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September 10 , 2008

How Medicine Came to the People: A Tale of the Ancient Cherokees


"A long time ago, all the animals and people lived happily together," begins this story of the origins of Cherokee herbal medicine. As the people begin to outnumber the animals and then to hunt them for their hides and meat, the days of peaceful coexistence are over. The animals take their revenge on the people by making them sick, creating rheumatism, coughs, and colds, aches and pains, fevers and swellings and rashes and allergies. The people are saved by their only remaining allies: the plants and trees that they have cultivated, who show them how to use herbal medicine to survive.

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Simply told and magnificently illustrated, this story is suitable for children but eerily resonant for adults at a time of heightened awareness of the threat of disease and the usefulness of herbal remedies. The book includes an appendix with pictures of common medicinal plants and information on their uses.

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