Medicine in the Native American Customs

Published on August 8, 2011 by Amy

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Plains Indian Ceremonial Medicine Man Peace Pipe
Plains Indian Ceremonial
Medicine Man Peace Pipe

Native Americans knew a lot about healing and natural medicine. The medicine included herbs, but also spirits! Native Americans believed that people should live in harmony with the nature and you heal by returning people to that harmony.

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Most of the tribes had special “medicine” men and women who did the healing. Sometimes they are called shamans. They used lots of different herbs to heal. These herbs were often fixed as tea, but sometimes they were burned and the smoke was a healer. They also did cleansing or purification. They did this most often in the sweat lodge. This lodge is like sauna. They were small houses in which they burned cedar or willow. They were burned over the stones which would get hot. Then they would throw water on to make steam.

Native Americans believed that the smoke and steam will clean them off diseases. Native Americans also had lots of ceremonies that were about healing. While they may seem strange, these traditions kept Native Americans healthy for centuries.

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Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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