Western North Carolina is home to many known herbs. Mountain folk had their home remedies called tonics for most everything. Here are some of the herbal home remedies I have heard in the Asheville area for a long time.
Please Note: This is for entertainment purposes only, these methods are not recommended or endorsed by the Ashevillelist.
Western North Carolina was referred to as the "Back-country" because the mountains and the rugged terrain made it hard for supplies and people to get through. People were more or less isolated. Doctors were rare. Mountainfolk relied on Nature to provide what was needed for survival. Here is a sampling of Home remedies used for medicine by "old timers" living in the Mountains of North Carolina.
Herbal Home Remedies used in the early 1900s
Cockleburs were boiled to make cough syrup for colds.
Crushed ragweed was used on skin for poison ivy or oak
Tansy was used for upset stomachs
Sassafras was a blood builder.
Sassafras tea was used for colds
Asafetida was put into a small bag and hung around the neck to prevent colds. It has a strong odor.
One herb that grows wild in the mountains of western North Carolina is ginseng. Ginseng has been used for energy and increased stamina. Due to the high demand and price for ginseng, mountain folk hunted this herb in the woods to supplement their income and for private use. The reason the herb is so popular is that it is believed to have aphrodisiac powers. Ginseng (root) is shaped like a human. Also known as the elixir of life.
Catnip used to be used to put babies to sleep. This was part of Mountain folk lure and is not proven so don't try it.
The information below was sent to me from a reader who wished to only be identified by Brenda
I was born in Virginia, but moved to Indiana when I was 6. My dad was from Va. and his family lived there. I was taught, as I was growing up, that catnip tea was good for a stomach ache. I use to boil it and give it to my kids when they were young and have drank it myself, just because I like it. As a matter of fact, I made some about two weeks for my niece's kids. I had told them about it, while walking in my yard. It grows around my flower garden, and I was telling them what it was. I just pick the leaves and boil them till the water turns green, then add about a teaspoon per cup and drink it warm or hot. It's ok cold, too.
Horehound was and still is used in making cough drops for sore throats and coughs. It is made into a candy then the candy is soaked in whiskey, honey, and lemon. In the old days horehound candy was most likely soaked in moonshine. Its hard to say whether the horehound herb really helped or whether the alcohol caused the user to think he felt better. Rock candy was often used for a replacement for horehound.
Ground Ivy was boiled into a tea and used to bring a rash out on a baby. The Old Wives Tale tells that if a rash is brought out on the skin then it will not go internal, thus prevents SIDS. This is another folk tale but it is still practiced in some of the rustic areas of the Asheville area.
The Cycles of Life: Herbs for the Five Stages of a Woman's Life Book
Demonstrates the use of herbs in a natural self-care program and presents a range of natural herbal remedies and supplements specifically designed for each stage in a woman's life, from puberty through menopause