Tag Archives: appalachian folk medicine

Summer mountain meadows are full of toys

Mountain woods and meadows are full of toys for any child with eyes to see. Skipping stones across a creek or running alongside a fence, stick in hand, clacking the fenceposts—these pastimes are available any time of year. But the summer meadow has always held special treasures. Two of the best just happen to grow […]

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The madstone would stick to the wound and draw the poison out

Right up till the early years of the 20th century, a bite from a rabid animal could strike terror in the hearts of Appalachian residents. Rabies slowly destroys the nervous system. It finally attacks the spinal cord and its victim may froth at the mouth, scream and fight. Before Louis Pasteur developed a successful vaccination […]

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White livered widders

People with an abnormally strong sex drive were said to suffer from white liver. The folk medicine record contains scant information on this folk illness, because openly talking about sex was taboo in the past. The earliest and most complete description of white liver comes from Vance Randolph’s study of folk culture in the Ozarks: […]

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The curse of Milk Sickness, part 2 of 2

(continued from yesterday…) Not everyone sided with Drake, however. On February 18, 1841, the KY legislature offered a reward of two thousand dollars to anyone “who shall, within five years after the passage of this act” succeed in discovering “the true cause of the disease, now known to be caused by the poisonous effects of […]

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