Sunflowers: Not just beautiful!

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440px-Sunflower_sky_backdropSunflowers are an eternal symbol of summer and happiness– and they’re more than just beautiful! Native Americans used sunflowers to treat a wide variety of ailments, from snakebites to fatigue.

Check out some of these historic uses for sunflowers!

• The Cherokee used an infusion of sunflower leaves to treat kidneys.

• The Dakota used an infusion of sunflowers for chest pains and pulmonary troubles.

• The Gros Ventres, Rees, and Mandan used sunflowers ceremonially; oil from the seeds were used to lubricate or paint the face and body.

• The Gros Ventres, Mandan, Rees, and Hidatsa used sunflower seeds as a stimulant, taken on a war party or hunt to alleviate fatigue.

• The Hopi used the sunflower plant as a “spider medicine” and dermatological aid.

• The Navajo ate sunflower seeds to stimulate the appetite.

• The Navaho-Kayenta used the plant for the sun sand painting ceremony and as a disinfectant to prevent prenatal infections caused by the solar eclipse.

• The Navaho-Ramah used a salve of pulverized seed and root to prevent injury from a horse falling on a person and as a moxa of the pith to remove warts.

• The Paiute used a decoction of sunflower root to alleviate rheumatism.

• Pawnee women ate a dry seed concoction to protect suckling children.

• The Pima applied a poultice of warm sunflower ashes to the stomach for worms and used a decoction of leaves for high fevers and as a wash for horses’ sores caused by screwworms.

•The Thompson Indians used powdered sunflower leaves alone or in an ointment on sores and swellings.

•The Zuni used a poultice of sunflower root to treat snakebite.