Amish Home Remedies
By Kevin Williams
I'm a big believer in looking to nature for curing what ails us and that is a philosophy many Amish also share. I am not anti-medicine at all, most of medicine originates from nature. I'm just a believer that some cultures, especially the old-timers around before modern medicine really came into its own, might know something we don't. Perhaps its pure romanticism on my part to think that. But you'd have to think that Native Americans who cultivated centuries of knowledge in the American outdoors learned a thing or two about what plants and foods helped ease various maladies. The Amish, long an insular and isolated American subculture, also passed home remedies and medical knowledge down through the generations.
I've been intrigued by something Elizabeth Coblentz wrote in The Amish Co0k column years ago...and she was recounting something that happened in the 1950s (which, to me, makes it more credible):
A friend brought grandmother a salve she had made, which they called "tobacco salve" and it was to be rubbed on the chest only. After using the salve, grandmother got over the flu right away.
Was it just luck and timing that the flu happened to run its course at about the same time the salve was applied? Or did that old Amish healer know something the rest of us didn't? We'll probably never know.
I know of some Amish herbalists and healers who practice forms of medicine using the old ways and their appointment books are often more packed than a regular medical doctor's schedule, such is the public demand for more holistic treatment.
Many visitors to this site might be familiar with old Solomon Wickey, he was a controversial figure and passed away last summer. (in an effort to be balanced, I linked to a site that is very anti-holistic health).
I was intrigued when I stumbled upon this book at an Amish auction recently. It is entitled simply "Home Remedies" and was written by the "Wickey sisters". I don't know whether they are any relation to Solomon...Wickey can be a common last name in some Amish settlements. Anyway, I picked up a copy of this 96 page book packed with home remedies, household hints, and other tips. My view on things like this are "buyer beware." I'm very open-minded to the possibility that some of the remedies might work and might be grounded in experience and sound science. Others I think could be nonsense. I just think you have to read each remedy with an open mind. I will share a few of the remedies here, and you can be the judge:
PAINKILLER: Take powdered poke root and roast 1 /4 cup. Add enough water to make a poultice and apply on the bottom of the feet. It will draw out pain anywhere in the body.
Okay, this next one...I know this site's audience is largely female....I have no clue what this even means, but I'll share it....it simply says "Ovaries" (and, yes, I know what ovaries are...but does it mean "painful ovaries"..."malfunctioning ovaries"..? But instead it just says Ovaries)
OVARIES: Use Pleurisy root for inflammation. Pennyroyal, burdock, peach leaves can also be used with good results.
INSOMNIA: Mix 1 teaspoon gelatin in a cold cup of water for 5 minutes, then add 1 cup hot water. Stir until dissolved. Of this, put 2 teaspoons in a glass of water or milk. Drink after supper, this will help induce sleep.
So, there you go...The book is choc full of them here are some more:
What do you think? Is this a book of quackery or is there some good stuff in it?