Last Updated: 19 years Gathering and Using Medicinal Herbs in the Cherokee Tradition.. KEYWORDS: cherokee medicinal herbs gathering use preservation of medicinal herbs cherokee herbalists
The Cherokee have been gifted by the Creator with an
understanding of the gathering, use and preservation of
medicinal herbs. The Cherokee believe that these plants
were put on this earth to provide not only
healing methods, but preventative measures, as well.
Many plants have disappeared throughout the years, or have
become extremely scarce. Because of this, we recommend extreme
care in gathering wild herbs and other plants.
The old ones
taught that when you gather, only pick or dig every third
plant you find. This will ensure that enough specimens remain
to continue propagation. Many traditionalists carry on the
practice of asking the plant’s permission to be gathered, and
leave a small gift of thanks. This can be tobacco, cornmeal, a small bead or other
It is also recommended by Cherokee traditionalists
that should you find a wild crop of useful herbs, do not share
it’s location unless it is to a person very close to you. This
will ensure that large numbers of people do not clean out an
entire wild crop in a short time.
Additional information regarding the gathering, usage and
application of medicinal herbs can be found by talking to the
elders of a Cherokee family. Many of these people will still
recall some of the home remedies that their families used, as
well as provide information on herbs which they themselves use.
Please remember that these plants are very valuable as
medicines because of the great chemical powers they contain.
At the same time, these chemicals can be potentially dangerous
if used in the wrong way.
Cherokee herbalists have great
experience, and have gone through extensive training and
observation. Novice herbal practitioners are advised to seek
out and develop a close relationship with Cherokee herbalists
or their elders to learn how to use these medicines properly.