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Colonial Herbal Remedies and Medicine

            With time comes discovery, with discovery comes growth and expansion of science. This is true for the 18th century Colonial Americans, as they did not have many of the scientific theories that we Americans have today. For example, Colonial Americans were only knowledgeable of 7 planets, they had not yet discovered Pluto or Neptune. At that time they had not yet discovered a way to use electricity. This information plays a huge role in the type of knowledge Colonial Americans had, especially regarding the field of medicine. In the 1700's, medical philosophies were very different from what they are now, as they were theories with great lack of true scientific knowledge. Physicians in the 18th century had little knowledge of bacteria, viruses or germs. Scientists and medical physicians were thriving on the understanding of the theories of science. These small ideas were constantly evolving and growing for hundreds of years. Colonial physicians formed working ideas of medicine and treated patients with a good success rate with the knowledge and resources they had at their disposal for that period in time.
             In Colonial America, it was detrimental for a family to not have an herb garden. It was the housewives duty to understand the uses for a variety of herbs, whether it be for curing the sick or wounded, or aromatizing the house for guests. Herb gardens were close and easy to access and sometimes intermixed with the vegetable garden. Each garden had a wide variety of plants and herbs for food or home remedies. A vast majority of the herbs and remedies were native to Europe and were brought here by settlers because of their medicinal benefits. The herb gardens would also have plants native to the local area, whose remedies were discovered through trial and error or from the advice of neighbors and Native American Indians. Some of the popular herbs that may have been present in the herb garden were comfrey, garlic, valerian and chamomile.

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