Years ago I remember speaking with an aunt about family history. She told me a story about a great aunt who was Cherokee and used to sit crossed-legged in the middle of the floor, smoking a pipe (yes, one of those pipes). I wasn't aware that Native American women smoked the so-called peace pipe, but apparently this woman was quite the character and did whatever she wanted to do.
My aunt also spoke of the home remedies that were passed down from the Native American relatives. My aunt and her siblings never missed a day of school because they were never ill, she claimed. (At the time I didn't exactly think that was such a great thing for a kid.) Unfortunately, my aunt couldn't recall any of those remedies since then and now we rely so heavily on synthetic modern medicines. Such a shame.
I'm fascinated with the ancient Native American way of looking at nature, the land, the spiritual world and themselves, as they exist in it, which is similar to some African cultures. Native Americans used plants and herbs for many purposes including medicine as well as beauty aids, and they also gave gratitude to nature for what they had taken. They believed that plant life possessed a life force that included intelligence and should be respected.
Many of the plants ancient Native American elders used like jojoba, aloe vera, and the multipurpose astringent witch hazel, are now recognized for their health and beauty benefits.
Read more about Native American beauty secrets that you might not be familiar with.
A Yakima woman wearing a traditional deerskin wingdress in 1899/Photo: LaRoche/Buyenlarge (Getty)