31 Long Forgotten Native American Medical Cures
We all know of natural remedies such as Echinacea as an antibiotic, willow bark as a painkiller or aloe as a topical anesthetic and treatment for skin issues. But all of this is just common knowledge compared to the insight of Native Americans. They developed a medical wheel similar to the yin-yang. The use of herbal medicine was modern medicine in their days – a completely holistic approach to medical treatment using plant and their health benefits.
This list of plants, trees and fruits from North America was heavily used by the Native American tribes. It might be a good idea to keep some of them at home. They are natural and great for everyday needs.
Take licorice tea for example: it’s a great cure for sore throat. Many of these remedies are still used today, such as bees wax, pollen, chamomile, etc. It demonstrates how smart the Native Americans were.
Trial and error was probably the method with which they determined which plants have medicinal properties. They also observed sick animals eating certain plants and trees, and found out that those plants must have some medicinal value. Since then, science has found the medicinal value in many plants, like the salicin, a chemical in the inner bark of willow trees from which common aspirin is derived.
Many of the remedies are omitted from the list: mistletoe has its uses, but it’s also poisonous.
Most of the remedies are good for cough or diarrhea. Rather than listing them here for the same condition, the list isolates the grouping for the most prevalent plants you may find and recognize. If you are pregnant however, consult with a doctor before using any of them.
Alleviates digestion and is used for help in blood clotting. It can be used against arthritis, bladder and kidney issues and bone strength. It boosts immunity as well.
A plant with thick leaves which give a thick sap when squeezed. It treats burns, insect bites and wounds.
The inner bark of xylem is added to tea for treatment of fever, cough and pain. Salicin, the main ingredient of aspirin, is present in it.
- Bee pollen
Mixed with food, bee pollen gives energy and boosts the immune system while aiding digestion. However, if you are allergic to bees, you are allergic to bee pollen too, so look out for it.
Beeswax is used as a salve for burns and insect bites. Use it only externally!
Every part of blackberry can be added into tea crushed, to treat diarrhea, reduce inflammation or stimulate the immune system. You can gargle it for sore throat, mouth ulcers or gum inflammation.
- Black raspberry
The roots of this plant can be crushed and added in tea. They can also be chewed to relieve coughs, diarrhea and general intestinal distress.
Buckwheat seeds can be used in soups or porridge to lower blood pressure, help with blood clotting and diarrhea.
Cayenne’s pods can be used as pain relievers added in food or tea. Cayenne is also used for arthritis and digestive distress. You can apply it on wounds to increase blood flow and act as an antiseptic and anesthetic.
One of the most popular remedies. Its leaves and flowers are often used for nausea and intestinal issues.
This plant was considered an all-purpose medical treatment by the Native Americans. Its berries were pitted, dried and crushed, then added to tea for treatment of many illnesses. As a salve, it was used for wounds and burns. However, the chokecherry seeds are dangerous in high concentrations. Be sure to pit them before use.
The purple cone flower is a classic Native American remedy used for strengthening the immune system, infections and fever. As many others it can be used for coughs, colds and flu, and is an antiseptic as well.
The oil from the plant’s leaves and roots is usually used in a tea to treat coughs, colds, sore throat and the flu.
Fennel has licorice flavor, and it relieves coughs, colds, sore throat or diarrhea when added to tea or chewed. It used as a poultice for eye and headache relief.
A natural relief for headaches and fever. It helps with digestive issues, asthma and muscle and joint pain too.
Feverwort is used for general pain, itching and joint stiffness. It can be added to tea or chewed, or crushed to paste as a salve.
- Ginger root
The root of this plant was crushed and mixed with food, tea or used as a salve or poultice. Ginger root aids digestive health, has anti-inflammatory properties, reliefs colds, flu and coughs, and bronchitis and joint pain as well.
Ginseng was used for millennia. The roots were added in food or tea to treat fatigue, boost the energy, strengthen the immune system and aid the liver and lungs function. Besides the root, the stems and leaves were also used.
Now commonly though as a source for allergies and sneezing, Goldenrod was actually used as a remedy by Native Americans. It was used for bronchitis, colds, flu, inflammation, sore throat and has antiseptic properties which helped with cuts and abrasions.
Berries, stems and leaves from the plants were used for insect stings and skin infections. As a tea, it relieved colds, headaches and sore throat.
Hops was used as a tea for digestive issues and was often mixed with other plants to soothe muscles. Toothaches and sore throat were relieved by hops as well.
Licorice helped with coughs, colds and sore throat. The root helped with toothache when chewed.
Added in tea or food, mullein was used to treat inflammation, coughs, chest congestions and general lung conditions. The plant is quite common: you probably have it growing in your garden without knowing.
- Passion flower
The leaves and root of passion flower were used as a tea for anxiety and muscle pain. It was used as a poultice for insect bites and burns.
- Red clover
This widely available plant and its parts were used in tea or as a food topping. It treated inflammation, improved circulation and respiratory issues.
- Rose hip
This is the red or orange berry, which is the fruit of wild roses. It has high amounts of vitamin C and can be used for colds, intestinal distress. It is an antiseptic as well and can reduce inflammation.
Rosemary is used as a tea or added in food to treat muscle pain, improve circulation or cleansing of the metabolism.
Sage is a natural insect repellent used for cold, sore throat as well as intestinal issues.
Spearmint was usually used for colds, cough, respiratory issues and diarrhea by the Native Americans.
The root can be added in tea for relief of muscle pains and has a soothing effect.
- White pine
The needles and inner bark can be added in tea. Used for respiratory issues and chest congestion.
This is just a fraction of what Native Americans used as medicine. There are many books which can show you nature’s cures for many conditions. Natural remedies are worth considering because of their practical and historical POV. But be careful: identify them properly and consult your doctor before using them.