Native American Medicine Essay examples

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Native American Medicine

"Native American medicine is based on widely held beliefs about healthy living, the repercussions of disease-producing behavior, and the spiritual principles that restore balance." -Ken "Bear Hawk" Cohen (Chrisman 1).

The beliefs that Cohen is referring to are shared by all North and South Native American tribes, however, the methods of diagnosis as well as the treatments vary significantly. This is mainly due to the fact that Native American medicine is based upon a spiritual view of life. A healthy person is someone who has a sense of purpose and follows the guidance of the Great Spirit who represented the central religious figure for most tribes (Chrisman 2). It is believed that someone is
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In order to heal a fractured, sprained or dislocated bone, the natives would form a padding of wet clay or rawhide to form a cast around the injury. This restricted movement, thus allowing the bone to heal properly. In another method, used by the Ojibwas, they washed the fractured arm with warm water, then greased it, applied a warm poultice of wild ginger and spikenard to ease the pain, covered it with cloth, and bound the arm with cedar splints (Vogel 215). This procedure resulted in a sling that allowed the broken bone to heal correctly. When someone broke a bone, it was crucial that the bone be able to heal properly as the injured person was needed to return to work as quickly as possible. Some Native Americans often used specific drugs to suppress ovulation and control the menstrual cycle (Vogel 5). This drug's success started researchers on the road that led to the pill, a common form of birth control today. This demonstrates that many of the needs of the people of the past are similar to the needs of the people today. In 1536, an Indian chief, Domagaia, treated an abundant disease, scurvy, by boiling the leaves and bark of a 'magical tree' and then placing the dregs upon the legs of the people that had been exposed (Morsette 5).

They experienced success with this remedy due to the large amounts of vitamin C present in the
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