The tea from the leaves of the sumac can reduce fevers. You can even crush the leaves into an ointment to help relieve a poison ivy rash. A study published in the Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research reported that sumac if added to the daily diet, can help lower cholesterol levels.
8. Big Stretch (Wild Ginger)
The Cherokee recommended 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!
9. 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 a sore throat! Or try making a decoction from the root to help with diarrhea. My grandmother uses to make jams out of the petals and it was delicious.
10. 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 the 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.
11. Kawi Iyusdi (Yellow Dock)
Another one of the many medicinal plants that the Cherokee often use in their kitchen. It is very similar to spinach but contains a lot more vitamins and minerals due to its long roots that gather 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 a warm wash for its antiseptic properties.
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 nature’s pharmacy, so please be kind and caring when scavenging any of these.