Civil War Plants & Herbs
by Patricia B. Mitchell

Civil War Plants & Herbs

Creative adapted-from-nature alternatives for clothing, household products, pharmaceutical supplies, and traditional foods; as sought and developed by soldiers and citizens of the North and South during the American Civil War. Published 1996. 6 recipes, 105 research notes, 37 pages. 5.5 x 8.5 inches. Soft cover, saddle-stitched. ISBN-10: 0-925117-82-X. ISBN-13: 978-0-925117-82-3.

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About the Book

Descriptions of plant-derived medicines used during the American Civil war, as well as a discussion of the home use of plants for food and pharmacy, make Civil War Plants & Herbs by Patricia B. Mitchell a treasure trove of information for herbalists and history buffs. The author uses primary sources such as letters and diaries to reveal some of the inconveniences and hardships the War brought to both sides, and some of the clever solutions developed by Southerners for coffee, tea, wheat flour and many other items.

Source-cited quotations such as the following help readers to empathize with a beleaguered populace:

“‘Now, if we only had some china-berry trees here, we shouldn't need any other grease. They are making splendid soap at Vicksburg with china-balls. They just put the berries into the lye and it eats them right up and makes a fine soap.’ I did long for some china-berries to make this experiment.”

“I had nothing left but a sack of rice flour, and no manner of cooking I had heard of invented contrived to make it eatable. A column of recipes for making delicious preparations of it had been going the rounds of Confederate papers. I tried them all; they resulted only in brick-bats or sticky paste.”

“Many also cultivated a few rows of poppies in their garden to make opium, from which our laudanum was created; and this at times was very needful.”

Note: Civil War Plants and Herbs is also available in a revised and greatly expanded edition.

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