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Civil War Approaches to Medicinal Plants
Return to Book Page. Mitchell foodways publications by Patricia B. Household products, pharmaceuticals, clothing and traditional foods derived from plants during the Civil War.
Get A Copy. Paperback , 37 pages. Published January 28th by P. Mitchell first published More Details Original Title. Mitchell foodways publications. Other Editions 1.
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Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. The most coveted invitations graced attendees with lavish fare and fine china, painstakingly presented in order to earn positive reviews by attendees and entertainment connoisseurs. The presence of imported specialties was also a signal of wealth and influence. As throughout the nation during the war, the menu was affected by the availability of ingredients, and difficult-to-acquire foods earned additional compliment. For a detailed review of herbs and gardens in the American Civil War, visit Amazon.
The Potawatomi used ginseng as an eyewash, a fertility enhancer, and to cure earaches and relieve stomach complaints. American Ginseng has been known for its aphrodesiac, tonic, immune system booster, and other curative powers. Particularly vulnerable to habitat destruction and overharvesting, ginseng plants once covered the mountains. But over the course of the nineteenth century, they gradually disappeared from much of their former range, leading many mountaineers further into the mountains in search of the plants.
Following the lead of the French Canadians, American colonists began exporting large amounts of American Ginseng Panax quiquefolia roots to China in the early 18 th century. The Chinese, who had been consuming the related Asian ginseng for thousands of years as a health tonic, found the American species to be an adequate substitute, providing generations of backcountry settlers with a ready market. Ginseng digging had been a means of supplemental income for at least two generations of mountain residents, but after the war, in the face of a tattered livestock industry and depressed agricultural prices, many came to depend heavily, if not exclusively, on the plant.
While they also harvested other plants, herbs, and marketable forest products, ginseng was by far the most lucrative. They traded its root for necessaries of life, including coffee, sugar, shoes, whiskey, powder, and lead.
Country merchants performed the role of middlemen, collecting the roots and selling them to trading firms, which would then ship them almost exclusively to China. Women and children played an important role in generating surplus income for their families during the post-Civil War depression. The thick hardwood forests and rich soils in Michigan make prime growing areas for American ginseng. The price for the root depends on size, color, age, and shape.
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Civil War Plants & Herbs (Patricia B. Mitchell foodways publications)
During part of the war, Confederate surgeons did not have reliable access to medicines because the Union Navy prevented the Confederacy from trading. As infection rates rose among the wounded, the Confederate Surgeon General commissioned a guide to plant remedies. Francis Porcher, a botanist and surgeon, compiled a book called Resources of the Southern Fields and Forests. It lists medicinal plants of the southern states, including plant remedies that Native Americans and slaves used.
Civil War Approaches to Medicinal Plants - National Museum of Civil War Medicine
The Confederate Surgeon General, Samuel Moore, drew from Porcher's work to create a paper titled "Standard supply table of the indigenous remedies for field service and the sick in general hospitals. Scientists from Emory University in Atlanta, GA, analyzed the properties of extracts from some of plants that people used during the Civil War.
Their results appear in the journal Scientific Reports. Their findings show that these plants have antimicrobial activity against multidrug-resistant bacteria linked to wound infections. Specifically, they were effective against Acinetobacter baumannii , Staphylococcus aureus , and Klebsiella pneumoniae. This is a discipline that studies the uses of plants in different cultures throughout history.