I love finding health articles that center around natural or healing with nature’s cures.
This wonderful and informative article is one you’ll come back to again and again for all its great tips and useful health ephemera gathered from some of nature’s biggest fans; Native American medicine people of the Cherokee tribe.
Photo by Candice Collins
he Native American tribe Cherokee is indigenous to the Southeastern United States. This tribe believed that they have been given a gift by the Creator which enabled them to understand and use medicinal herbs.
They believed and used the benefits of nature’s pharmacy. Moreover, as plants can become scarce over time, they had a unique gathering method and they picked every third plant they found and thus made sure that they will leave sufficient to continue to propagate.
However, the following 12 plants were used by this tribe in the treatment of almost every single illness and health condition. However, before we explain their properties, we must warn you that they can be quite strong and dangerous if not used properly.
Keep in mind that the Cherokee healers were experienced as they had centuries of practice. Furthermore, it is of high importance to understand their value as powerful natural medications, so you should be gentle when scavenging them.
These are the natural plants that provide amazing health benefits:
Big Stretch (Wild Ginger)
This tribe believed that the mild tea from the root of wild ginger stimulates digestion, and treats the upset stomach, colic, and intestinal gas. Also, the strong tea from the root of wild ginger can eliminate secretion from the lungs.
Another Native American tribe, The Meskwaki, cured earaches by using crushed, steeped stems of wild ginger. The rootstocks can replace regular ginger and flowers as flavoring for numerous recipes you prepare.
Hummingbird Blossom (Buck Brush)
The Cherokee used this medicinal plant to treat mouth and throat issues, inflammation, cysts, and fibroid tumors, and it has been found to regulate high blood pressure and treat lymphatic blockages.
The Cherokee usually used it as a diuretic to stimulate the function of the kidneys, as well as in the case of:
The Cherokee would steep the leave and flowers in a boiling water for 5 minutes and then consumed it warm in order to obtain best results.
Pull Out a Sticker (Greenbriar)
This plant’s roots are rich in starch, which is full of calories, but has a strange flavor. The stems and leaves are high in numerous minerals and vitamins. As it has a rubbery texture, you can use its roots like potatoes.
This plant has been used as a mild diuretic in the case of urinary infections and to purify the blood. Its bark and leaves have also been used for the preparation of an ointment which heals burns and minor sores.
Its leaves can be added to tea in order to treat arthritis, and the berries can be either consumed raw, or made into jam.
Mint is extremely popular nowadays, and it is often consumed in the form of a tea. However, only a few know that it has strong antioxidant properties and that it is high in vitamin C, A, fiber, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.
It has been used by the Cherokee to improve digestion, and its leaves were made into ointments, crushed and applied as cold compresses, or added to baths in order to treat skin itchiness.
Moreover, its leaves and stems were also used as a treatment for high blood pressure. You can also prepare a mint water to treat your cracked nipples while breastfeeding!
This has been the most popular medicine in the case of an upset stomach, but it also has numerous other uses. It can be used to relieve bleeding gums if you chew the leaves.
You can make a cough syrup by preparing a decoction from the roots, sweetened with maple syrup or honey. The strong tea from its root reduces the swelling of the joints and tissues.
These delicious berries are rich in important nutrients, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin K, riboflavin, thiamine, folate, and niacin, as well as potassium, zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorous. Furthermore, they are abundant in essential amino acids and dietary fiber.
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The Cherokee have been gifted by the Creator with an understanding of the gathering, use and preservation of medicinal herbs. The Cherokee believe that these plants were put on this earth to provide not only healing methods, but preventative measures, as well.
Many plants have disappeared throughout the years or have become extremely scarce. Because of this, we recommend extreme care in gathering wild herbs and other plants. The old ones taught that when you gather, only pick or dig every third plant you find. This will ensure that enough specimens remain to continue propagation.
Many traditionalists carry on the practice of asking the plant’s permission to be gathered, and leave a small gift of thanks. This can be a small bead or other such item. It is also recommended by Cherokee traditionalists that should you find a wild crop of useful herbs, do not share its location unless it is to a person very close to you. This will ensure that large numbers of people do not clean out an entire wild crop in a short time.
Additional information regarding the gathering, usage and application of medicinal herbs can be found by talking to the elders of a Cherokee family. Many of these people will still recall some of the home remedies that their families used, as well as provide information on herbs which they themselves use.
One of the herbs known the longest time for soothing stomach problems is the blackberry. Using a strong tea from the roots is helpful is reducing and soothing swollen tissues and joints. An infusion from the leaves is also used as a tonic for stimulating the entire system. A decoction from the roots, sweetened with sugar or honey, makes a syrup used for an expectorant. It is also healing for sore throats and gums. The leaves can also be chewed fresh to soothe bleeding gums. The Cherokee historically use the tea for curing diarrhea.
Cherokee healers use a mild tea made from small pieces of black gum bark and twigs to relieve chest pains.
Hummingbird Blossom (Buck Brush) is used by Cherokee healers by making a weak decoction of the roots for a diuretic that stimulates kidney function.
Cat Tail (Cattail) is not a healing agent, but is used for preventative medicine. It is an easily digestible food helpful for recovering from illness, as it is bland. Most all parts of the plant, except for the mature leaves and the seed head, are edible. Due to wide-spread growing areas, it is a reliable food source all across America. The root has a very high starch content, and can be gathered at any time. Preparation is very similar to potatoes, and can be mashed, boiled, or even mixed with other foods. The male plant provides a pollen that is a wonderful source for protein. You can add it as a supplement to other kinds of flour when making breads.
A decoction of the small roots of Pull Out a Sticker (Greenbrier) is useful as a blood purifier. It is also a mild diuretic. Some healers make a salve from the leaves and bark, mixed with hog lard, and apply to minor sores, scalds and burns. Some Cherokee healers also use the root tea for arthritis.