I love it when friends keep an eye out for items they know I’ll treasure. Last week my friend Jessie slipped me a copy of Appalachian Folk Medicine: Native Plants and Healing Traditions. It was a donated to the thrift store at the ministry where I work and I LOVE IT!!

The spiral bound book was published in 1996 by Warren Wilson College–a school I drive past each morning on my way to work. It includes chapters such as:

  • Immigrant Healing Traditions
  • Home Remedies Sampler
  • Faith Healing
  • Herbalists
  • Plant Foraging and Harvesting

There’s a whole chapter on ginseng! Fortunately, it only reinforces what I learned when I did my research to make Creed a ginseng hunter in The Right Kind of Fool. But oh! The ideas for future stories!

While Ivy was an herbalist in When Silence Sings, there’s a lot more I could do with that topic. And this little book is a fantastic resource. For example–the Wallace Brothers Botanical Co. in Statesville, NC, has been dealing in native herbs and plants since the 1860s. Some of the most common plants were sassafras root or bark, wild cherry bark, pennyroyal, catnip, and sarsaparilla. And ginseng of course! By the 1880s they were the largest root and herb market in the U.S. Now I can work with that!

You can expect me to dip into this book so I can share bits and pieces with you over the coming weeks. If there’s an herb, root, or plant you’re especially curious about, let me know and I’ll see what the book has to say. For now, I leave you with this bit of wisdom: For any type of elixir – Use corn whiskey as a base and soak a ginseng root in it. Take one tablespoon each day to maintain a feeling of well-being.

Hmmmmm. I think that just might work! And if it doesn’t, try TWO tablespoons 😉