Medical ailments, general sickness and ultimately death cannot escape any of us.Within human populations, the medicine used to treat medical conditions historically
Herbs at Sundance Natural Food
Indian Tribes and Bands of Historical Western North America
Western United States Native American Medicinal Plants
- Balsam fir (Abies lasiocarpa) was used to treat colds by making a tea with the needles and resinous blisters found on the trunk. It was used in the Owyhee, Nevada and Montana areas.
- Blue Gilia (Gilia spp.) was made into a tea. The tea was made from the whole plant totreat children's colds. It was milder than other plant species, which made it good for children. It was found in Austin and Ely, Nevada.
- Coral root (Corallorhiza maculata). The whole plant was dried and made into tea to treat colds. It was thought to have supernatural origin. The plant was found at Owyhee and Pyramid Lake, Nevada.
- Alumroot (Heuchera glabella). The root was steeped for an eye-wash the leaves were also used to make teas for other ailments. The Blackfoot Indians used it.
- Acacia was
used for the treatment of eye inflammation, due to “dusts, vaqueros or
- Indian Balsam
(Leptotaenia multifida) had many uses.
After the seeds became ripe the roots were dug up. They would cut the roots
into small chips and string on a line to dry in the shade. The roots smelled
like celery and looked like small carrots. After dry a tea was made from the
chips and the ill person was supposed to
Indian Balsam Root
- Mountain balm, snowbrush (Ceanothus velutinus). A tea was made from the leaves for “puzzling illnesses.” It was said that they would breath out a fresh odor after drinking it. Used primarily by Warm Spring Native Americans.
- Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis spp.). The seeds were roasted and eaten to treat kidney problems. This was especially troublesome in desert areas where water was scarce and impure. It was widely used by California Native Americans.
- Sand Verbena (Abronia villosa). The whole plant was used to induce urine. The Moapa Paiutes used it.
- Bud Sage (Artemisia spinescens). The whole plant was cooked and the juices were used as the medicine to treat bladder issues, common in desert areas where water was scarce and impure. The Fort MacDermitt Paiutes used it.
- Sweet Anise (Osmorrhiza occidentalis). The root was made into a tea and leaves were chewed for physic. Leaves were also boiled and placed on the skin for small pox. Shoshone Indians used it.
- Oregon Grape (Berberis repens). The root was collected, peeled, dried, and steeped, to check for dysentery and rectal hemorrhaging. Used by the Shoshone, Paiute, Warm Spring and Blackfeet Indians.
|Oregon Grape Root|
- Elderberry (Sambucus glauca). The root was boiled till soft and applied to inflammation. The Shoshone and Paiute Indians used it.
- Bulrush or
Joint Grass was used for blood poisoning; the stems were smashed and applied to
the skin. The Chippewas used it. Plantain
- Plantain (Plantago major) was used to treat battle bruises and wounds. A tea was made and they covered the body in the whole plant. The Shoshones used it.
- Juniper (Juniperus spp.) was used for rheumatism. They burned a fire down to coals and placed green Juniper boughs over it and then the person laid on these. They also drank tea from the leaves. Used by the Paiute, Shoshone and Washo Indians.
- Juniper, Antelope brush or Parosela were used for small pox. It was burned on a stove as a disinfectant and for cleaning. It was also used to make a tea. Tribes all over the Inter-Mountain and Pacific Northwest used it.
- False Hellebore (Veratrum Californica) was used as a birth control. They use the fresh root in tea daily for birth control or for sterility they made a tea for life made from dried root. Sho and Washoe Indians used it.
|Western vs Traditional Medicine|