Thousands of years ago when modern medicine didn’t exist at all, people were still healing themselves by using herbs, plants and fruits. All ancient cultures knew how to relieve their pain using these natural gifts. For them and for their survival it was crucial to get know the surrounding nature, and they were doing that in two ways: by observing what sick animals ate or by experimenting! They were preparing many remedies, from different plants and remembered which had positive effects and which not. Then they transmitted their knowledge to the next generations, orally and in writing. Of course, by trying to figure out which plants are toxic and in what dose, they were risking their lives and very often these tests were without success.
Different ancient cultures were using different plants as remedies for the same diseases. This was depending on which part of the world they were living and what kind of plants were growing there.
Here we’ll talk about the herbs that native Americans had used as food and medicine for thousand of years! Many of following herbs are still in use, which proves their healing powers. Let’s see some of them:
1. Alfalfa – used as a tea or added to food to help with digestion, for treating arthritis, kidney diseases and blood clotting.
2. Aloe – the gel from leaves is good for skin conditions ( burns, insect bites and wounds), while drinking aloe Vera juice is excellent remedy for ulcers and intestinal problems.
3. Ashwagandha – considered as a sacred plant but if not prepared correctly, can be toxic. Used for renewing the physical and mental energy, memory loss, rheumatism and bone weakness.
4. Aspen – the tea from the inner bark was used for coughs, fever and pain. It’s main ingredient is salicin, found also in the bark of willow tree, and it was used for headache, menstrual cramps, rheumatism and bladder problems. Salicin is the foundation of the aspirin!
5. Bee pollen – it was consumed with food to boost energy and to improve the immune system.
6. Beeswax – used only externally for insect bites, burns and bacterial infections, or to protect the skin especially during the cold winter months.
7. Black Cohoshn – tea from the root of this plant was used to relieve menstrual cramps and anxiety because of its sedative effects. It’s also good for treating symptoms of menopause and PMS syndrome.
8. Blackberry – the root and leaves was used for preparing tea against diarrhea and gums inflammation. Mixed with bee honey was consumed as cough remedy, while the fruits, rich in iron, are always excellent choice for anemia.
9. Cattail – edible plant for animals and for people to! Native Americans loved this plant because all parts can be eaten: leaves, the young steams and the young flowers. It’s good for digestion, for skin health and because of its coagulant properties, it was used to slow down the bleeding when someone was wounded or for women with heavy menstrual bleeding.
10. Chamomile – chamomile tea is famous remedy for intestinal issues and excellent sedative, with proved benefits!
11. Echinacea – another famous native American plant. Commonly used as antiseptic and for treatment of colds, fever and flu. It was also used then and today to strengthen the immune system.
12. Eucalyptus – it had been known for a long time that the oil extract from the leaves, relieves bronchial problems and chest congestion. That’s why today we use a lot inhalation drops from eucalyptus oil to treat the same issues. This oil has also anti-microbial and antiseptic properties and because of that it was used for treating wounds, cuts, burns and sores.
13. Ginger root – consumed as a tea or chewing raw ginger was common remedy for nausea, cold, loss of appetite and pain. Especially good for joint pain thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects.
14. Ginseng – famous aphrodisiac who helps to boost energy and improves the immune system. The tea was used for lung and liver issues and for treating insomnia.
15. Honeysuckle – flowers and leaves were used for skin inflammations and itching as well as for preparing tea that treats all respiratory infections. Some berries are toxic, depending on the species.
16. Licorice root – very effective natural laxative that treats also stomach ulcers or heartburn. Kills bacteria and viruses and it was used to relief toothaches.
17. Mullein – edible plant with large leaves and beautiful yellow flowers and with many healthy benefits. From the flowers can be prepared a tea that cures dry coughs and chest congestion. It’s good for sore throat, asthma, allergies, gastrointestinal bleeding and diarrhea. The leaves can be smoked to prevent coughing until the lung infection is gone.
18. Rosemary – used as a tea for muscle pain and spasm, for improving memory, improves circulation and purifies the body.
19. Sage – another sacred plant used for cleaning the body of negative spirits. Raw chopped sage was used for treating cuts, bruises and insect repellent, while as a tea it’s good for respiratory infections, digestive disorders, sore throat and spasms.
20. Tea Tree Oil – the oil comes from the leaves and is used for skin conditions like: acne, nail fungus infections, skin infections, insect bites, scabies and sunburns.
21. Wild rose – this beautiful flower is edible and has many benefits known for centuries. The rose petals were ate fresh, boiled in a tea, infused in water to prepare tonic and even dried, then toasted and smoked. Wild roses have sedative, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory effects. The tea was used as a kidney and liver purifier, relieve varicose veins and is good for reproductive system. The tonic was used for skin problems and smoking of wild rose petals was good antidepressant and aphrodisiac.
There are many other plants used as remedies for different kinds of diseases and if we get know better the nature around us, we’ll understand the power of these plants that had last for thousand of years.