Native American Remedies Essay

2229 words - 9 pages

Native American Remedies

"Mike Spring, paralyzed from the waist... down and in constant pain, sailed to the Azores and back. On his return, he confounded his TV interviewer with the statement that the only way he was able to obtain relief from the pain that continually racked his body was to press his back to an oak tree. This simple and cost-free action would then afford him several hours of complete relief and helped him to carry on in life. When asked for a scientific explanation, Mr. Spring replied that he had none-- it simply worked! He had heard of the treatment from an American Indian source and had been using it successfully for years" (Psychology of Healing- Murry Hope 89).

How can that possibly be? A tree curing backaches? He must have been taking some aspirin, too, many of us assume. It is not uncommon for a person in Western culture to be thinking this way. We were raised with the belief that our medical society largely based on chemical concoctions is powerful because it has cures for everything from various cancers all the way down the list to the common cold. Don't get me wrong, the medical profession is quite effective, but for several generations, Native Americans have been using herbs to cure aches and pains, and various other illnesses. Many of the herbs used by Native Americans are the ones you can actually find in aspirin and other medications today. In fact, many ingredients used in various modern medications are actually derived from Native American cultures.

Herbal medicine is being reintroduced through various forms of alternative medicine. Out on the market we see aromatherapy, acupuncture, herbology, and many more forms of alternative medicine.

Herbology is a practice which seeks to heal people through a variety of herbal supplements. Howard Buckingham, a clinical herbalist that works with North American herbs, comments that he "sees clients with arthritis, skin problems, prostate, impotence and hormonal problems, menopause- a lot of different ailments that people have....Taken in the right dosage and often in the right combinations, herbs can help a person a great deal" (in Wolf 1). He further discusses how people use herbs to help relieve the side affects they experience through Western medical procedures.

Aromatherapy deals with various scents to change the mood of individuals. Melinda Wolf comments that "In addition to candles and oils, consumers can purchase soaps and shampoos that can be used to practice this alternative medicine. Those who use this method say the scent can alter moods and enhance the body, mind, and spirit" (1). Aromatherapy is very powerful according to Mary Emmons, a massage therapist in Wauwatosa, WI. "Different scents have different effects. Lavender helps bring peace and balance and has been known to help ease respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis; basil helps stimulate brain function; mandarin has a cheerful refreshing and inspiring effect in the...

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