medicine. Moerman.Pine County Illinois. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. Simpkins. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. In the seventeenth century. American Folk Medicine. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Daniel E. 1965. In England too the resin was used to heal cuts (Hatfield 1999: 101). and University Student Contributors. Hall. Newbell Niles. 1991. London: Publications of the Folklore Society.

Burns. as well as the singleleaf pinyon (Pinus monophylla) and the lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta). Spider bites have been treated with pine sap (Hendricks 1980: 98). formed the basis of many wound salves and cough syrups. 96). Pine mixed with beeswax to form a plaster for dressing sore areas. A plaster of white pine turpentine was used to treat corns (Meyer 1985: 119). Heartburn has been treated by chewing pine needles (Parler 1962: 685). has been extensively used in folk medicine. a poultice was prepared from the bark of the white pine (Meyer 1985: 229). rheumatism. it was so important that the white pine is the emblem on the first flag of the American revolution. these records show that pine has been used to treat insomnia. by sleeping on a pillow filled with the needles (Lathrop 1961: 18). Sometimes the plaster was prepared with hemlock gum and sulphur (Meyer 1985: 197). 81). Colds. 6: 121). Scraped into whisky. Corns. Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) was used extensively. honey. A poultice for treating piles was prepared from white pine bark. For backache. A solution from boiled pine cones has been used in New Mexico to treat sore eyes (Moya 1940: 69). Some pine remedies involve ritual. more than a thousand. Cuts. A sweetened brew of the needles was used for treating colds and coughs (Meyer 1985: 65. push them into the gum surrounding the aching tooth. For biliousness. Twenty-six species of pine have been recorded in Native American use (Moerman 1998: 403–414). Another suggestion for fever is to tie a string to a pine tree (Cannon 1984: 98). the patient is advised to break a pine branch while facing into the setting sun (Fitchett 1936: 360). The white pine. Even a pine-tree fungus has been used medicinally. and brandy to make a liniment to be used hot. The importance of pine in folk medicine is indicated by the huge number of records for it. broken bones. Colic. This was also taken internally (Meyer 1985: 217). Pine tree tea has been used to cure worms (Puckett 1981: 503). pine splinters dipped in the blood were driven into a tree (Parler 1962: 804). In addition to the ailments already mentioned. Coughs. . the sufferer is advised to bore a hole in a pine tree and walk three times around the tree. pitch from a white pine log was mixed with sulphur.266 . there is a suggestion that mental troubles can be cured simply by walking in pine woods and inhaling the smell (Brown 1952–1964. Impressive though the list of uses in folk medicine generally may be. Moerman has records for Pinus strobus alone that cover thirteen tribes and more than twenty different ailments (Moerman 1998: 411–412). telling the biliousness to go away (Hyatt 1965: 276). For toothache. as well as for timber. It is said that in the sixteenth century the lives of many colonists suffering from scurvy were saved by Native Americans treating them with pine needle tea (Micheletti 1998: 261). For fever. Pine tar. contained in the UCLA Folklore Archives. The inner bark of white pine was boiled in milk and used to treat diarrhea and dysentery (Meyer 1985: 91. Pinus strobus. See also Backache. then bury the splinters in a hole on the north side of a dogwood tree (Waller and Killion 1972: 74). including tuberculosis. For burns and sores. For rheumatism. Diarrhea. coughs and colds. Boils. Finally. venereal disease. and a tea made from the same was drunk at the same time (Meyer 1985: 192). it was given as a remedy for colic (Chamberlain 1888: 156). 6: 357). the roots of pine from a road where no corpse has passed by should be burned and the rosin applied to the back (Brown 1952–1964. the advice is to take two pine splinters. it reflects only a fraction of the ways in which Native Americans used different species of pine. For nosebleed. and many others. distilled from the wood.

Thiederman. 7 vols. Nosebleed. Eye problems. Superstitions and Beliefs among the Spanish-Speaking People of New Mexico. Gabrielle. George D. Moya. A. Between those dates it was naturally one of the most feared illnesses. Parler. North American Folk Healing: An A–Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. 1995. Poultice. Memory. University of New Mexico. and North Africa. Piles. Hand. Anna Casetta. 1998. Scurvy. “Superstitions in South Carolina.” Pharmacology Journal 19 (April 1919): 235. Edited by Wayland D. Glenwood. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. 2nd rev. Alexander. IL: Meyerbooks. ed. American Folk Medicine. the plague arrived during the fourteenth century and disappeared during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. References Beith. Ancient talismans against the plague include nailing a horseshoe above the door. Manuscript notes. Roosters. “Some Highland Household Remedies. Durham. 1985. 1965. Tom. Phoenix Mill: Sutton. Worms. TX: Southern Methodist University Press. Hatfield. seems to have concentrated on what it was hoped were pre- . Newbell Niles. Mary. 3. Enza (ed. “Georgia Folk Medicine.” Western Folklore 20 (1961): 1–22. Indigestion. Benjamin S. “Pioneer Remedies from Western Kansas. McCutcheon.Plague : 267 Dysentery. E. 1995.). Horace. Harry Middleton. 3 vols. Portland. Meyer. Roy. Rats form a reservoir for the disease. 1998. Anthon S. Rheumatism. “Notes on the History.” Journal of American Folklore 1 (1888): 150–160. Vickery. NC: Duke University Press. Illinois. 1999. Hand and Jeannine E. Mary Celestia. Wisdom and Healing: The History of Domestic Plant Medicine. Daniel E. Asia. Fitchett. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. It is thought to have wiped out a quarter of the Roman Empire in the sixth century (Porter 1996: 28). Folk medicine. “Seventeenth Century Cures and Charms. R. Edinburgh: Polygon. OR: Timber Press. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Gabrielle.” Southern Folklore Quarterly 36 (1972): 71–92. by a Roman physician (Souter 1995: 36). Frank C. a practice inherited from the Romans (Souter 1995: 30). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Brown. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. In Britain. the Middle East. A second wave of the disease at the beginning of the fourteenth century devastated much of Europe. 1952–1964. Folklore from Adams County. probably powerless in the face of such epidemics.D. and University Student Contributors. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. Plague Bubonic plague is caused by the bacillus Yersinia pestis and spread by flea bites as well as in breath and clothing. K. Amy. Waller. Hatfield. Toothache. Vol. Clarence. 1984. Micheletti. Wright. Moerman. Puckett. and the wellknown magic word “abracadabra. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. Native American Ethnobotany. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Dallas. Rhymes and Railroad Tracks: A Second Sampling of Superstitions and Popular Beliefs in Texas. wiping out entire communities.” Crisis 43 (1936): 360–361. Master’s thesis. Boston: G. Sleeplessness. Lathrop. Edited by Wayland D.” Folk-Lore 23 (1912): 230–236. Hall. Talley. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Hendricks. Fevers. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Cannon. F. 1940. Hyatt. A. 1962. Chamberlain. Customs and Beliefs of the Mississagua Indians. and Gene Killion. in her personal possession. and Sondra B. 1981. 1980.” recorded in the second century A. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. 370.

when they became discolored they were burned (Simpkins 1912: 134). loaves were hung up on poles to “catch” the plague. It was certainly recommended in official medicine for treating “pestilential fevers” (Pechey 1694: 33). Between those dates it was naturally one of the most feared illnesses. which often contained expensive imported spices. It was reintroduced. in the middle of . as had the Romans. this was probably the garden-grown angelica (Angelica archangelica). but in most of North America it did not reach the epidemic proportions seen in Europe. It featured both in remedies (Smith and Randall 1987: 42) and as an antiseptic for the coins placed. Wealthier people could afford so-called plague drinks. and it was again a prescription for the relatively wealthy. which. In Sussex in the sixteenth century the vicar of Rye recorded that many people in the area used toad poison to protect themselves against the plague. the plague arrived during the fourteenth century and disappeared during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Herbal prescriptions against the plague were often complex. in return for food supplied to victims. on the “plague stones” (Allen 1995: 124). In Scotland. Angelica featured in a number of plague remedies and was credited with both preserving people against and curing the plague (Pechey 1694: 5). from Asia. suggesting that it might have been used in folk medicine. The German name for this plant is pestilenzwurz. Plague reached parts of the Americas with European colonizers. However. it caused blistering. (National Library of Medicine) ventive measures. could be cured (Souter 1995: 124). and it is impossible to know how widely they were used by the majority. wiping out entire communities.268 . butterbur (Petasites hybridus) is known as “plaguewort” (Vickery 1995: 284). such as ginger and nutmeg (Souter 1995: 123). Plague In Britain. Vinegar was regarded as a preservative against the plague. unlike the plague. In Cornwall.

Porter. It is used in North American folk medicine in much the same way as in Britain— for minor wounds. a clear example of sympathetic magic is to catch the rat that bit one. and Sondra B. 1995. Vol. 1995. Boston: G. 1981. Anna Casetta. In British folk medicine its main uses are for treating minor cuts and wounds (Vickery 1995: 285). there has been a belief that the upper side of the leaf is for healing whereas the lower side draws out the poison. bites and stings. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. London: Folk-Lore Society. Roy. and is still used in folk medicine today. Thiederman. Its leaves have been carried as an amulet against snake bite (Souter 1995: 186). K. and varicose veins (Evans 1940: 98). Given that plague was not the mass killer in North America that it had been in Europe. In Ireland it has also been used to treat jaundice. 1912. They have been smoked for asthma (Relihan 1946: 158). as well as for sores and ulcers (Hatfield 1994: 52). They have been rubbed onto the chest for tuberculosis (Puckett 1981: 468) and made into a salve for treating cancer (Puckett 1926: 387–388). Andrew. Plantain (Plantago major) Still known in country areas in Britain by its Anglo-Saxon name of “waybread. 1995. Puckett. Oxford: Oxford University Press. In both Scotland (Goodrich-Freer 1902: 205) and Ireland (Allen and Hatfield. Newbury: Countryside Books. sore throat (Musick 1948: 6). Roy (ed. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. The leaves have also been used for treating rheumatism (Puckett 1981: 433). neuralgia. The Cambridge Illustrated History of Medicine. John Ewart. Janet. Daniel. 1996. 248). headache. London: 1694. See also Sympathetic magic. 1987. Hall. in press). It has been used for treating the rash caused by poison ivy (Micheletti 1998: 264). varicose veins (Stout 1936: 186). 7. Edited by Wayland D. When introduced into North America by the early settlers (deliberately or accidentally) it became known by Native Americans as “white man’s footsteps” (Coffey 1993: 212). chapped skin.Plantain : 269 the eighteenth century (Porter 1996: 28). which explains its commonness in gateways and beside footpaths. Keith. Smith. The crushed salted leaves have been used to soothe headache (Curtin 1930: 190). rashes. cook it. Hand. 54). An infusion of plantain leaves has treated diarrhea (UCLA Folklore Archives 12_5361). In addition.” this was one of the nine healing herbs mentioned in the Lacnunga. Fife. References Allen. 272. Plantago major follows where humans go and is highly resistant to trampling.). The seeds have been given on bread and butter for . One remedy. it is not surprising to find a relative lack of folk remedies for the plague there. Newbell Niles. Simpkins. John. in press). The Compleat Herbal of Physical Plants. Pechey. County Folk-Lore Series. W. burns (Meyer 1985: 39. Staffordshire: Record Office. 187. Souter. Saffron Walden: C. Plantain has also been used to treat burns and piles (Lafont 1984: 68). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. and Thea Randall. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. and epilepsy (Lick and Brendle 1922: 218). and gout (Allen and Hatfield. and eat it (Puckett 1981: 332). liver complaints. and toothache (Meyer 1985: 119. nettle stings (Tongue 1965: 41). 3 vols. Vinegar. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Toads and frogs. Vickery. it has been used to treat swollen feet. insect bites and stings (Lafont 1984: 68). Kill or Cure: Medical Remedies of the 16th and 17th Centuries from the Staffordshire Record Office.

.” Folk-Say (1930): 186–196. and Thomas R. “Almanacs and Herbs. Newbell Niles.” Smithsonian Institution- . “Ethnobotany of the Ojibwe Indians. Hatfield. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Rem- treating worms in children (Bomberger 1950: 7). Edited by Wayland D. Asthma. 3 vols. 1993. constipation. American Folk Medicine.). “Plant Names and Plant Lore among the Pennsylvania Germans. Jaundice. London: Constable. Worms. Clarence. Newbell Niles. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. See also Amulet. Chapped skin. K. loss of appetite. Folk Beliefs of the Southern Negro. Montgomeryshire 46 (1940): 98–99. Catherine. Healing with Plants in the American and Mexican West. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. fever. Anne-Marie. Hall. 1996. S. Raymond. A number of different species of plantain native to North America have been used medicinally. References Allen.270 . Toothache. M. The History and Folklore of North American Wildflowers. “Pioneer Medicine in New Mexico.” Contributions de l’Institut Botanique de l’Universite ´ de Montre ´al 55 (1945): 113–134. Poison ivy. Keith. Mexican Americans use plantain for treating dysentery (Kay 1995: 216). Gout.” Proceedings and Addresses of the Pennsylvania German Society 33 (1922). David E. 1985. Constipation. Margarita Artschwager. “Uses of Plants by the Chippewa Indians. Other Native American uses include treatment of snake and insect bites (Tantaquidgeon 1972: 74). folk remedy above). 1990. Ruth Ann. David E. Meyer. Cuts. “Notes Ethnobotaniques sur les Te ˆte-de-Boules de Manouan. 1994. Epilepsy. OR: Timber Press.” Pennsylvania Dutchman 2(2) (May 15. Burns. Portland. “Farm Lore: Herbal Remedies. Lick. Coffey.” Collections. “West Virginia Folklore. Glenwood.. a use echoed by that recorded by Meyer. 7. Tonic. Indian Uses of Native Plants. Dysentery. IL: Meyerbooks. in which the fibrous strings of the plantain leaves are chewed for toothache (Meyer 1985: 248). Puckett. Musick. 1926. 1950): 1. IL: Meyerbooks. Marcel. Souter. Gabrielle. Lafont.” Hoosier Folklore 7 (1948): 1–14. Hand. C. Curtin. A. Tuberculosis. Murphey. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. 1981. Anna Casetta. Cancer. Bomberger. L. John. Puckett. Headache. 1983: 115). Evans. as a tonic and diuretic. Diarrhea.” Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 4 (1932): 327–525. Micheletti. 1902. Edith Van Allen.” New York Folklore Quarterly 2:2 (1946): 156–158. Native Americans chew plantain root for toothache (Willard 1992: 187). Native Americans in Mexico use various species of plantain for treating diarrhea. Insect bites and stings. Bideford: Badger Books. Huron H. Wounds. Smith. and Gabrielle Hatfield. burns (Raymond 1945: 130). Rheumatism. NC: Greenwood Press. 1998. New York: Facts On File. Plantain Bureau of American Ethnology Annual Report 44 (1928): 273–379. Snake bite. Goodrich-Freer. headache. Frances. Thiederman. British and Irish Plants in Folk Medicine. sores and ulcers (Turner et al. and wounds (Murphey 1990: 43). Relihan. Chapel Hill. Piles. 1984. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. Brendle. as well as for sore feet (Kay 1996: 215–216). Sore throat. Kay. Glenwood. in addition to Plantago major. Outer Isles. Sore feet. and Sondra B. “Folk-Medicines. North American Folk Healing: An A–Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. Timothy. in press. Densmore. Woodbridge: Boydell. Enza (ed. Fever. Both the Chippewa (Densmore 1928: 376) and the Ojibwa (Smith 1932: 341) carried powdered roots as an amulet against snake bite (cf. Boston: G. Herbal Folklore. M.

a tea from plantain leaves (Puckett 1981: 426). 1995. Barry F. Carlson. W. Poison oak edies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. Nancy J. Poplar (Populus sp. no. rubbed on (UCLA Folklore Archives 8_5453). Other plant remedies include oil of goldenrod (Solidago odora). Numerous plant products have been employed. Victoria: British Columbia Provincial Museum. string bean leaves (UCLA Folklore Archives 20_7595). ALTA: Wild Rose College of Natural Healing. and squashed melon flowers (Parler 1962: 630). Wild nasturtiums rubbed on (UCLA Folklore Archives 7_6430). A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains and Neighbouring Territories. sycamore bark (Platanus sp. Ogilvie. and Robert T. Other applications include fresh tomatoes (Parler 1962: 829). for which a number of folk medical cures have been developed. Kerosene rubbed in or olive oil applied are alternatives.. Ethnobotany of the Nitinaht Indians of Vancouver Island.) (Parler 1962: 834). mouse-ear herb (Gnaphalium uliginosum) in milk. Stout. Tongue.) bark has been made into a lotion (Bruton 1948: no. and green tansy (Tanace- . 828). fig leaf juice (Ficus carica) (Parler 1962: 833). Pennies boiled in vinegar have been rubbed on (Musick 1964: 38). The smoke from cedar boughs has been recommended (Parler 1962: 826). Vickery. Other washes include a strong solution of alum. Calgary. as well as an infusion of sweet fern (Comptonia peregrina) (Browne 1958: 86). 3 (1972). Turner. as will application of wood ashes. or the water in which an old shoe has been boiled. 1968: 116).) (UCLA Folklore Archives 23_6460) has been tried.” Memoirs of the American Folklore Society 29 (1936). Both species are native to North America. Tantaquidgeon.) (UCLA Folklore Archives 23_5451) or of Manzanita leaves (Arctoctaphylos sp. Somerset Folklore. “Folk Medicine of the Delaware and Related Algonkian Indians. Gladys. neither occur in Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Animal products too have found a use. Poison oak These names are used interchangeably for Rhus toxicodendron and Rhus radicans. : 271 Poison ivy. 29). “Folklore from Iowa. and Indian tobacco (? Lobelia inflata) boiled in milk (Koch 1980: 109) have all been tried. 1983. Bathing with bicarbonate of soda is also said to bring relief. alternatives are calf slobber (Parler 1962: 830) and the water used to scald a chicken (Parler 1962: 827). Terry. and the inside of a banana skin (Anon. These include bathing in very hot water and applying a paste of powdered chalk or a lotion composed of glycerine and carbolic acid. Roy. Earl J. as have eucalyptus leaves (Eucalyptus sp. 1965. County Folklore 8. 1995. Edited Katharine Briggs. hollyhock leaves (Alcea rosea) (Clark 1970: 27). These include cornstarch. Daniel. Mud from the river bottom has been used (Parler 1962: 826). 1992.Poison ivy. John Thomas. or a mixture of red clay and water (UCLA Folklore Archives 6_6460). has been applied (Parler 1962: 826. or a solution of gum shellac in sulphuric ether (Meyer 1985: 198–199).” Pennsylvania Historical Commission Anthropological Papers. Crayfish meat has been applied (Koch 1980: 109). or of quicklime or alum. green leaves of nightshade (Solanum nigrum) mashed in milk. Saffron Walden: C. Willard. An infusion of wormwood (Artemisia sp. Liquid shoe polish. Ruth L. Copperas water has been used to soothe the rash (Parler 1962: 826). London: Folklore Society. Heavily salted milk or sour milk beaten until thick (UCLA Folklore Archives 7_6460) have been suggested.). a mixture of calomel and water. as has chlorinated water (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_6460) or even bleach (UCLA Folklore Archives 19_6460). They both cause contact dermatitis.

IL: Meyerbooks. Grinnell. KS: Regent Press. A powder of the stems and leaves of the milk vetch Astragalus adsurgens var. Cherry. Albany. 1977.” North Carolina Folklore 1 (1948): 23–26. eaten (MacDonald 1959: 223). “The Miseries and Folk Medicine. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Chiltoskey. Sylva. Folklore Studies 9. or that eating a small piece of the root of the plant can do so (Brown 1961. See also Catnip. thesis. Fresh leaves of jewel weed (Impatiens sp. Other amulets worn to protect against its effects include a string worn around the thumb and big toe (UCLA Folklore Archives 18_6461) and a fishing sinker worn around the neck (Black 1935: 33). 1980. Plantain. the sufferer can simply curse the plant! (UCLA Folklore Archives 7_5453). NE: University of Nebraska Press. in addition. the root of wild Indian turnip. Soda. Meyer. 1985.” American Anthropologist 7 (1905): 37–43.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. Glenwood. the bark of red oak (Quercus sp. S. Clark. Elder. Impatiens pallida. Elizabeth. Another species of Solanum. 7 vols. and Mary U. robustior has been used by the Cheyenne (Grinnell 1905: 40). Mary Celestia. as has eating honey made in the locality where the plant grows (Herrera 1972: 43).D. and the root of graybeard (Cladastris lutea) (Speck 1944: 30). Musick. also known as Jack-inthe-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum). Collection of North Carolina Folklore. 1962. Bruton. 15 vols. 1935. American Folk Medicine. Browne. Lincoln.) or of fireweed (Erechtites hieracifolia) or catnip have all been used. while another species. Brown. has been scraped and applied (Meyer 1985: 198– 200). 6: 251). Parler.). “Superstitions. James William.” Canadian Medical Association Journal 80(3) (1959): 220–224. Iroquois Medical Botany. Among Native American remedies for poison ivy are the root of Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum). Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. and University Student Contributors. Lawrence. NC: Herald. Stinging nettle. Mary Armstrong. Herrick. Hamel. Drinking water from a stream flowing past the plant has been suggested. Pauline Monette. Carrying a wild cherry or elderberry in the pocket was thought to confer protection against poison ivy (Parler 1962: 825). Durham. Frank C. “Some Cheyenne Plant Medicines.) boiled to make a lotion. Folklore from Kansas: Beliefs and Customs. Ray B. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas.” North Carolina Folklore 20 (1972): 42–46. George Bird. MacDonald. Finally. Clarence. “Indian Medicine in New Brunswick. References Anon.. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas.272 . Nebraska Folk Cures. it has been suggested that rubbing the affected area deliberately with more of the plant can bring about relief. Ruth Ann (ed. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. University of Nebraska Studies in Language Literature and Criticism 15. if all else fails. Black. Hoyle S. Herrera. is used by the Cherokee for treating poison ivy (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 46). NC: Duke University Press. 1958. Koch. .” West Virginia Folklore 14 (1964): 38–52. Poison oak tum vulgare) leaves crushed in buttermilk. William E. Impatiens capensis is used by them also (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 41) and by the Potawatomi (Smith 1933: 42). carolinense. Paul B. Poison ivy. Joseph D. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. Ph. State University of New York. In a practice reminiscent of the English cure for nettle sting using nettle juice. Foxfire 2: 3–4 (1968). Home Remedies. “Medicine. 1975. There has been a belief that the plant itself could help cure the itch of poison ivy. 1952–1964. is used by the Cherokee (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 41) and by the Iroquois (Herrick 1977: 379).

Clark. Sprains. Newbell Niles. “Catawba Herbals and Curative Practices. 139. See also Bruises. Burns. Headache. parboiled. for severe pain among the Mahuna (Romero 1954: 65). and for sprains and bruises among the Iroquois (Herrick 1977: 316. 149). For treating ulcers. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. Iroquois Medical Botany. eczema. including “itch. freshly sliced root was used.. Sylva. 1990. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Durham. and Carpenter 1942: 29). native to eastern North America and California. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. the fresh root applied to soles of the feet was a suggested cure for a headache. 108). Paul B. Herrick. References Browne.” Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 7 (1933): 1– 230. and for dysentery among the Rappahannock (Speck. James William. were claimed to prevent typhoid fever (Meyer 1985: 130). 253). For treating rheumatism. 105. and Sondra B. Andrew. for tonsillitis the fresh root was roasted. the juice of pokeberry has been used to treat tumors (Clark 1970: 22). Chiltoskey. Chilblains. and though used by medical herbalists (Chevallier 1996: 245) it has no role in British folk medicine. 317). The roasted root was used for treating felons (infected finger sores). In Carolina. Frank G.” In Meyer’s collection of American folk medicine there are numerous remedies that include poke. and applied warm (Meyer 1985: 230.D. 3 vols. 1981. Hand. Thiederman. Huron H. “Ethnobotany of the Forest Potawatomi Indians. Boston: G. The plant is not native to Britain. Speck.. The fresh juice of pokeberries was used for treating burns. Eczema. poke root in whisky was used to treat thrush in children (Browne 1958: 28). Ray B. Crellin. 1975. at least six different tribes used poke as an antirheumatic (Moerman 1998: 397–398). and the powdered root mixed with lard provided an ointment for treating itch (Meyer 1985: 122. Albany. 1996. such as for “building blood” among the Cherokee (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 50). NC: Herald. Joseph D. Folklore Studies 9. and Mary U. In Alabama. Cancer. The young shoots. for chest colds. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. Ph. John K. all the uses listed above appear in Native American records. In Native American practice. 62. and Jane Philpott. steeped in brandy. It is also eaten as a vegetable. Edited by Wayland D. the young greens being parboiled and the water discarded because of the toxicity of the raw plant. Hassrick. Erysipelas. There are a large number of other subsidiary uses for the plant in folk medicine. NC: Duke University Press. as do other uses of the plant. A Reference Guide to Medicinal Plants. It has a reputation for treating skin cancer (Crellin and Philpott 1990: 350) as well as various other skin complaints. : 273 Poke (Phytolacca americana) This shrub. K. Hall.Poke Puckett. Anna Casetta. and erysipelas (Meyer 1985: 54. thesis. chilblains. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. and the root have been used as a decoction (Meyer 1985: 213). Rheumatism. mashed. Hamel. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. . In addition. 1958. State University of New York. London: Dorling Kindersley.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. Felons.” Journal of American Folklore 57 (1944): 37–50. Chevallier. 1977. Smith. has in folk medicine a particular reputation for treating rheumatism. both the berries.

181). the liquid extract. but it also brought addiction. downward to form a purge (Notes and Queries. for example.” Proceedings of the Delaware County Institute of Science 10 (1942): 7–55. S. Taylor MSS). poppy seeds were used to calm fretful babies. Poppy Meyer. B. has had a different use. the juice from wild poppies was put into children’s food to make them sleep. The wild poppy was used in official medicine in Britain right up to the mid-twentieth century (it is included in the British Pharmacopoeia Codex for 1949). and the root was scraped upward to form an emetic. Hassrick. There are records of the native red poppy being used to treat toothache (Allen 1995: 43). Doubtless it brought relief from the rheumatic pains and fevers common in the fens. Romero. Sometimes a dummy was dipped in poppy seeds and given to a baby who was teething. 10 [1854]. Frank G.. Poppy (Papaver spp. although it has become widely naturalized there. Speck. earache (Tongue 1965: 39). “Rappahannock Herbals. Portland. and it continues to be used by herbalists as a gentle sedative. Clarence. a less common plant of coastal areas of Britain. It is known as “squatmore” in the southwest of England (Grigson 1955: 50) and was used to treat bruises. and swollen glands (Dacombe 1935). The yellow poppies burned to drive away evil spirits in the Highlands of Scotland (Beith 1995: 234) presumably belong to this species. Its extract was so cheap that many families bought a large Winchester container of “laudanum” every week for sixpence. IL: Meyerbooks. Moerman. In the Isles of Scilly it was also used to treat pain in the lungs or intestines. the opium poppy—widely grown. nor for a pipe unless it contained opium as well as tobacco (letter to Dr.274 . it does not appear to be addictive. for which the seeds were chewed. and the flowers were infused to make a liquid to help with teething (Beith 1995: 234). It does not appear to have been grown on a commercial scale but was grown in many cottage gardens. especially hangover headaches. The wild poppy has also been used to treat headaches. 1985. Failing this. was cheap and easily accessible. in the fens during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—became an everyday panacea. In general North American folk medicine there are a . when they had to work long hours in the fields (Hatfield 1994: 40). Although the opium poppy is a native of much warmer Asian climates. “Squat” is a local dialect word for bruise probably derived from the Anglo-Saxon. The red poppy (Papaver rhoeas) is not native to North America. Daniel E. In the Highlands of Scotland. New York: Vantage Press. a general practitioner in Lincolnshire remarked that a fenman would not thank a person for a pint of beer unless it was spiked with laudanum. Carpenter. it has been known in Britain at least since the Bronze Age. OR: Timber Press. R. In marked contrast. Folk-Lore and Science of Cures. Mark Taylor. 1954. The Botanical Lore of the California Indians. and E. known as laudanum.) Both the native wild poppy (Papaver rhoeas) and the imported opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) have been widely used in folk medicine for the relief of pain and as a sedative. Glenwood. 1998. Though it contains alkaloids known to affect the central nervous system. It has been claimed that the stunted stature of the fen population was attributable to this practice. Infused in a baby’s milk. In the 1920s. John Bruno. Native American Ethnobotany. neuralgia (Evans 1940). American Folk Medicine. they were especially used by the Land Girls (women seconded to work on the land to replace the men who were fighting) during World War II. The related yellow horned poppy (Glaucium flavum).

usually it is unclear what type of poppy was used. an interesting parallel with the use of red poppy in England. Toothache. Chiltoskey. 3: 217).. In Mexico. Barbara R. 1968. As in Britain. Coffey. that have been used in Native American folk medicine. Edinburgh: Polygon. Gabrielle. 1995. poppies have been useful in soothing crying babies (UCLA Folklore Archives 10_6146). NC: Herald. . The opium poppy has been used for pain and as a sedative by the Cherokee (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 51). Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. 29). Dacombe. University of California. This species has been used to treat cataract. Goodrich. Marianne R. “Ethnobotany of Costanoan Indians.). while the California poppy (Escholtzia californica) has been used for toothache. See also Earache. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. and Mary U. 1980. Grigson. Los Angeles: American Indian Studies Center. Dorset Up Along and Down Along. and Claudia Lawson. 1955. New York: Facts On File. The History and Folklore of North American Wildflowers. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions in Nova Scotia.” Economic Botany 38(2) (1984): 240–255.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. Joseph D. Dorchester: Dorset Federation of Women’s Institutes. Even holding the flower under a baby’s nose was sufficient to induce sleep (Parler 1962. headache. Both wild and cultivated poppies have been widely used for pain relief and for their sedative properties. Jennie. Teething.Poppy : 275 The flowers of California poppy laid under the bed have been used to help children sleep (Bocek 1984: 9). Hamel. Andrew. poppy tea was recommended as a general sedative (UCLA Folklore Archives 2_6372). Bluenose Magic. Geoffrey. California: Based on Collections by John P. Bocek. poppy flowers under the pillow were recommended for insomnia (Clark 1970: 24). In California. Creighton. 1995. Beith. “Folk-Medicines. Kashaya Pomo Plants. Sleeplessness. The seed pods of Escholtzia have been used to dry up a nursing mother’s milk (Goodrich and Lawson 1980: 94). Newbury: Countryside Books. 1993. Sylva. References Allen. 1975. Montgomeryshire 46 (1940): 98–99. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. It is mainly other members of the poppy family. and as an emetic (Coffey 1993: 27. London: Phoenix House. sores. John.” Collections. (ed. Evans. Clark. Headache. Helen. such as the prickly poppy (Argemone mexicana). Healing Threads: Traditional Medicine of the Highlands and Islands. Woodbridge: Boydell. Toronto: Ryerson Press. Hatfield. The Englishman’s Flora. Paul B. A poultice of poppy seed was used for pain relief (Creighton 1968: 225). Timothy. Los Angeles. Mary. 1935. Harrington. (Sarah Boait) few records of the use of poppies as a sedative. 1994.

and is a good remedy for night sweats (Hyatt 1965: 271). Other conditions treated using potatoes include mumps (UCLA Folklore Archives 18_6410). In Scotland and in Ireland it has been used to treat rheumatism. Worn around the neck. Three potatoes in the pocket are suggested as a cure for piles (Fogel 1915: 305). a potato is suggested as a cure for neuritis (UCLA Folklore Archives 3_5436). and nosebleed (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_5441). but for warding off cramp. Allen 1995: 46).276 . gall stones (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_6305). as in Wales. 15 vols. paradoxically. Taylor MSS. the potatoes are eaten with castor oil. M. Taylor in the Norfolk Record Office. Tongue 1965: 43). 1969: 176). Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Tongue. Somerset Folklore. Parler. used in the treatment of warts (Allen 1995: 179. raw potato was an Irish treatment for ulcers (Vickery 1995: 292). A similar use. to cure lumbago (Cannon 1984: 93). appendicitis (treated. Vickery 1994: 291–292). hot. the potato was sometimes applied or ingested. Ruth L. the practice of carrying a potato as an amulet to ward off rheumatism is widespread in Britain (Grieve 1931: 655. In Ireland. including folk medical ones. 1854. London. A potato in the pocket was used to treat chills (Hyatt 1965: 213). London: Folklore Society. the potato has become one of the world’s most important food sources. more generally. unusually. has been reported from Suffolk (Vickery 1995: 292). A belief has been reported that keeping a potato under the bed aids conception (UCLA Folklore Archives 6_6689). all the uses for potato described above have been recorded in folk medicine. in the latter half of the sixteenth century (Harris et al. on three consecutive nights (Hyatt 1965: 250). The belief is widespread that the water in which potatoes have been cooked can cause warts on the hands. cooked potato mixed with sweet oil has been used (Grieve 1931: 655). A potato poultice . Potato Notes and Queries. alternatively. blood poisoning (Creighton 1968: 199). Norwich. probably via Spain. and as in Britain. to protect against illness (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_6353). headache (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_5396). In Wales the potato has been used within living memory to treat boils. Mary Celestia. A large number of ancillary uses for it have been developed. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. In North American folk medicine. either by poulticing the afflicted area or by immersing sore joints in water in which potatoes have been cooked (Grieve 1931: 655). Hot potatoes have also been applied to corns (Black 1883: 193). and to prevent rheumatism (Mississippi State Guide 1938: 14). and chilblains as well as rheumatism (Jones 1980: 61). they have been used to treat minor burns (Black 1883: 193. Raw. Potato (Solanum tuberosum) Introduced from South America to Britain. MS4322. and even ruptured appendix (Randolph 1947: 118). as a chest poultice to relieve asthma (Hatfield MS). Cooked potatoes have been used. Raw potato has also been used to treat severe back pain. sometimes used as an amulet. Presumably derived from these empirical uses. sore throat. Rheumatism and warts are the two ailments most commonly treated using potatoes. 1962. as well as. tonsillitis (Puckett 1981: 466). For frostbite. with potato leaves rather than the tuber) (Saxon 1945: 170). and University Student Contributors. and yet potatoes are. Black 1883: 182. Briggs. earache (Welsch 1966: 331). Manuscript notes of Mark R. sore throat was treated with a poultice of boiled potatoes in a sock. Edited by K. and many more besides. 1965. 10:181. The wide array of conditions treated is unusual.

like the potato. frostbite (Browne 1958: 67). Diarrhea. Fractures. Insect bites and stings. This very wide array of uses is not reflected in Native American usage. potatoes have been used to treat a very wide range of skin conditions. including heat rash (Street 1959: 78). Hiccups. Eczema. placed over the nose. Raw potatoes were applied to the stomach for cramps (Cannon 1984: 103). for example. The water in which potatoes have been boiled is recommended for falling hair (Doering 1945: 153) and for preventing rickets (Puckett 1981: 114). and applied as well to cuts. Backache. from European and other sources. Corns. “Folk Beliefs Collected in South- . Eating potatoes is recommended for a hangover (Paulsen 1961: 154) and for treating scurvy (Puckett 1981: 438). eye inflammation (Herrick 1977: 431). References Allen. and even cataract (Puckett 1981: 338). for sinusitis (Clark 1970: 29). Bruises. There are very numerous records for the treatment of warts using potatoes (see. Bruises were treated using potatoes (Puckett 1981: 370. Sore throat. Earache. A poultice of raw potato (Musick 1964: 48). In addition. As in Ireland. either directly as a poultice (Puckett 1981: 468. McAtee 1958: 152). where there are records only of its use in treating warts (Speck. Tired muscles were relieved by soaking in water in which peeled potatoes had been standing (Neal 1955: 277). UCLA Folklore Archives 12_6189) or symbolically by cutting the potato into three pieces and throwing it away (Creighton 1968: 235). and loneliness due to bereavement (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 51). Boils. or a drink of water in which peeled potatoes have been standing (Clark 1970: 21). Tuberculosis. Rickets. and Carpenter 1942: 27). Lelah. stys (Puckett 1981: 456). Cancer. Poultice. Potato scrapings were laid on an aching tooth (UCLA Folklore Archives 9_5514) and used to treat conjunctivitis (Puckett 1981: 370). 1995. chilblains (UCLA Folklore Archives 10_5312). Hassrick. Potatoes have even been used to treat tumors. Wounds. chest congestion (Baker 1948: 191). Allison. See also Amulet.Potato : 277 on the feet was used as a cure for colds (UCLA Folklore Archives 2_6792) and. Colds. eczema (Puckett 1981: 367). For indigestion or travel sickness potatoes were either eaten (Lathrop 1961: 17) or worn (Stair 1966: 45). Warts. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. snow blindness (UCLA Folklore Archives 14_6476). A tea made from boiling potato peelings has been drunk for tuberculosis (Puckett 1981: 468). Cuts. cooked potatoes in a sock were used to poultice a sore throat (UCLA Folklore Archives 3_5479). Rheumatism. A potato poultice has been used to treat caked breasts (Mason 1957: 30). the water in which potatoes have been boiled should be drunk (Allison 1950: 313). sores. Piles. Andrew. Chilblains. Eye problems. Newbury: Countryside Books. Cannon 1984: 108). Frostbite. 1968: 72) and to poison ivy rash (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_7614). Breast problems. Fevers. The juice of potatoes has been applied to insect bites (Wilson Sr. Potatoes were either eaten (Hyatt 1965: 237) to cure hiccups or applied as a poultice to the abdomen (Wilson 1968: 323). has been used to reduce fever. Nausea. Burns. Indigestion. Potato peelings have been eaten for diarrhea (UCLA Folklore Archives 18_6474). Ringworm. ringworm (Anderson 1970: 62). This suggests that most North American folk medical uses have been reimported. and moles and skin blemishes in general (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_5615). Scurvy. and even fractures (UCLA Folklore Archives 5_5487). Poison ivy. while for gallstones. and wounds (Anderson 1970: 25). Asthma. and pneumonia (Cannon 1984: 119). boils (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_5314).

Popular Beliefs and Superstitions in Nova Scotia. County Folklore 8. Paul B. Mississippi State Guide. Masefield. S. 1965. Anne C. Doering. Vickery. S.” Proceedings of the Delaware County Institute of Science 10 (1942): 27. Boston: G. McAtee. Oxford: Oxford University Press. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. William Iroquois Medical Botany. Janice C. Anderson. Hassrick.” Journal of American Folklore 74 (1961): 152–168.278 . Edited by Mrs.” Utah Humanities Review 2 (1948): 191–192. Musick. Carpenter. 1977. B. Manning. Herrick. J.” Midwest Folklore 8 (1958): 151–153. William George. 3 vols. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. F. Clark. Institute of Regional Studies Monograph 3. Vance. New York: Columbia University Press. “Superstitions in Hawkins County. Frank G. Mrs. 1981. “A Hair of the Dog and Some Other Hangover Cures from Popular Tradition. edited by Thomas G. C. James. Frank M. M. Somerset Folklore. Texas Folk Medicine. 1883.. Ph. Ruth Ann (ed. Newbell Niles. S.” Arts et Traditions Populaires 7 (January–June 1959): 75–85. L. Anna Casetta. Edwin Miller. Talley. Helen. Speck. 1968. Indiana. Oxford: Oxford University Press.” New York Folklore Quarterly 11 (1955): 277–291. Anne E. Puckett. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Street. Edited by Wayland D. Hassrick.” Folk Life 18 (1980): 58–68. G.. B. W. Albany. Hand and Jeannine E. 1938. Grieve. Harry Middleton. 1970. Browne.. Fogel. Austin. New York: Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. Hand. London: Folklore Society. Sylva. “Rapphannock Herbals. Folklore Studies 9. London: Folklore Society. “Pioneer Remedies from Western Kansas. Thiederman.” Journal of American Folklore 63 (1950): 309–324. Toronto: Ryerson Press. “Medical Lore in Grant Country. Berkley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Frank G.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. Frederick. Bluenose Magic. Neal. R. 1945. Folk-Lore and Science of cures. State University of New York. James. and Mary U.” Western Folklore 20 (1961): 1–22. 1966. B. G.” West Virginia Folklore 14 (1964): 38–52. Ray B. Baker. “Medicine populaire des Iles Saint-Pierre et Miquelon. Edited Katharine Briggs. Madalyn. Tongue. Lyle. Leyel. Folk-Lore and the Science of Cures. “Superstitions. Paulsen. Randolph. Jones. Hall.” Americana Germanica 18 (1915).” Proceedings of the Delaware County Institute of Science 10 (1942): 7–55. “More Customs from Western Ontario. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. 2nd rev.. 1958. and Ruth Wilcox. Folklore from Adams County Illinois. and Michael Wallis. Chiltoskey.” West Virginia Folklore 7 (1957): 27– 32. Edited by Wayland D. 1995. Cannon. John. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. “Rappahanock Herbals. New York: Federal Writers Project. 1969. “Grandad: Pioneer Medicine Man. Potato ginia. TX: Encino Press. and Sondra B.” Journal of American Folklore 58 (1945): 150–155. Ruth L. Johnson City: East Tennessee State University.” In A Collection of Folklore by Undergraduate Students of East Tennessee State University. ed. Mason. Gumbo Ya-Ya. “Folk Remedies in Early Green River. Lathrop. Stair. 1984. Harris.D. “Home Remedies in West Vir- . R. thesis. Roy. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Creighton. NC: Herald. The Oxford Book of Food Plants. Hyatt. 1931. eastern Illinois. 1975. Pearl. Saxon. Ozark Superstitions. Anthon S. “Beliefs and Superstitions of the Pennsylvania Germans. A Modern Herbal. Hamel. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. 1947. Black. 1965. and E. K. Burton and Ambrose N. and E. Speck.). Carpenter. London: Jonathan Cape. “Folk Medicine in Living Memory in Wales. Amy. in the Nineties. Joseph D. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture.

to heal abscesses. Woodbridge: Boydell. Onion poultices were used to treat chest colds and earache. Cabbage leaves were used.. Mallow. Flax. 1995. Elm. 1966. 1952–1964. Koch. Frank C. Hatfield. Gabrielle. as well as for inflamed breasts and as a treatment for a swollen throat (Beith 1995: 172–173). Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. asthma. though these were sometimes composed of different ingredients. Mallow and houseleek were frequently used as poultices. In addition to its soothing and healing properties. Sr. Potato. Wilson. A large number of healing herbs were applied in folk medicine as poultices. for instance. cut and grazed knees. bread poultices were a familiar method of treatment well into the twentieth century. Crellin. alternatively. Gordon. Insect bites and stings. and croup. mallow (Malva spp. Gordon. Folklore from Kansas: Beliefs . 4. these were used for drawing out splinters (Hatfield 1994: 11) and for easing swollen knees (Prince 1991: 111–112). Durham.) has been used in this way to poultice swellings and treat insect stings (Robertson 1960: 29). and many other minor injuries. 1989. John K. burns were treated with a poultice of prickly pear. heated and crushed. lightly crushed. Concepts of disease. and swellings and strains with a poultice of alder bark (Crellin and Philpott 1989: 356. Onion. Colonists settling in North America would have brought with them the tradition of using poultices. “Local Plants in Folk Remedies in the Mammoth Cave Region. Native Americans also used poultices.” Southern Folklore Quarterly 32 (1968): 320–327. and the picture in North American folk medicine is similar to that in Britain. such as pneumonia. Houseleek. Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. 42). and red beet seems to have been particularly used (Brown 1952–1964. the poultice is a common method of treatment in folk medicine. Cabbage. especially the potato. They were applied to boils. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. and Jane Philpott. In Britain. Nine-bark (Physocarpus opulifolius) roots mixed with corn meal formed another much-used poultice of Native American origin. Poultices were often applied warm. Cabbage leaves have been used to poultice swellings and abscesses (Robertson 1960: 30). though it is sometimes still employed in herbalism. Potato poultices have been applied particularly to respiratory ailments. 1994. William E. In addition. adopted into general North American folk medicine (Meyer 1985: 204). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. of flour or flaxseed. Vegetables too were used as poultices. Carrot poultices were used to treat external cancers. NC: Duke University Press. Edinburgh: Polygon. Wilson. as poultices. NC: Duke University Press. 7 vols. Less pleasantly. dried herbs or herbal extracts were added to a basic poultice—made. Mary. As in Britain. See also Alder. A Treasury of Nebraska Pioneer Folklore. 1968. Sometimes the fresh herb was lightly crushed and wrapped in muslin. Brown. : 279 Poultice Defined as a mass of healing material externally applied. Cancer. Slippery elm was a much-used basis for a poultice (Meyer 1985: 204). Today it is rarely used in orthodox medicine. Vegetable poultices were much used. References Beith. Roger L. A Reference Guide to Medicinal Plants. for example. Folklore of the Mammoth Cave Region.Poultice Welsch. Bread poultices were used as in Britain (Koch 1980: 72). poultices were often made from cow dung. Durham. 6: 25). Kentucky Folklore Series No. a poultice was thought to “draw” out any infection or badness from a sore or injury. many plants gathered from the wild have been used.

there was another strong reason to keep such knowledge quiet and so not be answerable to charges of witchcraft. ed. Pregnancy among Native Americans. London: Fontana. Meyer. Barrington. IL: Meyerbooks. They include black snakeroot (Cimicifuga racemosa). in press. Clarence. the village midwife frequently doubled as health advisor to pregnant women. This use is widespread throughout Britain. Raspberry tea was used. but little was written down. and was recommended by the herbalist Samuel Thomson (Meyer 1985: 207). Among the Seminole. though rarely recorded from Ireland (Allen and Hatfield. In Britain right up to the advent of the National Health Service. Hawthorn.280 . Meyer cites examples of plants used during pregnancy as learned from the Native Americans. NS: Cape Sable Historical Society. Grandmother’s Cures: An A–Z of Herbal Remedies. usually through the women. Collection of North Carolina . Prince. as among the Scots. Marion. and Gabrielle Hatfield. American Folk Medicine. In North American folk belief. References Allen. Witches. and a decoction of the roots of Indian cup-plant (Silphium perfoliatum). Birthmarks are attributed to a shock during pregnancy or an unfulfilled craving (Brown 1952– 1964. During pregnancy there were various restrictions to be observed. for example. Birthmarks too were ascribed to an incident during pregnancy. It was recommended (and still is) during the last three months of pregnancy. as in Britain. Peach. Pregnancy Relatively little appears in the literature about folk medical aids during pregnancy and childbirth. OR: Timber Press. 1960. Dennis. 6: 17–22). to strengthen the uterine muscles and ensure a speedy delivery. David E. also used to allay pregnancy sickness (Meyer 1985: 207–208). Glenwood. The downy milkpea (Galactea volubile) was used as medicine to protect the unborn baby and to ease labor (Snow and Stans 2001: 83). Brown. Frank C. numerous superstitions surround pregnancy. Pregnancy and Customs. Divorced from their extended families and even from the native plant remedies they might have used. and it was thought they could be removed by licking (Radford and Radford 1974: 54).. British and Irish Plants in Folk Medicine. In East Anglia hawthorn leaves were used similarly (Newman and Wilson 1951). 1980. 1994: 72). they must have had to depend on newly acquired knowledge of the local flora. Portland. as in British. 1985. In Scotland. the pregnant woman was not allowed to step over anything or to run. Robertson. KS: Regent Press. Samuel. Abnormalities in a baby were often ascribed to experiences of the mother during pregnancy. Remedies were also handed down from one generation to the next. Lawrence. used to relieve sickness and heartburn during pregnancy. We do know that raspberry tea was one of the staples of folk medicine in pregnancy. Peach was used to treat pregnancy sickness. was accompanied by certain restrictions. See also Childbirth. 1991. Raspberry was used by a number of Native American tribes to ease childbirth (Moerman 1998: 488). Midwife. Old Settlers’ Remedies. in press). Colonial women must have had an even harder time than their European counterparts when it came to surviving pregnancy and childbirth. In the days of persecution of witches. but this is more likely to be due to a reticence surrounding the subject and under-recording rather than a lack of remedies. a pregnant woman was advised not to cross her legs or her arms (Buchan. Thomson.

References Crellin. devil’s soot bag. The burned ashes of the plant have been sprinkled on cancers (Rogers 1941: 28). OR: Timber Press. “Folk Curing among the Mexicans. Rheumatism. Newman. and Jane Philpott. F. 3 vols. : 281 (Puckett 1981: 413). Norfolk.. 238. Cloths soaked in a decoction of prickly ash bark and cayenne were applied for renal colic. Radford. A tea from the buds of prickly ash has been used to treat measles Puffball (Lycoperdon spp. Alice Micco. Meyer records its use as a tonic and as an infusion for washing carbuncles. In the Mexican tradition the bark has also provided a cough medicine (Dodson 1932: 88). “Folk-Lore Survivals in the Southern ‘Lake Counties’ and in Essex: A Comparison and Contrast.1981. and Susan Enns Stans. and this was to staunch bleeding. but there was one principal use for it in British folk medicine.) This genus does not occur in Britain and has not been used in folk medicine there. Murfreesboro. Hand. All these uses. 2001. Durham. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. NC: Duke University Press. are recorded in Native American usage (Moerman 1998: 610). M. Encyclopaedia of Superstitions. 1952–1964.” Folk-Lore 62 (1951): 252–266. Puckett. London: Book Club Associates 1974. Moerman. IL: Meyerbooks. 236. For stomachache both the berries and the bark have been used. 158. blindball. 247). ed. fevers. 1998. TN: 1941. Wilson. Coughs. Radford. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. Colic. See also Boils. NC: Duke University Press. Edinburgh: Canongate Academic. For toothache. 1990. In North American folk medicine. Prickly ash (Zanthoxylum spp. G. Daniel E. Boston: G. Portland. Snow.) There are numerous British country names for this fungus (bulfer. Thiederman. as an herb valuable for all these ailments and for colic and diarrhea as well (Crellin and Philpott 1990: 355). David. Mexican tradition. E. L. Diarrhea. 216. Newbell Niles. Ireland). Shakers. John K. Anna Casetta. Native American Ethnobotany. and toothache. Smoky Jo. 71. 1985. the bark was chewed. Toothache. Fevers. 57. Early Folk Medical Practices in Tennessee. E. Glenwood. Clarence. Folk Tradition and Folk Medicine in Scotland: The Writings of David Rorie. Durham. Glenwood. Native American Ethnobotany. During the nineteenth century it was marketed by the Shakers. 1985. 7 vols. Meyer. and E.. American Folk Medicine. IL: Meyerbooks. American Folk Medicine. Bovista spp. 1998.Puffball Folklore. Clarence.. Meyer. Rogers. or poulticed around the aching tooth (Meyer 1985: 40. Cancer. A. prickly ash has been used as a tonic and to treat rheumatism. Suffolk. Part I. Ruth. and others besides. Edited by Wayland D. This use has led to the name of “toothache tree” as an alternative to prickly ash. and Sondra B. Edited and revised by Christina Hole.” Publications of the Texas Folklore Society 10 (1932): 82–98. Either the spores were dusted onto a wound. Dodson. K. OR: Timber Press. Portland. or a poultice was made from the whole fungus and applied. This use occurs throughout Europe and is evidently an ancient practice.. Buchan. Daniel E. Boils have been treated with a decoction of the bark (UCLA Folklore Archives 20_6185). 1994. and M. In the . Hall. Healing Plants: Medicine of the Florida Seminole Indians. Norfolk. Moerman. A Reference Guide to Medicinal Plants.

In the Highlands of Scotland they were used similarly for treating wounds. 1995. Daniel E. There are records from Carolina of the use of spores to stop bleeding (Clark 1970: 19). and also piles. and it has been claimed that. Theatrum Botanicum. Just as in seventeenth-century Britain. they were considered especially harmful to the eyes (Compton 1993: 134). Ph. In much more recent times. John. It has been claimed that the spores can stop the bleeding even from an amputated limb (Meyer 1985: 277). Collection of North Carolina Folklore.” North Carolina Folklore 18 (1970): 1–66. and. 6: 240). Nearly two thousand years later. In Norfolk. too (Moerman 1998: 323). Vogel. 1995. Puffball prehistoric village of Skara Brae. the spores had a reputation among Native Americans for their poisonous quality. well into the twentieth century. “North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. The plant was burned and the fumes smoked into bee hives to sedate the bees while honey was collected. to treat cuts on humans and animals (Carr and Westez 1945: 121). and butchers likewise kept them handy in case of accidents (Vickery 1995: 298).” Journal of American Folklore 58 (1945): 113–121. Vancouver.282 . and Carlos Westez. Glenwood. 1998. John C. Upper North Wakashan and Southern Tsimshian Ethnobotany: The Knowledge and Usage of Plants. IL: Meyerbooks. the spores were claimed to prevent tetanus (Wigby 1976: 67). Among Native Americans the plants were used much as in East Anglia. several Native American tribes used puffballs as baby powder to prevent chafing (Vogel 1970: 236). 89). as in Scotland. were used to treat internal bleeding (Hellson 1974: 84..D. Mercury Series 19. American Folk Medicine. 1985. Hellson. Piles. Nor- . Native American Ethnobotany. a group of fruit bodies was found accumulated in such a way as to suggest deliberate harvesting. they were so commonly used in East Anglia that most farmers kept one hanging in the shed or the kitchen. Brown. References Beith. Evans. Lloyd G. American Indian Medicine. Puffballs featured in Native American legend. Orkney. Clarence. 1993. 1974. University of British Columbia. Brian Douglas. in the seventeenth century. In North American folk medicine. Nosebleed. Edinburgh: Polygon. burns. inhaled in large amounts. Vickery. Parkinson. Interestingly. Moerman. Ottawa: National Museums of Canada. Frank C. mixed with water. the same principal use of the puffball appears. for use on humans and farm animals. Their use for burns is also reported from East Anglia (Evans 1966: 90). Oxford: Oxford University Press. It was believed in Scotland that the spores were injurious to eyes. Poultice. Virgil J. Carr. London: Thomas Cotes. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. George Ewart. The Pattern under the Plough. Mary. London: Faber. Durham. “Surviving Folktales and Herbal Lore among the Shinnecock Indians of Long Island. Clark. In addition the spores. 1966. Ethnobotany of the Blackfoot Indians. probably for medicinal use (Watling and Seaward 1976). Snuffing up the spores has been recommended for nosebleeds (Brown 1952– 1964. Parkinson reported their use for chafed skin as well as for staunching bleeding (Parkinson 1640: 1324). Roy. Meyer. Joseph D. See also Bleeding. the spores have an anesthetic effect on humans (Beith 1995: 236). 7 vols. 1640. Burns. but not extensively. and scalds (Beith 1995: 235). dissertation. NC: Duke University Press. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Compton. Portland OR: Timber Press. 1952–1964. barbers frequently kept them for emergency use on cuts they inflicted on customers.

and M. .. R.: University of Oklahoma Press. D. Wymondham: Geo. R. Watling.” Journal of Archaeological Science. Reeve. Just a Country Boy. 1970. Wigby.Puffball man. 1976. Okla. R. Seaward. “Some Observations on Puff-balls from British Ar- : 283 chaeological Sites. 3 (1976): 165–172. Frederick C.

.

Q : Quinsy This term was used in both official and folk medicine to denote swelling and inflammation of the throat. The native Americans used a number of plant remedies for treating quinsy. sumac (Rhus spp. Poultices were widely used. more drastically.. Many folk medical remedies involved the use of poultices. The leaves of greater plantain were also applied as a poultice (Beith 1995: 234). Unsurprisingly. many of the remedies overlapped with those used for sore throats. a clear example of a remedy using transference (Ballard 1956: 167–168). See also Burdock. wearing gold beads was claimed to prevent quinsy. Mouse. Treatments included wearing red flannel around the neck and swallowing whole figs that had been boiled in milk (Brown 1952–1964. In the Scottish Highlands a poultice of cow dung applied externally was recommended (Beith 1995: 173). A poultice of hog manure was sometimes used. echoing the use in Scotland of a cow manure poultice (Fogel 1915: 133). Snail. Flax. or drinking an infusion of slippery elm (Puckett 1981: 429). Gold. as well as for whooping cough (Billson 1895: 55). A piece of fat bacon tied onto the throat was also used (Prince 1991: 105). with a mixture of gunpowder and glycerin (Black 1935: 14) have all been recommended. Excreta. as in Britain. Sore throat. Toads and frogs. the frogs were reputedly poisoned. often hot. satin ribbon in hartshorn oil and give it to the sufferer to wear next to the skin (Porter 1974: 44). A baked potato placed in a sock and applied hot was another remedy of modern times (Prince 1991: 98). One reported remedy involved holding each of three frogs in turn in the affected throat. Catnip. Toads. Elm. or. Other suggestions include smoking dried catnip in a pipe. frogs or snails were applied to the throat (Puckett 1981: 429). Plantain. Hot pancakes could be applied to the throat (UCLA Folklore Archive 3_6478) or live earthworms bound on with a cloth (Puckett 1981: 429). . black.). Cherry. Gargling with sage tea (UCLA Folklore Archive 9_7613). His method was to dip a long. Transference. with a tea of burdock root (Browne 1958: 87). Whooping cough. and elder (Edgar 1960: 1038). with an abscess on or near the tonsils. Poke. Potato. Elder. including wild cherry. 6: 252–253). Poultice. Hops. Fried mouse was eaten for quinsy. or inhaling the fumes from an infusion of hops (Jack 1964: 36). In North American folk medicine. They include poke root and flaxseed (Puckett 1981: 429). which could burst the abscess and bring relief. In one Cambridgeshire village in the 1930s there was a man renowned for his ability to cure quinsy.

Frank C. Mary. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. 1958. Boston: G. C. 7 vols. Hand. The Folklore of East Anglia. Billson. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. 1991. 1935. Porter. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Prince. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. Irving I. “Beliefs and Superstitions of the Pennsylvania Germans. Black. J. NC: Duke University Press. Lincoln: University of Nebraska. Grandmother’s Cures: An A–Z of Herbal Remedies. Newbell Niles. Thiederman. 3 vols. Leicestershire and Rutland: County Folklore. and Sondra B. Anna Casetta. K. Edited by Wayland D. Enid. Edwin Miller. Pauline Monette.” Pennsylvania Folklife 14(1) (October 1964): 35–37. References Ballard. 1995. Dennis. 1952–1964. Durham. Quinsy Edgar. London: Folklore Society.” New York Folklore Quarterly 12 (1956): 164– 170. London: Fontana. Hall. Literature and Criticism 15. Browne. Studies in Language.” Americana Germanica 18 (1915). London: Batsford. Puckett. Nebraska Folk Cures. “Origins of the Healing Art. Jack. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Phil R. Ray B. 1895. Folklore Studies 9.” The Journal of the Michigan State Medical Society 59(7) (1960): 1035–1039.286 . Fogel. . Hattie R. Brown. 1981. “Folk Medicine from Western Pennsylvania. 1974. Beith. “The Year We Were Sick. Edinburgh: Polygon.

1925). Rheumatism and arthritis The number and variety of folk remedies for these conditions are indicative of their frequency and of the fact that no really successful cure has been or is available. yarrow. Cringleford W. Among the more unusual rheumatism treatments. Norwich. Cringleford W.I. horseradish (Armoracia rusticana). R: Renal colic See Colic. willow. as has old draft cider turning to vinegar (T. An alternative was to eat a spider and wash it down with cider! (Mundford Primary School project. Gwent. bogbean (Vickery 1995: 441). 259).. cabbage water. 1925). In Norfolk. stinging nettle.). Wales. pers.. 1980. Various plants have been carried to ward off rheumatism.I. Animal-derived amulets worn against rheumatism include the legs of a mole—the front legs if the arms were . fastening a stone with a hole in it under the bed was one suggestion. Norfolk 1980. in press). H.).. The herbal treatments used in British folk medicine include oak (Hatfield 1994: 46). com. The burst vesicles of bladder-wrack. Liniments composed of turpentine. or placing a thick glass under one leg of the bed (Taylor MSS. potato water (Hatfield 1994: 46–47).. 1980 unpub. agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria). celery seed (Apium graveolens) (Taylor MSS. a type of seaweed (Fucus vesiculosus). Epsom salts have been found helpful.. Dandelion was widely used in Ireland for rheumatism. horse chestnuts (Aesculus hoppocastanum) made into a necklace (Mundford Primary School project.). and white deadnettle (lamium album) (Taylor MSS. In the fenlands of East Anglia.W. Cringleford W.I. these include acorns (R. is poulticing with molehill earth. Norfolk.). 1925).. Suffolk. wormwood (Artemisia absinthium). unpub. as hot as possible. vinegar. 1985. poppy tea prepared from white opium poppies grown in gardens was a standby for rheumatism and ague (Porter 1974: 52). Norfolk. chicory (Cichorium intybus). Eating an apple that has been halved and wrapped around a cobweb was recommended in Norfolk in recent times. Brandon.. nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) (Vickery 1995: 291. and white bryony (Taylor 1929: 117). and eggs have been used right up to the present day (L. 1990). and then with seaweed (Beith 1995: 178). pers. Norfolk. potato. parsley (Pterselinum crispum). and burdock was also used there (Allen and Hatfield.H. com. were sometimes added to the bath to relieve the pain of bunions and stiff joints (Hatfield MS). recorded from the Highlands of Scotland. hazel nut (Corylus avellana) (Foster 1951: 60).

In Sussex folk medicine. even beating with stinging nettles (a remedy attributed to the Romans in Britain and still practiced in parts of East Anglia) (Hatfield MS). there is increasing evidence for a more directly therapeutic action for some of these. damp is often regarded as a cause of rheumatism.1957). It is interesting to find. Interestingly. “rubs” of oil of wintergreen (from Gaultheria sp. The oil from the liver of the sting-ray was another treatment for rheumatism used by Suffolk fishermen in the nineteenth century (Emerson: 1887) and reflected in the more modern use of cod-liver-oil.1957). Kilda. (Library of Congress) affected. and these practices were probably far more widespread than the written records might suggest. It appears. perhaps because inflamed joints are often more painful in damp conditions. which is widespread and currently fashionable. In Fife. He treated sore backs by walking along them (Beith 1995: 94.). and chilli pepper extract has recently been endorsed as a painkiller by the orthodox medical profession. These have been used as a compress for breast abscesses and ulcers. In folk medicine. chilli peppers. used both for prevention and cure of rheumatism well into the nineteenth century (Lowestoft Journal: 1. “Oil” of earthworms.. 97–98). for example. that water animals seem to be associated with rheumatism cures. hot mustard poultices (from Brassica spp. the back ones for sore legs (Emerson 1887). Another category of folk remedies for rheumatism depend on counter-irritation. Rheumatism and arthritis Cabbage water was among the many herbal treatments used for rheumatism in British folk medicine. then. In Britain there is a superstition that cutting the green boughs of elder will cause rheumatism in later years (Hatfield MS). This last remedy may have been “borrowed” from conventional medicine. In the Scottish Highlands one such healer was a seventh son. . or with holly (Tongue 1965: 42) all produce local heat and sometimes comfort. or from Betula lenta).2. Some individuals were famed for their ability to treat rheumatism. where the beaver was considered a cause of rheumatism (Lyon 1996: 18). was similarly used (Lowestoft Journal 1. On the now-uninhabited island of St. where it was used similarly for rheumatism (Beith 1995: 165). Garters made from eelskin were a Suffolk folk remedy. The association with water is paralleled in Native American medicine. fulmar oil was used as a rub and during the seventeenth century was exported to London. both bee stings and wood-ant stings were used (Allen 1995: 86–87). while stinging nettle is undergoing clinical trials in Germany.2. as well as for reducing fever. Other counter-irritants were produced from animal sources. 140) and elsewhere could be extensions of this association.288 . a preparation of black slugs was used (Simpkins 1914: 411). Many of the other British folk uses of cabbage relate to its large cooling leaves. in Salmon’s English Physician of 1693 (Salmon 1693: 698). made by burying a bottle of worms in a dung heap until they became liquefied. The use of sea water for bathing rheumatic joints and of water from special healing wells in the Scottish Highlands (Beith 1995: 136.

Both catnip and prickly ash have been used in rheumatism treatment. Numerous plants have been used by different cultures at different times for the treatment of rheumatism and arthritis. In Pennsylvania. 6: 265–266). this plant was originally a Native American remedy. brass.” indicating its use by early colonial settlers. Like those in Britain. In Newfoundland. Dandelion tea has been recommended (UCLA Folklore Archives 4_6465). Both the berries and the roots have been used (Brown 1952– 1964. were originally folk remedies but have now reached official herbalism on both sides of the Atlantic. amulets. Threads of various kinds have also been used. 6: 259. Willow. These include acorns. Sleeping with a dog has been widely recommended (Brown 1952–1964. a native plant of North and Central America. were not generally available in Britain. and carrying a rabbit’s foot has been practiced (Brown 1952–1964. was used in folk medicine on both sides of the Atlantic. and potato (all familiar in British folk medicine too). 6: 261). Both snakeskin and eelskin (Brown 1952–1964. the white willow (Salix alba) in Britain and various species. a rub has been made from hemp seed (Cannabis sativa) and chicken fat (Rupp 1946: 254). they can be categorized into counter-irritant “rubs. numerous amulets have been carried to protect against rheumatism. This remedy too has been imported into official herbalism in Europe (Chevallier 1996: 89).” healing herbs. 6: 256. Mexicans. 258) have been worn. in North America. Some of them. Celery seed was used as in Britain (and continues to be used by herbalists). rings. Creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) was used by Indians. an infusion of alder buds has been drunk (Bergen 1899: 837). Poke was widely used for treating rheumatism. tied around the wrist. Other plants used in the treatment of rheumatism include horseradish and cayenne pepper (Brown 1952– 1964. As in Britain. was developed. 6: 255. as has a poultice of burdock leaves (UCLA Folklore Archives 4_6838). the plant from which salicylic acid. adding boiled cedar leaves to the bath has been recommended (Moya 1940: 47). including black willow (Salix nigra). lead. All these varied herbal treatments were used for their painkilling or diuretic properties. 6: 265). nutmegs. As its common name of squaw root suggests. A poultice of mullein leaves has also been used (Puckett 1981: 433). and pewter have been widely worn as amulets against rheumatism (Brown 1952–1964. 260). Transferring rheumatism to a cat was a folk remedy in North America taken from the German tradition (Meyer 1985: 218). bracelets. . such as black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa). remedies similar to those in Britain. 6: 266–268). Other amulets used are the feather of a buzzard and a fin-bone of the haddock (Brown 1952–1964. a remedy from the African tradition (Brown 1952–1964. until relatively recently. is sometimes called “rheumatism root. and Spanish of the southwestern states. has been used to bandage affected parts (Brown 1952–1964. an infusion was made from the leaves (Meyer 1985: 214). both remedies familiar also in Ireland. and hence aspirin. 6: 264) or has been worn as an amulet. around a toe. and anklets of copper.Rheumatism and arthritis : 289 In North American folk medicine there are innumerable rheumatism treatments. A leather strip has been worn. or around the waist (Brown 1952–1964. horse chestnuts. and other superstitions. 6: 257)—again. Lying down and covering oneself with elm leaves is another suggestion (Parler 1962: 838). Coins. but many of the other plants used are natives of North America and. 257). In New Mexico. Wild yam (Dioscorea villosa). 6: 255). especially red flannel. Flannel.

1887. The blood of a black hen applied to the sore areas has also been suggested (Pickard and Buley 1945: 84). Andrew. 1995.). 7 vols. Animal-derived remedies for rheumatism also bear a striking resemblance to British folk remedies. Holly. Frank C. A posthumous son or a seventh daughter (Puckett 1926: 363) was thought to have this ability. Amulet. Transference. whose books based on folk medicine in Ver- mont have run into numerous editions and become widely popular in North America and Britain (Jarvis 1961). Ulster Folklore. Toads and frogs. Pictures of East Anglian Life. Mullein. Miscellaneous remedies from the North American folk medicine include bathing in a cold stream where the ice has broken (Wilson 1968: 302) or using the mineral waters of St. Poke. R. 1996. OR: Timber Press. Alder. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. In Native American medicine a very large number of plants. Elder. 258).) and juniper (Juniperus spp. wormwood (Artemisia spp. 1951. . “Animal and Plant Lore Collected from the Oral Tradition of English Speaking Folk.) have been particularly widely used. Jeanne Cooper. 6: 255. Potato. Allen. or split frogs applied to the feet. Stinging nettle. Urine. certain individuals were credited with the ability to cure rheumatism. Ray B. dog. and numerous special diets have been suggested as helpful.). The association between water and rheumatism is also illustrated in a common “cure” involving placing water under the bed of the sufferer (Hendricks 1956: 10). 257). 6: 256.” Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society 7 (1899). An oil derived from angleworms or grubworms has been used (Brown 1952–1964: 254. in press. Gabrielle. Bergen. References Allen. Woodbridge: Boydell. 1995. 6: 257). Bryony. Folklore Studies 9. Seventh son. Yarrow. H. A Dictionary of Sussex Folk Medicine. and Gabrielle Hatfield. have been used to treat rheumatism (Moerman 1998: 772– 774). Andrew. Apple. Portland. Bogbean. nettle (Urtica spp. as was a widow who had given birth to twins (Neal 1955: 284). Browne. Cabbage. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. As in Britain. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Grease derived from goat. Walking through cow manure and then through wet grass has been suggested (UCLA Folklore Archive 2_6464). 1994. are further examples of transference (Brown 1952–1964. Beith. Poppy. Dandelion. Drinking one’s earlymorning urine has been recommended (Puckett 1981: 431). Folk medicine emphasizes the role of diet in rheumatism. all of them as external applications.. Michigan (Michigan State Guide 1964: 446). Bee stings are recommended (Brown 1952–1964. Among these. Foster. or buzzard (Brown 1952–1964. by rubbing against it after a hog has rubbed there (Brown 1952–1964. dry horse dung (Browne 1958: 89). Louis. NC: Duke University Press. Durham. P. Newbury: Countryside Books. Hatfield. Belfast: H. London: Dorling Kindersley. Cayenne. 6: 254). Country Remedies: Traditional East Anglian Plant Remedies in the Twentieth Century. 1958. 1952–1964. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. David E. Catnip. One of the best-known such diets in recent times is the cider vinegar diet propounded by Jarvis. Emerson. or applying hard. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. See also African tradition. Spider. Edinburgh: Polygon. London: Sampson Low. Fanny D. Burdock. Prickly ash. Collection of North Carolina Folklore.290 . Chevallier. Rheumatism and arthritis Rheumatism has even been “transferred” to a tree. Live toads bound to an aching limb. Mary. Carter. yarrow (Achillea millefolium sp. belonging to several hundred different genera. 256) has been used as a rub. Brown.

Enid. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. Meyer. The Compleat English Physician. Mundford Primary School. Benjamin S. William J. Banta. New York: Federal Writers Project. 1998. County Folklore 8. snails in vinegar were eaten for rickets (Beith 1995: 185). Master’s thesis. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Encyclopedia of Native American Healing. D. Crawfordsville. Parler. Alternatively. or sarsaparilla (Brown 1952–1964. The Midwest Pioneer. Jarvis. Tongue. Michigan State Guide. 1926. Norwich. In parts of Scotland. Pickard. Folklore of the Mammoth Cave Region. Santa Barbara. 1996. such as Men-an-Tol in Cornwall. 1940. 1964. London: Batsford. and R. Edited Katharine Briggs. the child could be passed three times through a split ash tree or willow tree. In North American folk medicine.” Western Folklore 15 (1956): 1–18. NC: Greenwood Press. Lyon. 1980. unpublished. 3 vols. The tree was then bound up. Taylor.” Pennsylvania German Society Proceedings and Addresses 52 (1946). 1974. so the child would recover (Radford and Radford 1974: 21. Mary Celestia. American Folk Medicine. John Ewart. Moerman. Moya. with Some Notes on : 291 Clackmannan and Kinross-shires. William S. In Ireland. administering cod liver oil or bone and lime water. George D. Madge E. and University Student Contributors. Porter. 1914.” New York Folklore Quarterly 11 (1955): 277–291. 1995. MS4322. London: Pan Books.Rickets Hendricks. 1965. “Superstitions Collected in Denton. K. Folk Medicine. Clarence. The grease from dishwater rubbed on the child was another recommendation (Puckett 1981: 437). Boston: G. Cures and Doctors. as was washing the child’s legs with cow’s milk (Saxon 1945: .. IN: R. Thiederman. Folk Beliefs of the Southern Negro. Norfolk. Originally published W. Ruth L. England. OR: Timber Press. The child was passed nine times through the hole (Souter 1995: 37). 1968. Gordon. “Norfolk Folklore. 1960. the Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis) had a reputation for healing rickets (Page 1988: 22).D. Bowling Green. Superstitions and Beliefs among the Spanish-Speaking People of New Mexico. CA: ABC-CLIO. William. and Sondra B. Daniel E. Roy. Hand. 6: 269). 1945. Salmon. Examples of Printed FolkLore Concerning Fife. 1961. Edited by Wayland D. 1985. Taylor MSS. Glenwood. Rickets In British folk medicine snail slime was used as a treatment for rickets (Prince 1991: 104). and as it healed. IL: Meyerbooks. 365). Another version of this passing-through ceremony involved stones with huge holes in them. Puckett. Puckett. Native American Ethnobotany. School project. H. 1962. Somerset Folklore. Rupp. Portland. There seem to have been few plant remedies used for rickets. Manuscript notes by Mark R. “Grandad: Pioneer Medicine Man. Mark R. Simpkins. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. The Folklore of East Anglia. 1981. London: Folklore Society. 8th ed. Taylor in the Norfolk Record Office. Janice G. London: 1693. Hall. “Bird Names and Bird Lore of the Pennsylvania Germans. Texas. E. Sr. Anna Casetta.” Folk-Lore 40 (1929): 113–133. Newbell Niles. Neal. Limecontaining springs were also used to treat rickets (Souter 1995: 95). advice for rickets included washing in cold water. M. Newbell Niles. Carlyle Buley. County Folklore 7. Allen. His Ills. KY: Kentucky Folklore Series 4. C. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. University of New Mexico. London: Folklore Society. Vickery. Chapel Hill. 15 vols. and Shepherd’s Purse ´ (Capsella bursa-pastoris) was also used (O Su ´ illeabha ´in 1942: 313). Wilson.

and M. Ross. 1995. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. Harold D. Sarsaparilla. Parler. NC: Duke University Press. as in Britain. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. “Granny Grandiosity. 1942. Ringworm Contributors. London: Folklore Society. Dipping the child nine times in a spring was another suggestion (Levine 1941: 489) or. ´ Su O ´ illeabha ´in. “Folk Medicine in New Hampshire. William George. was supposed to cure a child of ringworm (Addy 1895: 91). 1883. 3: 209). Black. “He Took Down His Shingle (A Backward Look at the Indian Medicine Man). Levine. 532) or with the water in which potatoes have been boiled (Puckett 1981: 114). Boston: G. Puckett. 1945. 1995. Radford. E. Fiddes. See also Ash. London: Collins. Keith.. Ferns: Their Habitats in the British and Irish Landscape. In British folk medicine. London: Book Club Associates 1974. and University Student Ringworm This fungal skin complaint was also known in the past as “tetter. References Beith. passing it three times through a split in a young tree (Brown 1952–1964. Grandmother’s Cures: An A–Z of Herbal Remedies.W. Fossil belemnites were thought to help heal ringworm (Blakeborough 1898: 141). Encyclopaedia of Superstitions. Prince. Frank C. 1952–1964. Cure Craft: Traditional Folk Remedies and Treatment from Antiquity to the Present Day. Hall. 6: 56). otherwise it would develop rickets (Parler 1962. a person suffering from ringworm took a pinch of ashes between forefinger and thumb. Dennis.” Southern Medicine and Surgery 96 (February 1934): 57– 59. Rubbing the patient’s head with a silver watch . Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. Radford. Mary Celestia. Anna Casetta. Sondra B.” Canadian Journal of Public Health 56 (1965): 400–401. Mary. A. Lyle. A New England remedy was to bury some of the child’s hair at a crossroads.292 . there were a number of semi-magical ways of curing it. The Native Americans of the Pacific north coast used oolachan fish oil. Saxon. Saffron Walden: C. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. W.” New England Journal of Medicine 224 (1941): 487–492. a natural source of vitamin D equivalent to the cod liver oil officially recommended today (Fiddes 1965: 401). Brown. preferably at full moon (Black 1883: 125). Newbell Niles. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. each day for three days. Gumbo Ya-Ya. Sea ´n. 1962. 1981. G. Daniel. K. Souter.” and was thought to be caused by a worm. Christopher N. There was a belief that a child under a few months old should not be allowed to see itself in a mirror. Sunshine and fat meat (Ross 1934: 59) were obviously sound recommendations. Page. A. In Shetland. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Moon. Thiederman. A Handbook of Irish Folklore. Wexford: Educational Company of Ireland. 1988. as both increase the vitamin D necessary to correct rickets. Edited and revised by Christina Hole. Edited by Wayland D. 15 vols. Snail. R. 3 vols. Tracing a finger around the child’s face three times.” or “tetters. Durham. a priest who is a seventh son can cure ringworm by breathing on the affected area three times and blessing it. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. and recited a suitable charm each morning before eating on three successive mornings (Black 1883: 42). London: Fontana. 7 vols. this procedure is repeated three times in an eight-day period (Huttson 1957: 57). Edinburgh: Polygon. 1991. Hand. In Ireland. J.

In Wales. especially the first urine in the morning (Puckett 1981: 437). coal oil. In Alabama. an ointment to heal ringworm was made from lard and the leaves of primroses (Primula vulgaris) (Vickery 1995: 297). In North American folk medicine there is a similar mixture of practical and magical treatments for ringworm. As in the treatment of warts. as well as tobacco or the green rind of a walnut (Juglans sp. so the “worm” would not smell the remedy and change position (Wellborn 1963: 161). Copper coins dipped in vinegar were a common cure (and. Rubbing the affected area with a sowbug is a remedy from Mexico (UCLA Folklore Archives 4_6482). the spit of a blackeyed person is specified. yellow dock. or of houseleek (Vickery 1995: 199). but a shilling treated first with fasting spittle was more so (Black 1883: 184). fasting spittle was thought to be effective. and the resulting oily ash was rubbed onto the ringworm (Cannon 1984: 122). Iodine solution was used to paint the affected area of skin. or measuring the diseased area and then rubbing it with a shilling (Black 1883: 182). In Suffolk. 296). Walnut tree bark (Juglans sp. and gunpowder and vinegar. and bloodroot. given that copper salts are toxic to fungi in general. vinegar. Herbal remedies include an infusion of chickweed (Prince 1991: 123). were also used. and salt was rubbed on (Welsch 1966: 362). In Ireland boiled garlic was used (Vickery 1995: 151) or the juice of laurel leaves (Prunus laurocerasus) mixed with unsalted butter (Logan 1972: 74). Urine has been used to treat ringworm. An Irish remedy was to rub the affected area with golden syrup (Hatfield MS). or with an infusion of coltsfoot leaves (Tussilago farfara). and in Nebraska. which could presage death of the patient (Bergen 1899: 68). This was burned on an axe (just as in the Welsh remedy described for wood above). while in Louisiana the blood of a black hen was claimed to be effective (Boudreaux 1971: 127). A poultice of burdock leaves is another Irish cure. Garlic has been used in Arkansas . Herbs used to treat ringworm include burdock (as in Britain). In Ohio. The touch of a posthumous child has been suggested as effective (Puckett 1981: 379). turpentine. ringworm on the head was treated with sour buttermilk (Puckett 1981: 437). It was recommended that this should be prepared on the opposite side of a river from the patient. The fat of fried bacon was another ringworm treatment from Wales (Jones 1980: 62). Wash-day blueing was also used (Browne 1958: 90. 91). Rubbing with a gold ring was also suggested in the Scottish Highlands (Beith 1995: 159). Butter and sulphur. A widespread folk treatment for ringworm was the ash of paper. Rubbing with one’s mother’s wedding ring nine times a day for nine days is a remedy from Texas (Hendricks 1980: 94). which stopped it from spreading. placing a salt pickle on the area of ringworm was suggested (UCLA Folklore Archives 1_7602).) and sunspurge (Euphorbia helioscopia) have also been used to treat ringworm (Thiselton Dyer 1889: 210. Blood from the tail of a black cat has been suggested. Fasting spittle was another cure.) (Meyer 1985: 220–221). Calf slobber has been suggested too (Puckett 1981: 379). ringworm was treated with rotten apples or rotten pears. Wood tar collected on an axe held in the flame was also used in Wales to treat ringworm. one that may have a scientific basis). as a remedy that will prevent the ring of ringworm closing up. In Suffolk coal oil was used with apparent success to treat ringworm (Hatfield MS).Ringworm : 293 was recommended. One very simple method was to scratch the surface of the skin around the affected area. or water in which oak leaves have been boiled (Vickery 1995: 264). a mixture of egg yolk. In Maine. Allowing flies to crawl over the affected area is perhaps an example of transference (Puckett 1981: 437).

350). Folklore and Customs. 1975. London: 1895. “Folklore in the News: Other Treatments. Meyer.” Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society 7 (1899). 1958. Glenwood. J. Arthur E. Dennie. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. Cadwallader. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Clarence. Warts. “Les Reme `des du Vieux Temps: Remedies and Cures of the Kaplan Area in Southwestern Louisiana. Dallas. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Anne E. Dock. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from Utah. Hendricks.” Collections of the Georgia Historical Society 49 (1965): 217– 227. and Mary U. Jones. Anthon S.. Roosters. 225). Green gourd tea. Miscellaneous ringworm cures included immersing the head (where the head is affected) in a horse trough (Puckett 1981: 437) and applying a thimble to the opposite side of the hand from that affected by ringworm (Parler 1962: 861). Patrick. Folklore Studies 9. Spit.” Western Folklore 16 (1957): 56–58. Gold. 1985. Household Tales with Other Traditional Remains Collected in the Counties of York. Anna M. Character. “Folklore Medicine among Georgia’s Piedmont Negroes after the Civil War. Rubbing with a carrot has been successful in Indiana (Halpert 1950: 6). 1972. Charles C. Richard. Logan. Native American herbals for ringworm treatment include a poultice of poison ivy leaves (Toxicodendron sp. Yorkshire Wit. Urine. Chickweed. Huttson. London: Folklore Society. Halpert. or to rub on the juice of fig leaves (Cadwallader 1965: 221. Derby and Nottingham. Bergen.” Virginia Medical Monthly 83 (1956): 278–284. Ray B. the sap of the red mulberry (Morus rubra) (Vogel 1970: 220. 1980. Poke. Lincoln. but only if a nurse had put a worm in his hand at birth (Puckett 1981: 438). and a salve made from yellow birch buds (Betula nigra) (Speck 1944: 43). American Folk Medicine. Poultice.” Hoosier Folklore 9 (1950): 1–12. Hamel.” Folk Life 18 (1980): 58–68. Talley. Pine tar (from Pinus virginiana) is used by the Cherokee for treating “tetterworm” (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 49). Other herbal treatments include an ointment made from pokeberries. Dublin: Talbot Press. Sylva. “Old Doc. Edited by Wayland D. Cannon. Fanny D. as has oil of corn (Neal 1955: 289).) rubbed on (Woodhull 1930: 45. TX: Southern Methodist University Press. Aralia roots (Aralia sp. Wilson. Seventh son. “Folk Medicine in Living Memory in Wales. Tobacco. Browne. and F. Hand and Jeannine E. London: 1898. is a remedy from Alabama (Browne 1958: 91). See also Apple. Corn. Houseleek. Violetta. E. Rhymes and Railroad Tracks: A Second Sampling of Superstitions and Popular Beliefs in Texas. Garlic. George D. NC: Herald. 1995. Mary. 64). Vinegar. 1984. Burdock. References Addy. . Chiltoskey. (Parler 1962: 864). or the root of the rain lily (Zephyranthes sp. Paul B. Edinburgh: Polygon.) have been used (Pickard and Buley 1945: 45). as has the root of mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) (Dennie 1956: 278). Black.). Ringworm Beith. thickened into a paste with cornmeal.” Southern Folklore Quarterly 35 (1971): 121–140. IL: Meyerbooks. D. 1883. Sidney Oldall. Transference. William George. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Bloodroot. Another suggestion is to eat fig leaves (Ficus carica) and milk (Puckett 1981: 437). “Folk Cures from Indiana. Blakeborough.294 . A seventh son was thought to have the power to cure ringworm. Folk-Medicine: A Chapter in the History of Culture. Making the Cure: A Look at Irish Folk Medicine. Boudreaux. “Animal and Plant Lore Collected from the Oral Tradition of English Speaking Folk.

Other rose species have been used by the Native Americans in numerous ways (Moerman 1998: 482–486). Dew. The dew from rose petals has been used to remove freckles (UCLA Folklore Archives 7_5963). The Midwest Pioneer.Rose Neal. Thiederman.” Southern Folklore Quarterly 27 (1963): 160–167. labor pains. a rich source of vitamin C. In North American folk medicine. Sondra B. Frank G. Puckett. 1966. 15 vols. Woodhull. Breathing the fumes from burning rose leaves has been used for rheumatism (Koch 1980: 65). dysentery. et al. Rose leaves have been used to treat sores (Puckett 1981: 449) and diarrhea (Hendricks 1980: 82) as well as fever (Parler 1962: 635). Eye problems. His Ills. Thiselton Dyer. IN: R. “Plant Lore and the Scarlet Letter. Mary Celestia. 1981. Toothache. Anna Casetta. Edited by Wayland D. 1970. Hand. Diarrhea. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. American Indian Medicine. Hall. The native species Rosa acicularis has been used in many ways among the Native Americans.. London: 1889. Fevers. Burns. D. a possible example of sympathetic magic. The galls have been used for treating burns (Willard 1992: 118–119). Anemia. Carlyle Buley. 1962. A Treasury of Nebraska Pioneer Folklore. known as a “robin’s pincushion. and R. Madge E. Indigestion. Cultivated roses were more widely used in official medicine. Sympathetic magic. Parler. Janice C. Wellborn.. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. Pickard. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. A belief has been reported that red roses cure anemia (UCLA Folklore Archives 15_6742). “Ranch Remedios. 1991. especially the so-called apothecaries rose. Rose petals have been chewed to sweeten the breath (Traux 1957: 48). The Folk-Lore of Plants. F. Whooping cough. “Grandad: Pioneer Medicine Man. K. Cuts.” Publications of the Texas Folklore Society 8 (1930): 9–73. T. Childbirth. Frost. 3 vols. London: Fontana. Roy. and colic. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas.” New York Folklore Quarterly 11 (1955): 277–291. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Sore throat. Insect bites and stings. stings. . Rosa gallica. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Vickery. : 295 Rose The wild roses native to Britain have been used to a limited extent in folk medicine. The juice has been used in treating colds and sore throats in both England and Ireland (Allen and Hatfield. Welsch. Newbell Niles. Vogel. Prince. Crawfordsville. Virgil J. Speck. Bad breath. Grace Pleasant. for treating cuts. Cures and Doctors. Colds. muscle pain. and University Student Contributors. E. Grandmother’s Cures: An A–Z of Herbal Remedies. indigestion. 1995. 1969: 265). Dennis.” Journal of American Folklore 57 (1944): 37–50. Rheumatism. Roger L. “Catawba Herbals and Curative Practices. Rose-hip syrup. Freckles. has traditionally been given to babies and was a valued source of vitamins during the Second World War. See also Amulet.” has been used in treatment of whooping cough (Taylor MSS) and carried as an amulet to prevent toothache (Leather 1912: 82). 1945. in press). the type of rose not usually being specified. Dysentery. The crushed leaves were used in the twentieth century in Essex for treatment of cuts.L. The gall growing on rose. and rose petal tea has been used to soothe sore eyes ) (Levine 1941: 491) or an upset stomach (Creson. Boston: G. A Dictionary of Plant Lore. roses have featured in a number of remedies. Banta. A wash for sore eyes is prepared by the Pawnee from the roots of wild roses (Nebraska State Guide 1947: 110). Colic.

an infusion of the leaves was used to treat rheumatism. Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. 1992. mixed with apples. et al. A stick of rowan. 15 vols. Hall. Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) The role of this tree (also known as mountain ash) in British folklore is primar- ily a protective one. as in Britain (Brown 1952–1964. Portland. Harold D. Calgary. The berries were eaten raw as a blood tonic and were also eaten to get rid of worms (Allen and Hatfield in press). and jelly made from them has been used to treat asthma (Neal 1955: 283). Our Daily Bread. Ella Mary. The leaves were also used to treat sore eyes. OR: Timber Press. and it is still frequently planted near a house. she treated her own eczema by rubbing with this stick (Lafont 1984: 55). Lawrence. Boston: G. In Devon in the late twentieth century one lady kept a piece of rowan near her cottage to protect but also to cure minor ailments. 1962. A piece of rowan was carried as an amulet to protect against rheumatism (Hawke 1973: 28). The British . Moerman. Even a stick of rowan kept near the home can be useful. Grace H. 1980. 1980. “Down Our Way.” Diseases of the Nervous System 30 (April 1969): 264–266. Taylor. 3 vols. Daniel E. David E. K. Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains and Neighbouring Territories. Mark R. Taylor MSS.” Kentucky Folklore Record 3 (1957): 45–48. Rhymes and Railroad Tracks: A Second Sampling of Superstitions and Popular Beliefs in Texas. hair from the sufferer was plugged into a rowan tree (Radbill 1955: 48). Parler. TX: Southern Methodist University Press. Hereford and London: Jakeman and Carver. “Folk Medicine in New Hampshire. Terry. L. Hand. New York: Federal Writers Project. Creson. OR: Timber Press. Portland. 7: 154). Willard. Koch. Edited by Wayland D. The berries were used in the seventeenth century in Wales to treat scurvy (Ray 1670: 290).. and Gabrielle Hatfield. Manuscript notes in the Norfolk Records Office. 1947. or “wicken” as it is also known. Nebraska State Guide. ALTA: Wild Rose College of Natural Healing. Rowan References Allen. D. Traux. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. 1998. in press. 1912. Mary Celestia. and the dried leaves were smoked to treat asthma (Moloney 1919: 22). MS4322. “Folk Medicine in MexicanAmerican Sub-Culture. Roosters. Hendricks. The bark was boiled to form a cough mixture. was used in a protective role. and Sondra B. Another semi-magical use was for whooping cough. Dallas. The tree was thought to confer protection against the forces of evil. Puckett. In Ireland. The fresh juice of mountain ash berries has been drunk to treat piles (Meyer 1985: 194).296 . William E. Anna Casetta. The herbal remedies prepared from rowan mainly come from the Celtic areas of Britain. where the tree is most common. KS: Regent Press. and in the nineteenth century a toothache remedy was obtained from rowan (Pennant 1771: 311).” New England Journal of Medicine 224 (1941): 497–492. and University Student Contributors. The Folk-Lore of Herefordshire Collected from Oral and Printed Sources. 1981. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas. Native American Ethnobotany. Rowan is not native to North America but has been introduced there. In the eighteenth century in Scotland the bark was used to treat constipation. and was included in a remedy for scrofula. Leather. Levine. Newbell Niles. George D. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: A Compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett. they were also used for whooping cough (Beith 1995: 237). Folklore from Kansas: Beliefs and Customs. Thiederman.. The berries were boiled in the Scottish Highlands as a cure for sore throat.

1998. Constipation. in press. Herbal Folklore. 1984. Anne-Marie. Meyer. OR: Timber Press. IL: Meyerbooks. 7 vols. analgesic. London: John Martyn. Durham. Ray. Portland. References Allen. Bed-wetting. as well as for bed-wetting. 1771. Samuel X. 1919. 1995. Croup. Frank C. Apple. Superstitions and Remedies.Rowan : 297 mountain ash has been used by the Potawatomi as an emetic to treat pleurisy. Tuberculosis. Toothache.” Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 7 (1933): 1– 230. A Tour in Scotland 1769. Coughs. Daniel E. Neal. Native American Ethnobotany. Portland. Pennant. Irish Ethnobotany and the Evolution of Medicine in Ireland. Gill and Son. American Folk Medicine. pneumonia. David E. stomach problems. 1973. et Insularum Adjacentium. M. John. OR: Timber Press. Hair problems. Dublin: M.. Thomas. and Gabrielle Hatfield. Kathleen. Glenwood. NC: Duke University Press. Beith. Whooping cough. Clarence. and these have been used in Native American medicine as a tonic. and croup (Smith 1933: 78). emetic. Eye problems. Rheumatism. Scurvy.” Bulletin of History of Medicine 11 (1955): 277–291. Moerman.” New York Folklore Quarterly 11 (1955): 277–291. London: John Monk. Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Catalogus Plantarum Angliae. Hawke. Janice C. Redruth. and for treating rheumatism. Mary. and head lice (Moerman 1998: 538–539). Brown. Cornish Sayings. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. “Ethnobotany of the Forest Potawatomi Indians. Edinburgh: Polygon. Other related species of Sorbus are native to North America. 1952–1964. Asthma. 1985. See also Amulet. Moloney. Huron H. Worms. “Granddad: Pioneer Medicine Man. Cornwall: Dyllanson Truran. Tonic. H. Healing Threads: Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. Smith. Bideford: Badger Books. “Whooping Cough in Fact and Fancy. F. Lafont. Sore throat. . Radbill. Eczema. 1670. Piles.

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John. during the American Civil War. nosebleed. It first appeared in California in 1900 and became a troublesome weed there for the next half-century. John’s wort was recommended in many of the herbals and was a constituent of official wound-healing salves. The flowers infused in oil yield a bright orange liquid. Pioneers hung sprigs of the plant over doorways to keep away evil spirits (Micheletti 1998: 286). now it is extensively grown for herbalists and has become world renowned for its treatment of depression. and it was popular among the Pennsylvania Dutch as the basis of a salve. to treat inflamed bowels. in press). It became known there as “Klamath Weed” and was eventually controlled by introduction of a European beetle that eats it (Coffey 1993: 66). In addition it has been used for healing scalds and burns. In Native American usage. John. June 24. 244). diarrhea. including. Whether the plant was used in this way in pre-Christian days is difficult to know. St. 167. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) In European folk medicine this plant was used above all in the treatment of wounds. Though the herbals recommended it as a soothing herb for nervous conditions including melancholy. in rural folk medicine. in folk medicine this has been a relatively minor use. Among its country names is “rosin rose. the Cherokee used it to treat bloody flux and bowel complaints as well as sores. The plant was reputedly introduced into Philadelphia in 1696 by pilgrims. the plant had a reputation in North America similar to that in Britain.” is used to imply that one is ready for anything! (Grigson 1955: 76). In British folk medicine such salves were used for treating wounds (one of its Gaelic names translates as “bloodwort”) and burns. gunshot wounds (Micheletti 1998: 286). to have “all the herbs of St. A related species Hypericum androsaemum is known as tutsan. which has formed the basis for many healing ointments. England. It was used to treat wounds. Other species of Hypericum have been used by the Native Americans for a wide range . 55. The other major use for the plant was as protection against evil spirits.S : St..” a name recorded in Yorkshire. Meanwhile. in a salve to reduce swellings. as well as being used internally for treating diarrhea (Allen and Hatfield. as well as in North America (Grigson 1955: 75). as a liver tonic. but it certainly became associated with the Christianized midsummer night bonfires held on the feast of St. and to cure bed-wetting in children (Meyer 1985: 36. and to promote menstruation (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 53). 45. A French proverb. snake bite. from the French “toute-saine” (all healthy).

headache. The Midwest Pioneer. Diarrhea. Banta.). Wounds. sores. IN: R. References Allen. Sarsaparilla of ailments. Grigson. Timothy. See also Burns. Clarence. 1985. and References Browne. sores. Glenwood. Nosebleed. Tuberculosis. NC: Herald. Hamel. Fevers. Carlyle Buley. and these are its main uses in North American folk medicine (see. OR: Timber Press. cuts. It does not occur in Europe but is currently used there by medical herbalists. Daniel E.” it is not always clear to which plant a particular record refers. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. Sarsaparilla (Smilax spp. David E. Gravel and stone. Chiltoskey. At the present time it is sold in proprietary form as a laxative and used as a flavoring for soft drinks (Kay 1996: 255). Paul B. and Mary U. 1945.. 1996.. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. Tuberculosis. Originally it was hailed as a cure for syphilis. Portland. American Folk Medicine. Meyer. Popular Beliefs and Practices from Alabama. Sylva. but subsequently it was used mainly as a tonic and blood purifier to treat skin conditions and rheumatism. Enza (ed. New York and Montreal: Reader’s Digest Association. Paul B. North American Folk Healing: An A–Z Guide to Traditional Remedies. Tonic. and Mary U. Sylva. Sarsaparilla mead was drunk in nineteenth-century North America to treat indigestion. 215). Meyer 1985: 41. wounds. Folklore Studies 9. including tuberculosis (Smith 1923: 37) (Moerman 1998: 272–273). Burns. Crawfordsville. E. Meyer. The Aztecs used it for treating joint pain (Kay 1996: 254). 1998. Sarsaparilla tea was taken for gravel (Browne 1958: 69). Cuts. 1985. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses: A 400 Year History. 1993. Ray B. Margarita Artschwager. for example. Huron H. in press. Moerman. It is native to North America and has been used by Native Americans for burns. American Folk Medicine. Glenwood. Headache. New York: Facts On File. London: Phoenix House. Carmen. His Ills. Pickard. diarrhea (Pickard and Buley 1945: 267). Chiltoskey. An infusion of the plant has also been used as a tonic (UCLA Folklore Archive 2_5634). La Litte ´rature Orale en Gaspe ´sie. and as a cough medicine (Willard 1992: 148).. 1955. Bulletin 134. IL: Meyerbooks. Because of the confusion surrounding the name “sarsaparilla. Diarrhea. Native American Ethnobotany. See also Bed-wetting. rheumatism (Hamel and Chiltoskey 1975: 37) and leg ulcers (Taylor 1940: 7).300 . “Ethnobotany of the Menomini Indians.) This woody climber is a native of eastern North America and Central America and the rain forests of South America. and R. Snake bite.. OR: Timber Press. The Englishman’s Flora. Depression. NC: Herald. Portland. 36 de la Serie Anthropolo- . IL: Meyerbooks. 1958. 1998. Smith. Hamel. Madge E. 1975. fever. Native American uses for species of Smilax include treatment of burns. Kay. since its introduction into their materia medica in the sixteenth century. Micheletti. Clarence. Wild Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis) belongs to another botanical family (Araliaceae). The History and Folklore of North American Wildflowers. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.” Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 4 (1923): 1–174. Rheumatism. Coffey. 1975. Indigestion. and Gabrielle Hatfield. An infusion of the roots of Aralia nudicaulis has been used in folk medicine in the treatment of tuberculosis (Roy 1955: 85). Healing with Plants in the American and Mexican West. Cures and Doctors. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications. Geoffrey. Roy.

Sassafras : 301 Originally hailed as a cure for syphilis. 219). 44. sassafras was a component of many rheumatism remedies (Meyer 1985: 215. it began to fall from fashion in European medicine. this shrub was “discovered” by French. Combined with other herbs. Terry. mixed with mare’s milk. The UCLA Folklore Archives contain more than five hundred remedies involving sassafras and show that it has been used for almost every conceivable ailment.” With slippery elm and corn meal. was used as an eye wash (Meyer 1985: 110). it was drunk as a “blood purifier. Sassafras (Sassafras albicum) Native throughout North America. Calgary. the plant has been used to treat kidney disease. Early colonists used it for treating fevers and for rheumatic pain. Chewing the bark was recommended to prevent a feeling of faintness (Meyer 1985: 115). but it has continued to be widely used in domestic medicine in both the New and the Old Worlds. was similarly used to bathe sore eyes (Meyer 1985: 114). It