Southern Folk Medicine: Healing Traditions from the Appalachian Fields and Forests

Southern Folk Medicine: Healing Traditions from the Appalachian Fields and Forests


View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


This book is the first to describe the history, folklore, assessment methods, and remedies of Southern and Appalachian Folk Medicine—the only system of folk medicine, other than Native American, that developed in the United States. One of the system's last active practitioners, Phyllis D. Light has studied and worked with herbs, foods, and other healing techniques for more than thirty years. In everyday language, she explains how Southern and Appalachian Folk Medicine was passed down orally through the generations by herbalists and healers who cared for people in their communities with the natural tools on hand.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781623171568
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
Publication date: 01/16/2018
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 522,124
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

PHYLLIS D. LIGHT, MA, RH (AHG), is a fourth generation herbalist and healer. Her studies in Southern and Appalachian folk medicine began at the age of ten in the deep woods of North Alabama with lessons from her Creek/Cherokee grandmother and continued with well-known folk herbalist Tommie Bass. She received a master of health studies from the University of Alabama. Light is a registered herbalist and currently acts as vice president of the American Herbalist Guild as well as a member of the Admissions Committee. She is also the president of the American Naturopathic Certification Board. Locally, Light is the director of the Arab, AL, Appalachian Center for Natural Health, which offers both online and residential classes. Learn more at

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Foreword xiii

Preface xvii

1 What Is Folk Medicine? 1

What Is Folk Medicine? 8

The Language of Folk Medicine 11

Commonalities of Folk Medicine Systems 13

Parental Systems of Southern Folk Medicine 15

The Global View 16

Folk Medicine Teaching Methods 17

2 Common Tenets Of Folk Medicine 21

Similarities of Folk Medicine Systems 25

Healthcare for All 43

3 The Calling 45

The Called 46

My Calling 49

4 Many Peoples, Many traditions 53

Many Peoples, Many Traditions 58

Early Explorations 60

De Soto and His Legacy 62

New World Plant Influences 64

A Very, Very Brief History of Humoral Medicine 68

A Quick Overview of the Humoral System 72

Native American Influence 75

The Trail of Tears 80

African-American Influence 82

The Irish and British Isles 85

Regional Isolation, War, and Depression 90

5 Church, Superstitions, And Signs 97

Christianity 101

The Bible 104

The Signs 107

6 Tenets Of Southern Folk Medicine 111

The Tenets of Southern Folk Medicine 114

7 Hot/Cold And Wet/Dry 139

Hot 142

Cold 145

Wet 148

Dry 150

8 The Constitutions 153

Southern Folk Constitutions and Elements 157

Going to the Opposite 160

Comparison to Astrology 161

9 Fire: Bitter Blood 163

The Heat of the Matter 169

Types of Fire in the Body 171

The Fire Is in the Fat 174

The Bitter Taste of Bile 176

Influence of Fire 178

Fire Traits 180

Excess Fire 183

Deficient Fire 185

10 Water: Salty Blood 187

All About Water 192

Types of Water in the Body 197

Blood and Lymph 198

Urine 199

Mucus or Phlegm 199

The Nature of Water: seeking Relationship 201

The Tastes of Salts 204

Water Traits 205

Excess Water 209

Deficient Water 210

11 Air Or Wind: Sour Blood 211

Air or Wind 214

The Air We Breathe 217

The Wind That Blows: All About the Nervous System 219

Our Senses 221

The Nature of Air 222

The Taste of Sour 224

Neurotransmitters and Hormones 226

Air Traits 228

Excess Air 231

Deficient Air 233

12 Earth: Sweet Blood 235

All About Earth 237

Types of Earth in the Body 238

Connective Tissue 239

Muscular Tissue 243

Epithelial Tissue 245

Nerve Tissue 245

Stem Cells 246

The Nature of Earth 247

The Sweet Taste of Earth 248

Producing Energy-Vitamin C, Citric Acid, and Glucose 250

Earth Traits 254

Excess Earth 256

Deficient Earth 257

13 What's Your Constitutional Makeup? 259

Directions 259

Questions 260

Afterword 267

Index 271

About The Author 279

About North Atlantic 280

Customer Reviews