The Amish are known for being very private, pious people who avoid many modern conventions, such as electricity and driving. However, their deep ties to agrarian culture have given the Amish an uncanny knowledge of natural, restorative medicines derived from plants and medicinal herbs. Today, Amish herbal remedies and natural cures are sought after by people outside the Amish community.

Where Do the Amish Live?

Waiting Carriages

Amish culture emerged in 1693 when the religion's founding members split from the Mennonites, coinciding with the Protestant Revolution. In 1737, the first Amish ship set sail for the American colonies, where the Amish hoped to practice their religious beliefs in peace. Over time, large communities of Amish people settled in Pennsylvania, and more than a century later there were an estimated 3,000 Amish settlers in Lancaster county. Today, there are nearly 275,000 Amish in 21 states, although two-thirds of the Amish population resides in Pennsylvania.

The Importance Herbal Medicine to the Amish

Old fashioned carriage

The Amish tend to seek out professional medical treatment only when faced with a serious condition. Because most Amish men complete only an 8th-grade education, there are few licensed medical practitioners within the faith. The tradition of Amish herbal medicine has flourished over three centuries, both for the inherent self-sufficiency of the Amish culture and its avoidance of the outside world. If the Amish find themselves in a situation warranting medical assistance, a doctor from a neighboring town will be found, preferably by the recommendation of an Amish friend or family member.

Favorite Amish Medicinal Plants

Lemon Balm

Since many Amish are accomplished farmers, they have extensive farms and gardens designed to feed their families and communities. In addition to fruit, vegetables and livestock, Amish households often have elaborate herb gardens both for culinary and medicinal purposes. In addition to oregano, thyme and other staples, an Amish herbal garden may contain more unusual herbs such as Goldenseal, Licorice and Valerian.

Some Amish Natural Cures for Everyday Ailments

White chamomile, close-up

The beauty of Amish natural remedies is that many of them are simple household items. Apple cider vinegar is a common kitchen item, and it's a favorite among the Amish not just for cleaning windows, but also to relieve itching and acid reflux. Chamomile tea is used as an Amish antidote to an asthma attach, and it's also used to combat the common cold, sore throat and bronchitis. Echinacea, an herb prized for its antioxidant qualities, is commonly found in health food stores. In Amish herbal medicine, echinacea is also a remedy for a bladder infection.