Black Folk Remedies


The hubby and I have different belief systems, yet somehow arrived at the same place - married to one another.  I'm in love with those Buzzfeed quizzes that tell you where to live and work and what rock star queen you are at heart.  He hates these things, but answers the questions to appease me.  We make our own choices, yet end up with the same results.  Go figure.

We also believe in contrary causes for the common cold.  Part of these differences stem from cultural influences.  I'm black. He's white.  We squabble about things like whether or not you can catch a cold from being cold.  And if sudden chill can cause a sneeze or not.  I tag him in videos to argue my position.  Like this one about the science of sickness.  When I'm wrong I get, "I told you so."  When I'm right, I don't get a response.

Well it's February and this means four things:

1. It's Black History Month

2. It's Cold & Flu Season

3. Valentine's Day is quickly approaching.

4. My spouse and I will engage in a debate about at least one, if not all of the above.*

In the spirit of healthy discourse, I thought I'd lay out my case for the benefits of African-American folk traditions in healing winter illnesses and increasing your carnal magnetism.  Hopefully, these remedies can help you stay well and hot to trot when Valentine's Day finally arrives.

African American folk medicine emerged from a hybrid of customs including our motherland memories, our relationship with Native Americans and those borrowed from the Europeans.  These practices have evolved with Black migration from the rural south into urban landscapes.  Modern times and western medicine have also caused an adaptation in the way we approach wellness.  

I, like my cousins before me, turn to holistic and alternative methods first before going to see the doctor.  Here is a disclaimer -  I am not licensed in any medical field.  Heed the advice of your own health care practitioners and take the two remedies listed below as an exploration in cultural wellness manners only. 

Homemade Herbal Tea for Health & Well Being

My enslaved ancestors grew herbs and used them in teas to help their families heal from the cold or flu.  Here is a homemade recipe I found on WebMD.

Gather plants free of pesticides.  Mix Healthy Greens like dandelion leaves, watercress, parsley, or birch leaves.  Add a colorful mixture of Floral Blooms such as rose petals, pansies, violets, lemon blossoms, and lilac. Toss in a Fragrant combination of thyme, rosemary, marjoram, verbena, oregano, and mint.  Heighten the sweetness with blackberry or raspberry leaves.  Put a handful of your plants in a big pot or clean coffee press absent of oils.  Pour boiling water over the ingredients.  Steep for a few minutes.  Pour and enjoy.

Mojo Bag for Attracting Love

Hoodoo is an African American magical practice that evokes supernatural and natural forces to improve the daily lives of people.  I've reprinted this fun mojo bag recipe from the book African American Folk Healing

"Into a small cloth bag add herbs such as cinnamon or orris root; stones such as lodestones or citrine; or flower petals or oils from roses or lavender.  Always add ingredients in odd numbers.  Close the bag by binding it with a thread.  Bless the bag and focus your intentions.  Keep the bag near you or in a sacred space.  Feed the bag at least once a week to maintain its power with whiskey or rum until the purpose of the bag is fulfilled." - Stephanie Mitchem

What are your traditional family rituals for love & health?

Your comments are always appreciated.

Additional Sources -  Working Cures: Healing, Health, and Power on Southern Slave Plantations,  Electronic Article: Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics

*Spousal Side Note - My husband would never really argue me down about anything Black History related. He's a wise old soul!