Native American Herbs
Answered by: Richters Staff
Question from: Jenn Maxwell
Posted: Before April 1998

Do you have any info on Native American herbs? Even something as simple as a list of what they used would help me greatly.

There are over 2100 different plants for which there are documented uses by native Americans. Daniel Moerman’s "Medicinal Plants of Native America" (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology Technical Reports No. 19; 1986) is the most complete list. Moerman’s two volume set is intended for researchers and academics; it is not light reading, so be warned!

We carry a book by Alma Hutchens called "Indian Herbalogy of North America" but its scope is actually much broader than North America as it has information on Russian and Asian herbs. Because its scope is so broad we feel that it does not have as much information on native herbs as we would like and we don’t recommend it if native herbs is your primary interest.

Edith Murphy’s book "Indian Uses of Native Plants" covers many of the most commonly used native food and medicine plants including wild rice, Indian balsam, Indian tobacco, etc. The book is still available from Richters on sale (email to

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