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Native American Medicine Essay

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Jesse Henne
Professor Kurt Siedschlaw
25 March 2013

Medical Cures and Healing Beliefs of Native Americans

The medical cures and healing traditions used by the Native Americans are rather interesting and different compared to modern day Anglo Saxon cures. Native Americans, using their basis of ideas and beliefs, have developed a general idea of naturalistic cures and healing processes. Although the cures and healing processes are much different than Anglo Saxon ideas of curing and healing, the Native American processes tend to work well and even better than many Anglo Saxon cures. Native American medical and healing beliefs and processes are generally based on a more natural curing or purification process than the processes of modern day Anglo Saxons.

Many Native American healing processes have been practiced for around 40,000 years. Different Native American healing traditions have appeared to share roots with different cultures, such as ancient Chinese traditions. Although many of the Native American healing traditions appear to share roots with ancient Chinese traditions, the greatest influence on Native American healing is the environment in which they have lived. The different plants and animals around them influenced their healing practices to be all natural. Another influence on their healing practices was other tribes. The migration of tribes around them allowed the tribes to share their knowledge of natural cures. Trade was also very helpful in Native American healing practices because many of the natural remedies required herbs from surrounding environments or long distances, and being able to trade with traveling tribes saved much travel time and risk.

Although Native American healing practices have proven to be successful, a lot of their traditions have been lost. Many of the practices were driven underground and lost because they became banned or illegal in many parts of the United States. After 1978, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed, and the Native Americans were once again allowed to practice their healing traditions. The long gap without practicing certain healing processes resulted in the loss of many of their practices, however. Even today, there are still difficulties with Native Americans being allowed to perform different ceremonies and rituals because the land serves other purposes. (

Native Americans have successfully lived for many years by using their own idea of natural cures and purification. Native American healing is a broad term that includes different healing beliefs and practices of hundreds of indigenous tribes or North America. It combines religion, spirituality, herbal medicine uses, and purification rituals that are used to tre...

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