Pull Out a Sticker (Greenbriar)
The roots of this herb are high in starch while the leaves and stems are rich in various vitamins and minerals. Due to the rubbery texture of greenbriar, its roots can be used like potatoes. The starch in the root of greenbriar has a harsh, strange taste but is rich in calories.
The Cherokee use greenbriar as a blood purifier and mild diuretic that treats urinary infections. Many Cherokee healers make an ointment from the leaves and bark and apply it to minor sores and burns. The leaves from this herb can even be used in your tea to treat arthritis! The berries of greenbrier can be eaten raw or made into jams. They make great vegan jello shots too.
Mint is a very popular herb in present day culture and is commonly used in tea. However, many people don’t know that mint contains a variety of antioxidant properties. It also contains magnesium, phosphorus potassium, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and fiber!
The Cherokee use this herb to aid with digestion. The leaves can be crushed and used as cold compresses, made into ointments, and even added to your bath to sooth itchy skin. The Cherokee healers use a blend of stems and leaves to lower high blood pressure. If you are breast feeding and find your nipples cracking, try applying some mint water. It worked miracles for me!
This herb has the power to soothe asthma and chest congestion. According to the Cherokee, inhaling the smoke from burning mullein roots and leaves works miracles to calm your lungs and open up pathways. Mullein is exceptionally helpful to soothe the mucous membranes. You can make a warm decoction and soak your feet in it to reduce swelling and joint pain. Due to mullein’s anti-inflammatory properties, it soothes painful and irritated tissue. Mullein flowers can be used to make tea which has mild sedative effects.
Qua lo ga (Sumac)
Every single part of this herb can be used for medicinal purposes! Sumac bark can be made into a mild decoction that can be taken to soothe diarrhea. The decoction from the bark can also be gargled to help with a sore throat. Ripe berries can make a pleasant beverage that is rich in vitamin C. The tea from the leaves of sumac can reduce fevers. You can even crush the leaves into an ointment to help relieve a poison ivy rash. A study published in Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research reported that sumac, if added to daily diet, can help lower cholesterol levels.
Big Stretch (Wild Ginger)
The Cherokee recommend 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!