Folk Medicine in Appalachia Essay

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Folk medicine is created through groups of individuals and spreads due to the diffusion of different ethnic groups. Even though folk medicine is isolated to a region, folk medicine is important in creating the knowledge and treatments of illnesses from past generations. Appalachian folk medicine is unique because of the influence of Native American, African American, and Euro-American cultures. Due to isolation of the region, the elements of Appalachian folk medicine is comprised of outside influences, categories within fork medicine, variations of caregivers, and natural remedies. Folk medicine is an important aspect of the Appalachian region. According to Mathews, folk medicine is known in involving diseases or illnesses “which are the…show more content…
To this day, beliefs in treatment and prevention by either spiritual or naturalistic means still persist and remain strong, allowing continuation of tradition of the area. In Appalachia, due to geographic isolation, lack of educational opportunities, government services, and extreme poverty has forced the residents of the area to be self-reliant in meeting their own needs. The Appalachian residents have relied on their own knowledge and skills in treating illness and disease; therefore, allowing for folk medicine to continue to thrive in the area.
The Appalachian region is an isolated area due to the geography, which has made it inaccessible for the individuals to go to doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies; therefore, the people have relied on their own folk remedies for the a cure (Mathews 7). According to Cavender, the past living conditions of the region provided an environment favorable to the rapid spread of contagious or infectious diseases. The improper disposal of human waste accounted for the high prevalence of typhoid fever, hookworm, roundworm, cholera, and dysentery. Many families instead of having an outhouse or latrine, “simply evacuated” (Cavender 20) in closed off areas near the house. Even the individuals that had outhouses failed to consider where they should be placed; therefore, waste seepage from outhouses infected wells and streams in the vicinity (Cavender 20-21). Due to isolation and poor lifestyles, the people
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