Folk medicine is the age old wisdom passed down from generation to generation that would traditionally provide cures for minor ailments. Simple remedies dealt with the recurrent minor hazards of life - coughs, colds, sore throats, cuts, bruises and minor burns. Many these days are turning away from conventional medicine and re-discovering simple home cures in order to have a more natural lifestyle.

What are Folk Remedies?

Folk remedies do not provide a miracle cure, but almost anyone can benefit from the healing effects of herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables. A variety of home grown herbs and vegetables should be eaten on a daily basis as a matter of course to promote good health. Follow the advice of an herbalist for a specific condition as some herbs can be toxic if taken in excess.

Folk Medicine Preparations

Tisanes - tisanes are mild infusions, usually sold in teabag form.

Powders - made by crushing dried plant parts, plants in this form are added to food or drink.

Poultice - made from a plant which is crushed and applied to bruises, wounds and abscesses.

Essential oils - the essential oils of a plant are used in making tinctures and ointments.

Baths - plants and flowers are added to a warm bath for a therapeutic effect and to enter the bloodstream through the skin. An oatmeal bath, for example, works topically for eczema.

Inhalations - warm, moist air can relieve many respiratory problems. Inhalations are prepared by filling a bowl with steaming water and adding a few drops of essential oil or adding herbs or flower heads to the water.

Ointments - for external use, ointments are made by boiling the appropriate plant part to extract the active properties and adding a few drops of pure oil, such as olive oil.

Decoction - roots, berries, twigs, seeds and bark of a plant are boiled in water, strained and taken with a little raw honey to treat a certain ailment.

Infusions - herbal teas are made with fresh or dried herbs, steeped in boiled water and usually taken hot with or without honey to sweeten.

Growing a Cottage Garden

A small cottage garden can provide a family with a wonderful variety of organic herbs, vegetables and flowers. It can be grown in a small patch and herbs can be grown in pots. A cottage garden can provide almost all the plants necessary to cure minor ailments and keep a family in excellent health.


The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Healing Remedies by C. Norman Shealy, 2002 edition, published by Harper Collins Publishers Ltd.

Grow a Cottage Garden

2-Growing Herbs In Pots