Accepted Paper:

Use of a sunflower by American Indian Healers  


Zhanna Pataky (Wichita Indo-Chinese Center)

Paper short abstract:

The indigenous knowledge of American Indians using plants like food and medicine is a precious source of wisdom, which is dying out. It is important to preserve this experience and use it as an alternative method to prevent and treat different diseases in today’s societies.

Paper long abstract:

Cherokee medicine is an example of Indian medicine that is a way of life for the Cherokee, and other American Indians. Indian medicine teaches an understanding of this way of life shows respect for every living thing here on Mother Earth, how each has its own beauty and is a helper to us.

American Indians lived a life of natural dependence in the forests, plains and costal regions, and existed in harmony with nature for many generations. Depending on the area, the Indians used wild species as plant food and medicine.

Berries of all kinds were eagerly gathered in the spring and eaten by everyone as a spring medicine, or as a general blood builder.

Training as an Indian Healer began very early. Selection was from the family or from signs of devotion, wisdom and honesty. The Indian healer was an artist in the best tradition of Hippocrates' principles.

The Sunflower is a sacred plant that appears in many Indian myths and stories.

Plants during that distant time served as food and medicines. This interrelation during many generations was fixed genetically. Thus, the health of the modern person in many respects depends on quality and the quantity of plants and herbs, acting with food, like biologically active substances. Therefore, plants and herbs as used by the Cherokee are one of the major alternative methods to improve health and prevent many diseases.

Panel BH04
Indigenous knowledge and sustainable development (IUAES Commission on Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainable Development)