281: Circumlocutory Language

Circumlocutory and euphemistic language are both often very important within the context of certain folk traditions. It’s the idea that a certain “thing” can’t be called by its actual name, whether out of fear or respect, so instead another word or phrase, often descriptive, is employed. One theory links the use of this language back... Continue Reading →

226: Folklore of Hertfordshire

I’ve been reading through Doris Jones-Baker’s “The Folklore of Hertfordshire” which has a small section on traditional charms and remedies. It’s interesting to see how many of these folk beliefs may have gone on to influence what would eventually become Appalachian and then later Ozark folk medicine. Part of the work I’m doing with this blog... Continue Reading →

222: Kräuterlikör

I’ve talked about bitters in another post, but I thought I’d mention a similar herbal preparation called a “Kräuterlikör” which has very ancient roots in Germany going back to the mixture of medieval alcohol making techniques and Greek herbal knowledge. Hildegard of Bingen even mentions recipes for the Kräuterlikör in her writings. Many herbal alcohol... Continue Reading →

Day 214: Rappahannock Folk Medicine

I recently got a copy of Frank G. Speck’s article Rappahannock herbals, folklore and science of cures from the library and it’s interesting to see how many commonalities there are between the Rappahannock beliefs and that of the Appalachian peoples and later the Ozark peoples. Most of the cures and folklore collected by Speck and... Continue Reading →

Day 211: Cross-Cultural Materia Medica

Ozark medical knowledge isn’t a uniform set of traditions and practices. It was born out of a sense of necessity, and has always incorporated new knowledge into the repertoire as it was discovered. It’s never been a closed, protected tradition (for the most part) but instead has represented an ever-changing materia medica that has incorporated... Continue Reading →

Day 206: Osage Plant Names, part 1

I’m currently working on collecting Osage plant names from Francis La Flesche’s A Dictionary of the Osage Language, I’m also working on learning what I can of the language. For those of you who don’t know about La Flesche, he was America’s first Native American ethnologist, of Omaha, Ponca, and French descent. His work is... Continue Reading →

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