11 Plants Native Americans Used to Cure Everything from Joint Pain to Cancer

Native American tribes have a long history of using the natural resources around them for medicinal purposes. Many of the plants they used are still valued today for their healing properties. Here are 11 plants that Native Americans used to cure a variety of ailments, from joint pain to cancer:

  1. Willow Bark Often referred to as “nature’s aspirin,” willow bark contains salicin, which is similar to the active ingredient in aspirin. Native Americans used it to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and treat fevers.
  2. Echinacea Known for boosting the immune system, echinacea was used to treat infections and wounds. It’s still popular today for its antiviral and antibacterial properties.
  3. Turmeric This vibrant yellow root was used for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. It was particularly effective in treating joint pain and digestive issues.
  4. Yarrow Yarrow was applied to wounds to stop bleeding and prevent infection. It also had uses in treating fevers and colds due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  5. Black Cohosh Used primarily for women’s health, black cohosh helped alleviate menstrual cramps and menopausal symptoms. It was also known to reduce inflammation and muscle pain.
  6. Ginseng This powerful root was a remedy for fatigue, increasing energy levels, and supporting overall vitality. It also had applications in treating digestive issues and respiratory conditions.
  7. Goldenseal With strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, goldenseal was used to treat skin disorders, eye infections, and digestive issues.
  8. Feverfew Known for its ability to reduce fevers, feverfew was also used to treat migraines, arthritis, and digestive problems. Its anti-inflammatory properties made it a versatile remedy.
  9. Licorice Root Used to soothe gastrointestinal issues, licorice root also had applications in treating respiratory problems and reducing inflammation. It was often made into teas and tinctures.
  10. Cascara Sagrada This plant was a natural laxative used to treat constipation. It also supported liver health and was used in detoxifying treatments.
  11. Red Clover Red clover was used to purify the blood and treat respiratory conditions. Modern research also suggests that it may have properties beneficial in preventing cancer.


The medicinal knowledge of Native Americans provides a wealth of natural remedies that have stood the test of time. By understanding and utilizing these plants, we can appreciate the natural resources available to us for treating various ailments. Whether used in teas, poultices, or tinctures, these plants offer a natural approach to health and healing that continues to be relevant today.