The Cherokee is a Native American tribe that is indigenous to the Southern United States.
They believe that the Creator has gifted them with the gift of understanding and preserving medicinal herbs.
For centuries they have used the benefits of nature’s pharmacy and have developed a unique gathering method that will ensure that plants will continue to propagate.
This method was taught by the old ones. They started picking out every third plant they find. With this technique, they ensure that the specimen will survive and that future generations will be able to feel the benefits of those herbs.
Here are the 12 most used plants by the Cherokee that can treat almost every illness of health condition:
One of the longest known remedies for an upset stomach is the blackberry. However, it can be used for various other health issues. A tea made from the root of the blackberry will reduce joint swelling, and with the addition of maple syrup or honey, you will get an excellent cough syrup. You can even use the leaves – chewing them will soothe bleeding gums.
The blackberry is rich in vitamins like vitamin A, B6, C, E and K. It also contains potassium, zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron and phosphorous. Let’s not forget to mention that the delicious berries are also abundant in niacin, riboflavin, folate and thiamin.
You can also use this wonderful plant to enjoy the following benefits:
- Better digestion
- Cancer prevention
- Strengthened immune system
- Healthy heart function
- Relief from endothelial dysfunction
Big Stretch (Wild Ginger)
In order to stimulate better digestion, the Cherokee used a tea made from wild ginger roots. A mild wild ginger tea can also be used in the case of upset stomach, intestinal gas or colic while a strong wild ginger tea is used to remove any secretion from the lungs.
The Meskwaki, another native tribe, used the stems of wild ginger to cure an earache.
You can use the rootstocks from wild ginger to replace regular ginger in your kitchen and its flowers can be used to flavor your favorite dish.
Hummingbird Blossom (Buck Brush)
The Hummingbird Blossom has been used by the Cherokee to treat mouth and throat issues, inflammation, cysts, and fibroid tumors. This plant can also be used to regulate high blood pressure and treat lymphatic blockages and as a diuretic to stimulate the function of the kidneys.
Besides for the above-mentioned health issues, you can use this herb to treat:
- menstrual bleeding
- enlarged spleens
- enlarged lymph nodes
- inflamed tonsils
To enjoy the plant’s full benefits, the Cherokee would boil the leaves and the flowers of this plant for 5 minutes in order to prepare a tea and drink it while it is still warm.
Mint is one of the most popular herbs these days but rarely anyone knows of its antioxidant properties. Mint is also abundant in vitamin A and C, fiber, magnesium, potassium, calcium and phosphorus.
The Cherokee used mint to improve digestion. They used crushed mint leaves to made cool compresses and used a blend of stems and leaves to lower the blood pressure. To soothe itchy skin, mint was added to their baths and used mint water at breastfeeding women who had issues with cracked nipples.
Pull Out a Sticker (Greenbrier)
The roots of the greenbrier are high in starch while the leaves and stems contain numerous minerals and vitamins. They used the roots as a substitute for potatoes. They have a strong strange taste but are rich in calories.
The plant was also used as a diuretic in a case of urinary tract infections or as a blood purifier. Some Cherokee used the leaves and the bark to make an ointment for treating minor sores and burns.
A tea made from the leaves of the greenbrier can be used to relieve arthritis and its berries can be used to make a jam.
The cattail was mainly used as a preventative medicine. This easily digestible herb can help in recovery from various health issues. Besides the mature leaves and seed heads, every other part of the cattail can be used for medicinal purposes.
The root can be prepared similarly to the way we prepare potatoes, boiled and mashed. This paste can be later used to treat sores and burns. The fuzz from the flowers can be used to prevent diaper rash in babies and the flowers can be eaten raw to help with diarrhea.
Qua lo ga (Sumac)
This plant can be fully utilized for medical purposes. The bark can be used to treat diarrhea or a sore throat, the berries which are rich in vitamin C can be consumed as a juice and a tea made from its leaves will reduce fever. You can make an ointment to relieve poison ivy rash by crushing the leaves and if you add sumac to your daily diet, it will help you lower the cholesterol levels.
Jisdu Unigisdi (Wild Rose)
The wild rose was primarily used to treat the common cold or the flu. Sometimes the Cherokee used the wild rose to make a tea out of its hips to stimulate bladder and kidney function.
You can even use the petals to make a jam or make your own rose petal infusion to soothe a sore throat. A decoction of the root of the wild rose will help in the treatment of diarrhea.
If you are looking for a natural way to soothe chest congestion or asthma, you found it. The Cherokee believed that by inhaling burning mullein roots smoke, you will calm your lungs and open up the pathways. Mullein is also used to soothe the mucous membrane.
A tea made from mullein flowers can act as a mild sedative while soaking your feet in a mild decoction made from mullein will help reduce swelling and joint pain. Because of the strong anti-inflammatory properties, the mullein can be used to relieve pain and irritation.
Kawi Iyusdi (Yellow Dock)
The yellow dock is a herb that is very similar to spinach but has many more vitamins and minerals.
Its leaves are abundant in iron and can act as a laxative. A juice decoction will soothe any minor sores, rashes or itching while, because of its antiseptic properties, it can also be used as a warm wash.
Squirrel Tail (Yarrow)
This herb is best known for its blood clotting properties. The Cherokee used fresh crushed leaves directly on the wound to stop the bleeding.
When mixed with spring water, it has the ability to stop internal bleeding and a tea made from the leaves can assist digestion and promote proper function of the stomach. It is also used to treat kidney and gallbladder issues.
A decoction made from the leaves and the stems will do wonders for the treatment of ache. It is also effective in the treatment of chapped hands or skin irritation.