Southern Appalachian Digital Collections

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Interview with George Frizzell

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  • George Frizzell is interviewed as part of the "Native Plants Project"--a research project of the Mountain Heritage Center at Western Carolina University. In this interview Frizzell, a long time native of Jackson County, North Carolina, and Head of Special Collections at Western Carolina University, recalls childhood memories about the use of plants for medicinal purposes and other home remedies. Frizzell recounts his personal experience of having warts at the age of 9 or 10 and then being treated by his grandmother's brother with the sap taken from the bark of an apple tree. He also recalls a story, recounted by his grandmother, of his young father eating rolled up cobwebs to treat high fever. Other anecdotes that Frizzell recalls include his mother at age 13 being treated for bleeding (after having a tooth pulled out) by a man who was known for having a gift for curing ailments, his father using bear grease for chest colds, his mother's neighbors using groundhog oil for curing croup, use of catnip tea for helping babies to sleep, and yellowroot for stomachaches. Frizzell points out that such remedies were popular especially among large family households who often couldn't afford a doctor for treating every ailment.