I had the day off and spent my time on the battlefield taking part in the National Park Service's four real-time hikes, led by the park's excellent interpretive rangers. We negotiated heat, humidity, and torrential thunderstorms, but the day was a great success with high attendance.
While I was hiking around all day, I realized I was surrounded by a number of plants that people used as medicines during the Civil War. I thought I would take pictures of a few of them and share them on here!
The first think I noticed were the Queen Anne's Lace and Chicory growing along Araby Church Road.
The hill in the distance formed the right flank of Gen. James Ricketts's Union line. As the line there collapsed under pressure from Gen. William Terry's Virginia it prompted the inevitable retreat of Gen. Lew Wallace's small, outnumbered Union force.
Carrot Flower, Daucus carota, is native to Europe, but introduced to America centuries ago. A long enough look will suggest it was used for nearly every medicinal purpose imaginable, but American folk medicine made use of it as contraception and an abortificant, help with menstrual problems, a diuretic to purge the urinary system, and cure for indigestion.
Later, as I took a walk on the Gambrill Mill Trail I noticed a couple more more medicinal plants along the way. The building was used as the main Union field hospital during the Battle of Monocacy. Unfortunately the location did come under indirect Confederate artillery fire during the battle.
|Jewelweed in the mill race|
|Someone else's better picture of Jewelweed|
In a beautiful park like Monocacy National Battlefield there are certainly a plethora of traditional medicinal plants abounding. These are just a few examples that I stumbled on without really even looking.