In colonial America, life expectancy was a modest 35 years. Dooryard herb gardens were the first line of defense when settlers got sick or wounded. If you were lucky, your town had an Apothecary who dispensed herbal remedies and performed services like leech therapy and bloodletting.
This week we worked with fifth graders to harvest their colonial herbs for homemade Apothecary kits. Students studied the medicinal uses of each herb and selected the ones that most interested them:
Lavender for reducing worry
Sage for sore throats and snake bites
Bee Balm for mosquito repellant
Lamb’s Ear for bandages and wound care
Calendula for digestive problems
Thyme for curing laziness
Coriander for soothing the effects of Smallpox
The kits were thoughtful and beautiful and led to many interesting discussions about the science of plants.