Old cures, otherwise known as Folk Medicine,have been used for centuries to aide the sick. Though many advancements have been made in the medical world, folk medicines have survived time and are still being used around the world.
While something as simple as chicken soup originally drew controversy among many medical professionals, some have finally come to agree that it has medicinal benefits; but they’re not sure why. Like many of the old cures used during the early years, the old folks didn’t know why or how their cures worked, but only that they did. Some even thought a shot of whiskey would help. In fact, before pain pills came along, whiskey was used as a painkiller before an amputation or the removal of a tooth. In most cases, all they had was a “Shot and a Prayer.”
Many cultures such as Indian, African, Appalachian, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, and many others were deeply rooted in folk medicines, folklore, voodoo, and old folktales. Some even turned to black magic. They didn’t know anything about test tubes or pills, but there was the boiling of the roots and leaves; some were even smoked. My study of Old medical documents; one being an old home medical book dated 1926 by William Evans M D.,shows a close relationship between traditional healing and folk healing. It covers a wide range of old cures like: home remedy for ringworm, pink eye, sore throat, toothache, how to get rid of pimples, hives, the history of smallpox, scarlet fever, scurvy, malaria symptoms,rickets disease,eczema and many other interesting articles.
Many ingredients that were contained in old home remedies are still being used in todays prescription Drugs. Though these ingredients may be listed under some fancy scientific name, the end result is about the same. “The Old folk,” as they were sometimes called! Would probably change some of these fancy names to something simple like vinegar, corn meal, pine tar, onions, baking soda, salt, peppers, tree bark, ginseng, corn silk, sassafras, honey, dewberry roof, or aspirin. Why aspirin? Because aspirin has been long used as a painkiller and though mostly synthetically made today, it was originally made from salicin; the active ingredient in willow tree bark, (acetylsalicylic acid.) The same can be found in strawberries, almonds and tomatoes. Nearly all medical benefits and cures have come from simple nature. Even one of the most deadliest diseases, Malaria, was first treated with the extract from the bark of a South American willow tree.
Did you know that store bought cloves can reduce the pain of a toothache.The old folks knew a great deal about healing herbs but seldom spoke of what they knew. For this reason, unfortunately, most old remedies have been lost forever and the rest remains a secret. My ancestors were great examples of this. They could be called “The keepers of old cures.” But however, before my mother’s death, (Martha Marr, (Fitzgerald) revealed some of what she knew about folk healing to a local newspaper located in Danville, Virginia. I would like to give thanks to, Frances Halam Hurt, for her research and contribution to the publishing of this article which was printed in”The Bee,”A news paper located in Danville
Though most old cures have been covered in mounds of dirt along with the people that used them, It gives me great pleasure to dedicate this page to early pioneers of all cultures for their contribution to the healing of the sick; for they were true pioneers; that paved a path through history; that lead us to what we call the present