Not all people in western North Carolina regularly go to the doctor when they get sick. Some still rely on the traditional folk medicine of their ancestors, drawn from the regions many cultures; Native American, European, and African. Some folk cures are made from native plants, animals, and minerals. Others rely on maintaining an even balance of body fluids known as the four “humors.” Sympathetic magic also plays a role, such as cutting pain by placing a knife under the patient’s bed. Practitioners of folk medicine include herb doctors, Indian doctors, and granny midwives. Reliance on folk medicine is slowly dying out but ironically, some scientists are asking if firm belief in the cure, whatever the cure, is an important element in influencing the patient’s recovery.
Below is the Digital Heritage Moment as broadcast on the radio:
- Sanitariums For several years during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, tuberculosis was the leading cause of death in the United States. Consequently, a wide variety of treatments emerged […]
- Grandfather Mountain Over 700 million years ago two gigantic plates within the earth’s crust slammed together. Among the results was the creation of one of the highest peaks in the Blue Ridge Mountain range, […]
- Penland School of Crafts The widespread poverty that the Great Depression brought to Appalachia led to the founding of one of the area’s most valuable treasures: the Penland School of Crafts. Nestled deep in the […]
- Oconaluftee Indian Village In 1952, the Cherokee Historical Association opened the Oconaluftee Indian Village, a recreated Cherokee village set in the 1750s. . .
- Zebulon Vance
Essay by Timothy N. Osment
Perhaps the most influential figure to emerge out of the mountains of Western North Carolina was Zebulon Baird Vance. Vance would […]