Herbal Diplomats: The Contribution of Early American Nurses (1830-1860) to Nineteenth-Century Health Care Reform and the Botanical Medical Movement

By Kako, Mayumi | Nursing History Review, January 1, 2006 | Go to article overview

Herbal Diplomats: The Contribution of Early American Nurses (1830-1860) to Nineteenth-Century Health Care Reform and the Botanical Medical Movement


Kako, Mayumi, Nursing History Review


Herbal Diplomats: The Contribution of Early American Nurses (1830-1860) to Nineteenth-Century Health Care Reform and the Botanical Medical Movement By Martha M. Libster West Lafayette, IN: Golden Apple Publications, 2004) (386 pages; $37.00 cloth)

Herbal Diplomats is a social and cultural history that describes the role of women in the botanical medical movement in the United States during the mid-nineteenth century. The book is based on well-researched primary sources such as journals, diaries, letters, receipt books, and instruction books. Colorful diagrams and descriptions of major medicinal herbs and plants used in early nursing are provided. A glossary of terms also is helpful. The book consists of three parts, each tided according to herb harvest processes: "Gathering In," "Sifting and Sorting," and "Processing." The harvest process also implies the author's method of "preparing this history and uncovering the stories of women nurses' contribution to the Botanical Medical Movement" (p. 25).

Although the role of women nurses in herbal therapies is the books main focus, Libster provides context by describing the mid-nineteenth-century democratic culture that allowed multiple groups to practice. Physicians known as the "Regulars" were mainstream orthodox physicians. These practitioners worked toward curing the sick by applying "heroic" (p. 28) treatments such as purging and bloodletting. However, the confusion of the medical licensing system led to a medical system that featured not only regular practitioners but also "empirics," or medical sects that opposed the Regulars and their harsh treatments. Among the latter group, Thomsonism was the most prominent, particularly for women in the domestic sphere, because the Thomsonians promoted self-care with herbs.

Thus, this history helps the reader to understand that patients of the time had a choice in seeking the means of health improvement, be it through Regular physicians, medical sects, or self-care using healing herbs. The author argues that in the mid-nine-teenth century, medical knowledge was not highly sophisticated. In this environment, then, it is understandable that patients valued self-care, and lay practitioners thrived.

In "Gathering In," the author provides a general social and health care history of the mid-nineteenth century that includes a description of herbal therapies used at the time. The author also provides a thorough discussion of the "advice movement" (p. 61) in which multiple groups participated but which was especially led by women. In this way, the book deepens our understandings of nurses' work, particularly in the home, where women not only nursed their families during sickness but also promoted their health. "Self care, taking care of oneself and one's family," the author argues, "was an expression of the pioneer spirit that was part of American character" (p. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Herbal Diplomats: The Contribution of Early American Nurses (1830-1860) to Nineteenth-Century Health Care Reform and the Botanical Medical Movement
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.