For thousands of years, Native Americans have used herbs to heal the body, purify the spirit, and bring balance into their lives and surroundings. Oral traditions indicate that they learned about the healing powers of herbs and other plants by watching sick animals. There are no written records of herbal use by the indigenous people of America before the first contact between Europeans and the tribes. However, this changed as Native Americans shared their knowledge of how to use nature’s medicines with the new settlers.
While hundreds of herbs and plants were used in Native American remedies, one of the most sacred was tobacco, which was used to heal numerous conditions, rituals, and ceremonies. It was smoked pure and not mixed with any chemicals as it is today. Another essential herb to the Native Americans was Sage, which was said to not only heal multiple problems of the stomach, colon, kidneys, liver, lungs, skin, and more, but it was also believed to protect against harmful spirits and to draw them out of the body or the soul.
Though the list of medicinal herbs that might be carried in a Healer’s medicine bundle are many and varied, those that were most often used were frequently carried, such as remedies for common colds, which might include American Ginseng or Boneset; herbs for aches and pains including Wild Black Cherry, Pennyroyal, and Hops; remedies for fever, including Dogwood, Feverwort, and Willow Bark. Continue reading from Legends of America