Monday, 15 October 2012

Traditional Healing Herbs

Aloe Vera
Life in 1812 was anything but easy. It was a struggle to complete the daily chores, and survival was incredibly laborious. The daily struggle was often compounded by diseases, accidents and injuries, that we may now view as insignificant given our multitude of available medicine. In the early 19th century, any community in Upper Canada that had a physician living within 10 kilometres of town was considered fortunate, but even then, response to a medical emergency could take hours or even days if the doctor was making a round of house calls. Before this time, traditional doctors didn't exist in Upper Canada. Women were the healers of the earlier European settlements and could make up home remedies to aid the sick or injured. The knowledge of herbs and natural remedies was often times passed down through generations by mothers, as well as learned from the First Nations communities.

Below is a list of natural elements that would be used by early Canadians to make up home remedies to help ease what ailed them.

Aloe Vera
Properties: Soothing, cleansing, and vulnery (wound healing)
Uses: Burns, Sunburns, infections, and wounds

Properties: Alterative (to restore health), Diaphoretic (Inducing perspiration), Diuretic (to increase the flow of urine)
Uses: Blood Purifier for acne, eczema, boils and rheumatic infections

Properties: Antispasmodic (to stop spasms), diaphoretic, and vulnery
Uses: Cramps, colitis, skin boils, and fever

Properties: Anodyne (pain killing), antispasmodic, carminative (relieving flatulence), sedative (inducing calm or sleep), stomachic (increase appetite), and tonic (create feeling of well being)
Uses: Headaches, insomnia, and menstrual cramps

Properties: Anodyne, antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue (stimulates menstrual flow), and vermifuge (to destroy parasites)
Uses: flatulence, insomnia, headaches, worms, and nervousness

Properties: Carminative, irritant, stimulant, and tonic
Uses: Congestion, sore throat, colds, circulation, and digestion
Properties: Astringent (contracts tissue), cell proliferant (cell growth), demulcent (soothes), expectorant (clears mucus), moisturizes, styptic (stop bleeding), vulnery
Uses: Anemia, congestion, hay fever, hemorrhage, and bone troubles

Properties: Depurative (remove impurities), diuretic, stomachic, tonic
Uses: Anemia, eczema, circulation, warts

Properties: Bark: Catharic, stomachic
Flowers: Diaphoretic, emollient
Uses: Fever, flu, kidney, skins, Caution: all parts of plant can be poisonous especially if not prepared with heat.

Properties: Antiseptic, expectorant, stimulant
Uses: Oil added to sauna or steam bath, aids respiratory ailments. Diluted extract is anti-septic

Ginger Root 
Properties: Carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, stimulant
Uses: Chest and stomach spasms, suppressed menstruation, body resistance, diarrhea

Properties: Antibiotic, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, vermifuge
Uses: Bronchitis, colds and flu, liver and gall bladder problems, digestion, body resistance

Properties: Demulcent (relieves irritants), stimulant, tonic
Uses: Central nervous system, longevity and vigor (especially for men)

Golden Seal 

Properties: Antiseptic, astringent, diuretic, laxative
Uses: Mucous membranes, buildup of mucous, colds, bites, gum and mouth sores

Golden Seal

Properties: Antispasmodic, carminative, stomachic, stimulant
Uses: Cramps, digestion, colds, circulation, fevers

Properties: Demulcent, purgative (laxative), vulnery
Uses: Menstrual cramps, diarrhea, morning sickness, other symptoms of pregnancy 

To learn more about how pioneers used these natural resources, read Mr. Carroll's Concoctions. 

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