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Hoosier Home Remedies

Varro E. Tyler Steven C. Beering

212 pages
Purdue University Press

With a sense of urgency, Dr. Tyler has collected and transcribed some 750 folk remedies still alive in the memories of more than 175 Hoosier-area correspondents. The pharmacologist, who has thirty years of experience with natural-product remedies, fears these cures will soon be forgotten, since modern medicine usually writes them off as hoax, and those who practice them are becoming fewer and fewer. For Tyler, however, folk medicine is worthy of scientific research; after all, scientists discovered morphine from opium poppy, digoxin from foxglove, and ergotamine from ergot fungus by observing the efficacy of these ancient folk remedies. By suggesting further investigation of some remedies, warning readers against downright dangerous cures, and noting the constitutive ingredients of those proven effective, Tyler invites further illumination of this shady region between superstition and science while entertaining his reader with much fascinating medical tore. Hoosiers, folklore followers, physicians, and pharmacologists will appreciate the meticulous clarity of Tyler's scientific commentary on folk medicines.