The Minnesota Herb
Society’s interpretation of the Friendship Blanket
Art in Bloom  April 25-28, 2013 

of Friendship are also Hands of Healing. 
Native Americans used many herbs in healing & in ceremonies.  The following represent the herbs we used in
our arrangement and a few of the Native American uses (both traditional &
modern uses are represented).  Statements
about the use of these herbs are not intended to represent or imply suitability
for treatment of any conditions.
(tall purple plant).  Native Americans boiled
the root to use for stomach aches.  Tea
was used for heart pain & bladder problems. 
They also chewed cut up roots & used them for a poultice.
– Some Native Americans planted & considered the Sunflower the 4th
sister in the 3 Sisters Garden.   They
used it to remove warts & treat those who suffered from sunstroke.
– Used as an Antiseptic & to treat Bronchitis & indigestion.   Poultices were made from thyme to treat skin
infections & minor wounds.   It was
also used as an incense to cleanse the air.
– Held sacred by Native Americans.   It’s
effective purifying energies is thought to bring back balance & cleanses
the body & mind of negative spririts. 
Native Americans used it to create Kinnikinic, a smoking mixture to be
used in sacred pipe as offering to the Spirits.  It was also used in teas to flush ones system
of impurities  with it’s cleansing
properties.  Additional uses were as a
natural deodorant, sore throat tonic, antiseptic, healing of the scalp &
hair, darkening of gray hair.  Take a
sprig of sage to your new home to chase out old energies & to purify your
– Used in Teas & Balms for Antiseptic, Calming & stimulates the healing
process.  The fragrance of lavender is
thought to impart a feeling of inner freedom.
– Native Americans used sweetgrass for smudge sticks in prayer & purifying
cermonies.  It is usually braided, dried,
& burned – the sweet scent is said to attract good spirits.  Tea was brewed for coughs, sore throats,
chafing & venereal infections.  The
roots contain coumarin & sweetgrass tea my be considered a carcinogenic.  The sweetgrass in our arrangement represents
the medicinal use, as well as the vast grasses of the Plains.
Willow – Native North Americans used it’s bark & roots for a pain killer
& anti fever medication.  Pussy Willow is the predecessor of aspirin.
– Elderberry is the” Herb of the Year” & are the grey twigs next to the
pussy willow.  Native American used
elderberries to treat rheumatism, sciatica, & coughs.  The leaves were used to sooth the effect of
contact with stinging nettle.   Straight
branches were used to make arrow shafts & the wood for flutes &
clappers.  The Baby’s Breath represent
the white elderberry flowers.
–  Also known as St. John’s Wort.  It was used as an antidiarrheal, dematological
aid, hemostat, snake bite remedy, & general strengthener.  Modern uses include treating mild depression.