Native pharmacopeia from different parts of North America shows that the therapeutic qualities of herbs are recognized quite generally among the Indians. Among the eastern tribes, however, methods of treatment of disease, entirely independent of shamanism, are very characteristic, and these are to be discussed in this paper. Aside from the physical properties of the medicines, however, certain ethnological indications, based on an analysis of the concepts simply as folklore elements, can be observed. In the first place, the widespread use of herbs as medicines apart from the practice of magic, in eastern America, and certain similarities in the properties attributed to the herbs, show that, while the details of practice and belief may have changed in the course of time and become somewhat specialized in different tribes of the same group, the practical use of herbs is a fundamentally primitive idea that has survived in this region devoid of the complexities of ritual.

 

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Medicine Practices of the Northeastern Algonquians

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