Smoke Signals

Jan/Feb 2012


Staff Writer


We seem to have picked up viewers from other association, organizations, groups, clubs that read our On-Line Journal religiously.  Several times a year one of our officers or myself have had emails with remarks about one or more articles seen here. We have questioned several about joining with usually no response ? That's fine we are here for any and everyone, if you have a question please write the editor.




The subject of Period Medicine came up in another association more than a dozen years ago while sitting around a camp fire in western Colorado near the small town of White Water.

One member of this group had been a nurse when in the service in Vietnam. Jerry had lots of information he was willing to share and gave us permission to use his knowledge. 

Good information but always talk to your doctor before going off thinking what you read was the correct way of taking care of yourself. Remember what was used my our forefather's may have been the reason some had problems later in their lives. 




I came across an English printer's poster dated 1807 which lists all the wares to be bought in his shop. Apparently he was a bookseller, stationer and chemist as well as printer. Among the items: Cartridge and Log-book Paper Bills of Lading Ship Articles Atkinson's Tide Table Moore's Navigation (last edition) Quills, Pens, Ink (patent Cake, Japan and Indian) Black and red leather Paper-Cases Large two-sheet Maps Memorandum Books of all sorts Patent Medicines Daffy's Elixir Anderson's Scotch Pills Bateman's Drops Hooper's Female Pills British Oil Godfrey's Cordial Molineux's Smelling Medicine Cephalic Snuff Steer's Opodeldoc Essence of Peppermint Rooke's Matchless Balsam Turlington's Balsam of Life You will recognize some of the medicines, but not all perhaps, as included in fur trade lists. Hooper's Pills and Molineux's Smelling Medicine made me think that the drugs might have been directed to specifically male and female users, and might be a reason why some of them don't make it to the fur trade lists. Please post this on the NWBC list if you think it would be of general interest.

Now the 1st question was what about HERBAL MEDICINE, well we can touch on this subject next.











A brief example of an old art that has experienced a rebirth in the last decade and into the new century. Many have long been preoccupied with the search for therapeutic magic relief, floundering in botanical gardens for that cure or fast medical find. Endless supplies of echinacea, goldenseal, ginkgo, milk thistle, ginseng, and garlic - all herbs mentioned by Franklin and Jefferson in their writings and now found in modern journals, popular magazines or on the shelves of your local health food store.

One problem has been some of the information is misleading and can possibility cause an imbalance if not carefully used. A good example is the use of echinacea, for a short term immune stimulant does little to shore up our internal resistance over long term. "Many wait until they are sick to use echinacea, instead they should have been building their immune resistance by eating healthy, exercising regularly, using immune tonic agents that include astraglus, schizandra, and reishi mushrooms", according to a Civil War Doctor's journal.

Some edibles that we all have heard of or have used and didn't realize their real value in helping with our physical health and well being.


GARBANZOS, KIDNEYS, and LENTILS, black beans, adzuki, and soy: dried beans are excellent sources for fiber, protein and minerals. It has been a known fact since the early 1800's that legumes contain far more folic acid than nutritionists previously thought, with resent tests their theories have been proven. Like an "old wives tale" the theory was folic acid lowers the risk of birth defects and now after several centuries researchers now have proved the idea at Washington State University.


IODINE has always been used in the healing and treatment of wounds, along with its use added in several products used for centuries worldwide. Iodine deficiency can cause thyroid problems and mental retardation according to history with early medical studies in Europe and confirmed again in the New World as early as 1810. Fortunately it is one of the most preventable conditions with the advent of table salt, its iodized. Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson suggested to increase your intake of iodine other than salt, eat more vegetables and seafood, which modern research have found to be true.


DRIED FRUIT once a day in the amount of one-half cup was believed to cut the risks of prostate cancer as early as 1850. Today we use it as a snack food or for an added energy source, as well as vitamins and minerals. Just recently modern medicine has found, one-quarter cup of dried fruit will cut the risks of prostate cancer by 48%.


NUTS were always thought to have great benefits when included in one's diet, Thomas Jefferson had a variety of nuts throughout his home and office. Any social event from Boston to Philadelphia would always have nuts available to its guests as a snack and filler, until the dinner was served according to the August 10, 1792 issue of the PENNSYLVANIA GAZETTE. The Harvard School of Public Health in Boston had done research in the late 1800's and found women who ate five or six handfuls of nuts weekly had a lower risk for heart attack than those that did not eat the natural fruit.


CAYENNE was used as a seasoning and found use in the early 1800's to reduce pain as aspirin is used today.


HAWTHORN herb is rich in flavonoids; dilates blood vessels, reduces blood pressure and boosting blood flow to coronary arties according to early studies, now found effective in angina and arrhythmias.


MAGNESIUM was found to help with normal heart functions and believed by Jefferson to reduce heart and blood problems. Recently found to reduce heart arrhythmias and high blood pressure, only a 175 years after Thomas Jefferson's conclusions.


PSYLLIUM was discovered to reduce cholesterol in the late 1800's, they just weren't sure what the human body really needed it for ! Today doctors prescribe PSYLLIUM for reducing cholesterol and LDL cholesterol; add gradually and drink lots of water.

The few herbs and fruits shown above are a small sample of what was and is available from nature, known by the Medicine Men from around the world, practiced from tribal settings to early hospitals covering recorded time. Now centuries later "herbal healing" has been found to have some benefit again, small world.

Some of our customers wondered why we would take the space and time to record such a "wondering" as this, what's it have to do with early North American History ? But if one would look deeper into the herbal medicine world, they will find that a large percentage of cures and treatments using these items and others come from the Chinese, Native Americans and others who are from some of the oldest cultures still around, they recorded the benefit of herbs centuries before the colonies formed in the New World, and found their way as peoples moved from one land to another.


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