Boughman, Arvis Locklear, and Loretta O. Oxendine. Herbal remedies of the Lumbee Indians.
The preface to this book sets the stage with brief overviews of several key topics: how and why the Lumbee use herbal remedies; the importance of Vernon Cooper; the three delivery techniques for herbal remedies (teas, poultices, and salves); the methods used to compile information for the book; and a cautionary note that herbal remedies are not a substitute for a physician's care. This section is followed by a concise but detailed history of the Lumbee Indians that discusses tribal origins, important legislation, archaeological discoveries, and more.
The main section of the book, “Herbs and their uses by the Lumbee,” is an encyclopedic treatment (arranged by common name) of approximately 161 herbs. It presents information which the authors gathered primarily from interviewing living tribal elders, listening to interviews with deceased healers, and talking to living relatives of the deceased healers. It includes numerous cross-references from scientific to common names and from alternative to preferred common names. The entry for each herb gives the scientific name; lists all known alternative common names; describes the plant's growth process, appearance, and geographic range; explains Lumbee uses of the herb, citing by name the healers known to have used it; and mentions its use by other tribes. Any needed warnings (such as not to eat the leaves and fruit pits of the wild cherry tree) and included. Entries often include additional interesting details, such as information in the Spotted Horsemint entry on smallpox and on sweat lodges. Entries often include words and phrases from the native Lumbee language.
Following the main section is a glossary of terms used in the entries to describe the actions of herbs, parts of plants, features of the remedies, ways to take the remedies, and various health conditions.
The glossary is followed by an alphabetical section of ailments the herbs are used the treat. The ailments are grouped broadly (for example, Respiratory System) and then subgrouped (for example, Colds) . Within each ailment, the herbs used to treat it are listed by their preferred common name.
Appendix A provides transcripts of interviews with various Lumbee healers and elders, including Woodrow Cooper, Daystar Dial, an unnamed elder from the Prospect community, Welton Lowry, Dr. Joseph T. Bell, Vernon Hazel Locklear, Henry and Leitha Chavis, Mary Sue Locklear, Earl Carter and Keith Brown, Pete “Spotted Turtle” Clark, and Hayes Alan Locklear.
Appendix B reprints two articles, one on Vernon Cooper and one on John George and Earl Carter.
The detailed index enables readers to find specific facts and names that are not easily discovered from the arrangement of the book's various sections.
This is an excellent book--thorough, detailed, carefully researched, interestingly written, and usefully arranged. It capably fills a gap in the existing scholarship on the Lumbee.