14 Plants Native Americans Used To Cure Everything


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Native Americans throughout the years have used tons of different plants to improve their health and other things of the sort. While you might not realize it there could be things literally growing in your yard that you could be using to improve your life.

Whether they’re trying to purify their souls or working to cure some kind of illness the Native Americans have a plant for everything. Native American remedies are something I am sure that regardless of who you are if you live in the US you have heard something about. For instance, tobacco being used for things like bee stings and other things of the sort, where do you think that came from?

Native Americans have always been in touch with the Earth and its dynamics. Hunting and gathering are not simply activities done in order to make a living, they are a religion and a way of life. It is important to respect Native American beliefs within their cultural context. In the old days, the tribes and bands of the Blackfeet, Ktunaxa (Kootenai), and Salish were dependent upon plants and animals for their livelihood. They knew the habitat and uses of most plants in their territory. If they came upon an unfamiliar plant in their travels, it was subjected to scrutiny and experimentation. It was, after all, a new gift from the Creator.

Knowledge of traditional plant use has been passed from generation to generation. That knowledge base continues to grow today. If a skilled native botanist is not able to find a use for a plant in a relatively short time, it is assumed that a user will eventually be discovered. Plant uses are sometimes revealed to worthy individuals through visions, dreams or as a gift from a spirit guardian; but most uses are determined through observation and testing. Typically, a person known for powers as a medicine woman or medicine man will carefully test the properties of a plant. A new species of mint reveals use to the sense of smell and taste. While nettles and thistles might have seemed a simple nuisance to the uninformed, upon observation of animals eating them and after testing, native botanists found uses for them as medicines, food, dyes and even material for fabric.

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Now, below I am going to go over some of the more prominent plants that Native Americans have made the most of regarding use. While you will have heard of some of them, the things they can do might surprise you. How many of these will you be adding to your life after reading this?

This prickly vine was for the most part used by Natives to treat things like digestive issues, arthritis, and skin disease. It works great for fighting off acne and was even thought to benefit those with cancer and skin diseases of other varieties in the past. Sure, it might not be ideal in this day and age but it could be cool to have around.

Mint while pretty common in recent times is a plant that can fight of allergy issues and when the leaves are dried and added to tea can do magical things. If you have a headache, cold, or even just need to treat a small burn mint might be what you need.

Wheat grass is easy to come by and really does the immune system well. It can be used to treat bronchitis and constipation as well as reduce a fever big time. While not necessarily as ideal in this day and age, it has a lot to offer us.

While beautiful lavender holds lots of seemingly hidden benefits. You can use lavender for anxiety, insomnia, hair loss, and even fatigue. It was actually even used during WW1 as a disinfectant.

Passion flower or Passiflora is an interesting looking flower that grows on a vine. It can be made into a tea to treat hysteria and even get rid of boils but it should not be used by those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. While beneficial it is not something for everyone and that should be kept in mind. If you aren’t sure if you should be using this one then perhaps you should try an alternative.

6. Persimmon

Persimmons are fruit that grows quite prominently here in the US. All you have to do is make tea with them to cure hiccups, reduce fevers, promote heart health and other things of the sort. If you are someone with high blood pressure adding persimmons to your life might be something you should consider.

7. Marshmallow Leaf/Root

This one has many different names but its uses, for the most part, are things like treating diarrhea, indigestion and promoting weight loss. Many add it to their salads or other things of the sort. While it might taste a bit odd, it is actually quite nice.

Yes, smoking is not a good thing and can do harm but the tobacco plant itself isn’t necessarily ‘evil.’ This plant can be used to treat toothaches, kidney issues, and pain depending on what you’re facing. This plant is very important in regards to Native culture.

9. Western Skunk Cabbage

Also known as Swamp Lantern this smelly plant can treat burns and injuries well. It has a spicy taste but shouldn’t be merely eaten. When using it you should just opt for topical uses. Medicinally this one is a bit odd but does the trick.

10. Yarrow

This is something many people call the Devil’s Nettle as it is a bit peculiar in the way it looks. It has been used throughout the years for its astringent effects and can stop bleeding in wounds. It has been steamed for use by those with asthma and even tried as a means of getting rid of hemorrhoids.

This interesting ‘weed’ can be used as an antidepressant or for anxiety but it also comes in handy for muscle issues and swelling. While you might not see it as often as some of the others on this list, it is very important to have around.

Yes, you read that correctly, cattail. This can be used to rid you of abdominal pain and cramps. While it was eaten regularly, it was often mixed with other things to treat PMS and issues of that sort.

This was used as an antiseptic by most Native American tribes. It was referred to by some as the ‘tree of life’ and is a member of the Pine family. It’s seeds and pine nuts are edible and very important.

This antioxidant has been used for thousands of years and even now provides us with benefits. You can chew on it to reduce fever or inflammation and it’s great for lower back pain and headaches according to Legends of America.

Image by Marco Lopes from Pixabay

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