Originally published April 7 2015
Learn to identify these medicinal plants used by Native Americans
by Daniel Barker
(NaturalNews) Almost universally, indigenous people throughout the world have displayed an advanced understanding of medicinal plants and their uses in healing the human body. The knowledge that these so-called "primitives" possessed has become the foundation of modern medicine, but the truth is that much has been lost in the process. Many pharmaceuticals are based on medicinal plants, but in almost all cases the natural version is preferable for promoting true healing.
For many centuries, Native Americans have known of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of plants which can be used for treating almost any ailment imaginable. Many of these plants and herbs can be found growing today in the wild. With a little knowledge, the average person can literally reap the benefits of the various medicinal plants used by Native Americans for healing. A number of these plants can also be easily grown at home.
The indigenous tribes of the Americas believed that plants have spirits. According to many who value their use, you are accessing these spirits when you gather sacred traditional medicine plants in the wild.
Susan Peterson at OffTheGridNews.com has posted a list and photos of five commonly found plants which were known to Native Americans and used by them as medicine.
Here is her list, with my own brief description of each plant and its uses:
Sage (Salvia officinalis) - Native Americans used several varieties of sage for various ritualistic and medicinal purposes. This variety is probably the most commonly grown, and it has many uses in the kitchen along with its numerous medicinal properties. Sage has blood sugar-stabilizing and blood pressure-reducing properties, and can also be used to treat coughs, colds and digestive problems. It's a relatively easy-to-grow perennial and should be planted in the spring just before the last frost.
Wild cherry bark (Prunus serotina) - Wild cherry bark is prized for its anti-inflammatory properties and is often used to treat sore throat, bronchitis and other respiratory ailments. It can be harvested in the wild during May and June. The inner bark is the part which is used, and knowing when and how to harvest it can be tricky. RyanDrum.com has a description of the proper "wildcrafting" methods used in harvesting wild cherry bark. Here is the link: RyanDrum.com.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) - The common dandelion was used by Native Americans to treat a range of ailments, including those of the stomach, kidneys and liver. Dandelions also play an important part in Chinese medicine. The plant has antioxidant and immune-boosting properties. The best times to harvest are late spring and early autumn (the RyanDrum.com link posted above also contains a description of how to harvest dandelion -- as well as yarrow).
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) - Rosemary's health benefits have been known for centuries by several cultures, including Native American traditional healers. Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, rosemary is used for treating digestive problems, muscle pain, spasms and even hair loss. Rosemary has been shown to promote healthy brain function and may also have potential in treating cancer. Rosemary is easy to grow and is another herb with significant culinary and medicinal value.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) - The yarrow plant is well known for its blood-staunching properties and its effectiveness in cleaning and healing wounds. One of the most versatile plants in terms of medicinal value, yarrow is used to treat everything from headaches to hemorrhoids; it's also good for treating colds when made into tea. Yarrow leaves can be harvested in late spring and early summer. Often, the whole plant is harvested and used in traditional medicine preparations.
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