Natural Home Remedies
Herbs--Such a vast topic. While putting this hub together, I found myself getting sidetracked, often. My title changed a minimum of three times!
In the US, we say, "erb", dropping the sound of the h , in Britain, the h is pronounced, saying herb.
Herbs are defined as a flowering plant whose above ground stem does not become woody. They have a variety of uses, making them valuable. No part of the plant is wasted.
Cooks use the leafy and green parts in their culinary arts. Isn't that a funny word, " culinary"?
The roots, bark, seeds and flowers are used in spiritual and medicinal applications.
There are a handful of herbs that have psychoactive or recreational uses. Cannabis is probably the most recognized of these today.
Pioneer women and our Grandmothers also used herbs. None of those ladies hopped in the car and drove down to the massive grocery store or farmer's market. They grew their own markets, and were expected to produce a variety of herbs and vegetables.
Cooking was work in their day. Often having only wild game to eat, there was no " hunting season", they had only what the menfolks were able to bring home, then: they had to butcher it, tenderize it, preserve it, and above all, they had to make it taste good.
The pioneer wife , if she were fortunate enough to have an early cookbook, had one that was divided into two parts, one being filled with recipes and cooking tips, and the other section devoted to practical herbal remedies. She was expected to be well versed and knowledgeable in this area. In her garden, she grew both culinary and medicinal herbs. Failing to do so, or having limited knowledge, would label her as a poorly prepared wife.
Whether she was a farm wife or a pioneer , a woman nursed her family back to health by her own cunning. She had no aspirin, it did not become available without a prescription until 1915. But she did use, willow bark, the basis for the aspirin. Band aids were not available until the 1920's. She should have something clean, and white available, and she should be ready to rip it into strips for bandages.
Women, as the family doctor, have been treating all conceivable ailments with the tools of her trade for centuries.
Angelica was used for arthritis, asthma and other respiratory problems
Basil is a known anti-bacterial fighter and used for acne and minor wounds. It was also used for treating upset stomachs and morning sickness.
Bayberry was used to treat diarrhea.
Calendula was called upon to fight diaper rash, the pioneer trail was not littered with Pampers!
Cayenne and eucalyptus were used in compresses to relieve joint pain.
Cat-mint and willow bark was used to bring fevers down. If she had neither of these, she would call upon rosemary, either making a tea to drink, or to be washed with. If you were really sick, or she was worried, she did both.
Chickweed combatted itchy skin.
Cinnamon was used in conjunction with cloves for treating sore throats
Cloves were used in dental problems. Cloves contain eugenol, which modern dentists use as a local anesthetic.
Comfrey mended the sprains and bruises.
Colts-foot was a bronchial aid, it also served to lessen the cough.
Cranberry tea, very similar to Black Haw, was the answer for menstrual cramps. It was even used in treating mumps.
Hysop was used in purification, both of the internal system and in wound cleaning.
Through the years, women have prepared us "onion tea" to dry our watering eyes. If you are restless and can't sleep, someone knows to give you chamomile tea. In the chance that you have been bitten by a spider or snake, they will wash your puncture with salty water and wrap your wound with bacon in order to "draw" out the venom.
Many of these remedies of old, have stood the test of time, and have led to modern medicines.
How did they know?
As herbal knowledge developed into modern medicine, two major theories began to materialize.
1) The Doctrine of Signatures , suggests that God has given us clues into the shapes of leaves, roots, the colors of flowers telling us how to use them. Did you ever notice how the round slice of a boiled carrot resembles the inner eye, or the shape of a kidney bean is similar to the human kidney?
This theory has been around since the 16th century.
2) The second theory is astrology based, and was a bit harder to track down. While there is plenty of information on astrology, healing arts, folk remedies etc, I wanted to isolate the required information as it relates to this topic.
There is a modern society that is returning to the simple life. We are concerned about food additives, we are tuned in to recycling, reducing waste, smaller and more energy efficient homes. We know enough to be worried about the effects of chemicals in our bodies. We are embracing a return to frugality. We are right smack in the middle of a changing society.
Some of us are remembering how our Grandparents did things, some of us are discovering the skills of yesterday for the first time. However, we make the return, it is welcomed here.
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