I never knew my paternal grandmother. She died in 1950, way before I was born. I grew up hearing stories about her kind and loving attitude. She was always described as a meek lady with a strong character.
Her husband, my grandfather, died when my father was only 14. She did the best she could and raised six fine children.Three of her four sons served in World War 2. The story has been told that during this time, my grandmother took heart sick and was in the bed when all three of her sons arrived home from the war on the same day. She was so happy she got up and fixed them supper that evening.
My grandmother taught her children about the herbs of the woods and how to use them as medicine. She also gathered and sold what she could. I have a notebook where my father wrote down certain herbs and their uses. These are some of the herbs my grandmother gathered for medicinal purposes.
mountain ramps–used as a spring tonic; also for colds and congestion
yellowroot–given for any ailment of the stomach, kidneys or bladder
boneset–drink the tea for fevers and cough
black cohosh–used for rheumatism, and menstrual cramps
ginseng–an all aound health tonic
sassafrass–the salve of a sassafrass root for healing of boils and sores. Drink the tea for regularity
witchhazel–used for insect bites and burns
Lobelia–used for respiratory ailments
milkweed–used to cure moles or warts
galax leaves–treats cuts
Balm of Gilead–headaches, toothaches and muscle cramps plus a plethora of other ailments
*If anyone is interested in learning about herbs, there are many books on the subject. Please do not attempt to gather herbs until you know for sure that you are gathering the correct ones. Also, some can have side effects if too potent.
I wish I knew more about this lovely lady. I would have loved to have had a conversation with her, to have walked with her in the woods. I got cheated out of knowing her but I’m confident that I’ll meet her one day.