In early American society medicine was far different from the way it is now. People were completely unaware of the correlation between unsanitary living conditions and disease. They were even oblivious to the fact that bacteria and viruses cause illnesses and disease. Along with this lack of knowledge doctors did not have good equipment and medicines like we do today. Medicine has changed a lot since the seventeenth century and this paper will show how early Americans struggled to counter wide-spread diseases and common illnesses that are not considered a problem in our modern society.
A form of medicine, used by early Americans, is herbal remedies. Some of the herbs used as medicine were: angelica, basil, betony, feverfew, foxglove, garden heliotrope, horehound, hyssop, lady's mantle, lamb's ear, lavender, lovage, parsley, rue, salad burnet, and sweet cicely. These are all herbs that were used by colonial doctors; they had a wide variety of uses. Angelica was used to prevent contagion and cleanse blood. Basil did not exactly have any medical values, but it was thought to relieve pains of childbirth if the woman held it in her hand. Next is betony, betony is said to be able to cure every mental illness, including nightmares. It's juices were thought to be able to heal cuts, sores, and ulcers, while also removing back pains. Feverfew was used to remove the discomforts of fevers, treat hysteria, nervousness, and depression. Doctors would make foxglove into a pill and give it to patients to regulate their hearts. Garden heliotrope was used by doctors to treat epilepsy, cure insomnia, and relieve stress. .
Horehound was used as an antidote for poison, and was even used by the early Romans. Hyssop was used to fight colds and lung diseases, but it was also thought to be able to heal bruises. Lady's mantle was thought to help stop bleeding if it was used in a lotion. Lamb's ear, like lady's mantle, was used to stop the flow of blood from a cut.