8 Secret Herbs the Native Americans Used to Cure

The Cherokee Nation is a Native American tribe hailing from Oklahoma and the surrounding American states. The Cherokees believe that they were given herbs and plants by their Creator. They saw them as gifts which allowed them to treat and cure illnesses and ailments. These plants were used to heal various illnesses. Their extensive knowledge of the healing properties of regional herbs and plants was handed down from one generation to another. Unfortunately, many of the herbs and plants used by the tribe have become scarce due to over-consumption and damage to the land. In taking these herbs, be gentle and selective, and always consult a licensed naturopath.
native american plants

1. Buckbrush

This herb was traditionally used as a medicinal substance with diuretic properties. Traditionally, it was used to stimulate proper kidney function. Members of the same plant family have also been used to treat mouth and throat ailments, inflammation, as well as cysts and tumors. Specific health issues, such as inflamed tonsils, childbirth aftercare, hemorrhoids, swollen spleens and swollen lymph nodes are also treated by such herbs. 
Consume as a tea by bringing water to boil, then steeping the roots and bark in water for about five minutes. Drink immediately. 

2. Mint

Mint is often used in cooking, but what most people don't know is that it is a powerful antioxidant that contains vitamins A and C, as well as phosphorus, calcium, potassium and magnesium. The Cherokee drank mint tea to stimulate the digestive system as well as to lower blood pressure. Mint leaves are crushed to create salves and ointments and are also used in baths to relieve rashes and itching. 

3. Yarrow

One of its best-known properties lies in its ability to reduce blood clots, which can help a minor wound to form a scab and heal. When ingested with water, yarrow can help reduce tissue inflammation in the intestines and digestive tract. The Cherokee used yarrows for these ailments and more. They prepared it as a tea and used a concoction of leaves and stems (applied topically) to treat skin conditions, including dry skin and acne.

4. Wild Ginger

Many Native American tribes have used wild ginger for medicinal purposes. The Cherokee tribe used the herb to stimulate digestion. It was used by the tribe to help with ailments such as colic, intestinal bloating and gas, as well as stomach aches and cramps. Wild ginger was also used to rid the lungs of excess mucus. 

native american plants

5. Smilax Bona-Nox

This plant was used as a blood purifier and a mild diuretic. Used in the form of tea, this herb was also found to treat arthritis, using its roots. The leaves and bark of the plant can be mixed with lard to create a salve that will help treat minor burns, cuts, scrapes and sores. 

6. Blackberries

Blackberries have long been deemed a potent health supplement. The tribe used them to sooth stomach issues. The roots of the blackberry plant were sweetened with honey and this concoction was used to soothe sore throats, coughs, bleeding gums and mouth sores. The root also has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce swelling and improve joint mobility. 

7. Curly Dock

Used as an ingredient in salads, curly dock has a sweet yet sour taste and is packed with healthy vitamins and minerals. It was also believed to contain a rich source of iron. The herb was also believed to have laxative properties. The Cherokee ground up and mixed it with beeswax, and a bit of oil. The salve was used as an ointment for minor cuts, sores, rashes and other skin irritations. 

8. Mullein

This traditional herb could help with lung and respiratory problems. The Cherokee burned the mullein roots and inhaled the smoke which they believed opened up the airways and eased inflammation of the mucous membranes that line the respiratory tract. The flowers can be used to prepare a sedative tea to treat joint pain as well as migraine headaches. 



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