Granny Women - Healing and Magic in Appalachia

Appalachian Families Depended on Granny Women

Faust Family, 1910
Faust Family, 1910 | Source
Noah Garland Family, Kentucky, 1940
Noah Garland Family, Kentucky, 1940 | Source

Self Reliant People

In the old days, people living deep in the Appalachian Mountains had to be very self-reliant. Granny women are the ones people went to for healing and magic in Appalachia.

It was not easy to get to a doctor and rarely could a doctor reach anyone in time to help them get through an illness. Accidents happened and doctors were nowhere around in emergencies -- but, there was always a Granny close enough to fetch for help.

Granny women knew the way of herbs and home remedies and also used witchcraft methods.

It was not the modern Wiccan type magic, but the magic of the Old World witchcraft passed down for generations by elders teaching their daughters and granddaughters.

It was the healing magic that came from Ireland and Scotland with the early settlers.

Granny Women Grew Most of Their Own Herbs

Rosemary
Rosemary | Source

Healing With Herbs

Every village or community in the mountains had at least one Granny Woman to run to for help and healing.

These women knew exactly which plant, herb, root, or bark would heal each malady or injury that came up.

When the Irish and Scotch people began immigrating to America in the 1700's they brought with them their own culture and traditions. Some of these traditions were from the Ancient Ones of northern Ireland.

They knew the healing powers of herbs, roots, bark, and other plant parts -- and they knew which combinations of herbs would be the best remedy for each treatment.

Plantation of Ulster

Most of these immigrants were descended from Scottish and English families who colonized Ireland during the Plantation of Ulster (an organized colonization) in the 17th century. They are referred to as Scotch-Irish or Scots-Irish.

During the 1700s over 200,000 people from the province of Ulster in northern Ireland immigrated to America. Another 100,000 arrived between the years 1783 and 1812, in the years following the American Revolution. Throughout the 1800s more Scots-Irish, over one million, continued to arrive.

Ulster Province in Northern Ireland

Ulster is the Colored Areas.
Ulster is the Colored Areas. | Source

Herbs and Witchcraft

Among the immigrants were the women who knew the ways of the Old World witchcraft and herbalism. Many of the immigrants settled in Southern Appalachia and the Ozark Mountains. The women were healers and midwives and often the only practitioners of health care for the poor living in rural areas. They did not take payments for their healing. As with other settlers, they shared what they had -- gratitude for help and knowledge was often in the form of food, quilts, or other needed items, but it was not expected.

These women became known as "Granny Women". They relied heavily on herbal medicine. For instance, a regular remedy for whooping cough was made and bottled to give to the caretaker of the ill one. The Granny would boil one ounce of fresh red clover blossoms in one pint of water, strain, then add one cup honey. This was to be given to the child, one teaspoon twice a day until the cough cleared up.

Herbs Have Been Used for Healing for 1000s of Years

Mint
Mint | Source

Midwifery and Birthin' Babies ~

Women who had children of their own were often called upon for "Birthin' Babies". Since they had gone through the process of giving birth, they were expected to be able to help other women in labor. These lay-midwives had no formal training. Over time, the midwives became more experienced and were of great assistance and need.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Granny Women and their midwifery skills were the main help for about half the births in Southern Appalachia. Childbirth was a great concern and a dangerous time in the old days and it was the Granny Woman who played an integral role in seeing that the babe and the mother survived.

Babes Were Birthed at Home With the Help of Midwives

Old Farmhouse Bedroom
Old Farmhouse Bedroom | Source

Fetch Granny !

When someone was sent to "fetch granny", the Granny Woman would grab her bag, get on a mule or horse and leave her own family, often for days, to care for the woman in labor. She often stayed for a few days after the child was born to make sure mother and babe were "gettin' on okay". The Granny had her herb remedies in her bag and her rituals to perform to ensure a safe birth.

One common ritual of a Granny Woman when attending a birth, was to put an axe under the bed of the mother during labor. This was symbolic of "cutting the pain". Also, if all the windows were opened during labor, that was symbolic of opening the birth canal for easier delivery. Spells and charms were not looked on as odd or strange and the settlers trusted their Granny.

It was not until 1923 that the first professional training for midwives was established in Kentucky by Mary Carson Breckinridge. The Frontier Nursing Service, which Breckinridge established, is still in existence today.


Contact with Cherokee people ~

When the settlers came in contact with the Cherokee people a bond of respect and support was created. One of the most beneficial methods they shared was herbalism and healing.

The Granny Women brought Old World healing methods and the Cherokee provided extensive knowledge of herbs and their own methods of healing. The sharing, training of each other, and trading knowledge was extremely beneficial to both sides.

Between the Cherokee and the Scotch-Irish was also some strong similarities with the wee folk. The Granny Women worked closely with the Faerie Folk that followed them from the Old World to the Appalachians. The Cherokee had always worked with their kindhearted spirits, The Little People.

Both group of peoples often left 'offerings' for the little ones who helped them. This could be a bowl of cream sat on the back porch, berries, small pieces of cake or cornbread. This was believed to appease and delight the Faeries or the Little People.

Divination ~

The Granny also practiced divination, such as reading tea leaves, watching for signs in the clouds and several other methods.

Scrying, with a bowl of water was another method of divination. These methods are still done today by many people, like the Wiccan, Pagan, and witches of the Old Order.

Witchcraft as it was practiced in the old way by the Ancients still exists in the Appalachian Mountains. It is passed down from generation to generation -- and the Granny knows instinctively which member of her family is the next healer, so encourages that child to learn.

The healing powers of witchcraft is not a thing to shun or fear. It is a true and greatly beneficial method of healing.

The folks of Appalachia in the early days, and many of today, still turn to a Granny for help with healing, or have learned the old ways themselves.

Some people are born with the gift of healing and in time become aware of this as their knowledge just naturally comes out.

Many think of witchcraft as something bad to stay away from -- yet it was the witchcraft and knowledge of the Granny Women who saved many, many lives in the early days of the settlers, and brought the new babes into the world. True witchcraft from the Old World was based on the healing arts.

Reading Tea Leaves is Still Used for Divination

Tea Leaves.
Tea Leaves. | Source

A Story About Granny Magic

© 2013 Phyllis Doyle Burns

More by this Author


Comments 184 comments

Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Granny Women is my latest hub, as of 7/13/13. I hope you like it. It is a fascinating thing to study, these marvelous women and their magical healing ways.


phoenix2327 profile image

phoenix2327 3 years ago from United Kingdom

Absolutely fascinating. I've wondered if the women who tended the sick were really witches but just didn't realise it. Or perhaps, given the contempt witches were held in, they just didn't admit it. I thoroughly enjoyed this short history lesson.


phoenix2327 profile image

phoenix2327 3 years ago from United Kingdom

I did leave a comment but it seems to have vanished. I'll try again.

This was an absolutely fascinating hub. I've wondered if these women were actually witches who either didn't know it or, given the prejudice against them, didn't admit it. An engaging history lesson that I have shared.


joanveronica profile image

joanveronica 3 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

Hi Phyllis, this was a fascinating read for me! For several reasons: I'm descended from the same Celtic people - my Granny Madge was a miniature naturalist and herbalist - you wrote about the Native inhabitants, in this case the Cherokee, and their customs and habits are very similar to those of our native ethnic groups in Chile.

I have two Hubs I wrote about my Granny Madge, one of them is about "six tips". I call them Granny tips! So, very happy to read this, voted Up, ABI and sharing! See you!


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi phoenix2327. Your comment did not vanish. Comments sit in limbo till the author of the hub approves it. It was my night time and I was asleep when you posted. Thank you so much for the visit and comments. Granny women were well-loved within their communities. I do believe there are still many women in Appalachia who have the knowledge of herbal remedies, passed down to them. Thanks again for stopping by.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Joan. I am always delighted to hear from you. I am so happy you enjoyed reading my hub. The Granny women fascinate me. I, too, descend from the Celtic people -- herbs and their healing powers are a natural part of my life. I remember reading about your Granny Madge. I would love to have known her. I feel I do know her through you when I read your hubs. Thank you so much for the visit and comments, it is much appreciated.


sheilamyers 3 years ago

Ok, I don't believe in the witchcraft part, but that's just my opinion. I found the article interesting because it explained the old-fashioned way of people relying on each other for help. I think if we had more people in the world today who could treat some of the diseases and ailments with herbs and such, more people wouldn't have to go broke paying for synthetic drugs.


Sharkye11 profile image

Sharkye11 3 years ago from Oklahoma

A very enjoyable read. These women are certainly still around in remote areas. My family immigrated in the 1850's, and relocated to the Ozark and Ouachita regions. The secrets of healing and folk magic have been passed down. Over the years it mixed with local native American lore and other cultures. We use it everyday, to help ourselves and others. Its just mire modernized now! Love this hub! Will vote and share!


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Ah hahaha -- Sheila, I love your honesty. Many people do not see it as witchcraft, but knowledge of herbal healing plants and just the fact that people in those days were self-reliant and helped each other. Thank you so much for the visit and comments, it is much appreciated


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

Very interesting. I had always heard it was a knife under the bed for "cutting" the pain. lol


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Thank you Sharkye11, for your visit and comments. Yes, I am sure there are still Granny women living in remote areas who help their community as in the old days. Your family history is very interesting, thanks for sharing. I appreciate your vote and sharing.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Jackie. Thanks for the read and comment. I have also heard about a knife under the bed for cutting the pain. I guess each woman or community had their own sayings. I appreciate your visit.


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 3 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

What a very interesting hub. Those women probably saved countless women and children. The herbs could be used not only for killing pain, but also for killing germs. At least that is what I was thinking about.

Great hub. Thank you for sharing it.

Voted up!


hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

I tell you, Phyllis, the longer I'm a resident of this planet, the more reliance I place on the ancient ways. I'll go one step further and state for the record that I trust the old healing ways more than I do what the AMA and FDA promote. Thank you for sharing! Aloha!

Joe


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 3 years ago from North Carolina

What an interesting and info packed article you have here, Phyllis. The natives and early Scot-Irish settlers certainly melded a powerful cornucopia of medicines and craft. To ponder on it makes me wish more of these potions were in use now vs what are in the pharmacies and on the store shelves. You know something Phyllis, if one knows the right people up in the mts. of say Tennessee, they can do all kind of things - for a price that is lol.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Thank you very much, Michele for the visit and your comments. I have done a lot of research on Granny women and they are truly amazing. One Granny woman who was interviewed many years ago (she was in her 80s at that time) said that she had "done birthin' babies" since she was in her early 20s and brought over 2500 into this world, "only two died.", she said.

You are right, Michele, herbs also are used to kill germs and pests. At the beginning of every summer, I make an ear mite oil for my dog. I gently boil one ounce of rosemary in two cups of olive oil for five minutes. When it is cool, I remove the rosemary and pour the oil into a jar with a tight fitting lid. I store it in my cool, dark pantry. My dog is treated with this right away. I pour a little of the oil in a saucer and soak a cotton ball in it, dab the oil in one ear (my dog loves his ears played with) and discard the cotton ball. I use a fresh cotton ball to do the other ear. The oil is left in overnight. It loosens built up wax and smothers any ear mites. The rosemary is an antiseptic and kills any mite eggs.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Mahalo nui loa, Joe. I really appreciate your visit and comments. I agree with you wholeheartedly about reliance on the ancient ways. The best thing about the old ways of healing, is that they work ! Thanks again for stopping by.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Alastar, thank you for reading and the comments. I really admire the Granny women and anyone who uses herbal and home remedies for healing. Like the Cherokee healers, the Granny women treat the cause of illness -- modern meds treat the symptoms, not the cause. Speaking of living in the mountains of Tennessee, I would love to do that. I feel I belong in the mountains. One of my hobbies when I want to relax and escape from reality for a little, is to look on the internet for cabins for sale in Appalachian regions. There is one in Cherokee, NC that I strongly feel is my home and I would love to live there. It is the perfect place for me. I look at it once in awhile, dream on it, then go back to my writing or other tasks. Thanks again, Alastar, for the visit.


SavannahEve profile image

SavannahEve 3 years ago from California

Fantastic! The information just keeps comin! Well researched and well written, thank you.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Thank you very much, SavannahEve. I appreciate the visit and comment.


europewalker profile image

europewalker 3 years ago

Voted up and awesome. Very interesting and I enjoy reading hubs like this this. It is amazing what Granny Women could do with herbs and natural resources. Great read!


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Europewalker, thank you for stopping by and reading. Your comments and votes are much appreciated. Yes, it is amazing what Granny women can do with herbs and their wisdom of natural resources. This women were and still are valued members of their communities. Thanks again for the visit.


Mike Robbers profile image

Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London

A fascinating, well written hub, Phyllis. It is amazing, indeed the knowledge of nature and its resources that these women possess.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hello Mike, it is good to hear from you. Thank you for the visit and comment. In those old days, some of those Granny women were in their early 20s. I know there are still Granny women who help their family and neighbors when needed Thanks again, Mike.


Vanderleelie profile image

Vanderleelie 3 years ago from New Brunswick, Canada

An excellent account of grassroots medicine at work. Healing today may be focused on routine pharmaceutical intervention, but it can also be achieved through natural remedies and the emotional support of a trusted individual. Voted up and interesting.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Vanderleelie, thank you so much for the visit and comments -- and the votes. It is very much appreciated.


ocfireflies profile image

ocfireflies 3 years ago from North Carolina

As an Appalachian, I have heard of many remedies and have often wondered about the Cherokee connections that ultimately would have been made. Very interesting article. Thank you.

Best Always,

Kim


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Kim. Thank you for stopping by and for your comments. There are a lot of home remedies that cme from the early Appalachians. Some Cherokee people have a profound knowledge of healing with herbs. The connections between the Cherokee and the early Appalachian settlers was of great benefit for both sides. The Granny women had much to teach and also learned from the Cherokee. thanks again for your visit. Take care and have a great day.


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

This was fascinating. My husband always chuckles at natural remedies, but I remind him that many of them come from remedies used many many years ago. This is another good reminder.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Glimmer Twin Fan, how nice to read you comment. Thank you so much for the visit. I am a firm believer in natural remedies and use them often, for myself as well as my little Pomeranian. Rosemary in olive oil keeps his ears free of mites. Have a wonderful day.


d strip 3 years ago

My own great grandmother was raised in Kentucky and her ancestors came from Scotland. She knew many of the old ways, including talking off warts and praying over burns to heal them. Much as I tried to get her to pass down her learning to me, she told me she couldn't. I always wondered why.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

d strip, welcome to HubPages -- I wish you all the best on your journey with this great community. Thank you so much for reading and commenting on Granny Women. It is great that your g-grandmother knew these ways of healing. I can understand your desire to learn from her. Her refusal was a natural thing for a true Granny -- if you are a man, she would not teach you the ways, or, if you are a woman, she knew within her that it was not the right time to teach you and that you would find your own way. These healing ways are not learned, they are inherent, the Granny Women are born with it. If you are still interested in healing ways, my suggestion is to read any book by Scott Cunningham and check into books by Edain McCoy. Both of these authors are very knowledgeable in the ways of healing. I wish you all the best should you decide to go this way. Thanks again for the visit and comment.


Dawn 3 years ago

Being English, Irish, and a bit of Cherokee, this explains it perfectly. Great article. Thanks so much.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Dawn, thank you so much for the visit and comment. I really appreciate it. Yes, with your heritage, you would naturally understand the ways of Granny Women and healing magic.


Beth Allen 3 years ago

This was AWESOME!!! I have some Native American in me so that part I truly loved. Thank you. Have great day. :-)


Michelle Cossey 3 years ago

An interesting read. Always good to hear the history they don't teach you at school.


Jane 3 years ago

Hi Phyllis, a very interesting read, thank you for sharing. I would also like to add some information to your hub that maybe of interest to you. These Granny women were not only from Northern Ireland, they also were from Southern Ireland. Being from Ireland myself, these women were around even before the 800 years of rule by the English. These women in the South were called the 'Bean Feasa'. Back then the native Irish spoke Gaelic and thus 'Bean Feasa' which meant 'The Wise Women'. They were the equivalent of a Witch Doctor in an Indian tribe. How I know this is my Grandmother was one and it run in the family for generations. Just thought I would add this little info to your hub, hope you don't mind. Warm blessings.


Rachel Taylor 3 years ago

Hi, I this! I am actually from the same mountains you have written about. I have grown up with most of the things you have written about. My Granny was a very wise woman and always had her "cures" for things. We still use some of them today, like flu tea, hot totties, prayer healing, etc... So many outsiders may think we are strange but when it works it works! Some things are a little far fetched now and are considered old wives tales, but it is part of my heritage, and besides no one could argue with Granny.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Beth, thank you so much for visiting and reading. I am so glad you enjoyed reading about Granny women. The Cherokee and all Native American tribes knew of the healing ways of herbs. Thanks again for the visit and comment.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Michelle, thank you so much for the visit and comment. I do wish that information like this was put into history books for schools -- after all, it is the real people who made history.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hello Jane. Thank you so much for visiting and reading. I do not mind at all that you shared the information you know -- it is always good to learn from each other. I find the 'Bean Feasa' very interesting and will have to look into it further. I love to read about this kind of thing. Although most of the immigrants who brought the old healing ways with them came from Northern Ireland in the Ulster area, I know that they came from other parts of Ireland and Scotland as well. I made a few changes in my article, so as not to insinuate that they all came from Northern Ireland. Immigrants from other countries, like Germany, also came to begin a new life in the Appalachian regions. Thanks again for your visit and comment -- I really appreciate it.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Rachel. Thanks for stopping by. I use herbal teas also for many things: flu, colds, aches and pains, etc. I so agree with you that "when it works it works!" Thanks again for the visit and comment.


Willard Aeh 3 years ago

If you ever do any more books on Appalachian healing, I have a fascinating true story about a country witch / healer that saved my life when i was new born !!! I was born in Portsmouth Ohio in 1951...


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Willard. Thanks for the visit and reading. I have not written any books on healing, only articles. You should write and article about your story -- I would love to read it.


Paul Swann80 profile image

Paul Swann80 3 years ago from Fairfield, Ohio

My great-grand mother was the daughter of a Scotch-Irish settler and a Cherokee woman. The history of Appalachia is fascinating, and I truly appreciate your articles. Thank you.


Fredamitchell 3 years ago

Enjoyed this article a lot would like to say there were a lot of holy scriptures used in the mountains for healing like to stop bleeding is Ezekiel 16,,6 I have seen this stop blood many times also read the books foxfire they tell of talking out fire love all of this,thanks for sharing,


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Paul Swann80, thank you so much for your visit and comment. Wow! I am meeting so many people online because of this article, a lot of them from Appalachian areas. Your g-grandmother must have known ways of healing. I so appreciate that you appreciate my articles. I love Appalachian history. Thanks again.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Fredamitchell, thank you for the visit and comment. Ah! yes, Ezekeil: "When thou wast in thy blood, Live." Mountain folks have many ways of healing. I am so happy you liked this hub about Granny Women -- they are fascinating women. Thanks again.


Cerriwin profile image

Cerriwin 3 years ago

My grandmother was Scot-Irish-Cherokee and I was the chosen one to carry on her traditions out of 13 grandchildren. I live right on the border of Southeast Kentucky/Southwest Virginia and she was the only one that was known to do this kind of thing (outside her four sisters whom were taught). As the others never had children of their own save but one (and she let any of this fall by the wayside), I was the grandchild out of all whom took up the mantle and wear it proudly today. I've been called a lot of things over my lifetime, and I wear the name Mountain Witch proudly as I honor my grandmother, her mother and the ancestors of Scotland and Ireland.

You can be taught many things by many people, this included, but thankfully the gifts I have were inherited through the women of my family.

I am truly blessed to help others here when the need arises.

Your article has uplifted me and made me smile...thank you so much for this!


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Cerriwin, you have brought back to me the reason why I write articles like this -- if my writing can reach out to help, affirm, open others to their gifts and bring them appreciation for knowing their Self, then I have done my work well. I am truly grateful you shared this about yourself, your grandmother, and the women in your family. You are truly blessed and I thank you for reading and commenting. I personally know one other person who inherited the magical healing gifts of the grandmother in the same way you did. On her death bed, the grandmother passed on the gift of healing to my friend, who was the only grandchild who could carry on the mantle. This is a great thing that few people are blessed with. Thank you again, Cerriwin.


Linda Ours Rago 3 years ago

Loved the article. You might enjoy my books: Blackberry Cove Herbal, Traditional Appalachian Herbalism (originally published as Blackberry Cove Herbal, Healing with Common Herbs in the Appalachian Wise-Woman Tradition), Mugworts in May, Dooryard Herbs, and several more. My family has been in West Virginia since the 18th century, and my work is very traditional. So good to see the tradition continue! Thank you.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Linda Ours Rago, thanks for the visit and comment. Glad you liked the article. I have a ton of books on healing, herbs, etc, but, appreciate the offer.


Lenzy profile image

Lenzy 2 years ago from Arlington, Texas

As a nurse practitioner who worked in Africa for 8 years, I think we could learn a great deal about treating with herbal and natural remedies. Things like Neem and Tea Tree Oil are two of the trees that were used for medicinal purposes.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Lenzy. Thank you for the visit and read. Yes, there is much we could learn with herbal and natural ways of healing. I would love to get some Tea Tree Oil -- I have heard remarkable things about the benefits of it, even my doctor recommended I get some. That will be my next purchase in the herbal realm.


Romeos Quill profile image

Romeos Quill 2 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

Hi Phyllis;

Minus the superstitions attached to them, I think herbal remedies from nature's bounty are certainly a blessing to mankind, prescribed by common sense and some of the wisdom from the Navajo, Ute, Choctaw, Semipole, Shawnee, Cree, Sioux, Shoshone, Cheyenne, Crow, Paiute, and Blackfoot Native tribes certainly puts a lot of today's perceived wisdom to shame.

I don't agree with the divination and witchcraft though as it is contrary to the Word of God, yet I can understand why some of these fine people followed such as it was just the manner of life handed down to them by their ancestors before they were in receipt of the Truth and the real healing which comes from hearing the Gospel message.

Thank you Phyllis for an engrossing history about the early Celtic and Native American influences upon medicine.

R.Q.


Romeos Quill profile image

Romeos Quill 2 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

Hi Phyllis;

Minus the superstitions attached to them, I think herbal remedies from nature's bounty are certainly a blessing to mankind, prescribed by common sense and some of the wisdom from the Navajo, Ute, Choctaw, Semipole, Shawnee, Cree, Sioux, Shoshone, Cheyenne, Crow, Paiute, and Blackfoot Native tribes certainly puts a lot of today's wisdom to shame. I don't agree with the divination and witchcraft though as it is contrary to the Word of God, yet I can understand that whilst some of these fine people followed such as it was just the manner of life handed down to them by their ancestors before they were in receipt of the Truth and the real healing which comes from hearing the Gospel message.

Thank you Phyllis for an engrossing and educational article.

R.Q.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi R.Q.,

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading. Yes, herbal remedies from nature's bounty is a blessing. There was a time when nature is all there was for healing and providing to the Native Americans and other peoples in early times. It is amazing how some people just knew which herbs, plants, etc. would work. With the knowledge shared between Native Americans and the early settlers people survived and thrived.

I so appreciate your visit and comment, R.Q. -- thank you, dear poet.


Romeos Quill profile image

Romeos Quill 2 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

P.S. I think I missed out the Pawnee tribe in the list - no offence to them.

You're welcome Phyllis and it would be good to know how they discerned between what worked as a remedy and what didn't - perhaps trial and error; will check it out.

R.Q.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

And no offense taken taken I am sure, R.Q. All the tribes just seemed to know how to live with nature. Some individuals would be able to discern the properties of herbs and plant parts by smell, color and texture. Also, to watch animals and which plants they eat is a way to learn. If an animal goes out of its way to find a different plant than what is normally eats, that most likely told the Indian healer that the animal has a need for that particular plant. It is important to use locally grown herbs, for they are in the same environment as the illness or malady to be treated. The smell (pungent, sweet, sour, bitter) is an indication of what the herbs can provide. I always depend on my old worn-out book: The Way of Herbs y Michael Tierra - for herbal remedies and knowledge. It is an excellent book. The Cherokee herbal is another very helpful book.


Romeos Quill profile image

Romeos Quill 2 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

Pardon the delayed response Phyllis; just had a surprise visit from my niece :)

That's really useful to know; I suppose it is like if one is stung by nettles then there is a dock leaf not too far away to relieve said discomfort. They sure sound like fascinating books you've mentioned.

Thank you for replying and enjoy a pleasant weekend.

Sincerely,

R.Q.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Thank you, Romeo. Enjoy your visit and weekend. Take care.


Melissa 2 years ago

I am really interested in learning how to do these things. I feel like I am suppose to know this but was never taught and don't know where to begin. If you can help please email me at: willow163@Comcast.net

Thank you?


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Melissa and thank you for reading and commenting. The best way to learn is the way the Granny Women did, from their mothers and grandmothers. Edain McCoy's book would be the best place to start. By reading books like those, you will learn if this is the right path for you -- if it is, I hope you can meet someone who can help you learn. It is best to have a good teacher in person. Best wishes to you.


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Razel Magick 2 years ago from Azusa, California

WOW! I have been working on a fictional story book that is inspired by some of the things that my real life Grandma told me. My Grandma was born in the Ozark mountains. Some of the things she told me as a child are in your article “Granny magic.”

Wow, just WOW

Brightest of Blessings!


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Razel. Seems your grandma was very familiar with the healing ways of Granny Women. Thanks for reading and commenting.


MariaMontgomery profile image

MariaMontgomery 2 years ago from Central Florida, USA

I really enjoyed reading this article. I grow my own herbs, but use them mostly for cooking. If I ever get time (grin) I want to learn to use them for health reasons, too. Maybe, someday...


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Maria. I use my herbs for cooking, too, and a few home remedies that really work great. Thanks for the visit and comment.


goldieallison65@gmail. com 17 months ago

Very interesting, my grandmother in Scotland was a witch, and for some reason I was chosen at birth.my mother new what granny wanted granny got, I lived with her from 10 months until she died, when I was 13. I never got called my real name I was and still am Goldie, she called me the golden wain. She died on frid the 13th it was jan the 13 month I was 13 it was 13 hundred hrs and her husband was 13 years dead.


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Phyllis Doyle 17 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Goldie. Thanks for sharing your interesting story. I appreciate your visit and comment.


Becki 11 months ago

Thank you! Absolutely beautiful!


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 11 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Becki and welcome to my article. Thank you for the very nice comment.


Betty Humphrey 10 months ago

I thoroughly enjoy ed the read. I was delivered by a doctor but their was a granny woman on hand. Thank you


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 10 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Betty and thanks for stopping by. Over many years Granny Women have delivered hundreds of babies and saved so many lives. Glad to hear one was there for you. Thanks again for reading and commenting.


Kitty1955 profile image

Kitty1955 10 months ago

I just read this article and LOVED it! I just signed up to be a part of this network! I have been connected to the Native Americans that I have met over the years... through my work and social network. This way of life and the role of the 'granny' is fascinating! Looking forward to more stories such as these! Thank you for your posts!


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 10 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Kitty and thank you so much for the wonderful comment. Welcome to HubPages. I wish all the best to you. So glad you loved the article. Have a great day.


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Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

Hey Phyllis, My great grandmother was known as a 'Granny Woman'. She was born in the Okefenokee Swamp and was of Irish descent. She was known for her home remedies and was much sought after as there were few doctors during her time.

There were other such ladies who could "talk the fire out of bad burns" and I myself witnessed this myself. They could also cure a baby's thrash by using verses from the Bible. One did this when my daughter was a baby. Strange but true.

Enjoyed this read as it brought back memories about my great grandmother and others of her ilk. :)


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 10 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hey Randy. Such a nice surprise to have you here and read your interesting comment. 'Granny Women' are very special. Your great grandmother must have been kept very busy. The things those women could do is remarkable, incredible.

Very happy you enjoyed the hub and that it gave you some good memories. Thank you, Randy.


Juanita James 10 months ago

Enjoyed your writings. Probably will buy your books. My grandmother was a 'midwife' The old ways were learned. I can not call it ;majic' or 'witchcraft'. They had many healing things with herbs. I lived thru most of those, well, the ones that were used on me anyway. I remember the treatments, just don't remember how many of them came about. Some of these 'Grannies" that you write about are some of the same kind of people who were 'burned at the stake' for practicing WC. When in reality, they were NOT witches at all. And it was people that they helped that reported them for such. Sad times. We shall see this ways again. Happy writings! I enjoyed. Now, in our family, that stems from my grandmother and her ancestors, come many 'medical' lines. I was a nurse, a cousin is a midwife, an RN, a PA, a family nurse practitioner , and the list goes on.


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rainsanmartin 10 months ago from Fort Wayne

Very interesting article. I have no doubt that the herbs used would properly heal. It's always nice to read stories about our elders being respected.


yecall profile image

yecall 10 months ago from California

Super interesting. I am so into this. We should all know more about herbs.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 10 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Juanita. All healing women in your family - that is great. I agree - the Granny Women are not witches, they did use some harmless methods that witches did, mainly they are all about healing people.

Thank you very much for reading, commenting, and the kind words about my writing.


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Phyllis Doyle 10 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi rainsanmartin. Glad you find the article so interesting. Herbs are wonderful for healing and good health. There are several other writers on HubPages who write about the benefits of herbs - so there is a lot for you to look into and enjoy. Thank you for reading and commenting.


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Phyllis Doyle 10 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi yecall. Happy to know you find the article interesting. Learning about herbs is fun, beneficial, and very interesting. One should really study well and check with a reputable herbalist before trying remedies. Michael Tierra's book, The Way of Herbs, and Scott Cunningham's books, Encyclopedia of Magiical Herbs and Magical Herbalism, and The Cherokee Herbal are the four books I learned from - plus I have a great Herbalist to help me with questions at a local shop.

Thank you for reading and commenting, I appreciate it.


Gretchen 10 months ago

Granny Women fascinated me! The people of Appalachia had...maybe still do in a way...a culture unique to themselves. They were so isolated and had to be self reliant! Thank you for such an interesting, educational article!


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Phyllis Doyle 10 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Gretchen. Thank you so much for the visit. Yes, their culture is unique. There are many Appalachians who still live in the old ways and they are very self-reliant.

Thanks again, for reading and commenting.


Fairyzona 10 months ago

I have not read your book yet but just read this article. And you are correct about a whole lot that I read there. Some of my family were Scots who moved from Scotland to Ulster in Ireland for religious reasons and then later had to move to the New World-- the United States because of religion again. they lived in the Appalations and eventually moved to the foothills of the Appalations where we live now. --in Alabama. We have small mountains (foothills) and many hollers. My great grandmother who everyone just called "granny" was all of those things you described. She was only about 4'10" tall but very mighty. She had her own moon shine still also. She was the community doctor and picked herbs in the woods. She was the "go to". But I have to say that she could be very mean. She lived to be just a few months short of 99 years old.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 10 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Fairyzona. You provide some very interesting information in your comment. Thank you - I enjoyed reading it. Your Granny was very important to the Appalacian people in her area. How wonderful to have such a great grandmother. The book, Mountain Magic, was written by Edain McCoy. I think you will really enjoy it.

Thanks so much for reading and commenting.


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 10 months ago from Southern Oklahoma

This is a very interesting and well written article! I thoroughly enjoyed it! These granny women were definitely the life blood of their regions. I would sooner trust a granny woman with some illnesses today than all the crap that todays doctors want to give us! I am sharing your wonderful article! :)


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 10 months ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

This is a fascinating account of how the people from the Old World and the Native American's shared their knowledge and wisdom. It inspires us to pay attention to the benefits of herbs, too. Thanks!


RandaHandler profile image

RandaHandler 10 months ago from USA

Enjoyed the read and all the research that went into your article! Will try some of these herbal remedies!


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 10 months ago

Very interesting and historical information. Thanks for providing the insight.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 10 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi sgbrown. Thank you very much. I am glad you enjoyed it. The Granny Woman really was the life blood of her region. Herbs are great for healing purposes. Thanks again for reading, commenting and sharing. I appreciate it.


Heather 10 months ago

LOVE THIS!! I am a "Granny Woman" this is all so true and awesome.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 10 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Rebecca. It is a good thing that the Cherokee and Old World people shared their knowledge and wisdom. Herbs are very beneficial for a lot of maladies. When I make soups I add in the herbs I feel my body needs and it really helps. Thank you for the visit, reading and commenting. It is much appreciated.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 10 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi RandaHandler. Glad you enjoyed this hub. Make sure to check with a reputable Herbalist or Michael Tierra's book, 'The Way of Herbs' for correct amounts and mixes before trying remedies. I love to go to my herb shop. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 10 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi poetryman - hope all is well with you. Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting - I appreciate it.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 10 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Heather. Thanks for stopping by - it is nice to meet a real Granny Woman. I appreciate your confirmation on the information. I hope you come back. Have a great day.


Besarien profile image

Besarien 10 months ago

Loved this hub! A lot of these women were purged from Europe during the centuries of witch-hunting. A lot of people view it as the advent of paternalism oppressing the traditions of matriarchy. Wise women were a threat to both priests who were promoting a different magical system and doctors who knew far less about plant medicine and non-invasive cures in general. So much wisdom was lost and so much general suffering occurred amongst the people because of it. Very dark ages indeed. The campaign to vilify grannies was wildly successful, too. Look at how long it took before women could rise to positions of power in government, medicine, and churches nearly as easily as our male counterparts.


Kathleen Kerswig 10 months ago

Such an interesting hub. I find it fascinating to think about the labels we use to classify people, especially when they do or say things that we are not familiar with. Using nature to help in the healing process is always the best approach in my opinion, Thanks so much for sharing. Blessings!


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 10 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Besarien. Thanks for reading and for your interesting comment. You bring up some good points about history and the progress of women. Have a great day.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 10 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Kathleen. I love the label "Granny Women" - it distinguishes them as healers who help all the families in their area. Nature is the best place to find the healing plants. I love to grow my own herbs. Thanks for the visit and comment.


Dianna Bailey WV. 10 months ago

Love reading this, because people needs to know between Indians And Granny women, how hill people really lived,my grandmaw was a midwife going to place to place birthing babies ,taking for pay chickens, food, and household items, and she knew all the mountain herbs and weeds to use and to eat,and all that was passed down to their kids.Thank you so much Phyllis Doyle


S Pyle 10 months ago

Have seen that verse to stop bleeding work in a very serious case. Was told to me by a woman that was born with a caul. There is also another verse about binding on earth as it is in Heaven


lorddraven2000 profile image

lorddraven2000 10 months ago from Wheelwright KY

Being from Eastern Kentucky I really enjoyed this. So beautifully written and very much a great read. Thanks for sharing this here and thanks for keeping the memories of these age old traditions fresh in people's minds.


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Phyllis Doyle 10 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

You are most welcome, Dianna Bailey. Thank you for sharing about your grandmaw, I so enjoyed reading that. Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 10 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi S. Pyle. Yes, Mathew 18:18 ""Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven." That is one of the verses my Father recited a lot when I was a child.

Thank you, for the visit and comment.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 10 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi lorddraven2000. Thank you for such a kind comment. You are most welcome. I am so glad you enjoyed my article.


Priestess Nibhadea 10 months ago

LOVE YOUR STUFF!!!


Sandie 10 months ago

My mother who is now 83 years oldtells me story's of how my great grandmother would go out sometimes in the middle of the night to deliver a baby or check on the sick and all about her herbs. This was a fascinating story for me to read. Thank you for sharing as it brought back so many memories of my great grandmother. God bless


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 10 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Well thank you very much, Priestess Nibhadea.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 10 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Sandie. You and your mother must be very proud of your great grandmother. Granny Women worked hard to help people. They were very wise of the laws of Nature and the healing herbs. They were so dedicated to their practice that was handed down to them from past generations. Thank you for sharing your great grandmother's story. And thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate it.


modernalchemyst profile image

modernalchemyst 9 months ago from New England

My great grandmother was one of these mountain dwelling granny women, although I doubt she would have called herself a witch as I do today. She was also part Cherokee. Your article really rings true about everything I've heard over the years. Amazing women, amazing Hub!


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Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi modernalchemyst. Thanks for stopping, reading and commenting. Yes, they are amazing women. Thanks for the compliment on my article.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 9 months ago from America

Both my grandmothers were probably known as granny women. Both from Mo and lowlands of Arkansas. I wish I could remember the things they said would heal this and that. I just can't remember any of it. My great-grandfather was also known herbal healer. Enjoyed your hub.


Brenda (Elaine Marie) 9 months ago

My birth father (whom I never knew) was a Doyle and my birth mother was a Phalen. I was adopted as an infant and live in Nova Scotia, where Irish and Scottish blood runs through many of us, along with Acadian and Mi'kmaq. My adoptive family was a mix of Scottish, German and Jewish. Lots of traditions in their background too! We're at the northern end of the Appalachians and have our own history of healers among the people. This article has been a pleasure to read and I'll share it this morning. Thank you for writing it.


Debbie Stewart 9 months ago

I am so totally blowed away! Im 54 yrs old, been trying to figure this path out a long time. I started reading this and seen my great grandma back in the early 60's. My mom knew, she just tried to hide things or ignore them. There's a lot more goes with it but thank you for finally giving me a name for it. Oh, and i know who the next healer is.


Tami Jude 9 months ago

My great grandmother who was born in the mid 1800's carried meat with her to feed to the mountain lions as she went ginsenging, and would catch and switch rattlesnakes and copperhead then turn them loose. This kept them from harming her or coming near her. My grandfather, born in the late 1800's used blood from a black chickens toe to cure shingles in an aunt. None of these things were considered witchcraft. They were just part of who these people were. They even considered themselves Christian. I'm proud of my hillbilly heritage and don't mind being called such. Thank you for the article and keeping alive a dying culture.


chezchazz profile image

chezchazz 9 months ago from New York

Great article - I wish I knew more of the "secrets" of earlier generations of my family who were quite knowledgable in natural healing ways although neither Appalachian or Native American. My wife has been fortunate to have inherited some of her grandparent's traditional wisdom but alas, the next generation has not shown any interest in learning it. Maybe if we ever have grandchildren...


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Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi moonlake. So many people can remember about their grandmothers and great grandmothers being Granny Women - this is wonderful. I am so happy to hear about this and glad you enjoyed the article. Thank you very much.


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Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Brenda. What an interesting family history you have. The Doyle name goes far back in Irish history to the Vikings and Danes. I have been studying the Acadians and their history. If you are a writer I would love to read more about your family history and the history of healers in your region. I hope you keep in touch. You can contact me by going to my profile page and click on the send an email to author.

I am very happy you enjoyed my article. Thank you for reading and your interesting history. Thanks for sharing, too.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Debbie Stewart. It is so exciting to know this article has helped you find what you were seeking - I am very happy about that. It is great you know who the next healer is in your family. I hope that person gets lots of guidance to carry on the tradition from your great grandma. I am still researching to write more about Granny Women and I am hoping a lot of others will come forth and write their stories.

Thank you so much Debbie, for reading and commenting. Take care and keep in touch.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Tami Jude. You are most welcome. I love reading all these wonderful stories of family history and the healers. Your great grandmother must have journeyed far and wide to help people. I do not think of the healers as witches and they did not call themselves a witch. They just knew the Old World way of healing, as a real witch does - so sometimes their methods are similar. You have a right to be proud of who you are and your heritage. I am glad to hear that.

Thank you so much for reading and sharing your family history - keep it alive.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi chezchazz. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I highly recommend the books I refer to in my article - maybe they will help. Edain McCoy is very knowledgeable of the ways of healing. Sometimes the old ways of healing will skip a generation and a new healer comes forth, so there is hope.

Thanks again for reading and commenting, I really appreciate it.


Rose Villa 9 months ago

Am Blackfoot/Cree woman, we originate in Alberta, Canada & Montana, US. Have understanding of 'Our' medicine/healing properties. Colonialists referenced 'Our' healers as witches! Labeling the Holy Healers as witches, caused us to go underground with ceremony & healing. I am pulled to learn about all Indigenous healing. This is 'Our' way, needs to be passed on to grandchildren and on and on down the lines...Thank you for sharing the Aboriginal healers...


prettynutjob30 profile image

prettynutjob30 9 months ago from From the land of Chocolate Chips,and all other things sweet.

Growing up my grandmother always gave us herbs to help cure our ailments. I used to love drinking her catnip tea, and the way she would always rub peppermint oil on our backs when we were congested. Great hub, very informative!!!


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Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Rose. Thank you very much for reading and sharing your story and interesting history. I appreciate it.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Mary. Thank you very much for reading and commenting. I love peppermint - it is beneficial for many maladies and it smells so good. Thanks again.


Darcy 9 months ago

Those women were my great great grandmothers both Cherokee and Welsh women. Their stories and remedies are fascinating --lucky me.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Darcy. Yes, their stories and the women themselves were fascinating. How fortunate you are to have such ancestors. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 9 months ago from California Gold Country

Beautiful Hub Phyllis! very interesting and evocative of the time. Them Garlands sure had a bunch of young'uns. They must have been strong people.


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Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Rochelle. Yep, they had a whole passel of young'uns. LOL

Thanks for stopping by and commenting, I appreciate it.


Alexis Cogwell profile image

Alexis Cogwell 9 months ago from Indiana/Chicagoland

Sounds beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with us. :)


sumon 9 months ago

This is a nice article. It is really helpful.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Alexis. You are most welcome. Thank you for stopping by.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Thank you sumon.


Terra 9 months ago

A fantastic informative read, thank you.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Thank you very much, Terra.


Karen 9 months ago

Thanks for sharing your article Im a ustler decendent..picking redclovers living in Aotearoa New Zealand


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Karen, you are most welcome. So much history of folk medicine from Ulster. I love redclover, I wish it grew here. We just have white. I need to pay a visit to my herbal shop soon and see if he has some. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Tabitha Canady 9 months ago

Great article! So many do not know the real history of these awesome healers.


Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 9 months ago from New England

Loved reading this article, Phyllis. I am drawn to gardening and herbal knowledge and am eager to learn more. The women in my family learned shame for being women and women's knowledge, so if they possessed such knowledge at all, they suppressed it when they came to the "new world." I have always been the odd one, much to my mother's frustration - not taking "authorities" at their word about what to think, believe, etc. Though I grew up Catholic, I am now primarily Unitarian Universalist.

I loved gardening with my grandmother. She did have quite a "green thumb." It was definitely a bonding time between us and I sometime think she is one of my Spirit Guides. I wonder if there was herbal knowledge that she held but felt it was unsafe to teach me. Grew up in NY but now live in MA. I feel like I belong here in some way. Grew up Catholic, which probably explains lots about the shame part, but now I have a chance to guide my daughter to love herself and have confidence.

The word "Witch" is very interesting. I know a bunch of women who self-identify as "witches." It is only a negative term if the person who uses it labels another with disdain. I do like the word healer better, though, because it is more descriptive and accurate for who those Granny Women were. It is very sad that in the 1690's, those who benefited from their knowledge and service turned them in to be hanged or burned at the stake.

I think that Homeopathy is a modern movement that takes from the herbal practices of the old ways. I know at least 2 women who practice and I have great respect for their knowledge.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Tabitha. Thank you for reading and commenting. Have a great day.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Seafarer Mama. Thanks for the visit. I love gardening, too. I learned a lot about gardening and herbs from my father. The books I recommend are very helpful. Your grandmother still is very special to you and that is great. Maybe she knows it is safe now to teach you and her spirit will guide you.

Thanks again for reading and commenting.


sparkster profile image

sparkster 9 months ago from United Kingdom

Great information. This hub reminds me of a couple of things. First, some research I did into herbs used for the "Hoxsey Therapy" cure which was a natural cure for cancer. Labelled by authorities as pseudoscience but recent research backs it up. Also, a shamanic spiritual cleansing that was done on me recently by a woman who is part Cherokee. That was certainly an enlightening experience.


Sharon Turnwall 9 months ago

Very interesting read. My great-grandmother was born and raised in Kentucky and was a mid-wife. She "birthed" over 2,500 babies during her lifetime. She always used some sort of plant to heal anything from a cut toe to a stomach ache. No one in the family knows when or where she learned all she knew and unfortunately all of her knowledge went to her grave with her. I seem to be the only one in the family who has any interest in her abilities and knowledge, unfortunately she is no longer here to teach me.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi sparkster - good to hear from you. I bet that was "an enlightening experience". How interesting your comment is. I was recently reading about shaminism, fascinating! Many cultures around the world have their Shamans and history of that belief system. I do not recall the "Hoxsey Therapy" cure. Maybe you can write a hub about it.

Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting. I appreciate it.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Sharon Turnwall. Thanks for the visit and comment. Since you do have an interest in the wisdom and skills of your great-grandmother you just may pick up the knowledge. I am a strong believer that inherent attributes are within us (like a genetic memory) and can be developed spiritually. I think your intuition and desire will promote and enhance the learning.

Thanks again.


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 9 months ago from California

Very interesting read . Truly believe in herbal medicine, but know doctors in Alaska who run into native healers who scare the people and cause great harm because they don't believe in modern medicine. Read Christi when I was in junior high. The people of Appalachia have fascinated me ever since. Again an very interesting article. TT


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi TT. Thank you so much for reading and sharing about the Alaska natives. I am sure that causes a lot of consternation for the doctors. Herbal medicine can do wonders and so can doctors - it is too bad both sides cannot find a way to work together. Thanks again for reading and commenting. Take care


sparkster profile image

sparkster 9 months ago from United Kingdom

I have already written a hub about alternative medicine which goes into detail about Hoxsey Therapy. I published that a while ago. It's also about how such medicines have been suppressed, in addition to new energy technologies.


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Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi sparkster. I will go read your hub. Sounds interesting. Thanks.


Dixiecuz72 9 months ago

This would be the equivalent to holistic medicine today.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Dixiecuz. Your statement is not quite true. Holistic medicine is used along with conventional medicine. The holistic approach is to treat the whole person, (physical, emotional, and spiritual).

Thank you for stopping by, I appreciate it.


Lester 9 months ago

These are my people , both sides of my family, Cherokee and Irish, love the stories, they're very true . My Mother was a granny way before she was a granny. My aunt could stop bleeding,my Father could witch a well .thank you for sharing blessed be .


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Lester and welcome. It is so good to hear from you. I am glad you like the article and thank you for the confirmation of the stories . You must be very proud of your mother, your whole family and your heritage. Thank you for reading and commenting, I really appreciate it. Hope you visit again.


Sarah 9 months ago

Thank you for sharing this information! I'm an Appalachian herbalist and descendant of a mountain midwife and have been looking for more information about her life and practices. I know from her Wayne Co. WV census (1880) that she, Sarah Welch, was still at age 80, listed as a midwife and blind to boot! Can you recommend further reading specifically about midwives in Appalaichia? Thanks again. Have to add- it is uncanny how much the woman in the video looks and sounds like my grandmother!


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Sarah. Thank you so much for your visit. How interesting about Sarah Welch and her being blind - she must have really been a good midwife. I hope you find out more about her. I can give you information on some reads. I don't know if it will help you, but a list is below. Another thought is to search 'Granny Women' on Bing Images and follow back to the original source. I found an image of the Welch family, but they were in Kentucky (maybe some relations?) Mandy, in the video, is quite an interesting person.

Birthin' Babies: The History of Midwifery in Appalachia.

http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED464795

The Midwife's Tale

by Gretchen Moran Laskas

http://www.librarything.com/work/218522

http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=su%3AMidwives+Mis...

The Granny Woman of the Hills

by Ella Ingenthron Dunn

Mary Breckenridge

Frontier Nursing Service

Thanks again, Sarah. Hope you visit here again and let me know how your research is going. Take care.


Sarah 9 months ago

Thank you so much for the advice on further reading etc., I have never used Bing images, off to give that a try! I have her on my tree as Welch and forget her married name was Maynard, but yes- most of them lived right on the Tug Fork River, which runs between KY & WV, Sarah herself lived in Kentucky for a good part of her life. Such an interesting history these women share. Thanks again for the resources.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 9 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Sarah. You are most welcome for those resources. I hope it helps. I think the history of those women is remarkable and very interesting. They have a strong common bond. Edain McCoy may have some books that will also help you. She wrote 'Mountain Magic' and is very knowledgeable about Appalachian folk medicine and such. Thanks for coming back again, Sarah. Keep in touch.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 8 months ago

Hello Phyllis, this is great, I do love reading about courageous women of the past, and the magical cures of herbs.

Wonderful Hub

Blessings and Hugs my friend


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 8 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Shyron. So glad you loved reading about the Granny Women. Thank you for reading and commenting.

Blessings to you, too, my friend. Hugs.


Shannon 8 months ago

This is really interesting, is there anywhere that you can direct me toward further readings on this topic? I'm wanting to write a short story, and the main character has a background sort of around this topic. Please and thank you!


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 7 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Shannon. You might try watching some videos on Youtube about 'Appalachian Granny Women'. There are some videos there that could give you some ideas. Some advice is to develop your characters well so your readers get to know them. Thanks for reading and commenting on my article, I appreciate it.


wendi_w profile image

wendi_w 7 months ago from Midwest

Really great Hub, much of what you describe is true of the Midwest where German, Bohemian,Swedes, and Sioux Indians combined. My Grandmothers were of Gypsy and German descent . Both Grandfathers were water witches and my grandmothers blended there heritage with Sioux Indian medicine and planting as well as a touch of Christianity. I love reading stories like these


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 7 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi wendi_w. So glad you enjoyed the article. You have a very interesting family history. Thank you for sharing that and for reading / commenting. I appreciate your visit.


FreemanPresson 7 months ago

I'm also descended from Scots-Irish, Irish, and Cherokee people. I caught the tail end of some of those traditions ("Great-aunt Sally can take off warts and treat your colic-y horse, etc). The one thing I wasn't so sure about was Tarot cards. Have you seen anything that proves any of them had Tarot before the late 20th century?


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 7 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi FreemanPresson. So nice to hear from you. I believe the use of Tarot cards came much later than the ancestors of Granny Women. I will check out my out my wording and source to make sure I got that right - thanks for bringing it to my attention. What a great heritage you have. Thanks again and I will get back to you on the Tarot cards mention.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 7 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi FreemanPresson, I took out mention of the Tarot since it is a controversial subject. Thanks again for bringing that to my attention.


FreemanPresson 7 months ago

Thanks for the great article!

Lots of people with the gift for divination just read playing cards. Even then, some families wouldn't have those. My Dad (b. 1907) was only allowed Rook cards because, y'know, evil gambling and all.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 7 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

FreemanPresson, my Dad used regular playing cards for divination and I have also. Yes, I know "evil gambling and all" was not well tolerated. Now, what are Rook cards? I don't think I have heard of those.


Archie McKinney 6 months ago

Good post. My great great grandmother was born in East Tennessee the year that General Winfield Scott began the removal to Oklahoma. She was a healer and eventually came with her family to homestead in the Ozark Mountains of Southern Missouri. She lived long enough to see the advent of patent medicine and the decline of demand for healers. She lived well into her 80s and continued healing for family due to,the remote location of their homesteads.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 6 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hello, Archie McKinney, and thank you for reading and commenting. You must be proud of your great great grandmother. What a wonderful and wise woman she must have been. Thank you for sharing her history with me. I would love to know more and write about her life. Thanks again.


FreemanPresson 6 months ago

The Rook deck is actually still being made, and the Wikipedia article says they were specifically made for uptight Christian folk to have a card game not associated with poker or cartomancy! I had not seen a Rook deck since the 50s.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rook_(card_game)


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 6 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

How interesting. I vaguely remember the deck and Rook card now. Seems like one of my aunts had the deck. Thanks for the information, FreemanPresson.


Anita Wray-White 6 months ago

My grandmother lived by these practices in Arkansas. When run down roots and turnip greens. When aching from arthritis or rheumatism she and all her sisters would go to Hot Springs for healing. I think they brought this from hundreds of years before in the old country. For her it all went hand and hand with praying and religion. All ways to heal and feal better. And to have that belief that you would be healed.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 6 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

H Anita.How nice to read about your grandmother and her natural ways of healing. Thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate it.


Amanda Parker 2 months ago

I'm from Harlan County, KY. My Granny was a Granny Witch, he mother read tea leaves. We still live by these methods today.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Amanda. I bet your Granny was an interesting and loving person. When someone is connected to nature like she was then life is filled with love. My

Dad read tea leaves and I do it once in awhile. Thank you for reading my article and commenting. I really appreciate it.


Shirley Adams 2 months ago

I'm from Eastern Kentucky by Virginia state line. My mom was one of these Granny women. People would come to our home all the time to see her. She could birth babies, take warts off your hands, say secret things that done things, stop blood, thrush in a babies mouth. I fell into a wood stove at five and burned my face bad. The women wrapped all kinds of stuff in the kitchen and began to make some type of salve, mom put it on my face and neck then bandaged it up daily until I healed up. To this day I have NO SCAR AT ALL ANYWHERE. I have always wanted get the recipient for that salve but my mom's gone and I can't. Does anyone know where I can get it. It's great stuff. I love all the responses you need do more these. Thanks,shirley


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Shirley. Thanks for stopping by. You might want to check Watkins Home Products for Petro-Carbo Salve. My folks used it for burns and it works well. I keep a tin of it on hand. Thanks again.


Anita Hasch profile image

Anita Hasch 2 weeks ago from Port Elizabeth

Enjoyed your hub Phyllis, healing with plants and herbs seems to becoming popular again.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 weeks ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Anita. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks. Yes, a lot of people practice natural healing methods and herbalism.


SakinaNasir53 profile image

SakinaNasir53 10 days ago from Kuwait

Great hub Phyllis! ☺ Loved reading it! Keep up the good work! God bless you!


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 7 days ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Thank you very much, SakinaNasir. So glad you enjoyed it.

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