Other names (7): Squirrel Tail, Nosebleed Plant, Old Man’s Repper, Devil’s Nettle, Thousand-Leaf, Thousand-Seal
Yarrow has blood-clotting properties, which can help a minor wound to form a scab and heal. When ingested with water, it can help to reduce tissue inflammation, especially in the intestines and digestive tract (8).
Cherokee healers used yarrow for all these ailments and more. Prepared as a tea, yarrow was believed to help improve the function of the kidneys and gallbladder. A concoction of leaves and stems was also applied topically to treat skin conditions such as dry skin and acne.
4. Wild Ginger
Other names: Big Stretch, Colic Root, Cat’s Foot, Heart-Leaf, Asarbacca, Nuyigala dinadanesgi utana
Wild Ginger has been used by a wide variety of Native American tribes for medicinal purposes (9). The Cherokee Nation drank a mild infusion of wild ginger in order to stimulate digestion.
Wild Ginger, which does not come from the same plant as the spice used in cooking, was known to help with ailments such as colic, intestinal bloating and gas, and stomach aches and cramps It was also used to rid the lungs of excess mucus.
5. Smilax Bona-Nox
Other names: Greenbriar, Zarzaparilla, Catbrier, Pull Out A Sticker, Tramp’s Trouble
Among Native American tribes, this plant was used as a blood purifier and mild diuretic. Cherokee healers may have also used a tea made from the roots to treat arthritis.
Additionally, the leaves and bark of the plant could be mixed with lard to create a salve that helped treat minor burns, cuts, scrapes, and sores (10).