OUR INDIGENOUS PLANTS
This page contains information on some of the indigenous plants that can be found around the LeRay Mansion and its grounds. Some of these plants have been used in traditional American Indian medical practices, including by our Haudenosaunee neighbors. Aside from medical uses, some of these plants can be used for other purposes, such as construction and weaving. Below, you will find the names of these plants and some of their uses in traditional medicinal practice.
Disclaimer: This page does not provide medical advice. The information, including pictures and text, on this website are for information purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment. Do not attempt to treat any medical condition based on any information provided on this site.
Used to treat rheumatism, typhoid fever, capillary bronchitis, asthma, jaundice, coughs, cuts, colds, and sores.
Used to treat stomach, kidney, and liver issues, as well as dysentery, headaches, and vertigo. Also used to clean cuts, sores, swelling, and skin diseases.
White birch, cherry birch, sweet birch, mountain mahogany, spice birch
Used to treat dysentery, cholera, rheumatism, and kidney stones. Used as an antifungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antioxidant. Also used as a waterproofing material in the construction of food caches, baskets, lodges, and canoes.
Used to treat ringworm, morning sickness, acne, headaches, survey, and arthritis.
Wild black cherry, chokecherry
Used to treat coughs, indigestion, bronchitis, consumption, and heart palpitations. Used in prenatal care and for wounds.
American chestnut, Spanish chestnut, sweet chestnut
Used to treat coughs, whooping cough, fevers, and hiccups.
*NOT horse chestnuts.
Common juniper, low juniper, pasture juniper
Used to treat coughs and colds, arthritis, rheumatism, and as a purifier.
Red maple, soft maple, scarlet maple, swamp maple
Used to treat sore eyes. Also used for the creation of syrup and as a hardwood in construction.
English oak, tanner's bark
Used to treat sinus congestion, post-nasal drip, sore throats, boils, sores, inflammation, sores, insect bites, fevers, arthritis, indigestion, asthma, and colds. Also used in food and bread and as bait for fish traps.
Red elm, American elm, moose elm
Used to treat hydrophobia, insomnia, fevers, and poisonous snake and insect bites.
American larch, black larch, hackmatack, salisb
Used to treat liver or spleen trouble, rheumatism, bronchitis, asthma, earaches, sores, and poisonous insect bites.
Eastern white pine, soft pine
Used to treat sore throats, colds, rheumatism, tuberculosis, influenza, tonsillitis, coughs, as an ointment for cuts and wounds, and for drawing out thorns and splinters. Pine needles used for sewing, resin used as a cement. Nuts used as food.
Used to treat jaundice, nausea, vomiting, some liver conditions, and cured poisons and mad dog bites.
Bugbane, rattleroot, snakeroot, black snakeroot
Used to treat bronchitis, rheumatism, scarlet fever, measles, small pox, whooping cough, as a cold remedy, sedative, and antidote for snakebites.
*Toxic in large doses.
Red puccoon, tetterwort, sanguinaria
Used to treat bronchitis, laryngitis, croup, asthma, whooping cough, and other respiratory conditions. Also treated cuts and wounds, poison ivy, sores, skin infections, and ulcers. Used as a skin stain and dye.
Blue Flag Iris
Flag lily, liver lily, water flag, snake lily, flower de-luce
Used to treat blood diseases, hip disease, diabetes, eczema, headaches, migraines, and vomiting.
Used to treat headaches, stomach pains, broken bones, typhoid, fevers, colds, and pneumonia.
Lappa minor, thorny burr, beggar's buttons
Used to treat boils, sores, rheumatism, sciatica, fevers, burns, aches, bunions, eczema, ringworm, bee stings, acne, earaches, and bruises.
Catmint, cat's wort
Used to treat digestive pain, colds, headaches, scarlet fever, smallpox, fevers, and sore throat.
Common cat tail, broad leaf cat tail
Used to treat sprains, cysts, wounds, boils, burns, skin infections, and stomach issues.
German chamomile, garden chamomile, ground apple, pinheads
Used to treat colds, stomach pains, colic, earaches, restlessness, measles, and irritable stomach.
Switchwort, scarwort, satin flower, adder's mouth, starweed
Used to treat internal inflammation, bronchitis, coughs, colds, hoarseness, rheumatism, boils, swelling, scabs, boils, and sores.
Gum plant, healing herb, knit bone, nipbone
Used to treat coughs, consumption, most afflictions of the lung, arthritis, gallstones, asthma, anemia, swelling, burns, bruises, and sprains.
High cranberry, snowball tree, guelder rose, grouseberry
Used to treat cramps and spasms, scarlet fever, headaches, typhoid, and fever.
Cankerwort, lion's tooth, wild endive
Used to treat skin diseases, scurvy, eczema, anemia, diabetes, headaches, jaundice, and typhoid.
Purple coneflower, black sampson
Used to treat septic infections, typhoid fever, snakebites, bites from rabid animals, fever, gangrene, poisoned wounds, deep cuts and wounds, burns, sores, sore throats, coughs, colds, and sore muscles.
Feather few, febrifuge plant, featherfoil, pyrethum
Used to treat dizziness, tension, indigestion, colds, colic, fevers, congestion, and inflammation of the lungs.
Used to treat burns, wounds, cuts, bleeding, influenza, whooping cough, arthritis, fevers, snake bites, and sore throats. Also used as an antimicrobial, antiseptic, and eaten as food.
Canada golden-rod, common goldenrod
Used as an emetic for gall.
Yellow puccoon, ground raspberry, turmeric root, yellow root, orange root.
Used to treat ulcers, arrow wounds, congestion, colds, scarlet fever, smallpox, asthma, cancer, lupus, sciatica, earache, whooping cough, and tuberculosis. Used as a clothing dye.
Used to treat sore throat, asthma, colds, chest affections, jaundice, epilepsy, and bruises.
Joe Pye Weed
Spotted Joe Pye weed, sweet Joe Pye weed, Green-stemmed Joe Pye weed
Used to treat consumption, fever, liver problems, and recovery from childbirth.
Emetic root, snake milk
Used to treat asthma, bronchitis, fever, hay fever, headache, indigestion, influenza, bee stings, cuts, warts, and coughs. Also used to make string and to stuff pillows and sleeping pads.
Moth mullein, verbascum flowers, woolen blanket herb, cow's lungwort, velvet leaf, Mule's ear
Used to treat coughs, colds, shortness of breath, asthma, toothaches, earaches, swelling, and sores.
Great stinging nettle, great nettle
Used to treat arthritis, bee stings, burns, dysentery, vertigo, whooping cough, fevers, upset stomach, hives, and rashes. Also used as string for bows, nets, baskets, ropes, and twine.
Broad-leaved plantain, ripple grass
Used to treat the bites of poisonous snakes and insects, wounds, burns, eczema, sores, fever, bruises, sore joints, swelling, and arthritis.
Red dogwood, American dogwood
Used to treat bloody noses, coughs, headaches, chest pains, colds, sore eyes, and sore throat. Also used for tanning hides, arrows, and to kill snakes.
Garden sage, wild sage
Used to treat fevers, ulcers, lesions, sore throat, wounds, dandruff, and coughs.
Blue skullcap, blue pimpernel, mad-dog weed, side flower, skullcap helmet flower,
Used to treat insomnia, epilepsy, the bites of poisonous snakes and insects, and fevers.
Black snakeroot, black cocosh
Used to treat lacerations, rheumatism, and arthritis.
Drop berry, sealwort, seal root
Used to treat broken bones, inflammation of the stomach and intestines, itching, and sore eyes.
Smooth sumac, scarlet sumac, mountain sumac
Used to treat skin diseases, malaria, fevers, canker sores, consumption, coughs, phlegm, measles, bruises, swelling, colds, and whooping cough.
Used to treat snake bites, rheumatism, inflammation, coughs, bronchitis, sore throat, and consumption. Also eaten and used as a hair tonic.
Field thistle, bull thistle, common thistle
Used to treat boils, burns, sore jaws, stomach aches, chills, and fevers. Also eaten.
Used to treat colds, insomnia, stress, nasal congestion, coughs, sprains, and toothaches.
American or purple vetch, tare, common vetch, spring vetch
Used to treat paralysis of the eye.
Bird's nest, Queen Anne's lace, devil's plague
Used to treat colic, liver conditions, kidney diseases, and wounds.
Spotted adler, snapping hazel nut, winter bloom
Used to treat irritations, internal bleeding, varicose veins, colds, arthritis, and asthma.
Dewberry, bramble berry, gout berry
Used to treat cholera, fevers, sore throat, coughing, colds, tuberculosis, whooping cough, toothache, anemia, and minor bleeding. Also used as food and for its Vitamin C and antioxidant properties.
Shave grass, bottle brush, pewter wort
Used to treat skin disorders, diabetes, rheumatism, joint aches, headaches, cuts, burns, poison ivy, colds, coughs, and lice. Also used as a substitute for sandpaper to polish wood carvings, hunting bows, and arrows, as well as for weaving mats and baskets.
May-apple, wild mandrake, ground lemon
Used to treat sore shoulders in horses. Used as a laxative.
*The root of this plant is poisonous.
American raspberry, wild red raspberry
Used to treat canker sores, sore throat, cramps, and whooping cough.
Used to treat eczema, night sweats, stroke, canker sores, arthritis, and to disinfect open wounds.
Canada snake root, Vermont snake root
Treated colds, whooping cough, fevers, headaches, typhoid, and boils.
The information on the medical uses of these plants comes from the following three sources:
Herrick, James W. 1995. Iroquios Medical Botany. edited by Dean Snow. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.
Hutchens, Alma R. 1992. A Handbook of Native American Herbs. Boulder, CO: Shambhala Publications.
Salmón, Enrique. 2020. Iwígara The Kinship of Plants and People. Portland, OR: Timber Press.
The photos used on this page are from Wikimedia Commons and fall under public domain.