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Healthcare and Medicinal Plants in Early North America


Editor’s note: The information in this article is strictly for educational purposes and is not a recommendation for the use of any of these plants to treat or cure any medical condition.  The Norfolk Towne Assembly assumes no responsibility for any use of these remedies by our readers.  It is the policy of The Norfolk Towne Assembly that medical conditions should only be treated by a licensed medical practitioner.


The use of plants for medicine was one of the first of man’s attempts to maintain his health.  Evidence from archaeological digs dates the use of plants for medical purposes dates to the Paleolithic period, while written lists of medicinal plants dates to the Sumerian civilization 5,000 years ago.  By the end of the middle ages, the use of medicinal plants was a customary practice and there were many compilations of Materia Medica, or information on the “therapeutic properties” of substances used for healing.  In today’s post we are going to look at the plants and herbs used by the early English colonists and often continuing up until the early 1800s.  We will also look at some of the North American plants and herbs used by the indigenous peoples of North America and adopted by White practitioners for healing as well.


Spanish Colonial America

The King of Spain, Phillip II, was interested in New World medicine and told his people to learn Mexican medicine.  In 1521 the Spanish conqueror Cortez set up the first European hospital in Mexico City.  It was open to both Spaniards and Indians.  The University of Mexico opened 30 years later.

By 1579 the New World had produced three medical texts.  But Spanish doctors had trouble integrating Mexican medicine.  They seemed less interested in whether it worked but rather how well the Indians held to principles of Hippocrates and Galen.  They thought Mexican medicine was nothing but blind trial and error.  Francisco Bravo published the first in 1570, but, because of the attitude toward Mexican medicine, Bravo hardly mentioned his Colonial experience.  He discussed a local form of typhus, and he talked about the Indian herb, sarsaparilla.  He said the natives did not understand sarsaparilla's Aristotelian nature.  (According to Aristotle, illness was the result of imbalance between the four humors of the body - black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood)

Friar Agustin Farfan's Medical Text
Friar Agustin Farfan's Medical Text

It was at this point that Alonso Lopez de Hinojosis, wrote a surgery book that took a quite different approach.  Lopez avoided the philosophic language of formal medicine.  Instead, he said the Church wanted more "the salvation of the Indians' souls than their [bodily] health."  In his text, Lopez talked about fifty native herbs used for healing.  They had, in his words, been "born in this land through the mercy of God."

The third book came out in 1579.  Friar Agustin Farfan wrote on anatomy, surgery, and medicine.  He offered 60 Aztec cures for routine use.  Mexico was on the way to giving Europe a huge new pharmacopoeia.  Then it all stagnated as the long arm of Spanish orthodoxy reached across the Atlantic and the establishment closed down work with native cures.  By the time Europeans landed in New England, Mexico was back to bloodletting and purging.  The healing powers of agave, sarsaparilla, and quaiacum were forgotten.

Because, for most the common people, access to medical doctors were almost nonexistent during the Spanish Colonial period, most healthcare was provided by lay healers.  These healers, because of their skills, were respected members of the community.  Curanderas (female healers) or curanderos (male healers) were those who, either through training or trial and error, were thought to have a gift for healing.  They cared for expectant mothers, the injured and the sick.  Often skills were handed down through generations within a family, while others served as apprentices to non-related healers.

Many women healers specialized.  An especially important specialty was being a partera (midwife) in home deliveries.  It was not unusual for a special bond to develop between the mother in labor and the partera.  Sobadoras were like chiropractors today.  They healed with massage, manipulation, and adjustments of the spinal column.  If someone fell off a horse and sprained a limb or twisted his back, he went to the sobadora for relief.  If someone was suffering headaches or great stress, a massage might help ease the pain.

Cinchona Tree or Peruvian Bark
Cinchona Tree or Peruvian Bark

What did curanderas or curanderos use for medication?  The healers needed to learn about the curative power of native plants.  These herbalists, or herbolarias, knew the power of each distinct plant.  It might be the root, the stem, the leaves, the seed, or the flower that brought relief to the sick.  Most of these herbs were gathered and hung from the healers’ vigas (the long, thick piece of wood or bar that is used to support roofs or other parts of a house; a beam) to dry before being stored.  When needed, they might be crushed, boiled, and drunk as tea, while other plants were eaten fresh.  Still other plants were applied to the sick or injured directly in a poultice.

Some of the native plants used included: Agave – (constipation, indigestion, flatulence, jaundice, cancer, and diarrhea; to promote labor; and to promote urine production); Tobacco (leaves applied to cuts as an antiseptic and to stop bleeding); Peruvian Bark or Cinchona (increasing appetite; promoting the release of digestive juices, treating bloating, fullness, and other stomach problems, blood vessel disorders including hemorrhoids, varicose veins, and leg cramps. Extracts were also used to treat malaria.); Jalap (to empty and cleanse the bowels -as a cathartic or purgative, and to increase urine flow to relieve water retention - as a diuretic; Ipecac (emetic to induce vomiting); Sarsaparilla (psoriasis and other skin diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, and kidney disease; for increasing urination to reduce fluid retention; and for increasing sweating); Quaiacum (gout, rheumatism, purifying the blood, syphilis).


French Colonial America

As mentioned above, the University of Mexico had a medical school as early as 1579, where they graduated a kind of “ivory-tower” medical scholar long before French or English settlers arrived.  Harvard did not set up a medical school until after the American Revolution, and it was 1820 before Canada had one.  Overall, it was this delay in “formalizing medicine” that may have given the North an edge.  While New Spain held on to the static academic medicine of Medieval Europe, the French were on their own, and so they evolved new medical practices and paid heed to native medicine.  Plutarch once said: "As music has to examine discord to create harmony so medicine must examine disease to create health." It was a new and clear-eyed examination of disease that was changing 17th-century medicine, and New France was about to become a laboratory for that change.

Ambroise Paré
Ambroise Paré

For years, the medical personnel in France were what we might call para-physicians.  But this para-medical practice had found new meaning in France.  French physicians sat in their offices and advised.  The bloodier, hands-on work of medicine fell to barber surgeons.  Just after Cartier sailed up the St. Lawrence, a remarkable barber surgeon surfaced in Paris.  He was Ambroise Paré -- a superb scientific observer working in a second-class trade.

By 1600 Paré had transformed French medicine by modernizing surgical practice.  He finally became part of the medical establishment, but in doing so, he reshaped French medicine itself.  The French became far more clinical.  The modern hospital took shape in France.

As a result, French colonists in New France were served by field medics -- Catholic priests, nuns, and military barber surgeons; people who reflected the practical turn medicine had taken back home.  The hospitals of New France were far ahead of anything to the south.  Those hospitals became training grounds for midwives, surgeons, and nurses.  There were three hospital institutions to take care of the sick and wounded in the St. Lawrence colony.  In 1639, three Augustinian nuns from the Hôtel-Dieu in Dieppe founded the Hôtel-Dieu de Québec.  Five years later, the Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal opened, thanks to the efforts of Jeanne Mance.  The Sœurs hospitalières de Saint-Joseph de la Flèche took over a few years later.  The Hôtel-Dieu de Trois-Rivières, founded in 1694, was managed by the Ursulines.  These institutions had a varied clientele, including poor settlers and sick or handicapped people.  They also welcomed many soldiers and sailors.  Care of the Native population was also part of these institutions’ mission, but Native American patients became fewer and fewer as the colony evolved.

At Louisbourg, the Crown founded a hospital and entrusted it to the care of the Frères de la Charité de Saint-Jean-de-Dieu in 1716.  Contrary to other Canadian health institutions, which cared mostly for the inhabitants, these Hôpital du roi or King’s Hospitals major clientele consisted of soldiers and sailors.  Small royal hospitals also existed in Port Royal, Acadia, as well as Placentia, Newfoundland.

Nonetheless, the common folks of New France were faced with much the same challenges as those of New Spain.  Those living in developed areas, such as Montreal, Quebec City, and Louisbourg, could take advantage of a Hôtel-Dieu and obtain professional/para-professional treatment, if they could afford it.  For those living in the vast wilderness that was most of New France, it still fell to layman “healers,” including native Americans, to treat their ailments.

European exploration of the New World in the 18th century posed new medical challenges.  The consequences of malnutrition on lengthy sea voyages, where travelers were limited to a diet of salted foods, including fish and meat as well as sea biscuit, a kind of dry bread that could be preserved, were not understood.  But the rarity—even complete absence — of fresh produce (meat, fruits, and vegetables) resulted in a deficiency of vitamin C that caused scurvy.

Jacques Cartier
Jacques Cartier

When Jacques Cartier spent the winter of 1535–1536 at Stadaconé (the modern-day location of Quebec) his crew was struck down by a “grosse maladie”, or serious illness.  By February, only ten out of 110 men were in good enough health to help the others.  More than twenty-five died.  In his published account, the explorer describes how his men lost their strength, how their legs swelled and darkened at the extremities, and how their teeth and gums rotted.  The scene, he says, “was a pity to see.”  Like his contemporaries, Cartier did not understand the nature of this mysterious disease however, when he noticed that the St. Lawrence Iroquois who lived in Stadaconé were also affected by the disease, he wrongly assumed that it was contagious and came from the Amerindians.  The fact was that the Amerindians knew of a cure for scurvy.  They told Cartier that a decoction of annedda leaves (white cedar) could cure the disease and thanks to this remedy, Cartier’s crew members recovered quickly.

Many lay people also played roles in Canadian healthcare.  As in France, birthing in New France was the exclusive domain of women.  In addition to family members and friends, midwives attended women giving birth.  Before the early 19th century, doctors and surgeons rarely intervened in childbirth.  At the beginning of the colony, midwives were self-trained.  The first professional midwife, Marguerite Langloise, worked in Québec as early as 1654.  Midwifery as a profession was institutionalized early in the 18th century when the Bishop of Quebec recommended that midwives be elected by the women of the parish gathered in a meeting.  Following approval of the election by the parish priest, the midwife took an oath.

Eastern White Cedar
Eastern White Cedar

Here and there in the country, one could find some people who bled (to balance the humors), dressed wounds and attended to patients suffering from all kinds of ailments.  They had no official authorization but were supported by the local population.  Settlers suffering from sprains, dislocations or fractured limbs sometimes resorted to self-taught healers.  In France, these were referred to by several names however, in Canada they were better known as “ramancheurs” (bonesetters).  Their knowledge was based on both traditional and scientific knowledge.  They massaged muscles and ligaments and repositioned bones.

Generally speaking, the French who settled in North America from the beginning of the 17th century had little interest in the medical practices of the “Les Savages.” They were suspicious of the evil-looking rituals that accompanied the preparation and administration of remedies among the First Peoples and preferred to stick to their own expertise and knowledge.  There were a few exceptions, among them the Jesuit priest Joseph-François Lafitau, who stayed at the Sault-Saint-Louis mission (Kahnawake) near Montréal for many years.  Referring to the medical practices of the Iroquois, he wrote:

“The healing of wounds is the masterpiece of their operations … They are equally successful in treating ruptures and hernias, dislocations, and fractures.”

The basic components of medicines came from so-called “simple” medicinal plants.  These were mostly flowers, leaves, resins, roots, bark, fruits, seeds, and ground flour.  Products from animal sources were also used (eggs, milk, butter, and honey, but also horse manure and crab’s eyes), as well as minerals (sea salt, alum, antimony, sulfur, mercury, lead, amber and coral).

From the beginning of the colony, medical authorities and practitioners took an interest in plants and other medicinal products.  The integration of local knowledge into medical practice, however, was sporadic and had negligible impact on the evolution of medicine.  This field remained essentially European in its conception and application.  The use of North American products in the colony’s pharmacopoeia was minimal.  Of the 1791 substances mentioned in post-mortem inventories compiled by Canadian practitioners between 1669 and 1800, there were barely eight local products, among them maidenhair fern, and ginseng.

Beaver derivatives were also used.  Beaver meat appears in diets prescribed by doctors.  Its kidneys, like the hooves of deer and moose, were used to treat mental ailments.  Other practitioners, who had no medical training other than experience and observation, used beaver products to treat other ills, much in the same way as they used bear or skunk grease.  Castoreum, a secretion found near the beaver’s genitals, was used to treat hysteria and neurosis.

Northern Maidenhair Fern
Northern Maidenhair Fern

At the time, maidenhair fern was appreciated for its use in treating respiratory problems as well as for its ability to stimulate the appetite and supposedly to temper humors.  It was taken as a syrup and progressively replaced its French rival, the Montpellier or black maidenhair fern.  American ginseng, identified by the Jesuit priest Joseph-François Lafitau, was used by the Iroquois as an eyewash for sore eyes, a potion that was drunk to cure body sores, and the pulverized root was smoked to treat asthma.  The Canada balsam (in the form of a liquid or gum resin from fir or spruce trees) was also used by the colony’s medical practitioners for a variety of ailments.  In addition to the healing of external wounds it was used for the treatment of kidney diseases in the case of urinary malfunction, the treatment of abscesses of the lungs and bladder ulcers and Canadians took it as a purgative, with olive oil.


The English Colonies in North America.

When the English arrived in the New World in the 17th century, they brought with them the medical structure and practices that existed in England.  Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries in the English colonies there existed a three-tiered hierarchy of “professional” medical practitioners.  These three tiers of practitioners were: Physician, Surgeon, and Apothecary.

Medical College of Phildelphia
Medical College of Phildelphia

Physicians were the only medical professionals to receive a medical degree.  They were classically educated, studying at major universities where they were required to read both Latin and Greek medical texts.  Their training, however, did not include the hands-on experience that we associate with medical school graduates today.  Because of this, they were still considered “gentlemen” and were the upper echelon of the medical field.  Physicians in the English colonies were all educated at English medical schools until the mid-1700s when, in 1765, the Medical College of Philadelphia was founded, followed two years later by the establishment of a medical department at King’s College in New York.  In 1782, Harvard Medical School was founded in Cambridge MA.

Surgeons were medical professionals who performed tasks such as pulling teeth, treating wounds, and skin diseases.  Surgeons prided themselves on fast amputations, as well as procedures such as removing bladder stones, cancers, and even cataracts from the eye.  Surgeons were typically either hospital trained or completed an apprenticeship under a qualified surgeon.  Another source of surgeons was the army and navy, which trained surgeons by apprenticing them to an existing military surgeon.

An Apothecary Treating a Patient
An Apothecary Treating a Patient

English apothecaries were medical professionals, trained through apprenticeships, who could give medical advice, manufacture medicines, and prescribe medicines but were limited in the hands-on department of physically treating patients.  Here in the colonies, however, apothecaries practiced as doctors.  Records kept by 18th-century Williamsburg's apothecaries show that they made house calls to treat patients, made and prescribed medicines, and trained apprentices.  Some apothecaries were also trained as surgeons and man-midwives just as some surgeons also trained as apothecaries.

Hospitals in the English colonies were a rarity, except in urban settings such as New York and Philadelphia.  The first hospitals in the English colonies in North America were built by communities to care for the sick, poor, and mentally disabled.  These included hospitals in New York City-Bellevue (1736) which opened as a six-bed infirmary on the second floor of the New York City Almshouse; Pennsylvania Hospital (1751) founded by Dr. Thomas Bond and Benjamin Franklin "to care for the sick-poor and insane who were wandering the streets of Philadelphia."  In 1773, the first American hospital devoted exclusively to treating the mentally ill began operation in Williamsburg, VA.  It was not until 1811 that Massachusetts General Hospital opened in Boston.

The Pennsylvania Hospital
The Pennsylvania Hospital

Even with all of this, medical treatment was expensive, and often unavailable to citizens of what was essentially a rural society.  As a result, individuals frequently diagnosed their own problems and compounded their own medications guided by tradition, folklore, or domestic medical books.  Headaches were often treated by vinegar of roses, a remedy made of rose petals steeped in vinegar and applied topically.  Most housewives planted a “kitchen garden,” rectangular gardens just outside the home.  These were intensively cultivated and narrow enough to be tended from either side.  The beds were filled with plants used for medicine, food, and seasoning.  Each plant was valued for its usefulness, not its beauty.  What follows is a list of plants that might be found in a “kitchen garden” as well as what folk medicine used them for.


A Kitchen Garden
A Kitchen Garden

Plants Found in a Kitchen Garden

ANGELICA - A tea was made from dried young leaves, roots, seeds, and stems, and was used medicinally to aid in bronchial problems, to relieve colds and to calm the nerves.  The stalks which contain pectin were chewed to help in digestion.  The root was used to help with stomach ailments as well as other illnesses.  It has been discovered to have strong antibacterial properties as well.

BASIL - Used dried as snuff to relieve headaches and colds.  It was also used as a strewing herb.

BEE BALM - Used for bee stings.  Bee balm is a member of the mint family.  It is native to North America.  Tea brewed from its leaves was called Oswego tea and was used as a substitute for China tea after the 1773 Boston Tea Party.

BORAGE - The leaves were used to give a feeling of well-being and a source of courage.  An infusion of borage flowers was also used for fevers, bronchitis, diarrhea and as diuretic.

CALENDULA - Used medicinally to stop bleeding and promote healing.  An ointment made from the blossoms was used as a dressing for wounds, and to relieve the pain from bee and wasp stings.  This ointment was still in use during the Civil War.  It was also said to be useful in curing various ailments such as fevers and digestive problems.

CARAWAY - The boiled roots of caraway were eaten by Native Americans and recommended for those with a cold or weak stomach.  A tasty tea can be made by steeping seeds in boiling water then sweetening it with honey.

CHAMOMILE - Infused as a tea for indigestion, gas, and stomach aches.  One of the “wonder drugs’’ of colonial times, with many uses dating back to the ancient Egyptians.  Tea made from this herb was believed to ease ailments from pains in the side to melancholy.  Bathing in chamomile-infused water was thought to take away weariness and aches.  Also used as a strewing herb and insect repellent.

CINQUEFOIL – It has astringent, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties.  Cinquefoil has been used to treat several conditions, including respiratory infections, menstrual cramps, skin rashes, digestive problems, and night sweats.  The powdered or crushed root of cinquefoil can be used to stop small cuts from bleeding by causing blood vessels to contract.

COMFREY - Used to heal cuts and mend broken bones.  A poultice made of roots was placed on fresh wounds to aid in healing and reduce swelling.

CORIANDER – Used for gastrointestinal issues.  The seeds were chewed as a breath freshener.

ELECAMPANE - Used to treat skin diseases in sheep and horses as well as a diuretic and for coughs.  It is mentioned in an 1817 New-England almanack as a cure for hydrophobia when the root is bruised and used with a strong decoction of milk.

FENNEL - A little juice dissolved in wine and dropped into the ears eases the pain.  It was also used to calm the discomfort of a toothache.

FEAVERFEW – This plant was cultivated and given to reduce fevers.  It was also used for "female hysteria," melancholia, and constipation.

FOXGLOVE - Culpepper (herbalist of the period who wrote “Culpeper’s Complete Herbal and English Physician”) credits the Italians with using the plant’s leaves “to heal any fresh or green wound.’’ It was also touted as a cure for scrofula or King’s Evil, a swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck caused by tuberculosis.  Note: Every part of this plant is poisonous, and one should not try these “cures” at home.

GERMANDER - For gout, rheumatism, fever, and melancholy.

HOREHOUND - Dried horehound leaves mixed with honey were used as a remedy for coughs or consumption.  Mixed with plantain for snakebites.  Soaked in fresh milk to repel flies.

HYSSOP - Hyssop is used for digestive and intestinal problems including liver and gallbladder conditions, intestinal pain, intestinal gas, colic, and loss of appetite.  It was strewn on the floor to prevent the spread of infection.  The ground leaves have a camphor-like scent and were made into poultices to help heal wounds.  It was also used to treat respiratory illnesses.

LADY’S MANTLE - The flowering tops were used medicinally for women's complaints and the dried leaves which contain tannin, were used to stop bleeding.

LAMB’S EAR – This is nature's version of a Band-Aid.  It was used as such by the colonists, who did not want to waste cloth on a small cut.  Not only do the leaves absorb blood and help speed up coagulation, but they also contain antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

LAVENDER - Treatment for pains in the head and brain as well as dizziness.  Sleeping on a pillow filled with dried lavender was believed to be a cure for insomnia.  Also used as a strewing herb and insect repellent.

LEMON BALM - Infused as a tea for headaches, indigestion, nausea.  Distilled as a treatment to clean and heal wounds.

LOBELIA – Used a remedy for respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and cough.  Historically, Native Americans smoked lobelia as a treatment for asthma.

LOVAGE – Used to treat sore eyes, upset stomach, skin problems, aching joints, boils, and kidney stones.

MAIDENHAIR FERN – Has been used for: Coughs, Bronchitis, Whooping cough, Heavy menstruation, Dysmenorrhea, Hair loss, Hair darkening, Dandruff, Snake bites, Bee stings.

MARJORAM – A few drops of the oil sprinkled on a pillow were recommended to promote relaxing and restorative sleep.  It was used traditionally to promote healthy digestion and intestinal health as well.

MILKWEED – The milky white sap was applied topically to remove warts, and the roots were chewed to cure dysentery.  Infusions of the roots and leaves were taken to suppress coughs and used to treat typhus fever and asthma.

PARSLEY – Used as a diuretic and to help passage of kidney stones, as well as an aid in menstruation and childbirth.

PENNYROYAL - An essential oil or tea derived from the leaves and flowering tops of the plant was used to induce abortion, alleviate menstrual symptoms, and to treat inflammatory conditions, chronic bronchitis, and minor ailments.  The oil itself is highly toxic and is not recommended for internal use.  Also used as a flea and mosquito repellent.

PEPPERMINT - Peppermint was used to treat colds, headaches, venereal disease, sores, and migraines.  It was also used as an antiseptic and to cure stomach and respiratory ailments.

PLAINTAIN – Used to treat coughs, wounds, inflamed skin, insect bites, eczema, and bronchitis.

QUEEN ANNE’S LACE – Used as a diuretic and for kidney stones.  Additionally, the seeds were used for birth control.

ROSE HIPS – Rose Hips have been used to treat kidney stones, gastroenteric ailments, hypertension, and respiratory problems such as bronchitis, cough and cold.

ROSEMARY - Used as a diuretic, to treat fevers, toothaches, scurvy, coughs, gout, and lost appetite.  It was also used as a toothpaste.

RUE – Used externally to cure warts, ringworms, and poisonous bites.  Used internally as a treatment for colic and epilepsy.  Decocted for earaches.

SAGE (Clary) - Decocted and as a mouthwash for sore throats and infected gums.  Used to remove foreign objects from the eye (its seeds have a mucilaginous coat, so when placed in the eye, debris would stick to them).  The seeds were also used to draw out splinters and thorns.

SAGE (Common) - Used in mouth washes and to help "clean and strengthen the blood".

SASSAFRAS – Sassafras tea was used to purify blood and treat skin diseases, rheumatism, venereal disease, and ague.  The roots and berries were used to treat nausea, fevers, fatigue, gas pains, menstrual pains, and syphilis.

SAVORY - Used medicinally as a diuretic, antiseptic and to relieve the pain of bee and wasp stings.

SORREL - Used for reducing sudden and ongoing pain and swelling (inflammation) of the nasal passages and respiratory tract, used as a poultice for treating infected wounds, and for increasing urine flow.

SPEARMINT - Tea from spearmint was used to relieve nausea and induce sweating.

ST. JOHN’S WORT – Used to treat wounds, burns, bleeding, inflammation, hemorrhoids, insomnia, water retention, gastritis, kidney, and lung ailments.  The flowers are used as a tincture for treating melancholy.

STINGING NETTLES - A mixture of the seeds, bayberries, gunpowder, and honey was used for rheumatism.

TANSY – Used for treating rheumatism, fevers, sores, and other digestive problems.  The seeds were used as a vermifuge (to kill internal parasites like roundworms) for children.  The root was also used to treat gout.  It can also be used as an insect repellent.

TARRAGON – Used to relieve flatulence and colic, as well as for treatment of rheumatism.  It was believed that tarragon leaf could cure insect stings and snakebites, as well as the bites of rabid dogs.  It was thought to be good for those who have the flux, or other discharge.  An infusion of the young tops increases urinary discharge, and gently promotes the menses.

THYME - Thyme was considered to be good for the lungs.  An ointment of thyme was used for toothaches, headaches, warts, gout, and sciatica.  Used as an antiseptic.  Said to settle the stomach and to “expel wind.”

YARROW – Used for wounds and bleeding, burns, colds, fevers, and headaches, toothaches, stomach problems, sleep aid, rashes, swelling, eczema, and spider bites.

We hope you enjoyed today's post looking at Healthcare and Medicinal Plants in North America.  Please join us again next time when we will have a Christmas-themed post and then in January we will look at Native American medicinal uses of plants.

Until then, while you are here on our website, we would also encourage you to join our blog community (Look for the button in the upper right-hand corner of this post).  This will allow us to inform you when we post new articles.  We also suggest that you return to our blog home page and sample our other articles on a wide variety of late-18th and early-19th century subjects; both military and civilian.

Finally, if you live in Virginia, Maryland, or North Carolina, we invite you to visit The Norfolk Towne Assembly’s home page to learn more about us, what we do, and how you can get involved in our historic dance, public education, and living history efforts.



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