Native american herbal remedies

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  1. Introduction to Native American herbal remedies
  2. Salvia apiana
  3. Black cohosh
  4. Ginseng
  5. Echinacea
  6. yarrow and yerba buena
  7. red clover, ephedra and goldenseal
Native American herbal remedies

Introduction to Native American herbal remedies


Native Americans herbal remedies have a long tradition and there are many different Native American herbal remedies.

The type of remedy is dependent on the tribe and the geographical location of the tribe.

Ceremony and ritual also play a very important part in any herbal treatment; their role is balancing the body and spirit.

Salvia apiana


White sage was a popular herb used in Native American herbal remedies.

The Omaha used salvia apiana to prevent nosebleeds and for fevers.

The Blackfeet used white sage as one of the ingredients in a steam vapor mixture which was inhaled for respiratory problems.The Paiute people used a decoction of white sage as a bath to provide relief for aching feet.

They also used the plant as a compress or poultice for headaches, stomachaches relieving pain caused by skin or rashes eruptions, diarrhea and in sweat baths used to treat rheumatism.

The Washoe tribe used salvia apiana as an aromatic wash for colds, coughs and headaches.

The Fox tribe used the leaves to make an infusion to heal sore throat and tonsillitis. Old sores were cured using a poultice of leaves.

The Shoshone used white sage for coughs, headaches, stomach aches, menstrual disorders, diarrhea, influenza; they also used it as a compress for fevers.

The Native Americans also used white sage in sweat lodges.

Black cohosh


A decoction of black cohosh root was used for coughs, additionally it was blown on patients suffering from feverish headaches and fever.

The root was chewed and then spat on to the wound as a cure for snake bites.

The roots were also bruised and then used in a hollow tooth for toothache. It was also used as a gargle for sore throats, menstrual problems and typhoid fevers.



Large amounts of ginseng were sold to traders for fifty cents per pound, almost the equivalent of two days wages at the time.

The decoction of the root, was used for cramps and headaches and women's problems.

The root was also chewed and blown for pain in the ribcage area.



The Kiowa tribe used it for sore throats and coughs, the Pawnee tribe used it for headaches, the Lakhota tribe used echinacea as a analgesic and the Cheyenne tribe used it for sore throats.

The learned about echinacea's medicinal properties by watching elk practicing zoopharmacognosy. They observed the elk looking for the plant and then eat them when they were wounded or sick.

St John's wort


St John's wort was used in Native American herbal remedies for tuberculosis and respiratory ailments. It was also used for menstruation, coughs, snakebites and fevers.



The Onondaga tribe drank pennyroyal tea for headaches. Penobscot Indians drank pennyroyal tea for when their periods failed to arrive, so did the Cherokee.

Rappahannock Indians used pennyroyal for menstrual pain; additionally the Ojibwa people used the tea for upset stomach.

Cherokee applied a poultice of pennyroyal leaves onto toothaches and headaches.

They also drank pennyroyal tea for coughs, fevers and colds. The Nanticoke Indians employed it for kidney and liver ailments.

It was also one of the old home remedies used by African American slaves.

yarrow and yerba buena



The Chumash, Wasco, Paiute, Shoshone and some other tribes chewed yarrow leaves or used a poultice for treatment with bruises, broken bones, sores, sprains, burns and swellings.

The root and leaves were chewed for gum and toothaches; a section of the leaf was rolled, and then inserted into the cavity of the tooth for relief.

Yerba buena

Yerba buena is brewed as a tea in Philippine herbal medicine and other cultures and used for many remedies.

Chumash Indians used yerba as a deodorant before hunting by rubbing leaves on themselves. It was also used for parasitic worm infections.

Red clover, ephedra and goldenseal


Red Clover

Native Americans ate it and used it in ointments for externally for sores as well as internally for skin disease.


Ephedra was used by Native Americans both externally and internally, to treat syphilis as well as mucous discharges.


The juice was used to stain their faces and to dye their clothes. It was used medicinally for stomach aches, skin problems and sore eyes.

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