Cherokee American Indian tribe have been using nature’s gifts in the treatment of several ailments for centuries.
Passing down this knowledge from generation to generation and preserving the herbs and plants from extinction, the Cherokee Indian ancestors truly understood the importance of preserving nature and the healing secrets she offers for posterity.
Let’s take a look at the herbs that were and still are being used by the Cherokee tribe.
Healing Herbs And Plants
The Blackberry Herb
This herb has been used by the Cherokee Indian tribe in treating diarrhea for centuries.
However, blackberry roots has been known to help in reducing inflammation of joints and tissue.
It is also believed that the roots is useful in dealing with persistent coughs, just by making a concoction of the roots and raw natural honey or maple syrup for taste.
The chewing of blackberry leaves is also known to help with bleeding gums.
The blackberry fruit has other health benefits, here is a list;
- It aids digestion
- It is great for the cardiovascular system
- It provides adequate relief from endothelial problems
- It can help fight and prevent cancer
- It can help strengthen the immune system
You should also know that blackberries are highly nutritional rich in several minerals and vitamins such as;
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
Blackberries also are rich in amino acids and dietary fiber.
The Hummingbird Blossom (aka Buck Brush) Herb
This herb has been used by the Cherokee Indians in treating fibroid, throat and mouth issues, cysts and inflammation.
It is also believed through recent scientific study that this herb is useful in the treatment of lymphatic blockages and high blood pressure.
For long though the Cherokee tribe have been using this herb as a potent diuretic to help boost kidney function as well as in the treatment of the following health conditions;
- Irregular menstruation
- Inflammation of lymph nodes
- Inflammation of tonsils
- Enlarged spleens
What the Cherokee Indians did was to soak the flowers and leaves in a pot of boiling water for about five minutes after which they strain the water and drink it while it is yet warm. This way they are able to derive all the health benefits of this herb.
The Cattail Herb
He Cherokee Indians used this herb to safeguard themselves from diseases rather than as healing herb.
The mature leaves and seed heads of this herb are however not used but all other parts of the plant can be utilised for preventive and healing purposes.
Cattail roots are very starchy while the male species have a very high pollen content.
To prepare cattail roots all you need to do is boil them and then mash them.
You can use the resulting paste to treat sores as well as burns. You can derive significant amounts of protein from cattail pollen and it is great as a baking supplement.
Seed down which is that fuzz from the flowers of cattail is useful in treating diaper rash, while cattail flowers are useful in treating diarrhea.
The Pull Out A Sticker (Greenbriar) Herb
This herb’s roots are starchy and it’s stem and leaves are very rich in minerals and vitamins.
Greenbriar roots are starchy and rich in calories and because of the rubbery texture this herb you can use its roots like Irish potatoes.
This herb was used by ancient Cherokee Indians as a blood purifier as well as a diuretic in the treatment of urinary tract infection.
The bark and leaves of this herb was also used by ancient Cherokee Indians in making ointments used in the treatment of burns and minor sores.
It has also been known that this herb’s leaves can be used to make tea which is useful in the treatment of arthritis. You can also eat the fruit (berries) of this plant raw and they are used to make jams as well.
The Mint Herb
This popular herb us used in making tea. It has excellent antioxidant properties and is highly nutritious with many minerals and vitamins including the following;
- Vitamin C and A
It is known that mint leaves make great cold compresses when crushed and the Cherokee Indians used it to help with digestion.
This herb can be used to soothe itchy skin by adding it to your bathing water, it can also be made into a balm or ointment.
The leaves and stem of the mint herb combined has been used by Cherokee Indians to regulate high blood pressure.
You can also topically apply mint water to your cracking nipples especially when breast feeding.
Qua lo ga (Sumac)
Every single part of this herb can be used for medicinal purposes! Sumac bark can be made into a mild decoction that can be taken to soothe diarrhea. The decoction from the bark can also be gargled to help with a sore throat. Ripe berries can make a pleasant beverage that is rich in vitamin C. The tea from the leaves of sumac can reduce fevers. You can even crush the leaves into an ointment to help relieve a poison ivy rash. A study published in Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research reported that sumac, if added to daily diet, can help lower cholesterol levels.
This herb has the power to soothe asthma and chest congestion. According to the Cherokee, inhaling the smoke from burning mullein roots and leaves works miracles to calm your lungs and open up pathways. Mullein is exceptionally helpful to soothe the mucous membranes. You can make a warm decoction and soak your feet in it to reduce swelling and joint pain. Due to mullein’s anti-inflammatory properties, it soothes painful and irritated tissue. Mullein flowers can be used to make tea which has mild sedative effects.
Jisdu Unigisdi (Wild Rose)
The fruit of a wild rose is a rich source of vitamin C and is a great remedy for the common cold and the flu. The Cherokee would make a mild tea out of wild rose hips to stimulate bladder and kidney function. You can even make your own petal infusion to soothe sore throat! Or try making a decoction from the root to help with diarrhea. My grand-mother use to make jam out of the petals and it was delicious.
Big Stretch (Wild Ginger)
The Cherokee recommend a mild tea, made from the root of wild ginger, to stimulate better digestion. This herb can also help with intestinal gas, upset stomach and colic. A strong tea from the root of wild ginger can be used to remove secretion from the lungs. The Meskwaki, another Native American tribe, use crushed, steeped stems of wild ginger as a relief from earaches. You can use rootstocks from this herb as a substitute for regular ginger and flowers as flavoring for your favorite recipe!
Kawi Iyusdi (Yellow Dock)
The Cherokee often use this herb in their kitchen. It is very similar to spinach but contains a lot more vitamins and minerals due to its long roots that gathers nutrients from deep underground. The leaves of yellow dock are a great source of iron and can also be used as a laxative. You can even prepare a juice decoction out of yellow dock stems to treat minor sores, diaper rash, and itching. The Cherokee healers use a decoction, made from the crushed roots of yellow dock, as warm wash for its antiseptic properties.
Squirrel Tail (Yarrow)
This herb is known best for its blood clotting properties. Fresh, crushed leaves can be applied to open wounds to stop excess bleeding. Yarrow’s juice, mixed with spring water, can stop internal bleeding from stomach and intestinal illnesses. You can also use the leaves to make tea which will stimulate abdominal functions and assist in proper digestion. It can also help with kidney and gallbladder related issues. Oh, and did I mention that you can use a decoction made from leaves and stems to help clear up your acne? It works wonders for chapped hands and other skin irritations.
You should always remember that all of the above mentioned herbs are very potent and might be dangerous if used in the wrong way. The Cherokee healers have many centuries of practice and experience. Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that these herbs are all very valuable! They are the nature’s pharmacy, so please be kind and caring when scavenging any of these.