Electronic Thesis/Dissertation


A Return to Roots Open Access

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This thesis uses photography, film, and writing to document present-day herbalism in the Appalachian tradition. The project uses interviews with an herbalist, professor of herbalism, and an ethnobotanist, in conjunction with a woman who turned to alternative medicine when conventional routes had failed to cure her health issues. Research dating to the Medieval era consisted of investigating the rise, fall, and subsequent reemergence of interest in herbal remedies. Pharmaceutical companies are aware of the existence of plants with healing benefits; aspirin, codeine and ephedrine were initially discovered in plants. The project serves as an examination of the relationships these particular women have to herbal medicine. This multimedia documentary illustrates the benefits of native plant remedies that we are often surrounded by but seldom notice. Furthermore, it emphasizes the growing need for conservation of the plants, such as gingseng, as herbal medicine becomes popular once again.

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