Charms, Cures, Herbal Remedies from Ancestors of Granny Women

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Charms, Cures, Herbal Remedies from Ancestors of Granny Women

Post by Ria on Sun May 08, 2016 4:40 am

Charms, Cures, Herbal Remedies from Ancestors of Granny Women

Irish ancestors ~

Charms, cures, herbal healing practices and beliefs from ancestors of a Granny Woman goes far back in time.

The healers of Appalachia know their knowledge and wisdom has been passed down for generations in their family. Where and when did this wisdom and art of healing begin? It goes far back to ancient times, to peasants throuhout Ireland, and many other parts of the world. In this article we will focus mainly on Ireland. The methods of healing that Granny Women practice are thousands of years old. The use of herbs is the oldest form of healing. Herbs, roots, bark and other plant parts were (and still are) used for healing purposes.

Irish doctors of ancient times ~

Irish doctors, from ancient pagan times, were well-known to be highly skilled in the treatment of diseases. Since those earliest of days the Irish, peasants as well as the adept, have had great knowledge of the power of herbs.

Their professors of medicine were so skilled they held high, influential positions in the Druid order. Always followed around by a large group of pupils, the master taught how to diagnose and treat disease then prepare the necessary curative potions. These physicians had skills that were mainly based upon their profound knowledge of the healing nature and properties of herbs.

The physicians also practiced magic with great results. They instinctively knew how strong the charms, incantations, and fairy cures effected the nerves and mind of a patient. Their methods were thus of a medico-religious character which along with ceremonial ritual helped the curative process immensely.

Through the centuries these medico-religious and magico-religious methods have come down to the Granny Women healers of Appalachia. In ancient times people lived in villages with kinfolk, or clans. Essential to survival was good health. They had to depend on the land to give them what they needed. Illness, injuries and diseases were treated with methods that stemmed from instincts, observance of nature, and traditional beliefs.

Druid of high position ~

Since those early times people have learned in the same traditional and instinctive ways. The secrets and wisdom of a Granny Woman was passed down orally to her granddaughter who was taught to be aware of what messages nature sends.

When one saw an animal with an injury rub the wound against moss growing on trees in the forests, instinct told the observer that some healing properties were in the moss. Thus moss became a source for healing - it has antiseptic properties. Moss was used for bandages on wounds. Eventually moss was found to be beneficial in the diet of folks, it was also used for preserving foods.

Granny Women knew that crushed garlic rubbed on a strip of moss and placed on a wound was a protective as well as a healing bandage. It worked in ancient times, it works now in the same way. Garlic is one of nature's super food and healing products. Crushed garlic is very beneficial for fungus issues, it is a natural anti-fungal source.

Willow bark has been used for healing since ancient times. Willow bark is a natural immune boosting source. Its healing properties are also a health benefit as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, fever reducer, and anti-oxidant. Now, it is obvious the ancient ones did not have these names of the beneficial properties, but they did see sick or hurt animals eating the bark and watched the animal for days to see what the results were.

Herbs we use today just for flavoring foods were first found in nature by our ancestors and used for healing. Many healing methods the ancient folks learned are still helpful and in use today.

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
— Albert Einstein
Forest moss ~

Ancient beliefs and cures ~

Clay was used for treatment of diseases. It has been known for ages that Earth is the source of life. Using clay from special places named after Saints was thought to have great healing power. Clay is known to draw poisons out of the skin, such as poisons from insect bites and poisonous plants. Still today, clay is used for deep cleansing and detoxifying the skin. Clay has been used for healing since prehistoric times.

Potatoes have been used since early times to take the redness and pain out of minor burns. A slice of raw potato was immediately placed on a burn. Honey was also a quick first aid for burns, either spread directly on the burn or on a linen bandage and applied. The bandage was changed every few hours.

It was believed that eating carrots, when boiled down soft enough to mash, would purify the blood. Today we know carrots are rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene, an antioxidant. Studies in the medical field have shown that carrot juice extract kills leukemia cells, which is cancer of the blood.

Mint has always been helpful for upset stomachs. The ancients believed that mint tied to the wrist would ward off stomach disease and infection.

The bed of a sick person should be aligned north to south.

Why do you think a sick person's bed should be aligned north to south?

It is colder in the north, so that will help bring a fever down if the head is in the north.
Having the feet in the south keeps them warm.

North to south just seems more harmonious.
Other. (Please explain in the comment section.)

Ancient Druid charms and cures ~

When Christianity became more prominent the Irish embraced it - however, they still retained their unshakable faith in the Druid charms. They are still used today by descendants of village peasants. These charms are considered to be talismans of magic power when said over an ill person.

Argue if you must, but the Irish who believe in them will not let it shake their faith in the mystic formulas. To laugh at them would surely cause an evil fate to fall upon the doubter.

Charms must be said with fervent faith or the mystic words will not work. The charms have the best effect when said on Wednesdays and Fridays while fasting and before sunrise.
Charm for Falling Sickness: By the wood of the Cross, by the Man that overcame death, be thou healed." The words are to be said in the left ear while the fit is on the patient, and he is to be signed three times with the sign of the Cross, in the name of God and the blessed Lord, when by virtue of the charm he will be cured.
Charm for a Sprain: As St Agnes went over the moor to the mountain of Moses, she fell with her foot turned. But sinew to sinew, and bone to bone, God makes all right to him who has faith; and be thou healed, in Jesus name. Amen
Charm for a wound that Bleeds: "A child was baptized in the river Jordan; and the water was dark and muddy, but the child was pure and beautiful." Say these words over the wound, placing the finger on the spot where the blood flows, adding: "In the name of God and of the Lord Christ, let the blood be stanched." And if the patient have faith, so it will be.
Cure for Weakness: Drink water from a river that forms a boundary of three properties for nine Sunday morning, before sunrise, fasting, and before anyone has crossed the stream. This must be done in silence, without speaking to anyone. After this has been done repeat nine Aves and the Credo.
Cure for Cramp and Deafness: An eel's skin tied round the knee alleviates pain, and for deafness nothing is esteemed better than constant anointing with the oil of eels, used perfectly fresh.
Cure for Inflammation: Nine handfuls of mountain moss, dried on a pan to powder. Nine pinches of it, and nine pinches of ashes from the hearth, to be mixed in whey and taken every Tuesday and Thursday.
Myths, superstitions and legends ~

The myths, superstitions and legends of a people are expressions of their faith. Their mythology and superstitions define their origins and natural relationships to all things.

Ancient beliefs have been handed down through generations and are so interwoven in the daily life of the people they remain fixed as part of their character. This is especially true of the people of Ireland.

Since very early times there was, and still is, an intuitive belief in mystic beings. These unseen beings influenced every action of life and the forces of nature. Early races felt that everything had a spirit. It was felt in the winds, the trees that swayed in the breeze and in all primal elements of existence. Fire was a sacred symbol of divine essence, ever reaching upwards. Water was a symbol of purification and always finding new paths and levels. The power of Earth was revered, for it produces all things that live, gives burial to that which dies, and gives life again.

Ancient Irish peasantry were not committed to book learning. Their beliefs and faith were bound to the spiritual realms, the world of the Sidhe (fairies), and the mysteries of nature. The unseen world of mystery was of vital importance which became a vivid reality to primitive races - more than any other culture in Europe, it is the Irish who held on to these beliefs. For the Irish to violate a superstition or discard ancient traditions of their ancestors is almost unheard of. The Irish have an intense faith and a strong instinct for the mystic and supernatural.

If a house is to be built over a fairy trail, or a road is to cross over an ancient meeting place of the fairy clans, the outrage of the people will put a stop to the plans and diversion has to be made so as not to cause harm and curses from the Sidhe. There have been cases where a house was unknowingly built over a path the fairies used every night. In that case the front door must open to a straight through path to the back door, no obstructions, and the doors have to be left open so the wee folk can pass through freely.

Irish Music - Ancient Druids
~ ~ ~ ~

Note from author ~

Thank you for reading my article. Your opinions are important to me and let me know your interests. This helps me to offer more of your favorite subjects to read about. Your time and interest are very much appreciated. I hope to hear from you in the comments section below.

I write on several different subjects, all evergreen articles. You can read more about me and see more articles I wrote by clicking on my name by the small picture of me at the top right of this page.

Blessings and may you always walk in Peace and Harmony, softly upon Mother Earth.

Phyllis Doyle Burns - Lantern Carrier, Spiritual Mentor

Posts : 1019
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Re: Charms, Cures, Herbal Remedies from Ancestors of Granny Women

Post by Ria on Sun May 08, 2016 4:56 am

Granny Women - healing and magic in Appalachia
Updated on May 6, 2016
Appalachian families depended on Granny Women ~

Faust family, 1910 | Source

Noah Garland family, Kentucky, 1940 | Source

Self reliant people ~

In the old days, people living deep in the Appalachian Mountains had to be very self-reliant. Granny women are the ones people went to for healing and magic in Appalachia.

It was not easy to get to a doctor and rarely could a doctor reach anyone in time to help them get through an illness. Accidents happened and doctors were nowhere around in emergencies -- but, there was always a Granny close enough to fetch for help.

Granny women knew the way of herbs and home remedies and also used witchcraft methods.

It was not the modern Wiccan type magic, but the magic of the Old World witchcraft passed down for generations by elders teaching their daughters and granddaughters.

It was the healing magic that came from Ireland and Scotland with the early settlers.

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Granny Women grew most of their own herbs ~

Healing with herbs ~

Every village or community in the mountains had at least one Granny Woman to run to for help and healing.

These women knew exactly which plant, herb, root, or bark would heal each malady or injury that came up.

When the Irish and Scotch people began immigrating to America in the 1700's they brought with them their own culture and traditions. Some of these traditions were from the Ancient Ones of northern Ireland.

They knew the healing powers of herbs, roots, bark, and other plant parts -- and they knew which combinations of herbs would be the best remedy for each treatment.


#3 Snowbird Cherokee Elder "Mandy" Talks Herbal Medicine with Ila Hatter
Central Band of Cherokee
Ila Hatter, a descendant of Pocahontas, was raised on natural remedies along with a love and respect for nature. This led her into exploring the uses of native plants while living in the South from Texas to the Smoky Mountains, the Caribbean, Spain, and Southern Appalachia

Ila, known as THE LADY OF THE FOREST, is an interpretive naturalist, artist, wildcrafter, and gourmet cook with more than 25 years experience teaching the cultural heritage of native plants. She is a staff instructor for the Univ. of Tenn.'s Smoky Mtn Field School, guest instructor for the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, the John C. Campbell Folk School (Brasstown, NC), The Mountain Retreat Center (Highlands, NC), Snowbird Mtn Lodge (Robbinsville, NC), Charter Board Member of the Yellow Creek Botanical Institute; and Storyteller for Elderhostels in 3 states. She has been featured in major newspapers, magazines, and TV shows. Her distinctive skills were even sought out by CBS for the TV series "Christy". The City of Knoxville, Tenn. commissioned Ila to coordinate and collect the natural history exhibit representing the Great Smoky Mtn. National Park in the city's Gateway Visitor's Center.

Hatter has recently released a series of instructional videos by her company, IRONWEED PRODUCTIONS , titled "Wild Edibles & Medicinals of Southern Appalachia" with authentic Appalachian music and folklore. She is the editor/publisher of "Roadside Rambles", a collection of wild food recipes; and edited "The Ethnobotany of the Cherokee", by Dr. William Banks, which will be published under the title: "Plants of the Cherokee". Ila is featured with renowned Cherokee elder, Amanda Swimmer, in the newest release funded by the Great Smoky Mountain Association: a video titled "Mountain Kitchen". UNC-TV (PBS) filmed Ila for the "Folkways" series with Host David Holt in a segment called "Wildcrafting". She was recently featured on national RFD TV network during April and May 2003. TurnerSouth will air "Southern Remedies" with Ila, from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park Pioneer Farmstead, in June of 2003.

Ila also collaborated with Cradle of Forestry to produce the documentary: "Women of These Hills II" - Stories of growing up in Appalachia from childhood to grandmotherhood, by women of Scotch-Irish (Mary Jane Queen), Cherokee (Amanda Swimmer), and African-American (Elizabeth Allen) heritage. She also collaborated with NC State University on a documentary about the dialects of North Carolina called "Mountain Talk"

A wonderful article on Ila appeared in nationally acclaimed COUNTRY magazine featuring wildflower folklore. The award winning OUR STATE magazine, in North Carolina, featured a 4 page article on how Ila sees and teaches the potential of weeds and wildflowers for the table and for the medicine cabinet.

Plantation of Ulster ~

Most of these immigrants were descended from Scottish and English families who colonized Ireland during the Plantation of Ulster (an organized colonization) in the 17th century. They are referred to as Scotch-Irish or Scots-Irish.

During the 1700s over 200,000 people from the province of Ulster in northern Ireland immigrated to America. Another 100,000 arrived between the years 1783 and 1812, in the years following the American Revolution. Throughout the 1800s more Scots-Irish, over one million, continued to arrive.

Ulster Province in Northern Ireland ~

Herbs and witchcraft ~

Among the immigrants were the women who knew the ways of the Old World witchcraft and herbalism. Many of the immigrants settled in Southern Appalachia and the Ozark Mountains. The women were healers and midwives and often the only practitioners of health care for the poor living in rural areas. They did not take payments for their healing. As with other settlers, they shared what they had -- gratitude for help and knowledge was often in the form of food, quilts, or other needed items, but it was not expected.

These women became known as "Granny Women". They relied heavily on herbal medicine. For instance, a regular remedy for whooping cough was made and bottled to give to the caretaker of the ill one. The Granny would boil one ounce of fresh red clover blossoms in one pint of water, strain, then add one cup honey. This was to be given to the child, one teaspoon twice a day until the cough cleared up.

Herbs have been used for healing for 1000s of years ~

Midwifery and Birthin' Babies ~

Women who had children of their own were often called upon for "Birthin' Babies". Since they had gone through the process of giving birth, they were expected to be able to help other women in labor. These lay-midwives had no formal training. Over time, the midwives became more experienced and were of great assistance and need.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Granny Women and their midwifery skills were the main help for about half the births in Southern Appalachia. Childbirth was a great concern and a dangerous time in the old days and it was the Granny Woman who played an integral role in seeing that the babe and the mother survived.

Babes were birthed at home with the help of midwives ~

Fetch Granny !

When someone was sent to "fetch granny", the Granny Woman would grab her bag, get on a mule or horse and leave her own family, often for days, to care for the woman in labor. She often stayed for a few days after the child was born to make sure mother and babe were "gettin' on okay". The Granny had her herb remedies in her bag and her rituals to perform to ensure a safe birth.

One common ritual of a Granny Woman when attending a birth, was to put an axe under the bed of the mother during labor. This was symbolic of "cutting the pain". Also, if all the windows were opened during labor, that was symbolic of opening the birth canal for easier delivery. Spells and charms were not looked on as odd or strange and the settlers trusted their Granny.

It was not until 1923 that the first professional training for midwives was established in Kentucky by Mary Carson Breckinridge. The Frontier Nursing Service, which Breckinridge established, is still in existence today.

Contact with Cherokee people ~

When the settlers came in contact with the Cherokee people a bond of respect and support was created. One of the most beneficial methods they shared was herbalism and healing.

The Granny Women brought Old World healing methods and the Cherokee provided extensive knowledge of herbs and their own methods of healing. The sharing, training of each other, and trading knowledge was extremely beneficial to both sides.

Between the Cherokee and the Scotch-Irish was also some strong similarities with the wee folk. The Granny Women worked closely with the Faerie Folk that followed them from the Old World to the Appalachians. The Cherokee had always worked with their kindhearted spirits, The Little People.

Both group of peoples often left 'offerings' for the little ones who helped them. This could be a bowl of cream sat on the back porch, berries, small pieces of cake or cornbread. This was believed to appease and delight the Faeries or the Little People.

The Cherokee Herbal

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Divination ~

The Granny also practiced divination, such as reading tea leaves, watching for signs in the clouds and several other methods.

Scrying, with a bowl of water was another method of divination. These methods are still done today by many people, like the Wiccan, Pagan, and witches of the Old Order.

Witchcraft as it was practiced in the old way by the Ancients still exists in the Appalachian Mountains. It is passed down from generation to generation -- and the Granny knows instinctively which member of her family is the next healer, so encourages that child to learn.

The healing powers of witchcraft is not a thing to shun or fear. It is a true and greatly beneficial method of healing.

The folks of Appalachia in the early days, and many of today, still turn to a Granny for help with healing, or have learned the old ways themselves.

Some people are born with the gift of healing and in time become aware of this as their knowledge just naturally comes out.

Many think of witchcraft as something bad to stay away from -- yet it was the witchcraft and knowledge of the Granny Women who saved many, many lives in the early days of the settlers, and brought the new babes into the world. True witchcraft from the Old World was based on the healing arts.

Reading tea leaves is still used for divination ~

Note from author ~

Thank you for reading my article. Your opinions are important to me and let me know your interests. This helps me to offer more of your favorite subjects to read about. Your time and interest are very much appreciated. I hope to hear from you in the comments section below.

Blessings and may you always walk in peace and harmony, softly upon Mother Earth.

Phyllis Doyle Burns - Lantern Carrier, Spiritual Mentor

Posts : 1019
Points : 2702
Join date : 2016-02-27

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