Native American and Other Ancient Remedies

 

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Grinding medicine--Zuni, edward s. curtis, 1925

Zuni Healer grinding medicine, Edward S. Curtis, 1925. Click image for prints, downloads and products.

For thousands of years Native Americans have used herbs to, not only heal the body, but, also to purify the spirit and bring balance into their lives and their 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 prior to 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 there were hundreds of herbs and plants used in Native American remedies, one of the most sacred was Tobacco, which was used healing numerous conditions, as well as in rituals and ceremonies. It was smoked pure and not mixed with any chemicals as it is today.

Another very important 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, it was also believed to protect against bad 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 Bonesetherbs for aches and pains including Wild Black Cherry,  Pennyroyal, and Hops; remedies for fever, including DogwoodFeverwort, and Willow Bark.

This list includes many herbs used by Native Americans, as well as others that have been found to be beneficial for various ailments throughout history. It also contains herbs used for many of today’s ailments. Please note that some herbs used in history are no longer recommended today. More information can be found on each herb, its history, and uses by clicking on the links.

Ailment or Drug Type:

 

A

Abdominal Pain/Cramps:

Abortifacient:

  • Pennyroyal – Long used to treat medical problems and to eradicate pests. Pennyroyal should not be used in any way by pregnant women. Over ingestion of this herb has caused death.
  • Rosemary – Used for culinary purposes and in medicinal remedies.
  • Skullcap – A powerful medicinal herb, it was cultivated Native Americans for use in several remedies. Pregnant women should not take Skullcap.
  • Slippery Elm – The tree had many traditional uses by Native Americans.
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At Legends’ General Store

Abscesses:

  • Burdock – Roots and leaves utilized internally and externally. Avoid if pregnant or nursing.
  • Devil’s Claw – Used in teas and tonics internally and in poultices externally. Should not be used by woman who are or may be pregnant.
  • Echinacea – Roots were chewed, dried in tea, or pulverized for external use.
  • Chamomile – Commonly used in teas it is best known to help with sleep.
  • Pau d’arco – Long used for a wide range conditions.
  • Poke – Though parts of this plant are highly toxic to livestock and humans, it has long been used as a food and medicine by Native Americans.
  • White Pine –  The inner bark, young shoots, twigs, pitch, and leaves have long been used by Native Americans in medical remedies.
  • Slippery Elm – The tree had many traditional uses by Native Americans.
  • Wild Yam – Traditionally used as both food and medicine.

Aches:

  • Black Cohosh – Roots of the plant were used in teas for a variety of ailments.
  • Osha – Having a wide variety of medicinal properties, Osha was highly valued by Native Americans.
  • Saltbush – Many species used for a variety of conditions.

Acne:

  • Buffaloberry – Used as food and in herbal remedies. Overindulgence can cause severe problems including death.
  • Burdock – Roots and leaves utilized internally and externally. Avoid if pregnant or nursing.
  • Cat’s Claw – Used in teas and tonics for more than 2,000 years.
  • Chasteberry – Berries and flowers used in teas. Pregnant or breast-feeding women should not take Chasteberry.
  • Dandelion – Used in both foods and internal and external medical remedies.
  • Lavender – Dating back to Roman times, Lavender has been used in teasbalms, food, and medicinal remedies.
  • Mint – Dried leaves used in teas and food, found helpful in a number of remedies.
  • Red Clover – Traditionally used for a number of conditions.
  • Sarsaparilla – Used for centuries in a wide variety of medicinal remedies.
  • Witch Hazel – Widely used for medicinal purposes by American Indians.
  • Yellow Dock – Native Americans as a traditional medicine and food.

ADHD:

  • Ginko Biloba – One of the most ancient trees in existence, it has been used for both food and medicine.
  • Lavender – Dating back to Roman times, Lavender has been used in teas, balms, food, and medicinal remedies.
  • Oat Straw – A food source and medical remedy since prehistoric times.
  • Skullcap – A powerful medicinal herb, it was cultivated Native Americans for use in several remedies. Pregnant women should not take Skullcap.
  • St John’s Wort – Most commonly known as an anti-depressant, it also has other medical uses.
Healer Tea from Nuwati Herbals

Nuwati Healer Tea for Sinuses, Colds, Headache, Allergies, and Immune System. At Legends’ General Store

Allergies:

  • Dong Quai – Used for more than a thousand years to treat a number of conditions.
  • Mint – Dried leaves used in teas and food, found helpful in a number of remedies.
  • Rooibos – Used in teas to help with a variety of conditions.
  • Goldenrod – Long used for a variety of ailments.
  • Spirulina – A type of blue-green algae that is rich in protein, vitamins.

Alzheimer’s Disease:

  • Ginko Biloba – One of the most ancient trees in existence, it has been used for both food and medicine.

Anemia:

  • Dong Quai – Used for more than a thousand years to treat a number of conditions.
  • Senna – A large genus of flowering plants found to be helpful in many remedies.
  • Wheat Grass – The result of centuries of the cultivation, it is used for numerous medical conditions.

Antibiotic:

  • Ashwagandha – The whole plant is used in numerous remedies. Caution is advised in the use of this plant since it is toxic.

Antiseptic:

  • Fenugreek – Used internally and externally for a variety of medicinal purposes.
  • Grapefruit – Seeds, pulp, and inner rind used for internal conditions.
  • Horsemint – Leaves and flowering stems used in teas, tonics, and salves for a variety of medical issues. Should not be used by pregnant women.
  • Lavender – Dating back to Roman times, Lavender has been used in teas, balms, food, and medicinal remedies.
  • Pinon – Used so extensively by Native Americans it was referred to by some tribes as the “tree of life.”
  • Prickly Pear Cactus – Native Americans used the younger pads for food and in teas; while mature pads were used in poultices.
  • Stiff Goldenrod – Long been used to stop bleeding and other ailments.
  • Sumac – Viewed by some tribes as a sacred plant, Sumac was used for both food and medicine.
  • White Willow – The use of willow bark dates back thousands of years.
Warrior Tea from Nuwati Herbals

The Warrior Tea – Antioxidant tea for general good health, help the heart and heal wounds, promote digestion, and improve mental processes. Available at Legends’ General Store

Antioxidant:

  • Ginko Biloba – One of the most ancient trees in existence, it has been used for both food and medicine.
  • Grapefruit – Seeds, pulp, and inner rind used for internal conditions.
  • Olive Oil – A traditional tree crop long used in foods and medicines.
  • Sarsaparilla – Used for centuries in a wide variety of medicinal remedies.
  • Schisandra – A genus of shrub that has many medicinal uses.
  • Spirulina – A type of blue-green algae that is rich in protein, vitamins.
  • White Willow – The use of willow bark dates back thousands of years.

Anxiety:

  • Damiana – Used internally for a variety of medical issues.
  • Hops – Though most commonly known for its use in beer, it also has medicinal properties.
  • Kava Kava – Used there for thousands of years as a folk remedy and as a social and ceremonial beverage.
  • Kola Nut – Long used in medicinal remedies, spiritual practices, and ceremonies. Should not be used by pregnant or nursing women, or those with intestinal or stomach ulcers, blood pressureinsomnia, or heart disorders.
  • Lavender – Dating back to Roman times, Lavender has been used in teas, balms, food, and medicinal remedies.
  • Lemon Balm – A calming herb that has been used since the Middle Ages.
  • Passion Flower – Has a long history of use among Native Americans that and were adapted by early European colonists. Do not take passionflower if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Peppermint – in addition to flavoring, long used in traditional medicine for its calming and numbing effects. Should not be used or given to infants or small children.
  • Rhodiola – Best known in improving physical and mental performance.
  • Skullcap – A powerful medicinal herb, it was cultivated Native Americans for use in several remedies. Pregnant women should not take Skullcap.
  • St John’s Wort – Most commonly known as an anti-depressant, it also has other medical uses.
  • Valerian Root – Has been used as a medicinal herb since at least the time of ancient Greece and Rome.
  • Wild Lettuce – Indigenous to North American, it was used for sedative purposes, especially in nervous complaints.

Aphrodisiac:

  • Damiana – Used internally for a variety of medical issues.Guarana – Containing caffeine, it has many of the same effects as coffee.
  • Savory – An aromatic herb used as a spice and in folk medicine.

 

Appendicitis:

 

SeeLessO'Me Tea from Nuwati Herbals

SeeLessO’Me Tea – For diet, appetite suppressant, energy, laxative, stomach soother and more. Available at Legends’ General Store

Appetite Stimulant:

  • Devil’s Claw – Used in teas and tonics internally and in poultices externally. Should not be used by women who are or may be pregnant.Dogwood – Bark, berries, and twigs used in decoctions internally and externally.
  • Fennel – Seeds, leaves, and roots used in cooking and medicinal remedies.Fenugreek – Used internally and externally for a variety of medicinal purposes.
  • Gentiana – Extremely bitter herb used for both internal and external problems. may cause irritation in persons who have ulcers, and may also cause headache, nausea or vomiting.Ginger Root – Utilized as both a spice and medicine throughout the world.
  • Horehound – Whole plant used internally and externally. People with gastritis or peptic ulcer disorders should use it cautiously.
  • Lemon Balm – A calming herb that has been used since the Middle Ages.
  • Rabbit Tobacco – Was thought to have had spiritual or mystic powers by many Indians.
  • Sage – Used for thousands of years in cooking and like other culinary herbs, it has long been thought to be a digestive aid aid and appetite stimulant.
  • Saw Palmetto – Long prized as a food product, it was also used by Native Americans to make baskets and fans, as well as in medicinal remedies.
  • Star Anise – The fruit of a small tree with a licorice-like flavor long used in medical remedies.
  • Wild Black Cherry – The dried inner bark was traditionally used in tea or syrups for several health problems.
  • Wild Garlic – Used throughout its history for both culinary and medicinal purposes.
  • Wild Ginger – Native Americans used the roots as a seasoning as well as a medicinal herb.
  • Wormwood – The leaves and flowering tops were gathered and dried to use in medicinal tonics.

 

Appetite Suppressant:

  • Bee Pollen – One of the oldest health foods used by man, it is mixed with food or drinks, or as a pill supplement today.
  • Dandelion – Used in both foods and internal and external medical remedies.
  • Garcinia Cambogia – Fruit rind used in a variety of remedies. Not recommended for those with diabetes, people suffering any dementia syndrome, or pregnant and lactating women.
  • Guarana – Containing caffeine, it has many of the same effects as coffee.
  • Kola Nut – Long used in medicinal remedies, spiritual practices, and ceremonies. Should not be used by pregnant or nursing women, or those with intestinal or stomach ulcers, blood pressureinsomnia, or heart disorders.
  • Yerba Mate – A species of Holly that has a long history as a medicinal herb.

 

Arthritis:

  • Alfalfa – Utilized in teas or added to food for a variety of medicinal remedies.  Avoid if you have an auto-immune problem.
  • Black Cohosh – Roots of the plant were used in teas for a variety of ailments.
  • Boneset – Dried leaves are used in tea. Caution is advised as it is toxic and has side effects.
  • Boswellia – Fragrant resin utilized in a variety of ailments. Should not be used by the pregnant, breast-feeding women and children.
  • Buffaloberry – Used as food and in herbal remedies. Overindulgence can cause severe problems including death.
  • Devil’s Claw – Used in teas and tonics internally and in poultices externally. Should not be used by woman who are or may be pregnant.
  • Eucalyptus – Teas and ointments used for a variety of purposes.
  • Feverfew – Used for a variety of internal medical problems. Should not be used by women who are pregnant.
  • Ginger Root – Utilized as both a spice and medicine throughout the world.
  • Goldenrod – Long used for a variety of ailments.
  • Green Tea – Made solely with the leaves of Camellia Sinensis, it is known for its many helpful properties.
  • Greenbriar – Teas and salves used internally and externally.
  • Guarana – Containing caffeine, it has many of the same effects as coffee.
  • Juniper – Used internally and externally for medicinal purposes. Pregnant women should not use this herb as it has been known to cause miscarriage.
  • Osha – Having a wide variety of medicinal properties, Osha was highly valued by Native Americans.
  • Pau d’arco – Long used for a wide range conditions.
  • Poke – Though parts of this plant are highly toxic to livestock and humans, it has long been used as a food and medicine by Native Americans.
  • Sarsaparilla – Used for centuries in a wide variety of medicinal remedies.
  • Shavegrass – Used for centuries as a remedy for various medical conditions.
  • Slippery Elm – The tree had many traditional uses by Native Americans.
  • Stoneseed – Seeds used for a number of medical ailments.
  • White Pine – The inner bark, young shoots, twigs, pitch, and leaves have long been used by Native Americans in medical remedies.
  • Wild Garlic – Used throughout its history for both culinary and medicinal purposes.
  • Yellow Dock – Native Americans as a traditional medicine and food.

 

Native Plants - Native Healing

Native Plants – Native Healing. From our Book Shelf at Legends’ General Store

Asthma:

  • Boswellia – Fragrant resin utilized in a variety of ailments. Should not be used by the pregnant, breast-feeding women and children.
  • Coltsfoot – This dandelion looking plant has been used medicinally throughout the world for thousands of years for numerous purposes.
  • Damiana – Used internally for a variety of medical issues.
  • Eastern Skunk Cabbage – Dried leaves used as seasoning, in remedies, and as a magical talisman by various tribes.
  • Evening Primrose – Used for both food and in medicinal remedies, decoctions were used for internal and external ailments.
  • Feverfew – Used for a variety of internal medical problems. Should not be used by women who are pregnant.
  • Goldenrod – Long used for a variety of ailments.
  • Honeysuckle – Used in traditional herbal remedies for thousands of years.
  • Horehound – Whole plant used internally and externally. People with gastritis or peptic ulcer disorders should use it cautiously.
  • Indian Hemp – A type of marijuana it was used to make clothes, rope, and paper as well as boiling the roots into teas for medicinal problems.
  • Kola Nut – Long used in medicinal remedies, spiritual practices, and ceremonies. Should not be used by pregnant or nursing women, or those with intestinal or stomach ulcers, blood pressureinsomnia, or heart disorders.
  • Lemongrass – Having anti-fungal properties, it has not only been used as an herbal medicine, but, also as a pesticide and preservative.
  • Mullein – A tobacco-like plant and one of the oldest herbs, it has a long history of use as a medicine
  • Poke – Though parts of this plant are highly toxic to livestock and humans, it has long been used as a food and medicine by Native Americans.
  • Rabbit Tobacco – Was thought to have had spiritual or mystic powers by many Indians.
  • Rooibos – Used in teas to help with a variety of conditions.
  • Sumac – Viewed by some tribes as a sacred plant, Sumac was used for both food and medicine.
  • Wild Black Cherry – The dried inner bark was traditionally used in tea or syrups for several health problems.
  • Wild Garlic – Used throughout its history for both culinary and medicinal purposes.
  • Wild Ginger – Native Americans used the roots as a seasoning as well as a medicinal herb.
  • Wild Onion – Traditionally used as both food and medicine.
  • Yarrow – Used for thousands of years, especially to stop bleeding.

 

Astringent:

  • Grapefruit – Seeds, pulp, and inner rind used for internal conditions.
  • Raspberry – Leaves and fruits used in a wide range of medical issues.
  • Rose Hip – The fruit of the rose plant has long been used in teas to soothe a variety of problems.
  • Stiff Goldenrod – Long been used to stop bleeding and other ailments.
  • Sumac – Viewed by some tribes as a sacred plant, Sumac was used for both food and medicine.
  • Yarrow – Used for thousands of years, especially to stop bleeding.

 

Disclaimer:  These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and we make no medical claims, nor intend to diagnose, treat, or heal medical conditions. Women who are pregnant or nursing, or persons with known medical conditions should consult their physician before taking any herbal products.

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1 thought on “Native American and Other Ancient Remedies”

  1. I like to learn about natural health and have drank some of the herbal teas, they are good not to strong.i am really partial to the tea that taste like fruit.

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