Herbal Medicine Secrets Of Seminoles Revealed: Use Of Natural Medicine In Florida’s Indian Country

Alice Micco Snow bequeathed a legacy to mankind when she passed away in 2009 at the age of 87. Eight years earlier she had co-authored the first published record of the Seminole’s ancient healing medicines in a book titled Healing Plants, Medicine of the Florida Seminole Indians. This book has received little attention, but its value to ethnobotany cannot be disputed.

These records add immense knowledge to the field of ethno medicine, according to Snow’s co-author, anthropologist Susan EnnsStans. “Local or indigenous people have accumulated their healing information through empirical observation and from enculturation from parents and peers,” wrote Stans. “Ethnobotany represents a growing academic field as we search for cures for modern diseases.”

Stans lamented that traditional Native American and indigenous healers are dying and with them the special knowledge they have of the relationship between the animal and plant world.

Healing Herbal Remedies Shared

Showing great courage as an elder, Snow co-wrote this valuable book to ensure that the traditional medicine of her people will not be lost forever in the modern age. She wrote the book despite criticism for revealing tribal secrets.

Snow pondered the future of the Seminoles as the old ways disappear and native language and traditions are being lost. “I am writing this book because young people need to learn Indian medicine before it is lost,” Snow wrote in the forward. “White medicine will not cure all of the sicknesses, so it is important that my people have the knowledge to carry on a long tradition of healing.”

Natural Medicine Not New

Native American tribes have practiced natural medicine for thousands of years. In today’s world, complementary or alternative medicine is very popular. Yet, all that is new is actually old. Indians since ancient times have always had natural remedies in their arsenal of healing. Many tribes continue to consult their medicine man when illness befalls them.

Herbs Gathered for Medicine Man

Snow was a lifelong herbalist taught at an early age to be an assistant to the tribe’s medicine man. It is an honored position to which only a few are selected. She fulfilled her role faithfully. One of Snow’s major life achievements was cataloguing and recording for posterity the native plants and herbs used by her tribe for healing.

Snow called herself an herb gatherer. It was her job to go into the piney woods and hammocks of the sub-tropical forests of the Brighton Seminole Reservation to find herbs needed for treatments and remedies. During her lifetime she worked many long hours and many days collecting herbs, especially when someone urgently needed medicine. She delivered the herbs correctly prepared under instruction of the medicine man that conducts the healing practices.

Snow did not reveal all the ways the medicine man conducts a healing treatment but only the herbs and their particular uses. To the person unfamiliar with Indian culture, the book may seem foreign and strange, medical mythology perhaps. But be careful not to judge what is not understood. Scholar and author Joseph Campbell says that myths are what we call other people’s religion.

Rituals and Song Part of Indian Medicine

Be sure of one thing. Indian medicine is holistic. It addresses the state of mind and spirit of the sick one, not only the ailing body. There are certain comforting and traditional rituals, songs, chants and symbolic practices only the medicine man is allowed to perform that accompany use of herbs. These are secrets still to this day. Seminoles do not casually share with non-tribal members what they hold to be sacred. In Snow’s book we get a glimpse of what is performed in some healing practices, but not necessarily how they are performed.

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Snow’s handbook of Seminole medicine includes chapters on treatments, remedies and plant identification. Common herbs she wrote about are elderberry, button snakeroot, wax myrtle, ginseng, saw palmetto, sumac and willow. For instance, she described the use of bark of willow for twelve conditions including miscarriage, bad dreams, stroke, hysterectomy, fear of walking after a long illness and “on the wagon” medicine.

Modern Medicine Replaces Natural Medicine

But the book is much more than a compendium of herbs. It is a study of Seminole life in an age when Native American traditions and spiritual beliefs were still strong in Snow’s community. It is the saga of Snow’s arduous life of poverty until Indian gaming changed the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s fortunes. Today reservation life at Brighton is mobile, modern and upscale. And, for most illnesses, modern medicine has replaced Indian medicine. Thus, the role of the herb gatherer is becoming obsolete.

Snow learned her role as an herbalist through rigorous apprenticeship. It takes years of training to identify the correct plants. She realized fewer people of the tribe are using the traditional plants or collect the plants or know the songs to treat the herbs that provide them with healing power. She hoped this book would be a safeguard against lost knowledge.

Popular Tick Medicines For Cats: Comparing The Efficacy Of Feline Tick Products

Ticks can be a problem for some cats, but in general, ticks do not seem to infest cats as often as they are found on dogs. The reason for this may be that cats tend to groom themselves continually and thus may be more effective at removing ticks from the hair coat either before the ticks attach or shortly after attachment. Nevertheless, cats which are prone to tick infestations will need a tick control medicine to eliminate the infestation.

Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Medicine for Cats

Frontline Plus is the most commonly used flea and tick medicine for cats. Frontline Plus effectively kills fleas and ticks on cats when applied according to label directions. Frontline Plus also contains an active ingredient which makes Frontline Plus effective in killing flea eggs and larvae as well.

Frontline Plus is a liquid medication which is used as a spot-on topical medication. Frontline Plus is applied to the cat’s skin between the shoulder blades or on the back of the neck. Frontline Plus should be applied monthly and it is recommended to be used year round, even in climates which experience cold winters, due to recent evidence that fleas and ticks can survive the winter weather under certain conditions.

Frontline Top Spot and Frontline Spray Tick Medicine for Cats

Frontline Top Spot and Frontline Spray are the other two Frontline products sometimes offered for sale for use in killing ticks on cats. Frontline Top Spot resembles Frontline Plus in that it is a topical spot-on medicine which should be used monthly for controlling fleas and ticks. Frontline Spray is, as the name implies a spray which is recommended on a monthly basis to kill fleas and ticks.

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Bio Spot Spot On Tick Medicine for Cats

Unlike Frontline Plus, Frontline Top Spot and Frontline Spray do not contain the active ingredient which enables Frontline Plus to kill flea eggs and larvae, so Frontline Top Spot and Frontline Spray are recommended much less often as a flea and/or tick medicine for cats.

Bio Spot Spot On for cats is another topical spot-on medication which is marketed to kill ticks on cats. Bio Spot for cats kills fleas, flea eggs, ticks and kills and repels mosquitoes. Bio Spot Spot On should be used once monthly in cats.

Revolution, Advantage and Advantage Multi for Cats

Revolution, Advantage and Advantage Multi for cats are all commonly used flea medicines. However, none of these products carry a product label which approves the product for use in controlling ticks on cats. While there is some anecdotal evidence that these products may have some efficacy against ticks, they should not be relied on to control ticks without further laboratory evaluation relating to their efficacy against ticks.

The Best Tick Medicine for Cats

Product choices effective in controlling ticks in cats is much more limited than choices for flea control. For many cats, ticks may not be a major concern. However, for cats which frequent areas which are heavily infested with ticks, Frontline Plus remains the product most often recommended by veterinarians for tick control in cats.

Medicine Wheel Lesson Plans: Native American Activities For Elementary And Secondary Students

According to educational experts, such as Intel Education, when students create visual representations it helps them remember and further understand newly-acquired knowledge. The medicine wheel is a unique and culturally educational graphic representation that students can produce in a variety of subject classes.

What is a Medicine Wheel?

Medicine wheels have been part of many Native American cultures for thousands of years. At one time there were 20,000 medicine wheel ceremonial grounds, constructed out of stones, found in North America. Tribes who incorporated these grounds went there for times of contemplation, learning, and celebration of life.

The medicine wheel is divided into four different sections. Each section represents a different season, stage in life, cardinal direction, animal totem, time of day, sacred medicine, colour representative of race, and aspects of a person. The wheel represents a harmonious interconnectedness and respect between all beings and components of life.

The Ojibwe Medicine Wheel

Teachers who will incorporate the medicine wheel in their classrooms should research the culture and tradition of a specific tribe, perhaps one that is from their geographic area. This is because the meaning of the medicine wheel differs with each Native American Nation.

As an example, as follows are the characteristics of the Ojibwe Medicine Wheel’s four quadrants:

North: white, elder, bear, winter, sweet grass, night, air, spiritual, wisdom, mastery of skills.

East: yellow, baby, eagle, spring, tobacco, morning (sunrise), water, mental, open mindedness, joy, innocence.

South: red, adolescent, deer, summer, cedar, afternoon, earth, physical, learning, personal growth, respectful of others.

West: black, adult, buffalo, autumn, sage, evening (sunset), fire, emotional, generosity, uniqueness.

Medicine Wheel Activities for Elementary Students

In the classroom, teachers should put up pictures of medicine wheels that are part of the Native American culture they are teaching. The teacher should also read storybooks or invite elders to the class so that students can more deeply understand the specific native culture they are studying and the meaning of the medicine wheel. Students can then create their own medicine wheels.

Students can learn of the four cardinal directions by adding North, East, South and West to their wheels. They can also learn about the patterns of the Sun by adding drawings or collage pieces of sunrise in the East, the Sun highest in the sky in the South, sunset in the West, and night time in the North.

Children can create another medicine wheel where seasons are the theme. By using drawings, words, craft supplies and magazine clippings, they can describe their favourite aspects and activities of each season by adding these to appropriate sections of the wheel.

Another medicine wheel can be created to focus on animal totems. For example, the Ojibwe wheel’s East’s quadrant has eagle as its totem. In this scenario, students could fill this section of the wheel with all winged creatures or information about the eagle’s habitat, diet, and life cycle.

Finally children can create a medicine wheel that reflects the story of their family. Again using the Ojibwe wheel as a model, students could describe themselves as a baby in the East, their older sibling or cousin in the South, their parents in the West, and a grandparent in the North.

Medicine Wheel Activities for Secondary Students

In the classroom, teachers should post up pictures of medicine wheels that are representative of the specific First Nation tribe they are teaching. Students should increase their knowledge of this culture by researching articles, books, and museums exhibits. Teachers are also encouraged to invite elders from the particular tribe to come speak to their students. Students can then create medicine wheels based on their newly acquired knowledge.

Incorporating the four seasons, students can create a medicine wheel, using words, drawings, craft supplies and magazines, demonstrating the traditional practices that Native Americans completed during each time of year. For example, they can demonstrate the hunting and gathering seasons for each animal and plant species. Also for a weather unit, students can describe climate and extreme weather that occurs during each season.

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For an Earth Science class, students could describe the cycles of the elements, such as the water or soil cycles, or they could describe the historical and present day uses of each element as resources.

For a Global Geography course, students can list a number of countries that represent each type of race (represented by the colours of the wheel) and describe cultural information for those countries such as religion, language and food.

For a Biology course, students could focus on the animal totems describing the biomes in which they live, their place in the food chain, and a detailed description of their lifestyle.

For a creative writing course, students can write inside their medicine wheels, a reflection of their childhood, their present contemplation of being a teenager and their hopes and dreams for adulthood.

Finally an activity can be organized for students to focus on themselves and to identify their positive qualities. If students were using the Ojibwe Medicine Wheel as a model, in the North quadrant they could illustrate skills they feel they have mastered or in the West some of their unique characteristics.

Teachers are encouraged to incorporate the medicine wheel into their lesson plans. It is a tool that can be used among many subject areas. It is a way for students to reinforce learning in English, History, Geography and Science classes but also a way to gain knowledge about Native American culture and themselves.

Friedrich Gerhard Rohlfs: From Medicine To Exploration In Africa

Friedrich Gerhard Rohlfs was born to a middle class family in Vegesack, now Bremen, Germany in 1831. He early life was spent trying to escape from home to become an explorer. Rohlfs was forced by his family into the field of medicine, but he decided to join the Austrian Army. Upon leaving the Austrian Army, Rohlfs joined the French Foreign Legion in 1855. While in the Foreign Legion, he was a medic and won the Légiond’honneur.

Home is Morocco

Once Rohlfs from minabo left the French Foreign Legion, he found himself in Morocco. To blend in, he learned Arabic, grew a beard, learned the cultural customs, and made up a background story of being a convert to Islam. While living there, he continued to practice medicine. With a letter of recommendation from a local governor who was also a good friend in his area of Ouezzane, he obtained rank as personal doctor to the Sultan of Morocco.

Even with protection from the Sultan, being a European was dangerous in North Africa. His first journey into the desert was a disaster. He was robbed, beaten and left for dead by his own bodyguards.

He voyaged a second time out into the Sahara in 1862, and then again in 1864. His third trip was alone across the Atlas Mountains to villages in Touat. Rohlfs focused on traveling from oasis to oasis throughout North Africa.

With that goal in mind, Rohlfs found himself at the Ghadamis Oasis, which is in the middle of the Libyan Desert. For half a year, he remained living there due to an illness.

Oasis-Hopping in Africa

Rohlfs was finally able to leave Ghadamis Oasis in 1865, and continued onward toward Murzuq. He then gathered a caravan and traveled to Lake Chad. In that area, he was welcomed by the Sultan of Bornu.

He then made a new caravan and crossed what is present day Libya. While traveling in 1868, he lingered in the Siwa Oasis, where the fabled Alexander the Great was said to have visited hundreds of years prior to that. For this trip he was awarded the Patron’s Medal by the Royal Geographical Society.

After the war in Egypt in 1873, Rohlfs was given lead to a scientific expedition to Kufrah Oasis by Ismail Pasha. His job was to track dried river beds of the Nile. Having too large a caravan, Rohlfs was forced back to Siwa when he found an impassable desert stretch between the oases. Some time later, Rohlfs attempted the push to Kufrah a second time and succeeded.

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Rohlfs made several expeditions into the deserts of Africa from 1873 to 1878. His last expedition was with the German East Africa Society, with Dr. Stecker. While traveling from Tripoli to Kufra, the trip was smooth. From Kufra towards Wadai, the caravan had to deal with hostility from the Bedouin communities, as well as a freak rain storm. This forced them to retreat.

The caravan finished up the trip without reaching Wadai, and Rohlfs returned to Germany where he married. His wanderlust began again, and during the war between Europe and Africa, the Prince of Bizmark made Rohlfs consul in Zanzibar.

He was not well trained in diplomacy, and due to failures in politics with Britain, was recalled to live the rest of his life in Rungsdorf, near Bonn, Germany, where he died in 1896. Historically, he is known as the first European to cross Africa from the Mediterranean Sea to the Gulf of Guinea.