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Coming out of the book is bearberry, best known by one of its Indian names, kinikinik . Its Ojibwe name is saga-ko-minagunj, "berry with spikes on it". The leaves were smoked and used as headache remedies. A tea made of dried leaves had verious medical uses. Berries, which survive all winter in the snow, were emergency food, and were used to make a tea. Discover native medical and food uses, and chemical composition of this plant by fooling around with the database, here. And here's a tnative plants/medical database -- pick a categopry from the list window -- tribe and you'll see long list of every plant somebody once said they used for medicine. Or problem (what all did everyone use for that?) Then click on a plant (botanical name are used) and find out what use, who said it, when. Just generally fool around and learn about this useful resource.

How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine and Crafts ; Frances Densmore;

  • Dover reprint of report compiled between 1908-20. Despite its general title the Natives are Ojibwe, from White Earth, Cass Lake, Mille Lacs and Grand Portage, Minnesota; Lac Courte Oreilles, Wisconsin; and Manitou Rapids, Ontario, Canada. Densmore, unlike most male anthros, was a musicologist, who was also very interested in foods, medicines and crafts. Her plant compilations are a model that (unfortunately) often wasn't followed by later men collecting plant info. Of course most ethnographers didn't have the collaboration of a Native woman like Mary Warren English of White Earth. Whatever tribe you are, this book is a model, a pace-setter, and a price-bargain. 396 pages, many cross-rerencing tables,the best that could be done with that before computers. Densmore is the only ethnobotanist to suggtest a little of the complexity of preparing herbal medicines, which for Ojibwe women, were complex compounds of roots and bark prepared in special ways, steeped in particular amounts of hot water, and given in prescribed dosages. Don't fool around with this stuff on your own! There's a brief section on foods (she covers foods in more detail in Chippewa Customs), and a lot of very good info on plants used for dyes of quills, and later fabrics (hides were painted with a grease-and-minerals paint, not dyed).

  • Frances Densmore on the hawthorn plant, in a special section on beads and beadwork. Densmore on bandolier bags. Densmore writes and shows how birchbark patterns were used for bead embroidery and weaving, with patterns often cut from pretty leaves or flowers found.

Los Remedios: Traditional Herbal Remedies of the Southwest ; Michael Moore;

Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West: A Guide to Identifying, Preparing, and Using Traditional Medicinal Plants Found in the Deserts and Canyons ; Michael Moore;

Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West ; Michael Moore;

Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West >; Michael Moore, Mimi Kamp (Illustrator);

Healing Herbs of the Upper Rio Grande: Traditional Medicine of the Southwest ; Michael Moore (Editor), et al;

  • Many plant images, are maintained by Southwest School of Botanical Medicine,. headed by Michael Moore, author of the above plant books. Major plant photos, engravings, drawings imagebase gateway. and on-line manuals of use. More than a thousand quality plant pix are accessible by botanic, common name and (some) by Spanish-name indexes. Moore is highly knowledgeable and has studied deeply in native plant lore (but has gone beyond old writings in his own explorations). His approach is scientific, not mystical. Very good color photos, his own, and those by Mimi Camp, accurate habitat descriptions and correct universal botanic names make all of the above books good field handbooks for their respective regions.

Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden: Agriculture of the Hidatsa Indians (Borealis) ; Gilbert L. Wilson;

Keepers of Life: Discovering Plants through Native American Stories and Earth Activities for Children (Keepers of the Earth) ; Michael J. Caduto, Joseph Bruchac; Native Plant Stories ; Joseph Bruchac, Michael J. Caduto; Paperback; $10.36 -- these are the traditional stories, in a paperback, that are included in Keepers of Life.

At the Desert's Green Edge: An Ethnobotany of the Gila River Pima ; Amadeo M. Rea;

Gathering the Desert ; Gary Paul Nabhan;

Kashaya Pomo Plants ; Jennie Goodrich, et al;

Pomo Basketmaking: A Supreme Art for the Weaver ; Elsie Allen; From the Earth To Beyond the Sky: Native American Medicine ; Evelyn Wolfson, Jennifer Hewitson (Illustrator);

The Culture of Flowers ; Jack Goody;

Eating on the Wild Side: The Pharmacologic, Ecologic and Social Implications of Using Noncultigens (Arizona Studies in Human Ecology) ; Nina L. Etkin (Editor);

  • These are studies -- mostly pretty technical -- by anthros, paleontologists (study deep layers of earth and bones of earth), primatologists (study monkey and apes and distant furry relatives of us hairless primates ) and ethnobiologists (study indigenous biology knowledge).. They explore from many different scientific perspectives issues such as tribal consumption of unpalatable and famine foods; comparison of aboriginal and later arrivals' diets; self-treatment with pcertain lants by sick animals. Some articles are tough going, some are easy. I liked the one about the so-called cave-man diet (mostly plants) and the argument that all of us are genetically programmed after millions of yearsto eat this way, instead of how we do now.

American Indian Medicine (Civilization of the American Indian Series) by Virgil J. Vogel,

  • Bargain price for this 1990 reprint of Vogel's 1970 classic compilation from masses of old anthros' papers. Every white writer on Indian medicine and herbology has stolen from Vogel ever since. Classic compendium by well-known Native scholar. Vogel uses medical practices as a lens to focus on changing relationships between invading whites and natives, as well as discussing practical and pharmacological bases of plant-based healing and remedies.

Earth Medicine, Earth Food ; Michael Weiner;

  • Emphasis is on medicines rather than foods. Book is organized by condition or problem, listing herbal remedies of various tribes for each.How they were prepared (very sparse) and methods of identification (sketches, not always clear). Last section of the book is more interesting, the plants shown and told about there are usable today. Plants indexed by common and botanical names, and by "remedies" which no one should try to use. No Indian names. Seems simplistic. See my longer review on the page.

Sastun: One Woman's Apprenticeship with a Maya Healer ; Rosita Arvigo, et al;

    Ix Chel Farms and the Panti Medicinal Trail--American woman doctor Rosita Arvigio and 92-year-old Belize Mayan healer Don Eligio Panti started school and botannical plant reserve in the '80's. in Belize. Panti died in 1996, but the school he and Dr. Rosita started continue.

Wild Rice and the Ojibway People ; Thomas Jr. Vennum;

The Sacred Harvest: Ojibway Wild Rice Gathering (We Are Still Here : Native Americans Today) ; Gordon Regguinti, Dale Kakkak (Photographer);

Ininatig's Gift of Sugar: Traditional Native Sugarmaking (We Are Still Here) ; Laura Waterman Wittstock, Dale Kakkak (Photographer);

A Handbook of Native American Herbs (Healing Arts) ; Alma R. Hutchens, Alma R. Huchens;

Indian Herbalogy of North America: The Definitive Guide to Native Medicinal Plants and Their Uses ; Alma R. Hutchens;

  • The Handbook is a portable field companion with plant ID's. 125 North American herbs covered, kitchen as well as medical. Indian Herbology of North America by Hutchens covers more than 200 plants in more detail, the emphasis there is entirely medical.

Teachings of Nature ; Adolf Hungry Wolf, Okan Hungry Wolf (Illustrator);

Nanise': A Navajo Herbal: One Hundred Plants From the Navajo Reservation ; Vernon O. Mayes, Barbara Bayless Lacy;

  • Identifies and illustrates (in line drawings and color plates) 100 plants found today on the Navajo Reservation. Each is identified by an English, Latin, and Navajo name. A description of each plant's use as a food, emetic, dye, etc., is also given. Until now, there has been no comprehensive reference on plants of the Navajo Reservation. This book is valuable to both amateur and seasoned botanist in the Southwest, in addition to others interested in health remedies and Navajo folklore and culture. Published by Navajo community College Press.

Navajo Indian Medical Ethnobotany (University of New Mexico Bulletin Anthropological Series, Vol 3, No 5) ; Leland C. Wyman, Stuart K. Harris;

Ethnobotany of the Navajo ; F. Elmore;

Traditional Plant Foods of Canadian Indigenous Peoples: Nutrition, Botany and Use (Food and Nutrition in History and Anthropology) ; Harriet V. Kuhnlein, Nancy J. Turner;

This outrageously-priced book comes from research (mostly compiled from other people's writings) funded by the Canadian government. The anthros who wrote it on government tick have the nerve to say they know First Nations Reserve people are quite poor -- so here's some info that can help them eat better. Yah, poor reserve residents gonna buy a $90 book, sure. Turner, BTW is an anthro who thinks kinikinnik and tobacco are "narcotics" when BC Indians smoke 'em, anyway. Look out! Here they come again. . . . See Review

Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples (Royal BC Museum Handbook) ; Nancy J. Turner;

Food Plants of Interior First Peoples (Royal BC Museum Handbook) ; Nancy J. Turner;

Plants in British Columbia Indian technology (Handbook / Royal British Columbia Museum) ; Nancy J. Turner;

Ethnobiological Classification : Principles of Categorization of Plants and Animals in Traditional Societies; Brent Berlin;

Thompson Ethnobotany: Knowledge and Usage of Plants by the Thompson Indians of British Columbia (Carleton Library) (Memoir No. 3) ;

Ethnobotany: A Methods Manual (People and Plants Conservation) ; Gary J. Martin;

Selected Guidelines for Ethnobotanical Research: A Field Manual (Advances in Economic Botany Vol. 10) ; Miguel N. Alexiades (Editor), Jennie Wood Sheldon (Editor);

Ethnobotany: Evolution of a Discipline ; Richard Evans Schultes, Siri Von Reis (Editor);

Guide to Indian Herbs ; Raymond Stark;

Humanistic Botany ; Oswald Tippo, Oswald Tipp;

The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching ; Terence McKenna, Dennis McKenna;

Medicinal Resources of the Tropical Forest: Biodiversity and its Importance to Human Health (Biology and Resource Management Series) ; Michael J. Balick (Editor), et al;

Medicinal Wild Plants of the Prairie: An Ethnobotanical Guide ; Kelly Kindscher, William S. Whitney (Illustrator);

Medicines From Nature ; Peggy Thomas;

Montana Native Plants & Early Peoples ; Jeff Hart, Jacqueline Moore (Illustrator);

Native Harvests: Recipes & Botanicals of the American Indian ; E. Barrie Kavasch (Cherokee, Creek descent);

  • This is a reissue of a book Kavasch published in the early 1970's. It impressed me back then, but I believe its botanic info would now strike me shallow, smiplistic and inaccurate. The recipes are better done in Kavasch's newer book, Enduring harvests (on the Food and Cookbooks shelf, here.

The Origins of Human Diet and Medicine: Chemical Ecology (Arizona Studies in Human Ecology) ; Timothy Johns;

People of the Desert and Sea: Ethnobotany of the Seri Indians ; Richard Stephen Felger, Mary Beck Moser;

Indian Uses of Native Plants ; Edith Van Allen Murphey, Edith Van Allen Murphey;

Persephone's Quest: Entheogens and the Origins of Religion ; R. Gordon Wasson, et al;

Plant Spirit Medicine: The Healing Power of Plants ; Eliot Cowan;

Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers ; Richard Evans Schultes, Albert Hofmann;

Plants, People, and Culture: The Science of Ethnobotany (Scientific American Library Paperback) ; Michael J. Balick, Paul Alan Cox;

Seed to Civilization; The story of food ; Charles Bixler Heiser; ;

Song of the Seven Herbs ; Walking Night Bear, et al;

Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice: An Ethnobotanist Searches for New Medicines in the Amazon Rain Forest ; Mark J. Plotkin;

Uses of Plants by the Indians of the Missouri River Region (Enlarged Edition) ; Melvin R. Gilmore, Bellamy Parks Jansen (Illustrator);

Wild Plants and Native Peoples of the Four Corners ; William W. Dunmire, Gail D. Tierney;

The Zuni Indians And Their Uses Of Plants ; Matilda Coxe Stevenson, Marilda Coxe Stevenson;

Ethnobotany: Principles and Applications ; C. M. Cotton;

Ethnobotany and the Search for New Drugs (Novartis Foundation Symposia) ; G. T. Prance, et al;

Tsewa's Gift: Magic and Meaning in an Amazonian Society ; Michael F. Brown;

Geraniums for the Iroquois: A Field Guide to American Indian Medicinal Plants ; Daniel E. Moerman;

The History and Folklore of North American Wildflowers ; Timothy Coffey;

Kava: The Pacific Drug (Psychoactive Plants of the World Series) ; Vincent Lebot, et al;

Medicinal Wild Plants of the Prairie: An Ethnobotanical Guide ; Kelly Kindscher, William S. Whitney (Illustrator);

CLOVER (Trifolium pratensis , prairie common red clover) shown in the left margin, like all the clovers, was a common food for all tribes in areas where it grows. Its Ojibwe name is basibuguk, "small leaves". In 1919, a U.S. Department of Agriculture survey showed that many tribes had cultivated it by irrigating the areas where it grew. California Pomos held special sacred clover feasts and dances in the early spring to celebrate clover's appearance. New clover was eaten raw, and fresh blossoms were eaten raw or dried, dipped in salt water. The plants were also boiled, usually with other greens, and baked in rock ovens. A report from the Mayo Clinic, in Minnesota, in the mid-1960's indicated that clover contains an effective anti-coagulant, that has found uses in treating coronary thrombosis. This table shows the chemical composition of red clover. You can fool around with the other databases, and discover many tribal food and medical uses, and a citator of writings about this.

Native Americans and the Environment Hundreds of relevant site links, bibliography of published materials; some fulltext articles and booklets reside at this site, maintained by Prof .Alyx Dark

Text and graphics copyright © 1997 Paula Giese

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Last Updated: 6/11/97