The charming tradition is quite distinct from others and is based either on the charmer's possession of inherent healing ability by 'laying on of hands', ownership of an object that had healing properties or possession of a charm or charms in verse, typically deriving from Biblical sources genuine or apocryphal. The latter is the most common source of healing power among charmers.
Charmers passed down knowledge of their charms secretly from one generation to the next. This transference sometimes took place only when the charmer was at the point of death.
Charmers differ from cunning folk in two principal ways. They usually refused to charge a fee for their services (even refusing verbal thanks) though they did accept gifts in kind. They also did not attempt to heal those who believed themselves to be suffering from the effects of witchcraft or demonic possession. They restricted themselves to healing natural ailments, such as snakebite, toothache or burns. They would occasionally augment their charming with herbalism.
It seems that the charmer is the primary historical basis for the modern myth of the 'hereditary witch', since many of the characteristics of the latter (such as belief in inherent magical powers and transference of magical secrets down family lines) can be traced to the charmers.