Long ago people found that many plants contained a substance that could kill or make one feel better. We hear more about Indian cures here in the United States. Probably the one we hear most about is the RED PEPPER  which contains a pain reliever (capsaicin). You see it in salves, ointments, and oils. Earlier PEPPERS were used to extract aspirin. Now the herb Capsicum is used. A native pain killer is WILLOW BARK, stripped from branches 2-5 years old.  It can be chewed directly to release salicin. It is now manufactured into aspirin pills.

          Several people I have met keep ALOE VERA in their house plant collection, usually in case of a burn.  Ancient countries (Greece, Rome, China, and others about 1500 BCE) used it for skin problems.  It is super easy to grow, likes lots of sun, and not a great deal of water. It is also easy to find in a nursery or garden center. A tiny one in a south window can become a large plant.  Just slice a piece off and put the rather slimy juice on the spot. You will find ALOE VERA juice in any number of salves; creams, etc. to relieve pain, heal skin, etc. so why not grow your own? It is rather heavy and juicy so better put it in a clay pot to keep it from falling over as it grows.

          I see CHAMOMILE growing in a number of yards.  Mine seeds rapidly, grows about 18 inches tall and wide and with large clusters of small white blooms. Just go to the garden, pick several tablespoons of blooms, put them in boiling water for 10 to 20 minutes or you can re-heat them in the microwave. They bloom from June to September here in Lincoln in full sun or light shade. Dried heads work well so you can supply yourself for winter.  Our ancestors used it for an antiseptic, and to improve appetite. Remember Peter Rabbits mom used it for nerves and for wounds.  Sometimes I see it in sleep encouraging remedies.  Every spring I have many extra plants to give away.

          In Colorado where I grew up we had a low meadow near a dry creek that would flood each summer and after that it turned completely bright yellow with DANDELIONS. As kids we cut off the head, put them in bags and some one would pay us a few pennies.  I found out he was a wine maker but I have never tasted dandelion wine. The root was considered to stimulate digestion. I have never eaten a root but my books say they are the most bitter and powerful in July and August.

          I have a number of books about “healing plants” but I must tell you that in many cases they also tell you of the dangers from those same “herbs”. Do your research and ask your doctor.

          DILL is an old healing plant. 3,000 years old records from Egypt shows it was used as a digestive aid.  The Romans hung DILL in their dinning halls.  Our American ancestors use “Dilly water” for many of their children’s illnesses. You can get DILL seed oil to put in your bath water.  Be careful as some people develop a skin rash from DILL. I have a clump in my yard that reseeds itself to a larger clump each year. It grows about 3 feet tall.

          Our CONE FLOWERS (Echinacea) was one of our American Indians main choices for use on wounds, infections, and insect bites. Europe uses it now as a stimulus against various bacteria and fungous.  Use in the USA has declined with development of antibiotics. Roots are the chosen part. It is easy to grow in full sun and reseeds itself as well as being a perennial.

Copyright 2016