Written Paper

Earth medicine - earth food: plant remedies, drugs, and natural foods of the North American Indians  [1980]

Weiner, Michael A.

Access the full text

A guide to medicinal plants and wild foods used by North American Indians identifies important species in medical botany and Indian plant lore. Tribal knowledge and expertise in collecting, preserving, and utilizing plants for food and medicine from the natural environment are explored. The therapeutic actions of and cultural beliefs surrounding Indian herbal remedies are described. Plants used as abortifacients, antibiotics, aphrodisiacs, contraceptives, insect repellents, laxatives, sedatives, and narcotics are surveyed, along with those prescribed for specific disorders (e.g., asthma, blisters, diabetes, and insomnia). A separate section examines important medicinal Indian plant foods including: acorns, cacti, and palms. The practice of dietary restrictions, food taboos, and other medical treatments involving food are discussed. More than 170 species are illustrated, including 19 color plates of such plants as bloodroot, buckthorn, foxglove, and sassafras. (nm)