Many medications of the modern era have their roots in natural remedies. Some researchers state that many important clues of modern pharmacology are held by the traditional herbal remedies.
Study of American Herbal Remedies
The following is what a pharmacology professor, James Adams, teacher of pharmacology at the University of Southern California studying “Native American Healing” shared.
The Native Americans used local flora for healing such as plants like “Yerba Santa.” This plant had been used by ancient Spanish colonizers for lung disorders.
According to him Pharmacology originally was the science of moving out, talking to conventional healers to find out which plants they used for healing and then taking the plants back to the laboratory to investigate what did they have to make them work.
He gives an example of aspirin which is a medication used for pain relief and fever for a long time that it came into existence in the 19th century from salicylic acid that is found in plants like “willow” and “meadowsweet.”
He says every society has its own medicine based on plants like Ayurveda in India. Chinese use traditional Chinese medicine. In the Middle East, traditional Arabic healing is used etc.
Examples of Some Herbal Medicines Found In the United States
In the United States, in California, the “Chumash” learned from their own knowledge as to which plant was useful for which disease.
- The “Sagebrush” is a very powerful pain reliever. It is said to be much safer than NSAIDs and opioids. Apart from relieving pain, the pleasant smell of the “California Sagebrush” makes people relax.
- “Spanish Bayonet” plant has leaves and roots which give out some sort of soap. The fiber from its stems may be used in wounds.
- A plant called “Chamise” is used for skin problems.
- The “California Bay” is used for toothaches due to its anesthetic qualities.
- Skunk Cabbage was used by the “Winnebago” and “Dakota Tribes” to accelerate removal of phlegm in asthma.
- Horsemint: The “Catawba Tribe” crushed and soaked fresh horsemint leaves in cold water and drank it to get rid of back pain.
- Creosote Bush: Its leaves were made into a tea and used for bronchial and other respiratory disorders.
- Devil’s Club: Used by the Indians of British Columbia. They made tea out of the root bark to compensate for the effects of diabetes.
- Blackcherry: Used extensively by the Indians of North California, tea made of its roots is extremely useful for treatment of diarrhea.
- Pennyroyal: The “Onondagas” soaked its leaves and drank the tea to treat headaches.