Top 10 Forgotten Wild Plants Native Americans used for their Health and Beauty Benefits

Wild plants Native Americans used were many and diverse. Native Americans had a great respect for the Nature and the wild plants they included in their everyday life served either as a nutritional source of food, as a skin or a hair product. Sore throat? Dry skin? Simple cold? They had it covered. There are many wild plants Native Americans knew of that have been gaining popularity either in the beauty industry or in the superfood department only in the past few years. Herbal medicine is quite old and the beneficial attributes of the wild plants are incredible. Have a look at the top 10 wild plants Native American used, their health and beauty benefits and maybe you get an inspiration too!

Yucca

Yucca, which also goes by other names such as manioc or cassava, was a fairly popular wild plant with the native American tribes. Also referred to as brain food, yucca plant is a great source of fiber, vitamin C and folate. We can find most nutrients in its roots, but also its fruits, flowers and seeds have medicinal properties. The native Americans used yucca to treat arthritic symptoms.

Top 10 Forgotten Native American Wild Plants’ Health and Beauty Benefits

Yucca as a source of nutrition

Yucca is bursting with nutrition. It is a rich source of vitamin C, A, and B-complex (especially folate), minerals, such as potassium, calcium, copper and manganese. Yucca is loaded with valuable fiber and it contains tons of antioxidants as well as phytonutrients (such as saponins and reservatrol).

Yucca health benefits

  • Boosts immune system
  • Eases arthritic pain
  • Aids with digestion (diarrhea, bloating, constipation…)
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Regulates blood sugar
  • Increases hearth health
  • Reduces cholesterol levels
  • Aids with weight loss
  • Improves cognition

Yucca as a beauty product

  • Aids with skin and eye health
  • Natural protection from sun damage
  • Aids with dandruff
  • Renews skin in case of sores, wounds and cuts
  • Eliminates skin redness
  • Hydrates the skin
  • Prevents hair loss (it does not treat baldness, it stimulates the scalp and gives strength to the hair)

Yucca uses

Yucca Organic Liquid Extract add to smoothies, teas or juices, alcohol, GMO and gluten free.

Lavender Mist Facial Toner made with natural and organic ingredients (yucca being one of them), for revitalization of your skin with lavender scent.

Buckwheat

This simple plant is definitely full of surprises. I honestly had no idea it was so nutritious and ridiculously healthy. It is also gluten free, often used to make gluten-free beer. Buckwheat is used as an ingredient in noodles, porridge and medicine. Would you like to boost your immune system, hair health and get a glowing skin? The answer is still the same: buckwheat.

Top 10 Forgotten Wild Plants Native Americans used for Health and Beauty Benefits

Buckwheat as a source of nutrition

As one of the wild plants Native Americans included in their diet, buckwheat is rich all around. It contains loads of antioxidants and phytonutrients (which are a natural compound found in plant foods that are beneficial for our health: these nutrients give fruit and veg their wildly intense color as well as an enormous nutritional value for healthier organs, detoxification, stronger immune system). Buckwheat contains loads of B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate…) as well as minerals (iron, selenium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, magnesium). Buckwheat is a great source of protein and fiber, and it should give us a fair among of essential fatty acids: omega 3 and omega 6. Why are these important? Because our bodies don’t actually produce them and we need to get them with our diets.

Buckwheat health benefits

  • Aids with weight loss
  • Improves immune system
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Lowers blood sugar levels
  • Improves circulation
  • Beneficial for cardiovascular system
  • Improves liver function
  • Lowers cholesterol levels
  • Improves gut health
  • Contributes to healthy bones

Buckwheat as a beauty product

  • Prevents premature aging (due to flavonoids)
  • Glowing skin
  • Improves elasticity of the skin (due to polyunsaturated fatty acids)
  • Prevents skin damage (because of the high level of vitamin B)
  • Aids with hair growth
  • Improves hair health

Buckwheat uses

Organic Buckwheat Pillow from Beans72 made with organic buckwheat hulls. The buckwheat enables the air to circulate through the pillow. It stays cool and offers a great support; you can add/remove buckwheat to your desire

Buckwheat Organic Liquid Extract add to smoothies, teas or juices. Alcohol, GMO and gluten free.

Aronia (aronia melanocarpa)

Aronia, also known as a black chokeberry used to be a decorative plant in Europe, but native Americans knew of its health benefits long before we started using it the same way. Healthy black berries are a rich source of nutrition: aronia aids with elasticity of the skin, healthy blood vessels; this plant has been used as a migraine remedy and a tasty addition to your food: make juices, deserts, smoothies and treats.

Top 10 Forgotten Wild Plants Native Americans used for Health and Beauty Benefits

Aronia as a source of nutrition

Black chokeberry is a rich source of vitamins (P, C, A B) and minerals (calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, iodine). It contains tons of antioxidants and I really mean it. Aronia fruit has the highest amount of antioxidants present in any fruit (according to ORAC). Do you know what that means? It’s ridiculously good for us. And one more thing; aronia berry is also a rich source of flavonoids (a group of phytonutrients with antioxidant anti-inflammatory health benefits).

Aronia health benefits

  • Helps regulate weight
  • Great for the cardiovascular system
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Improves blood circulation and strengthens blood vessels
  • Removes toxins from the body
  • Aids with stomach problems
  • Used for soothing  migraines and headaches
  • Beneficial influence on the gut health
  • Boosts immune system
  • Improves eye-sight and memory
  • Protects the urinary tract
  • Prevents the formation of the free radicals
  • Speeds up wound healing

Aronia as a beauty product

We are what we eat, right? Adding aronia to your daily diet will boost your immune system, which will also reflect on your skin. This rich source of antioxidants and vitamins has beneficial effects on your body as a whole: healthy mind in a healthy body.

  • Elasticity of the skin
  • Slows the aging process
  • Helps with acne

Aronia Uses

Organic Aronia Berry Powder add it to smoothies, cereal, deserts.

Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)

For a stronger immune system, use Echinacea. Native North American tribes chewed on its roots, made a paste or juice with it. To this day we still use this plant in a number of ways, such as a remedy for headache, wounds, burns, cough, gum infection or throat ache. Echinacea actually treats causes of the common cold and not only its symptoms.

The useful parts of the Echinacea plant are the roots and the blossoms.

Top 10 Forgotten Wild Plants Native Americans used for Health and Beauty Benefits

 Echinacea as a source of nutrition

Echinacea has essential oils in its roots and it is a powerful antiviral and antibacterial remedy. Why? Well, this wild plant is not only pretty but beneficial to our health as well. Firstly, it is a rich source of vitamins A, C, E and B-complex, as well as minerals (selenium, zinc, magnesium, potassium, sodium, calcium, iron). You want antioxidants? It has them. And flavonoids? Those too. And lastly, phytochemicals. Those compounds that make our organs healthier and our immune system stronger.

Echinacea health benefits

  • Stimulates white blood cells
  • Boosts immune system
  • Used for urinary tract infections
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Aids with skin wound healing, burns and skin infections, eczema, skin damage caused by the sun
  • Aids with herpes
  • Used to fight common cold and flu
  • Used for gum treatment
  • Effective painkiller (reduces aches and pain)

Echinacea as a beauty product

  • Aids with skin regeneration
  • Helps fight acne
  • Reduces eczema and psoriasis
  • Boosts oral health
  • Helps reduce wrinkles
  • Promotes hair growth
  • Helps with dandruff

Echinacea Uses

A Vogel Echinacea Cream: use it for small cuts and wounds, very soothing and all natural. I’ve known the A. Vogel brand for years and at the house we always had a tube or two lying around. A. Vogel, or Alfred Vogel was a Swiss phytotherapist and a nutritionist. He travelled a lot and even stayed with the Sioux native American tribe who, according to Vogel, taught him a lot about the native American herbal medicine. From them he even got seeds from Echinacea, which he started to research and grow once he was back in Switzerland.

Goldenseal

Goldenseal has been considered a multi-purpose remedy. With its antibacterial benefits, the native North Americans used it both for medicinal purposes and as a coloring material. Goldenseal, orangeroot or yellow puccoon is often combined with Echinacea to enhance immune system. This wild plant has been a popular ingredient when it comes to natural skin care.

Top 10 Forgotten Wild Plants Native Americans used for Health and Beauty Benefits

Goldenseal as a source of nutrition

Goldenseal is a rich source of berberine. Berberine is a natural compound which is responsible for the goldenseal’s powerful antibacterial and antifungal effects. Amongst other things it also helps reduce blood sugar and improve heart health. Apart from berberine, you can also find vitamins C, A, E, B-complex, minerals (calcium, iron, manganese) and hydrastine which helps relax the muscles.

Goldenseal health benefits

  • Boosts immune system
  • Aids with cough and simple cold, hay fever
  • Influences positively on our digestive system
  • Controls muscle spasms
  • Stimulates cardiovascular system
  • Aids with painful menstruation
  • Aids with gut health
  • Reduces swelling
  • Aids with gum health
  • Natural antiseptic

Goldenseal as a beauty product

  • Natural acne remedy
  • Aids with skin rashes, eczema
  • Used to treat wounds, sores
  • Helps with dandruff (due to berberine)
  • Improves hair health

Hops (Humulus lupulus)

Are you looking for something relaxing? Do you need a healing and a soothing bath? Here’s hops for you. Hops have had a variety of uses; as a material to make baskets, paper and textiles, to sedative and healing purposes. There are male as well as female flowers, but only the female flowers are used for medicinal purposes. It is also widely used to brew beer (duh!), but not only. There are hops tea, powder and extracts for healing purposes to be found. They have a relaxing effect and they have been used in herbal medicine similarly to valerian.

Top 10 Forgotten Wild Plants Native Americans used for Health and Beauty Benefits

Hops as a source of nutrition

Hops are an important source of essential oils. Does it sound weird? A bit, yes, but hops essential oil is very beneficial for menstrual pain, headaches, skin health and even sex performance. Apart from the powerful essential oil qualities, hops are also a rich in antioxidants and vitamins C, E, and B6. One more thing to be found in hops are the phytoestrogens. These plant-based estrogens, so to speak, are nutrients that supposedly have hormonal effect on the body.

Hops health benefits

  • Aids with weight loss
  • Anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effects
  • Relaxing, sedative effects (used for sleep disorders, anxiety, nervousness)
  • Boosts digestion
  • May stimulate and protect cardiovascular system
  • Aids with muscle spasms and cramps
  • Eases stiff joints
  • Used for female problems (menstruation, menopause)
  • Aids with stomach problems

Hops as a beauty product

  • Keeps the skin young (slows down body aging)
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Gives hair the natural shine
  • Reduces hair loss (strengthens the scalp and hair)
  • Aids with dandruff

Hops uses

Kneipp Herbal Bath : Sweet Dreams with hops and valerian essential oils. Add to your mineral bath salt before you go to bed.

Kneipp Mineral Bath Salt : a blue bath to relax the mind and nerves.

Rose hip (rosa canina)

Rosehip is a wild plant that is useful all around. Rosehip is actually a wild rose bush. It is one of the oldest decorative plants and it has been used both by a traditional and the official medicine. The part of the plant used for cosmetic products and in medicinal purposes are the red “berries” and their seeds, which are used to make rosehip oil.

Top 10 Forgotten Wild Plants Native Americans used for Health and Beauty Benefits

Rosehip as a source of nutrition

Vitamin C? Say yes to rosehip. It contains tons, along with vitamins A, E, and B-complex, which makes it a perfect plant to use when it comes to cold and flu treatment. Along with the vitamins, there are also a lot of minerals found in rosehip that are also good for us: calcium, iron, selenium, manganese. The flavonoids and carotenoids, also called the antioxidants, in rosehip have beneficial influence on lowering cholesterol levels and protection from the free radicals.

Rosehip health benefits

  • Boosts immune system
  • Aids with simple cold and flu
  • Prevents asthma and eases respiratory issues
  • Used to treat gum bleeding
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Helps with diarrhea
  • Regulates blood sugar levels
  • Inflammation of kidney, used for problems with urinary tract
  • Used to treat stomach disorders (spasms, ulcers, acid reflux)
  • As an ointment for burns
  • Lowers cholesterol levels
  • Prevention for heart diseases
  • Prevention and elimination of kidney stones

Rosehip as a beauty product

As a beauty product rosehip is mostly used in a form of rosehip seed oil. It offers plenty of benefits for our skin and hair since it contains essential fatty acids along with the important vitamins. Rosehip oil has a rejuvenating and healing effects both for your skin, your nails as well as the hair.

  • Regenerates skin cells (can be used to treat acne, scars and burns)
  • Keeps the skin hydrated
  • Keeps the skin elastic
  • Prevents wrinkles
  • Used for dry hair (as a mask)
  • Treats dandruff
  • Nourishment for brittle nails
  • Gives natural glow to the skin

Rosehip uses

Charcoal Soap with Jojoba & Rosehip: a gentle soap that is beneficial for the skin and makes it even softer. Comes with conjac facial sponge for exfoliating.

Organic Rosehip Oil: cold pressed rosehip oil with dark orange tint for soft skin, removes blemishes, aids with acne and scars. It leaves the skin glowing and hydrated.

Prickly pear cactus

Prickly pear cactus or Indian fig used to be considered food, even though it has been gaining more and more attention in the beauty industry as well. We could say it’s one of those rediscovered fruits turned into superfood. There are about 200 different species of Opuntia cactus, but the most common is Indian fig Opuntia. The fruit can be eaten raw (but needs to be peeled beforehand), or used to make jams, deserts, and alcoholic drinks (vodka). But it works the other way as well- it has long been used as a hangover cure (if you try this one before I do, let me know how it goes, hehe).

Top 10 Forgotten Wild Plants Native Americans used for Health and Beauty Benefits

Prickly pear as a source of nutrition

Vitamins C, B-complex and E, along with dietary fiber, fatty acids, tons of antioxidants, such as flavonoids, and minerals (magnesium, potassium, calcium, copper) make a prickly pear not only an interesting cactus, but a useful-all-around one as well. This refreshing fruit is beneficial to our health on the inside and on the outside. This is a 100% natural solution to weigh loss, hangover and damaged hair.

Prickly pear health benefits

  • Lowers cholesterol levels
  • Improves digestive system
  • Decreases the risk of diabetes
  • Boosts immune system
  • Stimulates bone health and teeth
  • Has positive effects on blood vessels
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Good for heart health
  • Aids with weight loss

Prickly pear as a beauty product

The seeds of prickly pear cactus are cold pressed and made into a beauty product which will make your skin soft, reduce dark circles and nurture the skin. It will also soften your hair and protect it from strong sun. The oil is quickly absorbed and it also slows aging (fatty acids and vitamin E!)

  • Hangover effect
  • Hair conditioner for shiny hair
  • Moisturizes and restores your nail health
  • Oil from prickly pear seed is popular for mature and damaged skin

Prickly pear uses

Prickly Pear Seed Organic Oil: a light oil that is easily absorbed into your skin. Add it to creams, lotions, shower gel or shampoo and apply as you normally would.

Prickly Pear Cactus Organic Bar Soap: vegan, natural and handmade (by A Wild Soap Bar), a mix of prickly pear and aloe vera also exfoliates and leaves the skin nourished.

 Organic Moon Fruit Superfruit Night Treatment from Herbivore Botanicals makes your skin incredibly soft, it also looks more fresh. Use it during the night, this cream is easily absorbed and not too heavy.

Jojoba

Native Americans used jojoba to treat and heal skin conditions and damaged, dry hair. Jojoba (actually pronounced ho-ho-be) is very valuable for its oil, but the natives used the ground seeds to also make beverages. Jojoba oil is very beneficial and very popular as well; it is used for various skin problems, such as sunburns, acne. It hydrates and moisturizes your skin, some people use it as a make-up remover.

Jojoba oil as a source of nutrition

This liquid wax, obtained by extraction from the desert shrub is the last thing I’d ever consider to be nutritional and beneficial. I mean, the shrub in itself is nothing special. But this is just one more proof that we should never judge a book by its cover. Jojoba oil is a very rich source of vitamins E and B-complex, as well as minerals such as zinc, copper, iodine and selenium. The antioxidants in jojoba oil regenerate skin and slow down the aging process (they soothe our wrinkles).

Jojoba oil as a beauty product

  • Hydrates skin
  • Restores skin health
  • Anti-inflammatory and antiseptic
  • Reduces redness of the skin
  • Reduces wrinkles
  • Used for treating acne
  • Easily absorbed into skin
  • Can be used as a body massage
  • Smoothens cracked heels
  • Hydrates lips
  • Reduces stretch marks
  • Boosts hair growth
  • Gives healthy shine to your hair
  • Works as a natural hair conditioner

Jojoba oil uses

Certified Organic Jojoba Oil is cold pressed and you can use it for your damaged hair and dry or oily skin. It is also a great carrier for essential oils. By keeping a bottle of jojoba at home, you can being diy-ing your own cosmetic products in no time.

Organic body scrub: Cooling Cucumber from Asutra makes the skin soft and smooth. 100% pure dead sea salt with jojoba and essential oils, it leaves the skin cool and bright.

Saw palmetto

Serenoa or saw palmetto was popular with native Americans; they used palmetto’s roots and fruits to make an aphrodisiac. They also dried the fruits and consumed them raw, or they would make the tincture from them. Saw palmetto is nowadays used as a nutritional supplement. It also increases sex appetite and it is a popular natural remedy for problems with prostate.

Saw palmetto as a source of nutrition

Most of saw palmetto’s benefits come from the high levels of sterols and essential fatty acids in the plant’s extract. We can consume it either by eating berries or the saw palmetto’s extract (in a form of capsules or tinctures). Whether you need to recover your strength after a difficult operation, are looking for an aphrodisiac or have prostate problems, consider saw palmetto.

Saw palmetto health benefits

  • Aids digestion
  • Aids with prostate problems
  • Used to treat urinary tract disorders
  • Aids with cough and asthma
  • Used to treat insomnia
  • Improves appetite and digestion
  • Lowers cholesterol levels
  • Has sedative properties

Saw palmetto as a beauty product

  • Aids with hair loss
  • Aids with acne

Saw palmetto uses

ORS Palmetto Scalp Nurishment oil is light and non greasy type of oil that helps promote healthy hair with pleasant fragrance.

Laritelle Organic Shampoo with saw palmetto and rosemary is SLS, GMO and paraben free product which nourishes the hair and gives it strength and necessary hydration. Made with pure and organic ingredients it is made for a daily use.

WfN fave top 3 Native American wild plants

When it comes to natural and organic ingredients, I’m all in. I grew up with picking wild flowers, helping  with tinctures and lotions for wnter cold, flu and runny nose. Once I’ve realized all of this can be extended to the beauty area as well, I was, well, very excited. Homemade face scrubs, hydrating masks for hair and body, what ‘s not to like. I like discovering new plants, new oils and new ways to make my skin happy.

Anyways, here are my top 3 favorite Native American wild plants that I prefer and use most from the list:

  • Rosehip: rosehip oil and rosehip tea are probably two most common ways in which I use rosehip. The tea is just because I love teas, but the oil is great for my skin as well as my hair. And yes, you can tell the difference of before and after.
  • Jojoba: as a nutritional and hydrating oil I saw my mom use it even when I was younger, so then I kind of got into it and loved it. Now I use it for my hair and dry skin (especially legs, feet and elbows). I usually apply a few drops on dried hair ends, or to dry skin before I go to bed, or after the shower.
  • Echinacea: apart from it being a pretty flower, I’ve always been in contact with Echinacea through my grandmother for its powerful and healthy attributes. Grandmas usually know best when it comes to natural remedies, right?

 

Top 10 Forgotten Wild Plants Native Americans used for Health and Beauty Benefits

What is your fave wild plant to use on a regular basis?

 Stay wild!

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