Appalachian Folk Medicine, Cures & Remedies
The tradition of folk medicine in Appalachia is still very much alive today, even among those patients also seeking modern healthcare. Appalachian folk medicine has always focused more on the outcome of healing, so remedies that can be associated with positive results are more valid than others. Also there remains a strong element of superstition, magical power, and mountain luck associated with folk medicine.
It is safe to say that some traditional folk remedies do actually work to treat various pains or illnesses and many have actually led to practices and medicines in the modern medical world. A major influence on the development of Appalachian folk Medicine was the Christian religion.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. Genesis 1:11 King James Version
Other influences also allowed the fledgling Appalachian folk medicine tradition to develop, evolve and grow unimpeded. These included the local native american tribes, the Civil War, the Great Depression, and a strong prevailing attitude of self-reliance.
Let’s examine 12 medicinal herbs and plants, and the practices pioneered by Granny Witches that are still widely used across Appalachia today.
Nepeta cataria (Catnip)
Nepeta cataria, or Catnip as it is more commonly known to most folks, has many beneficial uses. Chewing the leaves can relieve the pain of a toothache.
Juice from bruised leaves makes a natural insect repellent, and tea made from leaves can be used to treat abdominal cramps and colic.
Cats also enjoy it!