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Folk Medicaments



Public medicine or traditional medicine sources from the attitudes, manners and relations that the first human beings had because of the natural events. Magic and sorcery had played important role. The health and illness were both described as the evil spirits that have entered into the human bodies and their harms, in the societies where religion and magic had played an important role. So the remedies, which people thought to protect them, are the sources of public medicine. As a result, the opinions about health and illness in the traditional societies have come into being as a part of the public culture and applications of this subject are firstly related with anthropology, ethnology and folklore and then the technical analyses of this subject are tried to be described by disciplines of medicine and pharmacy. Public medicine or traditional medicine differs from modern medicine. The traditional medicine lives in the public as a part of the culture. In traditional society, if one knows something about the illness, the other members also know those. These information are passed from generation to generation. A person learns the public medicine just like he learns the other elements of the culture.

Public medicine has been combined perfectly. Most of the patients get well or die. The belief that if he gets well and the treatment has good results, the treatment is continued. In case of a death, it’s believed that the patient didn’t accept the treatment rather than the properness of the treatment.

The most significant difference between modern medicine and public medicine is about the source of the illnesses. The reason is that, in the modern medicine illnesses are tried to be explained by the microbe theory while the people think that the reason of illnesses are the magical or supernatural events although they know what microbe is.

The public medicine still carries its validity with the modern medicine whose methods were formed by the people who could not benefit from the medicine and who couldn’t be treated or let himself be treated because of his believes and the methods used for diagnosis and treatment. Those believes had played the most important role in this situation.

These applications could usually be seen especially in traditional parts of our country, but it’s not as much as it was. The people who have been named as “crones” and who have their own treatments are in fact “public doctors of medicine”. The applications or medicines of the people whose medicines are called “crone medicine” may be indirectly related to the treatment of illnesses or may have important and positive results sometimes. These people, who are experienced an who have mostly learnt the treatment methods from his elders are trying to cure the illnesses by using the “public medicines” which they have prepared from vegetable, animal and mineral substances. While most of these make the treatment in their homes, some of them make their treatments by laying the patients in the independent units that may be called “public hospitals”.

The plants that grow around are mostly used in the preparation of these medicines. These plants, which are called “herbs” are intensely used in our country. Some of them are known used for some of the illnesses in the public and some of them are only known by the “public doctors of medicine”. The plants and their effects in the treatment of illnesses have been put under research in some of the Faculties of Pharmacy and these researches have been published. The treatment methods of modern medicine and public medicine have similarities. For example aspirin is found out by growing the quinine and cocaine plants, which public medicine has used for so many years. Similarly, various plants used for different illnesses in public are also proved to cure the illnesses effectively as a result of the researches. Some of the treatment applications seen in the public medicine have also similarities with the treatments of the doctors of modern medicine.

Generally, the modern medicine and public medicine are always in interaction with each other. Today, the modern medicine focusing its studies on finding the sources of illnesses have made progress in regard to having certain results in a treatment benefiting from the public medicine. Public medicine has also has the opportunity to benefit from those. Within this framework, the pharmacy medicines are beginning to take the place of public medicines in some of the illnesses. Additionally, the public does not trust the modern medicine in the illness that are believed to be caused by being affected by the evil eye or demons. The public benefits both from the modern and public medicine in the illnesses such as asthma and heart diseases. Cancer and other illnesses that need operations are not handled by public doctors of medicine, they are completely left to modern medicine.

Finally, the attitude of the public in the parts that are traditionally structured is formed with the effect of the culture. The researchers showed that education affects the attitudes towards the illnesses as well as economic conditions. In addition to this, contact with a city and using the means of communication and transportation intensely is also facilitating the attitude of public towards modern medicine. This tendency is strongly seen in the young groups of people. On the other side, some people, who are educated or uneducated, poor or wealthy are still applying to the methods not related with modern medicine and some applications such as being affected by an evil eye, visiting the mausoleums and going to bone settlers can usually be seen.

However, still the researches made show that there is a tendency from traditional medicine to modern medicine and this tendency is quick or slow according to the socio cultural and economic conditions of places.


a)     Ice is placed on the place stung by bee, otherwise it is put under cold water or mud is smeared.
b)     One bundle of parsley is crushed, and wrapped around the place stung by bee.
c)     Garlic is smeared on the place stung by bee.

For Dropping Fever
a)     A piece of cloth wet with vinegar is placed on forehead, neck, hand and feet, body. This process is repeated until the body fever drops to normal level.
b)     A lemon is squeezed, Aspirin is put in it and solved; this solution is smeared on forehead, etc. of patient.
c)     Mixture of spirits, aspirin, one-two drops of olive oil is smeared on joints of the body.  

Asthma : pigeon egg is drunk on an empty stomach for a period of forty days.

a)     Leaves of black cabbage are heated on a fire, and placed on the location giving pain. This process is frequently repeated.
b)     Flax seed is boiled and become mush; having it mixed with a certain amount of henna and naphtha oil it is smeared on the paining location. This process is repeated several days one per day.
c)     Dry tobacco is crumbled and added into a certain amount of Raki and made it as cream. And this mixture is smeared over the paining location as pomade.
d)     Fine sand is fried over a fire, smashed olive with its seed is added; this hot mixture is smeared over the paining location and wrapped up. This process is repeated in three-four days.   

Pain in Foot : Rock Salt is dissolved in hot water, feet are kept in this hot water for ten minutes.

Preparation used for killing pain inflicted by twists: Onion with salt or olive is crushed in mortar and this mixture is smeared over the twisted joint.

a)     One potato is cut in circular slices, coffee is scattered over it, and wrapped on the forehead.
b)     A lemon is cut in circular slices and wrapped on the forehead.
c)     Animal bile and henna is are mixed up and wrapped on the forehead; kept for several hours.

a)     Flax seed and fever sugar are mixed and crushed in a mortar and eaten.
b)     One slice of bread is toasted well on embers and dipped into vinegar and then placed on the chest.

Tonsil : Cotton is wetted with spirits and black pepper is sprinkled over it and is wrapped around the throat. 

For Renal Stone
a)     Leaf of medlar (pirus germanica) is boiled and drunk like tea; this process continuous until the stone drops.
b)     Juice of parsley or yoghurt is drunk every morning.

Bleeding of Nose : Shell of egg is burnt until it becomes ash. In case the nose bleeds, this ash is sniffed

For Haemorrhoids
a)     Garlic is smeared. This process is repeated continuously in every morning.
b)     Core of wild roses is boiled and drunk like tea.  

For Whitlow: Okra is boiled with milk and wrapped around the finger.

For Cold (Catarrh) :  Mint with lemon or lime with lemon is boiled and drunk like tea.

Sty : Garlic is smeared over sty.

a)     One aspirin is put in a glass of soft drink and this preparation is drunk, then diarrhoea stops.
b)     One coffee spoon of coffee is mixed with lemon juice and drunk.
c)     One tea glass of yoghurt is mixed with one tea class of carbonate   

For Cancer : In summer seed and in winter dry of nettle is boiled like tea and drunk in every morning on empty stomach.

For mumps: Patient eats red “Halvah”. Black soot of frying pan is smeared on mumps.

Swelling of Stomach:  Bran and vinegar are mixed and wrapped around stomach after heating.

Calcification: Fish oil is applied on places where calcification occurred.

Earache: One drop of leek juice is dropped inside the ear.

Bite of Dog: Bread yeast is strapped on the place bitten by dog.

Stomach Ache :
a)     Honey and milk are mixed and drunk.
b)     Root of elecampane is boiled and drunk like tea.
c)     “Tahin helvası” (sweet made of sesame oil and sugar) is eaten on empty stomach.
d)     Leaf of wart is chewed and swallowed .

a)     Egg-plant roasted over a fire  is mixed with powder henna; this preparation is placed on eczema and strapped with a cloth.
b)     Leaf of peach is boiled and drunk like tea for ten days
c)     Meat of hedgehog is eaten.
d)     Seed of elder tree (Sumbucus nigra) is swallowed. 

Chest Disease Marked by Difficulty in Breathing:
a)     Nettle is boiled and drunk everyday as tea.
b)     Black radish is carved and filled with honey. A small hole is opened under radish and same is placed on the mouth of a vessel. It is kept overnight, and then the leaked honey is eaten.
c)     Pine cone is boiled and drunk like tea.

a)     One spoon honey and one spoon of lemon juice are mixed and drunk. This process is continued on several days every morning on empty stomach.
b)     Apple, lime and skin of lemon are boiled altogether and drunk in every morning on empty stomach like tea.
c)     Parsley is eaten.

Rash:  Ash of dry reed is cooked and smeared.

Rheumatism :
a)     Horse chestnut and sugar candy for fit are crushed, mixed and eaten.
b)     One tin of barley is added in one cauldron of water and it is boiled and then temperature of water is dropped to moderate level. Patient enters inside the cauldron and remains there for one hour. This process is repeated for several days.
c)     One bundle of Sultan herb is placed in one cauldron of water and it is boiled and then temperature of water is dropped to moderate level. Patient enters inside the cauldron and remains there for one hour. This process is repeated for several days.
d)     Patient is buried up to his/her neck in manure, and kept for one hour.
e)     One glass of juice of grated celery root is drunk.

Hair: In Springtime vine stems are chopped and their dropping liquid is collected in a bottle and head is washed with this liquid for growing hair  long and prevent losing hair.

Jaundice: Forehead or chest of patient scratched with razor blade.

a)     A cupping-glass is applied.
b)     Honey is applied on aching places, and red or black pepper is sprinkled thereon. A perforated newspaper is placed thereon. On the newspaper a towel  is spread; and patient remain one night in this manner. This operation is frequently repeated. 

Malaria: A wild plant with small pink flower called “malaria weed” is boiled and drunk like tea.

For boil and wounds:
a)     “Ribbed Plant” (sinir otu) is applied on boils and wounds, if not found, leaf of cabbage or tomato is wrapped.
b)     Soap, a piece of salammoniac (ammonia) are placed inside an onion and it is cooked; it is applied on boils or wounds at normal temperature.

For Bites of Poisonous Animal: Head of a match is rubbed, this substance is applied on the bitten area.