11 Plants Native Americans Used to Cure Everything (From joint pain to cancer)
Cherokee is a Native American tribe aboriginal to the Southeastern United States. They believed that the Creator had given them a gift to understand and properly use medicinal herbs.
They used and believed in the benefits of the pharmacy provided by nature. The people from this tribe made sure to leave enough plants behind them, while gathering them, to prevent them from an extension, and they did this by collecting every third plant they came across.
This tribe used the next 11 plants to treat almost every health problem and disease. Before explaining their properties, we must note that improper use of these plants might be dangerous as they can be very strong.
Don’t forget that the people from this tribe had centuries of practice, so they were quite experienced. You should understand that these plants are potent natural medications, so make sure you’re gentle when collecting them.
Here are the 11 plants with incredible health benefits:
1. Big Stretch (Wild Ginger)
The Cherokee people considered that the tea from the root of Big Stretch stimulates digestion, and treats intestinal gas, colic, and upset stomach. Moreover, strong tea from this root can remove secretion from the lungs.
The Meskwaki is another Native American tribe which used crushed steeped wild ginger stems to treat earaches. You can use the rootstocks as a flavoring for many recipes, and to replace their common ginger and flowers.
2. Hummingbird Blossom (Buck Brush)
This medicinal plant was used by this Native tribe in the treatment of inflammation, throat issues, fibroid tumors, cysts, and lymphatic blockages, and they also discovered that it can high blood pressure.
People from Cherokee usually used this plant as a diuretic to stimulate kidney function, and in the following cases:
• enlarged spleen
• inflamed tonsils
• enlarged lymph nodes
• menstrual bleeding
They soak the leaves and flowers of the plant in a boiling water for about five minutes, and for best results, they drank it warm.
3. Pull Out a Sticker (Greenbrier)
The roots of this plant contain high amounts of starch which is rich in calories, and with an unusual flavor. The leaves and stems are rich in vitamins and minerals. Its roots can be used as potatoes as it has rubbery texture.
Cherokee used Greenbrier as a mild diuretic in urinary infections and as a blood purifier. They were also making an ointment from the bark and leaves of the plant and used it for healing burns and minor sores.
Use Greenbrier’s leaves in the treatment of arthritis by just adding them to tea and its berries as a raw food or prepared as jam.
Nowadays, mint is quite popular, especially the tea from it. It contains strong antioxidant attributes, and it’s rich in vitamin A, C, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium.
Cherokee people used the plant to improve digestion, prepared ointments from its leaves, cold compresses from crushed leaves, and added mint leaves in their baths for treatment of skin itchiness.
The stems and leaves from mint were as well used to treat high blood pressure. Moreover, mint water can be used for the treatment of cracked nipples when breastfeeding.
Besides the most popular use of blackberries at that time, treating an upset stomach, this fruit has other beneficial uses. Chewits leaves to relieve bleeding gums.
Make a decoction from blackberry roots to prepare a cough syrup, and add some honey or maple syrup to sweeten the taste. The tea from the roots of this fruit is very strong and can decrease the swelling of tissues and joints.
Besides being delicious, these berries are high in important nutrients like vitamin A, B6, C, E, K, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and folate, as well as zinc, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and calcium. In addition, they are rich in dietary fiber and essential amino acids.
More benefits of blackberries:
• relieve endothelial dysfunction
• strengthen immune system
• prevent cancer
• improve digestion
• healthy functioning of the heart
Cherokee used this plant as a powerful preventive medicine that promotes recovery from a number of health problems, and it is easily digested. Not only the cattail’s seed heads and mature leaves have medicinal properties, but every other part of the plant. The roots are high in starch and the male cattail herb high in pollen.
The herb can be mashed and boiled, just like potatoes. You will get a paste which can be used in the treatment of burns and sores. Moreover, the pollen in the herb is high in protein and can be used in baking as a supplement.
The flowers of cattail can help in diarrhea. The fuzz of its flowers, popular as the seed down, can be used for prevention of diaper rash and other skin irritation in babies.
7. Qua lo ga (Sumac)
Every part of this plant has powerful medical properties. Use its ripe berries as a juice since they are rich in vitamin C, its bark as a mild decoction to soothe a sore throat and diarrhea, and the sumac’s leaves as a tea for lowering fever.
Its crushed leaves can be prepared as an ointment to relieve poison ivy rash. Moreover, the Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research has published a study which proves that consuming sumac on a regular basis reduces the levels of cholesterol.
8. Jisdu Unigisdi (Wild Rose)
The fruit from this plant is rich in vitamin C and it can be used in the treatment of common colds and flu. The Cherokee people used wild rose hips to make mild tea which stimulates the function of bladder and kidneys.
Use a decoction of wild rose roots in the treatment of diarrhea, and infusion of its petals to soothe a sore throat, or to make a delicious jam.
Mullein is extremely efficient in cases of chest congestion and asthma. Breathing in the smoke from burning leaves and roots of this plant was considered to effectively open up our air pathways and calm our lungs. You can prepare a tea from the flowers of mullein, which will have a mild sedative effect.
Mullein has an incredible soothing effect on the mucous membranes. Soak your feet in a warm mullein decoction to lower joint pain and swelling. It possesses potent anti-inflammatory attributes which help in the relieving of the pain and irritation of tissues.
10. Kawi Iyusdi (Yellow Dock)
This plant resembles spinach so it can be found in most kitchens. However, it’s much richer in vitamins and minerals. The Yellow dock’s roots get nutrients from deep underground.
This herb’s leaves are rich in iron so they have a laxative function. You can soothe diaper rash, or itching, minor sores with a juice decoction of its stems. On the other hand, a decoction from yellow duck’s crushed roots can be used as a warm wash as it possesses potent antiseptic properties.
11. Squirrel Tail (Yarrow)
Apply fresh and crushed squirrel tail leaves on a wound to stop the bleeding, as this herb possesses potent blood clotting properties.
Moreover, juice from this herb combined with spring water has the ability to stop internal bleeding arising from the stomach, and intestinal diseases. Furthermore, you can prepare a tea from its leaves to improve the function of your stomach and digestion, and they are also efficient in acne treatment.
Cherokees believe that they were given herbs and plants by their Creator, gifts which allowed them to treat and cure illnesses and ailments (1). These plants were plants for healing various illnesses and so the Cherokees had great respect for plants.
Herbal medicine has been practiced by Cherokee and other Native American healers for hundreds of years (2).
Their extensive knowledge of the healing properties of regional herbs and plants was handed down from one generation to another via specially chosen healers and shamans.
They used a unique gathering method, picking only every third plant in order to ensure that the plants they relied on might continue to grow for generations to come.
Today, many of the herbs and plants that the Cherokee once used have grown scarce due to overconsumption and damage to the land. “Nature’s pharmacy” is slowly being depleted.
If you decide to gather any of the following wild herbs and plants, please be gentle and selective so that the plant may continue to proliferate.