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 Using The Native Plants 
 Of America As Our Medicine

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                                       "When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced
                 Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice"
 - Cherokee
  
Welcome To Plant Cures USA - Native American Herbs
   As a TCM herbalist for over 30 years who has seen so many amazing healings with Chinese Herbal 
        Medicine, I can tell you I am at least as impressed by America's own Native Herbal Medicine!
                             For Native herbs and formulas listed by health concerns, please Click Here

 The Amazing History Of The Use Of American Herbs As Our Medicine:

The culture of the American Cowboy and the use of herbs have widely crossed  paths with the American Indians and also with the Mexican cowboys or “Vaqueros”. During the 1800’s there we’re very large herds of cattle being driven all over the country. The camp cooks on these huge cattle drives also got stuck with the title of “Camp Doctor” as well. So while on the trail, these camp cook/doctors were always on the lookout for the plants and herbs that could be used as edible greens and the much needed medicine for sick or wounded cowboys. Most all of this medicine was browed from the Native Americans Indians who were willing to share their knowledge with the cowboys.
  
From the East to the West, the Cherokee, Ojibwa, Arapahoe, Navaho, Apache, and so many others were found to have amazing success with their skills in healing with plants. So much so that a large group of doctors who were using these herbal remedies started a huge network of colleges across the country called the Eclectic Physicians Colleges.

This system almost caught on as our main American Medical System but got shot down in the 1930’s by the new AMA and the “ever so dedicated to poison” FDA.
Had this system of medical colleges been allowed to grow we would now have a medical system that would have rivaled Traditional Chinese Medicine! There would be no deadly “Big Pharma” and we would all be living much longer healthy happy lives. However in spite of this, thanks to some very wise old timers, much of this knowledge of Native American Medicine has still survived.

To see some amazing Native American Herbs please keep scrolling down:


A very good example of the influence of Native American Medicine on modern America is one of the most popular herbal combinations commercially available in stores today. This is the combination of Echinacea root (Shown at left) and Golden seal root. (Shown right) 

This formula was a very important part of the Cherokee medicine system. For some reason in the Cherokee medicine system most formulas contained either two herbs or seven herbs. I am still not quite sure why, even though I have Cherokee heritage. This two herb formula was the Cherokee’s “Penicillin” and could be used for almost any viral of bacterial infection with much success.



The Amazing anti-viral Osha Root: Chuchupate or “Bear Medicine” - Ligusticum PortLigusticum_porteri-2.jpgeri  ( Below right) 

This is a powerful and legendary herbal medicine. The use of Osha Root was adopted from both the Native Americans (Mostly Arapahoe, Apache and Navaho) and the Mexicans. For the early cowboys this was often a part of the wise camp cook/doctor’s medicine supply, (In tincture form and sometimes raw dried roots) Although there was not a real knowledge of viruses and bacteria at the time, it was proven over and over that it could cure many types of flu as fast as overnight if caught early! This was a real blessing to the hard working cowboys often exposed to the rain and cold and harsh working conditions.

In modern times Osha has been proven to have a strong anti viral action and can cure many viral infections, even Herpes Zoster (Shingles) and should be tried first for almost any virus. Osha is a very important part of a special formula we created for Plant Cures called Viral Defense. It uses 5 other herbs which are Chinese “heat clearing” herbs.

During the 1918 flu epidemic the Arapaho Indians were on record as having a cure for this radical flu and they were never sick from this flu for long. (Where as many other Indian tribes suffered many deaths from this flu) It is also on record that they had cured many white people as well. This was accomplished by simply chewing and swallowing dried Osha Roots. The few old medical books that recorded this have mostly all been burned or destroyed as this was quite an embarrassment to the Amarican medical system.

This herb is very important to me personally because it saved me (Possibly from death) and cured me of a very stubborn viral pneumonia. In fact it was my healing through the use of Osha Root that caused me to become a clinical herbalist. 

Interesting facts about Osha:

The common Mexican name for the Osha plant is Chuchupate. This is actually an ancient Aztec term meaning “bear medicine.” Bears respond to the herb like cats do to catnip. They will roll on it and cover themselves with its scent. Males have been seen to dig up the roots and offer them to females as part of courting.

When a bear first comes out of hibernation, it will eat Osha if it can find it, to cleanse it’s digestive system. The bear will chew the root into a watery paste, then spit it on its paws and wash its face with the herb. It will then spray the herb over its body as the herb possesses strong action against bodily parasites.

It is not known how the bears came to acquire this herbal knowledge, but their use is legendary in all cultures that refer to it as “bear medicine”. This is the reason that the bear is considered to be the prime healing animal in many cultures because it uses plants for its own healing. Any plant that is considered to be “bear medicine” is a potent and primary one.

Osha was originally used by Native Americans to treat colds, flu, and upper respiratory infections. Since Osha displays a strong affinity for the respiratory system, Native American runners would chew the root to increase endurance.

It was also worn in medicine pouches and around the ankles to ward off rattlesnakes. This is a lot more than “Indian superstition” as rattle snakes do not like to get near Osha root for some reason.

Osha is related to lovage and a member of the Parsley family, it is a perennial, growing above 8,000 feet throughout the entire Rocky Mountain range from Mexico to Canada.

The plant stands about two or three feet in height and possesses the characteristic umbel (umbrella) flower shape and leaves that look a little like parsley. It can be stubborn and strong, often growing in aspen groves among their roots, making digging very difficult.

It is one of the few herbs that can be dried in the sun without harm and will last for years in the dried form. It will not rot or mold because of the potent antibacterial and antiviral substances in the root prevent it from doing so.

Chaparral: The Amazing Healing Plant of the Southwest!

If you have ever been to the Southwest you have seen Chaparral growing. In some areas it is all you see growing on the desert floor for miles. It is a bush growing up to 10 ft tall covered with small green leaves and has little yellow flowers sometimes depending on the rain. It has a very strong smell and when it rains in the desert you can smell it for many miles. 

It is also known as “Greasewood” and “Creosote Bush” This herb was a favorite of the Mexican Vaqueros and was used by all the Indian tribes in the region.  The American cowboy quickly adopted the use of this herb after seeing how man and beast were healed internally and externally by this amazing plant.

 Its uses are legion and there are countless stories of horses (And cowboys) being gored by bulls and surviving by the use of Chaparral powder dusted into there wounds. There are also countless stories of bullets being removed with nothing but Chaparral tincture used as an antiseptic leaving perfect healing.

It has been successfully used against skin fungus, many bacterial infections, (Including dental and urinary tract infections) stopping putrid infections from forming in wounds, and is helpful in Arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory actions.

Chaparral is clearly shown to have a very high antioxidant content, which can protect one against the cell damage which leads to cancer. Some studies on laboratory rats suggest that chaparral actually does inhibit the growth of tumors, while the treated animals survived significantly longer than the ones in the control group.

One of the reasons for this is the fact that Chaparral contains a natural chemical identified as Nordihydroguaiaretic acid. In the Merck Manual, a highly regarded medical book, this chemical is listed as an anti-oxidant, and its therapeutic category is an “anti-neoplastic”. Broadly, an anti-neoplastic is defined as “an agent that prevents the development, growth and proliferation of malignant cells”.

Though all this “anti-C stuff” is interesting, this is not at all what the American Cowboys used Chaparral for. It was mostly used against infection simply because it worked and it worked well! In the 1950’s Chaparral became know as the “Penicillin of the desert” or even “Cowboy “Penicillin” Besides, there just wasn’t much cancer around back when the camp cook carried only whole natural ingredients.

Back in those days “white sugar” was more of a light brown as was the “white flour” because they did not have the processing and refining methods of today such as running the sugar through bone-black which is a known carcinogenic. So "The C-word" was much harder to find in those days!

However it is very interesting (and very embarrassing to the American Medical establishment) that the BBC has no problem exposing what would never reach the media in our own country. Though we can make no claims, here is a link an article by the BBC or British Broadcasting Company: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3555566.stm

I once met an old Indian man (Mescalero Apache) that was still driving his 1964 Buick Wildcat at the age of 105. His hair was still all black! (He showed me his driver’s license proving his age) We had some great discussions and I could have listened to him for hours but the part I remember best is when he said “I have drunk a cup of Chaparral tea every day of my life since the age of 15”. 

Yellow Dock Root or “Curled Dock”  The Friend of the Cowboy!

This is a fairly common weed that is found all over the world. Yellow Dock has a long history of use amongst the early cowboys and Indians.

First of all the young leaves are a very good pot herb and it was always looked forward to as a healthy and delicious side-dish to beans and tortillas. The camp cook always kept an eye out for it. It is very rich in iron and other minerals and the root turned out to be a very useful medicine, especially on the long cattle drives.

The root is best known as a gentle and safe laxative, less “radical” than rhubarb in its action but very effective so it was particularly useful in the treatment of mild constipation. (This occurred a lot out on the trail)  

This yellow rooted plant has valuable cleansing properties and is useful for treating a wide range of skin problems. It was also used in piles, bleeding of the lungs, various blood complaints and also chronic skin diseases.

Externally, the root can be mashed and used as a poultice and salve, or dried and used as a dusting powder, on sores, ulcers, wounds and various other skin problems. In fact, yellow dock has proved to be an outstanding medication for skin problems like weeping eczema, psoriasis (a chronic disease of the skin consisting of itchy, dry, red patches, usually affecting the scalp or arms and legs)

Yellow Dock is effective in activating clogged blood and lymph. In addition, Yellow Dock can extract toxins out of tissues and also ensure their removal from the body. In fact, the herb can be used wherever there is blockage, heat and irritation.

Women used Yellow Dock for healing unbalanced menstrual cycles, heavy bleeding during periods, menstrual pain and to dissolve fibroids in the uterus and breasts.


Yellow Dock roots are extremely rich in iron content and are, therefore, an exceptional medication for anemia (low hemoglobin content in blood). In fact when you first pull Yellow Dock out of the ground you can often see yellow-orange iron oxide clinging to the roots. It is this plants ability to attract the iron that is most beneficial in curing anemia. (This ability is transferred to the patient via the liver)

You can also get a good amount of iron from the plant itself but the effect it has on your liver causing you to better absorb iron and other minerals is amazing. When you take Yellow Dock and then feed your body iron rich foods like Black Strap Molasses your blood will be back to normal in a few weeks.

“Yellow Dock Syrup” was a wonderful remedy for both anemia and for alleviating problems of the upper respiratory system like emphysema. Here is how it was made:

Take a pint of distilled water and boil half pound of yellow dock root in it until the liquid is diminished to a meager cupful. Sieve the liquid and throw away the boiled root. Add half a cup dark honey half a cup blackstrap molasses and one teaspoon of pure maple syrup to the strained liquid. Blend everything by hand until you produce a smooth thick sweet sticky liquid or syrup

This syrup worked so well that it was soon commercialized and sold in drugstores up into the 1940’s which was when the American Medicinal Association started taking over our lives and pooh-poohing all natural medicine.

.On the label of one brand of Yellow Dock Syrup, it read:  “This syrup may be taken one teaspoon at a time (As much as 6 times daily) to heal bronchitis and asthma as well as cease tickling or scratching in the throat or the lungs. It can also be taken as a cure for anemia”

The root has of lately been used with positive effect to restrain the inroads made by cancer. Not bad for a lowly common weed! But then, isn’t that just like God?

We could go on and on about so many amazing native herbs here but you need you to go to:
Native herbs and formulas listed by health concerns to see just how you can apply these amazing herbs to your health and healing!

 





 



 





























 

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