Published on November 15, 2011 by Amy
Like numerous other Native American tribes, the knowledge of Cherokee medicine was handed down from generation to generation to the “chosen” healers. Traditional Cherokee members consulted their medicine people for not only medical problems, but also dilemmas in their lives, and emotional problems. Like other Native American tribes, their most frequently used remedies were for common colds, aches and pains.
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Some common herbs used by the Cherokee as well as other Native American tribes was boneset tea, as a remedy for colds, while wild cherry bark was used for coughs, sore throat, and diarrhea. To ease the pain during childbirth and speed the delivery process, Blue Cohosh root, was used in a tea. Using Wild Carrot Blossoms and Devil’s Club could offset the ill effects of Diabetes. Fevers were soothed with teas made from Dogwood, Feverwort, and Willow bark. A still famously enjoyed Pennyroyal tea was thought to cure headaches, and they used Native Hemlock to help with the flu.
Some serious surgeries that required sedatives would usually be prepared with Wild Lettuce, Hops, and Wild Black Cherry. Heart and circulatory problems were addressed using Green Hellebore, American Hemp, and Dogbane. Many of these Native American remedies were the basis for the modern medicines that are commonly used today such as penicillin.
** Note: The information above is courtesy of the Cherokee Nation Cultural Resource Center who cautions that it must be remembered that these plants are very valuable as medicines because of the great chemical powers they contain. At the same time, these chemicals can be potentially dangerous if used in the wrong way. Cherokee herbalists have great experience, and have gone through extensive training and observation.