How Native Americans Cured Snake Bites Without Modern Medicine

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How Native Americans Cured Snake Bites Without Modern Medicine

Artist: Martin Grelle

Once as a child, I was running through a field grown over with tall grass, with a beautiful blue sky above me, when I stopped dead in my tracks upon seeing a rattlesnake. It was coiled and, yes, was threatening me with its tail.

My entire body tensed and in one quick moment I sprinted in the other direction. I don’t think I’ve ever run faster! My grandfather, who is from the Rosebud Sioux tribe, calmed me down quickly. He had grown up in the Black Hills area in South Dakota where there are an abundance of rattlesnakes and where treating snake bites is a weekly occurrence. Snakes aren’t the only thing to be wary of in the Black Hills. Dog bites, buffalo attacks, and mountain lion ambushes all were things to take into consideration. Let’s take a look at some things the Native Americans used to help recover from some incidents.

If Bitten By A Snake Or Animal …

So, what happened if you were bitten by a snake or an animal? First, don’t panic! There are several things that you can do to prevent swelling and pain. Native Americans have been using the plantain leaves for centuries to help reduce swelling and as an anti-toxin. According to Dr. Christopher’s Herbal Legacy website, the plantain was used for a variety of illnesses and was a key remedy to cure the rattlesnake bite. Native Americans also used them for battle bruises and for drawing out any type of snake venom. The Gwen’s Nest health website says “Plantain has been used since ancient times for snake bites, mad dog bites, and a variety of internal diseases. … Plantain herb can be used internally and externally for many different conditions. Basically, anything dealing with a toxin or venom … I have personally used it to remedy poison ivy/rashes, mosquito bites in children who have allergies to them, and bee stings.”

Learn How To Make Powerful Herbal Medicines, Right in Your Kitchen!

How Native Americans Cured Snake Bites Without Modern Medicine

Image source: Pixabay.com

The plantain leaves can be chewed up and applied to a wound to help swelling. Another option would be black cohosh, which has several different applications. The Southeast Wise Women website explains that “Black cohosh has been in Native American medicine for centuries and was also used by European settlers. Native Americans worked with black cohosh to treat snake bite and as a ceremonial herb to bring visions.”

While there are several other remedies that work OK on their own, a combination of a few of them make a serious fighting power against snake bites and animal wounds. Caroline Thompson at Livestrong found that “The Menominees Indians used witch hazel to reduce swelling and inflammation. They boiled the leaves and rubbed the liquid on the area that needed treatment. In a 1994 study at the department of physiology and pharmacology at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, researchers concluded that witch hazel does indeed contain anti-inflammatory substances.” While all of these can help you in the case of a snake or an animal wound, if you are ever bitten in the neck or near a major artery, find professional help. Still, if you’re planning a trip where there may be a higher chance of an animal or snake bite, bring some of the previously mentioned herbs with you and enjoy the trip!

While I would still run away if I came across a snake in a field, I at least now know of some ways to help myself in the event of a snake or animal wound.

*This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or cure any particular health condition. Please first consult with a qualified health professional.

References:

Brown, Gwen. “Plantain Herb: The Anti-toxin | Gwen’s Nest.” Gwens Nest. 21 May 2010. Web. 22 May 2016. <http://gwens-nest.com/plantain-herb-the-anti-toxin/>

Thompson, Caroline. “Native American Herbal Remedies.” Livestrong.com. 20 Oct. 2013. Web. 22 May 2016

Shraddhananda. “Black Cohosh.” Black Cohosh. Southeast Wise Women: Honoring Women and the Earth, 14 Nov. 2011. Web. 22 May 2016

“Snakebite.” Snakebite. Dr. Christophers Herbal Legacy. Web. 22 May 2016. <http://www.herballegacy.com/Snakebite.html>

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7 ‘Miracle Healing Weeds’ That Are Growing In Your Yard (Got A Cold? Try No. 2)

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7 ‘Miracle Healing Weeds’ That Are Growing In Your Yard (Got A Cold? Try No. 2)

Mullein. Image source: Pixabay.com

Weeds are an absolute menace to most gardeners. They seem to grow 10 times as fast as the veggies you have planted, covering the entire garden and spoiling all of your plans.

But in hindsight, weeds have gotten a bad rap. In fact, the majority of the weeds you are killing are actually just as edible as the vegetables you are growing. If the weeds aren’t edible, they are likely medicinal. Think back a few centuries ago. Our ancestors lived off the land, and a lot of what they ate grew wild. They treated their illnesses, diseases, aches and pains with plants they found in the forest and on the prairie. Weeds are not all bad.

The following list includes seven weeds you should stop killing:

1. Dandelions. There isn’t a piece of land that the little yellow flowers doesn’t grow. Instead of hitting them with weed killer, pick them and eat them. The flowers and leaves are edible and are quite tasty raw or sautéed and tossed in a salad. Dandelion is rich in vitamin C, and the roots are packed with fiber, just in case you need to get things moving. It is a diuretic and can help cleanse the liver.

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2. Mullein. This is a monstrous plant that tends to grow along highways or in areas with lots of sun and a rocky soil. It is a nuisance, but it is also going to be a great way to treat a cold and bronchitis. Drying and chopping the leaves and using them to make a tea can relieve chest congestion. The little yellow flowers can be plucked and infused in oil to make a soothing ear drop for an ear infection. The leaves are incredibly soft and can be used as a toilet paper substitute.

3. Plantain. This common plant loves rocky, dry soil and pops up everywhere. It is your saving grace should you get a bee sting, cut or a burn. The leaves can be macerated a bit (some people will pop the leaves in their mouth and give a couple of good chews) and applied directly to the injury.

7 ‘Miracle Healing Weeds’ That Are Growing In Your Yard (Got A Cold? Try No. 2)

Purslane. Image source: Pixabay.com

4. Purslane. This one is an absolute monster and can spread out and choke out small shoots in the garden, but it is just as edible as the other plants you are trying to grow. The leaves are high in healthy Omega-3 fatty acid and are actually a very common ingredient in stir-fry recipes all around the world. It is also very high in calcium. In a post-apocalypse situation, purslane in the diet can make up for the lack of dairy and other calcium-rich foods.

5. Red clover. It covers the lawn in the height of summer and is often attacked with horrible chemicals. It is actually more of a purple, and not red, so don’t be fooled. Stop killing the red clover and start plucking it! Grind up the clover and put it on itchy skin rashes and eczema. Boil the flowers in water to use as a cough remedy. If you can get your hands on some red clover seeds, toss the seeds into your garden plot in the fall and use it as a cover crop.

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7 ‘Miracle Healing Weeds’ That Are Growing In Your Yard (Got A Cold? Try No. 2)

Oxeye daisies. Image source: Pixabay.com

6. Oxeye daisies. These are common wildflowers that cover acres of prairies and along the highways. The pretty flowers are similar to the daisies planted in flower beds, but offer a little extra something with their medicinal properties. The flowers can be used to make a tea to cure asthma and chronic coughs. Grinding up the tiny leaves and applying to bruises, sprains and swollen joints is an old-fashioned folk remedy.

7. Yarrow. This is found growing along highways and in fields. A variety of yarrow is often purposely planted in flower beds, but it isn’t the same. You want the wild stuff. It is an excellent way to stop bleeding, which is going to be very important after a disaster. The root can be put directly on a toothache to help stop pain while drawing out any infection.

Next time, when you head out to your garden or look at your lawn covered with dandelions and red clover, smile — you just hit the jackpot.

What advice would you add on using these weeds? Share it in the section below: 

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

3 Easy Ways To Cook Plantain, The Spinach-Like ‘Survival Weed’

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3 Ways To Cook Plantain, The Spinach-Like 'Survival Weed'

Image source: Pixabay.com

I grew up in Chicago and remember seeing plantain growing in yards and parkways along city streets. What always caught my eye were the slender seed stalks emerging from a nest of green leaves. I had no idea they were edible, but have harvested them frequently since then.

Both plantain leaves and the seedy stalks can be eaten, and they contain a surprising number of nutrients on a par with spinach and other leafy green vegetables like kale and collard greens. Plantains have healthy doses of vitamins K, A and C, in addition to iron and fiber.

Harvesting Plantain

Plantain leaves can be easily snipped from the plants with a pair of scissors. The leaf stems are actually a bit fibrous, so cut close to the base of the leaf. The leaves are best when harvested before the tall 4- to 6-inch seed stalk emerges. Much like dandelions, the leaves of plantain become a bit bitter once the seed stalks emerge.

The seed stalks also can be eaten, and there are a few ways of preparing both the leaves and the stalks.

Cooking Plantain

A general rule of thumb for cooking plantain is to immerse the leaves or the stems in boiling water for 4 minutes, and then immediately immerse them into a bowl of ice water. This will shock the leaves or stems to stop the cooking process and fix their deep, green color. When plantains are overcooked they tend to disintegrate, so stay close to the 4-minute rule.

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This initial boiling step will not only tenderize the plant but will help to dilute any bitterness in the more mature leaves. Once you have done this initial step you can go into a variety of directions with further preparation and recipes. It’s not absolutely necessary to do this blanching step. Young, tender leaves can be washed and tossed into a green salad, served with any dressing you prefer.

3 Ways To Cook Plantain, The Spinach-Like 'Survival Weed'

Image source: Wikipedia

Here are three recipes:

1. Sautéing Plantain

I’ll often follow the blanching step in the boiling water with a quick sauté. I’ll drain the plantains and then drop a couple of tablespoons of butter or olive oil in the pan, and toss the plantains around over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. They make a great side dish, and you can top them with anything from pine nuts to bacon bits.

The seed stalks can be sautéed the same way, and when stacked on a plate have the appearance and a bit of the flavor profile of asparagus. The seeds also can be stripped from the stalks and used as a garnish on everything from salads to mashed potatoes.

2. Plantain Soup

In its simplest form, plantain soup includes strips of plantain leaves boiled in a broth for 4 minutes. I’ll usually add two cup of plantain leaves cut into julienne strips about a 1/4-inch wide and bring 4 cups of chicken broth or beef broth to a boil before adding the plantain leaves. You can add other ingredients to the broth, from noodles to vegetables or even chunks of chicken or strips of beef or venison. Add the noodles or meat or other vegetables to the pot first, and add the plantains to the broth 5 minutes later and cook for an additional 4 minutes.

3. Plantain ‘Goma Ae’

I lived and worked in Asia for two years and spent about 4 months living in Japan. It was there that I first encountered Goma Ae. It’s basically boiled spinach that is squeezed dry after boiling and then tossed in a mixture of sesame seed oil and soy sauce before being shaped into a cube about the size of an ice cube. It’s then sprinkled with a little more sauce and sesame seeds and served cold.

To make the plantain version of Goma Ae, take 2 cups of plantain leaves and boil them in water for 4 minutes. Shock the leaves in ice water and then squeeze out as much water as you can. Mix 2 tablespoons of sesame seed oil with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and toss the leaves in the sauce. Form the leaves into cubes with your fingers; you should get about 4 cubes in total from 2 cups of leaves. Drizzle any remaining sauce over each and sprinkle with sesame seeds. This is the plantain recipe I make most often, and it goes great with any meal. If you want more cubes just double or triple the recipe.

How do you eat plantain? Do you have any other advice? Share your tips in the section below:

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Hand-Milled Acne Soap

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Hand-milled acne soap is easy to make with store bought soap and dried herbs. You'll be scrubbing up in a few hours | PreparednessMama

With store bought soap and dried herbs This acne fighting hand-milled soap is a family favorite and has worked well to clear up many a breakout. We keep a bar in each shower so it is always within arms reach. It is not necessary to know how to make your own soap while creating this acne […]

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7 Forgotten Plants The Native Americans Used For Medicine

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7 Forgotten Plants The Native Americans Used For Medicine

 

My great-grandmother was an Ojibway Indian. They’re a tribe from Canada, and their Native American cousins were the Cherokee. She and my great grandfather were highly self-sufficient, as she often used herbs and plants from nature for a variety of reasons.

There was a time in our history when a pharmacy was defined by nature. Over generations, Native Americans discovered cures and treatments for various ailments by accident and tradition. Most herbs were used as an infusion in a tea, but some were pulverized and applied directly to the skin. Here are seven “forgotten ones” that may be growing in your backyard or a meadow near you:

1. Sage

Sage grows wild across many parts of the Great Plains and the southwest. It’s commonly used in cooking and is actually the dominant flavor note in dishes like bread stuffing and poultry. It also has medicinal qualities.

Learn How You Can Make Powerful Herbal Medicines, Right in Your Kitchen!

Native Americans made an infusion of tea from sage leaves to treat indigestion and sore throats, coughs and fever. An extract made by crushing the leaves also can heal the skin as a treatment for burns and chafing. It has powerful antibacterial and astringent properties, as well.

2. Yarrow

7 Forgotten Plants The Native Americans Used For Medicine

Yarrow. Image source: Pixabay.com

Yarrow was commonly used by Native Americans to stop bleeding. The feathery nature of the plant, plus its chemical properties, encourage clotting. It also has anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory benefits and was sometimes taken as a tea to relieve indigestion.

3. Black cohosh

You don’t hear a lot about black cohosh, but its roots were often used as a cough remedy by Native Americans. It also was referred to as the woman’s friend for its estrogenic properties and its ability to relive arthritis and menstrual cramps. It was typically brewed as a dark tea.

4. Feverfew

As the name implies, this herb relieves fever. It also was used as a pain reliever for headaches, including migraines. It has a mild tranquilizing effect. The leaves or flowers were typically chewed rather than infused because it makes for a particularly bitter tea. It has anti-inflammatory benefits and was sometimes taken to relieve arthritis.

5. Goldenrod

7 Forgotten Plants The Native Americans Used For Medicine

Goldenrod. Image source: Pixabay.com

Contrary to popular belief, goldenrod does not induce allergies anywhere close to the degree of its reputation. It’s an indigenous plant that grows across North America, and its flowers and leaves were often infused in a tea to treat urinary tract infections and as a general anti-inflammatory treatment. It also was used as a tea to treat upper respiratory inflammation and congestion.

6. Plantain

The common plantain plant grows everywhere from urban front yards to natural meadows. Its flat leaves and central, green seed-stalk make it easy to find. It makes a good natural salad, although the mature leaves are a bit bitter.

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It’s a good source of vitamin K, which is a natural blood thinner and it may be why Native Americans used it as a topical and oral treatment for snake bites. Personally, I’d get to the hospital as fast as possible after a snake bite, but when there were no hospitals this seemed to be a treatment of choice. In fact, Native Americans referred to it as “snakeweed.”

7. Rose hips

7 Forgotten Plants The Native Americans Used For Medicine

Rose hips. Image source: Pixabay.com

There is no other wild plant that possesses more vitamin C than rose hips. They’re the end result of flowering wild roses and usually are small red buds about one-fourth an inch in diameter. Native Americans figured out the healing properties of rose hips as a boost to the immune system. We have no idea how they figured this out, but over generations some things become apparent.

They can be chewed raw or dried, ground in a tea, or incorporated into other food. I’ve chewed them raw, and in my opinion they taste terrible. I’d strongly recommend chopping them and adding them to something else.

Final Thoughts: Be Careful Out There

I’ve instructed many classes and field excursions on the subject of natural food and medicines. Always make sure you know what you’re eating or about to ingest. There are more plants that are poisonous than are good for you. Take the time to do some research and always start with small portions of anything.

What plants would you add to this list? Share your advice in the section below:

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Herbs to Know: Plantain

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Herbs to Know: Plantain - I urge you to resist the urge to kill it | PreparednessMama

Plantain can be your friend and not just a weed. I treasure the healing properties of plantain so much I’m actually growing it in a pot in my garden. That may sound strange because most people can find it along roadsides, in meadows, and unfortunately to the dismay of some gardeners – their lawn. Not […]

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Making a Tincture of Plantain

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Plantain (the weed, not the small banana) has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb.  Native Americans and Europeans have used it to treat a variety of medical issues including skin wounds, insect and spider bites, snake bites, and indigestion.  It is said to even help with acne and blood clotting.  Overall, this prolific weed has some powerful medicinal uses.  I’ve just recently discovered it, but I’m already impressed with it as a treatment for bug bites.

With all of this new information I have, I ran into a problem.  As it gets hot here in Texas, the Plantain is starting to dry up and crumble away.  I researched ways to preserve some of it.  Dehydration is an option, but I’m certain a lot of the medicinal qualities would evaporate away.  It looks like the best option to save the qualities I want is by making a tincture.  Tinctures are liquid extracts, usually made with ethanol.  I just happened to have a stash of moonshine at a pretty serious concentration, probably close to 180 proof (90%).  A bit of Google research turns up that tinctures are simple to make.

The basics are to add plant matter to the alcohol, let it sit a while, then strain the plant matter out with a filter or cheesecloth.  The alcohol will absorb the herbal goodness.

Raw Plantain Leaves

 

Rinsed and Chopped Leaves

 

Leaves in a Pint Mason Jar

 

Adding the Alcohol

 

Leaves Steeping

The leaves will steep in the alcohol for a week or two to do its work.  After this time, I will strain the plant matter out and save the liquid.  This liquid is the tincture.   This batch will net me around 9 or 10 ounces.  Once it is done, I will put it in a dropper bottle and test it out on the numerous bug bites I receive here on the homestead.  I’m really hoping it can offer some relief from all the chiggers that seem to find my legs delectable.  Stay tuned for an update in a couple of weeks on the final product and the relief it might offer.