Native American ethnobotany
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- Abies balsamea (balsam fir) used for a variety of medicinal purposes, as well as firewood and fiber.
- Abronia fragrans (snowball-sand verbena) Used as both food and medicine. See article for complete list of uses.
- Acer glabrum var. glabrum The Blackfoot take an infusion of the bark in the morning as a cathartic. The Okanagan-Colville, when hunting, use a branch tied in a knot and placed over the bear's tracks while hunting to stop the wounded bear. The Thompson people use a decoction of wood and bark taken for nausea caused by smelling a corpse.
- Acer negundo (box elder), used as food, lumber, and medicine. Please see article for more information.
- Acer saccharinum (silver maple), An infusion of bark removed from the south side of the tree is used by the Mohegan for cough medicine. It is also used by other tribes for various purposes.
- Acer saccharum (sugar maple), used by the Mohegan as a cough remedy, and the sap as a sweetening agent and to make maple syrup. It is also used by other tribes for various purposes.
- Actaea racemosa (black cohosh), Used to treat gynecological and other disorders, including sore throats, kidney problems, and depression.
- Actaea rubra, (red baneberry), used by the Algonquin for stomach pains, in some seasons for males, other seasons for females.
- Agrimonia gryposepala, used by the Iroquois to treat diarrhea. Also used by the Cherokee to treat fever, by the Ojibwa for urinary problems, and by the Meskwaki and Prairie Potawatomi used it as a styptic for nosebleeds.
- Alnus rubra, used to treat poison oak, insect bites, and skin irritations. The Blackfoot Confederacy used an infusion made from the bark of red alder to treat lymphatic disorders and tuberculosis. Recent clinical studies have verified that red alder contains betulin and lupeol, compounds shown to be effective against a variety of tumors.
- Asarum canadense, used to treat a number of ailments including dysentery, digestive problems, swollen breasts, coughs and colds, typhus, scarlet fever, nerves, sore throats, cramps, heaves, earaches, headaches, convulsions, asthma, tuberculosis, urinary disorders and venereal disease. In addition, they also used it as a stimulant, an appetite enhancer and a charm. It was also used as an admixture to strengthen other herbal preparations.
- Baccharis sarothroides, used by the Seri people to make a decoction by cooking the twigs. This tea is used to treat colds, sinus headache, and general sore achey ailments. The same tea is also be used as a rub for sore muscles. Studies done on plant extracts show that desert broom is rich in leutolin, a flavonoid that has demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cholesterol lowering capabilities. Desert broom also has quercetin, a proven antioxidant, and apigenin a chemical which binds to the same brain receptor sites that Valium does.
- Balsamorhiza sagittata, Used as food and medicine by many Native American groups, such as the Nez Perce, Kootenai, Cheyenne, and Salish.
- Baptisia australis The Cherokee would use the roots in teas as a purgative or to treat tooth aches and nausea, while the Osage made an eyewash with the plant.
- Calypso (orchid), used by the The Nlaka'pamux of British Columbia used it as a treatment for mild epilepsy.
- Cardamine diphylla (crinkleroot), use for food and medicine. See article for full information.
- Ceanothus integerrimus, the branches of which were used among the Indigenous peoples of California in treating women after childbirth.
- Ceanothus velutinus, used by certain Plateau tribes to create herbal tea to induce sweating as a treatment for colds, fevers, and influenza. Leaves were also used when rinsing to help prevent dandruff. C. velutinus was known as "red root" by many Native American tribes due to the color of the inner root bark, and was used as a medicine for treating lymphatic disorders, ovarian cysts, fibroid tumors, and tonsillitis. Clinical studies of the alkaloid compounds in C. velutinus has verified its effectiveness in treating high blood pressure and lymphatic blockages.
- Claytonia virginica (Virginia spring-beauty), used medicinally by the Iroquois, who would give a cold infusion or decoction of the powdered roots to children suffering from convulsions. They would also eat the raw roots, believing that they permanently prevented conception. They would also eat the roots, as would the Algonquin people, who cooked them like potatoes.
- Cleome serrulata, used by tribes in the southwest to make an infusion to treat stomach illnesses and fevers. Poultices can be used on the eyes.
- Commelina dianthifolia, infusion of plant used by Keres as a strengthener for weakened tuberculosis patients.
- Cornus sericea, used by Plateau tribes to treat colds by eating the berries. Also used to slow bleeding.
- Devil's Club, traditionally used by Native Americans to treat adult-onset diabetes and a variety of tumors. In vitro studies showed that extracts of Devil's Club inhibit tuberculosis microbes. The plant is used medicinally and ceremonially by the Tlingit people of Southeast Alaska, who refer to it as "Tlingit aspirin". A piece of Devil's club hung over a doorway is said to ward off evil. The plant is harvested and used in a variety of ways, including lip balms, ointments, and herbal teas. Some Tlingit disapprove of the commercialization of the plant as they see it as a violation of its sacred status.
- Echinacea, Echinacea angustifolia was widely used by the North American Plains Indians for its general medicinal qualities. Echinacea was one of the basic antimicrobial herbs of eclectic medicine from the mid 19th century through the early 20th century, and its use was documented for snakebite, anthrax, and for relief of pain. In the 1930s echinacea became popular in both Europe and America as an herbal medicine. According to Wallace Sampson, MD, its modern day use as a treatment for the common cold began when a Swiss herbal supplement maker was "erroneously told" that echinacea was used for cold prevention by Native American tribes who lived in the area of South Dakota. Although Native American tribes didn't use echinacea to prevent the common cold, some Plains tribes did use echinacea to treat some of the symptoms that could be caused by the common cold: The Kiowa used it for coughs and sore throats, the Cheyenne for sore throats, the Pawnee for headaches, and many tribes including the Lakotah used it as an analgesic. Native Americans learned of E. angustifolia by observing elk seeking out the plants and consuming them when sick or wounded, and identified those plants as elk root.
- Encelia farinosa, used by the Seri to treat toothache. For toothache the bark is removed, the branch heated in ashes, and then placed in the mouth to "harden" a loose tooth.
- Equisetum hyemale, used by some Plateau tribes. They boiled the stalks to produce a drink used as a diuretic and to treat venereal disease.
- Erigenia bulbosa, the Cherokee were known to chew this plant as medicine for toothaches, it is unknown what parts of plant they chewed.
- Eryngium aquaticum, used by the Cherokee for nausea, by the Choctaw people used it as a remedy for snakebite and gonorrhea, and by the Delaware people for intestinal worms.
- Erythrina herbacea, Creek women used an infusion of the root for bowel pain; the Choctaw used a decoction of the leaves as a general tonic; the Seminole used an extract of the roots for digestive problems, and extracts of the seeds, or of the inner bark, as an external rub for rheumatic disorders.
- Eurybia macrophylla (bigleaf aster), used as both food and medicine. Please see article for more information.
- Gaultheria hispidula (creeping snowberry) Infusion of leaves used as a tonic for overeating by the Algonquin people. Fruit used as food. Used as a sedative by the Anticosti. Decoction of leaves or whole plant taken for unspecified purpose by Micmac. Leaves used by Ojibwa people to make a beverage.
- Geranium maculatum, used by Mesquakie tribe to brew a root tea for toothache and for painful nerves. They also mashed the roots for treating hemorrhoids.
- Goldenseal, referred to by Prof. Benjamin Smith Barton in his first edition of Collections for an Essay Toward a Materia Medica of the United States (1798), as being used by the Cherokee as a cancer treatment.
- Gutierrezia microcephala, used by the Native Americans for various reasons. The Cahuilla used an infusion of the plant as a gargle or placed the plant in their mouths as a toothache remedy. The Hopi and Tewa both used the plant as a carminative, as prayer stick decorations, and for roasting sweet corn.
- Hamamelis virginiana, also known as Witch Hazel. Native Americans produced witch hazel extract by boiling the stems of the shrub and producing a decoction, which was used to treat swellings, inflammations, and tumors. Early Puritan settlers in New England adopted this remedy from the natives, and its use became widely established in the United States.
- Heracleum maximum, used by various Native American peoples. Perhaps the most common use was to make poultices to be applied to bruises or sores.an infusion of the flowers can be rubbed on the body to repel flies and mosquitoes.
- Holodiscus discolor, used by Indian tribes, such as the Stl'atl'imx. They would steep the berries in boiling water to use as a treatment for diarrhea, smallpox, chickenpox and as a blood tonic.
- Holodiscus dumosus, used by the Paiute and Shoshoni as medicine for problems such as stomachaches and colds.
- Ilex verticillata, used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes, the origin of the name "fever bush".
- Jeffersonia diphylla, The Cherokee reportedly used an infusion of this plant for treating dropsy and urinary tract problems, it was also used as a poultice for sores and inflammation. The Iroquois used a decoction of the plant to treat liver problems and diarrhea.
- Juniperus communis Western American tribes combined the berries of Juniperus communis with Berberis root bark in a herbal tea. Native Americans also used juniper berries as a female contraceptive.
- Juniperus scopulorum, the leaves and inner bark of which were boiled by some Plateau tribes to create an infusion to treat coughs and fevers. The berries were also sometimes boiled into a drink used as a laxative and to treat colds.
- Larrea tridentata, used by Native Americans in the Southwest as a treatment for many maladies, including sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, chicken pox, dysmenorrhea, and snakebite. The shrub is still widely used as a medicine in Mexico. It contains nordihydroguaiaretic acid.
- Lobelia, used to treat respiratory and muscle disorders, and as a purgative. The species used most commonly in modern herbalism is Lobelia inflata (Indian tobacco).
- Mahonia nervosa, an infusion of the root of which was used some Plateau tribes to treat rheumatism.
- Mahonia repens,used by the Tolowa and Karok of Northwest California used the roots for a blood and cough tonic, as well as by other tribes for various purposes.
- Malosma, the root bark of which was used by the Chumash to make an herbal tea for treating dysentery.
- Menispermum canadense, Cherokee used as a laxative, and as a gynecological and venereal aid. The root was used for skin diseases. The Lenape used it in a salve for sores on the skin.
- Pectis papposa, used as food and medicine. See article for full information.
- Pinus strobus, the resin of which was used by the Chippewa to treat infections and gangrene.
- Podophyllum peltatum, used as an emetic, cathartic, and antihelmintic agent. They also boiled the poisonous root, and used the water to cure stomach aches.
- Populus tremuloides, the bark of which contains a substanced that can be extracted and used as a quinine substitute.
- Prunus emarginata, used by Kwakwaka'wakw and other tribes for medicinal purposes, such as poultices and bark infusions.
- Prunus virginiana, the root bark of which was once made into an asperous-textured concoction used to ward off or treat colds, fever and stomach maladies by native Americans
- Ribes glandulosum (skunk currant), The Ojibwa people take a compound decoction of the root for back pain and for "female weakness." The Cree people use a decoction of the stem, either by itself or mixed with wild red raspberry, to prevent clotting after birth. The Algonquin people use the berries as food.
- Ribes laxiflorum, used an infusion to make an eyewash (roots and or branches, by the Bella Coolah). Decoctions of: bark to remedy tuberculosis (with the roots, by the Skokomish); or for the common cold (Skagit): leaves and twigs, as a general tonic (Lummi).
- Salvia apiana, several tribes used the seed for removing foreign objects from the eye, similar to the way that Clary sage seeds were used in Europe. A tea from the roots was used by the Cahuilla women for healing and strength after childbirth. The leaves are also burnt by many native American tribes, with the smoke used in different purification rituals. A study performed at the University of Arizona in 1991 demonstrated that Salvia apiana has potential antibacterial properties against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Candida brassicae.
- Salvia mellifera, the leaves and stems of the plant where made by the Chumash into a strong sun tea. This was rubbed on the painful area or used to soak one's feet. The plant contains diterpenoids, such as aethiopinone and ursolic acid, that are pain relievers.
- Trichostema lanceolatum, used by natives of northern California as a cold and fever remedy, a pain reliever, and a flea repellent.
- Umbellularia,The leaf has been used as a cure for headache, toothache, and earache—though the volatile oils in the leaves may also cause headaches. Poultices of Umbellularia leaves were used to treat rheumatism and neuralgias. A tea was made from the leaves to treat stomach aches, colds, sore throats, and to clear up mucus in the lungs. The leaves were steeped in hot water to make an infusion that was used to wash sores. The Pomo and Yuki tribes of Mendocino County treated headaches by placing a single leaf in the nostril or bathing the head with a laurel leaf infusion.
- Viburnum prunifolium, a decoction of which was to treat gynecological conditions, including menstrual cramps, aiding recovery after childbirth, and in treating the effects of menopause.
- Virginia Iris, Cherokee and other tribes in the southeastern United States are known to have used Virginia iris for its medicinal properties. The root was pounded into a paste that was used as a salve for skin. An infusion made from the root was used to treat ailments of the liver, and a decoction of root was used to treat “yellowish urine.” Virginia iris may have been one of the iris species used by the Seminole to treat “shock following alligator-bite".
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