NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Our great-great ancestors often had to find remedies for illness in their own gardens. Those healing traditions are still being taught at an Acadian village in Lafayette.
Some of these recipes come from a time when there were no drugstores, and the new Acadian settlers of south Louisiana had to rely on home remedies for relief from pain and to cure illness.
Vermilionville instructors Mary Perrin and Mary Ann Armbruster demonstrate how to make some of those remedies.
“We think that when the first white settlers came, they learned it from the Native Americans,” Perrin said.
In a class at Vermilionville, a historic Acadian village in Lafayette they demonstrate how to make remedies for healing traditions,
“Thyme is strong antibiotic. lavender is very healing. it helps the skin to heal and uh, you know, it’s wonderful stuff. I use it all the time,” Armbruster said.
Armbruster says she learned about these remedies by doing research online and reading books. She has used them herself for burns and cuts.
Rashes, itches, insect bites, little cuts. That’s beauty berry.
Beauty berry ends up in boiling water, and with a few more ingredients, you have insect repellent.
Going on a hike, they just grab the leaves as they’re going by the plant and just rub the leaves on themselves and that works too," Armbruster said.
Perrin even demonstrates how to make deodorant.
She uses two tablespoons of shea butter, three tablespoons of coconut oil and it’s also anti bacterial.
Many of the plants used in these recipes are grown in this healing garden here in Vermilionville, and the plants are labeled with their name and also any of their special medicinal qualities.
“The plants have been analyzed scientifically to see what’s in them. Why do they work? and they have found out that they have anti-inflammatory properties. They have antibiotic properties, antiviral properties and anti carcinogenic,” Perrin said.
Most of these home remedies come from plants native to Louisiana, the kind of leaves, berries and roots used by native Americans and early Acadian settlers.
“It’s a cultural tradition. a thing that’s dying out that people maybe think is valuable and, uh, don’t want to lose it," Perrin said.
And there’s a chance you might find a little relief in a boiling pot full of ingredients that come from the garden.
For more information the Vemilionville and the healer’s garden website here.