Native American medicine has long been revered for its effectiveness and lack of negative side effects. Many of the Native American herbal traditions are still being incorporated into modern holistic medicine. There are several Native American remedies that modern cultures can learn from.
Native Americans were not as a culture exposed to great amounts of toxins, however, ritualistic purification was still a common tenant of their health practices. Native American purification might consist of fasting or abstinence from certain foods for a specific time period. Another common Native American purification method was the sweat lodge, in which an individual would spend a certain amount of time within a primitive type of sauna and allow their bodies to sweat out impurities.
The Native Americans understood the importance of relaxing. That is why chamomile was one of the most important herbs among their many remedies. It is not just the substance of chamomile, however, that induced relaxation. The rituals surrounding the consumption of chamomile are probably just as powerful as the physical properties of the herb. The practice of stopping and slowing down to enjoy a warm cup of chamomile tea adds to the calming substances found in the herb.
Stress Reduction Through Communal Living
Native Americans were not associated with stress as we understand it. One of the main reasons that Native Americans were not a stressed out society, is because no one individual in the community was expected to carry their entire load of work alone. Everyone in the community shared in all of the daily tasks. Food gathering, preparation, shelter building, child rearing, community affairs and protection were all shared. Our culture experiences a high a level of stress due to our obsession with being superman or super woman and attempting to take care of everything by ourselves. Strong support systems are vital to stress management. Even though communal living may be unrealistic, reaching out for help when one is in need of help can go a long way to establishing a more peaceful life.
Echinacea was widely used by Native Americans to treat cold symptoms. This was effective because Echinacea also helps to strengthen the immune system so that the body can more effectively fight off cold viruses. Because a strong immune system is the foundation of your overall health, building our immune system should be first on our list of ways to improve our health. Echinacea can be consumed in a number of ways including pills, sprays and teas. Echinacea is also safe for children which is great because children are exposed to so many germs at school. Though perhaps Native American medicine men did not completely understand all of the details of our immune systems, they understood that Echinacea could help one stay healthy.
The Native American diet consisted of whole and often raw foods. This is one of the main things that contributed to the health and longevity of their society up until foreign contagions were introduced into their culture after the arrival of settlers. Consuming highly processed foods has begun an epidemic in our society of obesity and disease. Simplifying one’s diet to consist of whole or mostly unaltered foods can have a huge effect on health and well-being. Many people associate a whole food diet with being a vegetarian. This is not always the case. A whole foods diet can include meat. However, like the Native Americans, organic or range fed meat that has not been loaded with steroids or other chemicals makes all the difference.
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