Iryna Ihnatenko

Folk Medicine

December 10, 2021

 Folk medicine is an important component of a people’s ethnic culture. Based on the empirical knowledge of past generations and  folk experience, there are elaborate methods for the diagnosis and prevention of diseases, an understanding of their causes, and various treatments of plant, animal, and mineral origin. A special place in folk medicine belongs to the process of  treatment with  words

Folk ideas about the causes of  disease can be divided into rationally explained (for example, a cold, food poisoning, cuts) and irrationally explained (these are the so-called sent, made, cast/poured) diseases. The first category of diseases was generally treated at home, using herbal, animal, and mineral remedies. Almost every housewife had her own  recipes for domestic remedies. 

Folk therapies were primarily composed of herbal treatments. Our ancestors developed an intimate relationship with the environment and gradually learned to find natural cures for various diseases, and developed rules for the collection, drying, storage, and use of medicinal herbs. People were well aware that active substances are produced and accumulate in plants at certain periods of their development; therefore, they harvested them at a specific time. Medicinal herbs were harvested based on which part of the plant contained  healing properties — the root, leaves, or flowers. The leaves were usually collected before the plant flowered;  parts that grew underground (roots, tubers) were collected in autumn or spring. Bark, on the contrary, was collected when juices began to circulate through the trees in the spring, and seeds and fruits were collected as they ripened. It was recommended to collect flowers as soon as they bloomed.