I know that people say Echinacea is good for a cold, but is it really? Scientists called Ethno-botanists are researching more into Echinacea and other native plants in Nebraska and across America. Ehtno-botanists, you say? Yes, I promise, I’m not making up words. Ethno-botany is “the scientific study of the traditional knowledge and customs of a people concerning plants and their medical, religious, and other uses”. These scientists are looking further into the traditional use of plants for their medicinal properties. As you would imagine some are just folklore, or placebo effective as the cure is heavily based on an appearance or spiritual property given to that plant by the culture surrounding it. The more important discovery is in the use of common native plants and their redeeming qualities to cell tissue. Without getting too complicated, plants have 2 kinds of compounds made in their systems. Until recently secondary compounds seemed of no use to us. Through further ethno-botany studies, they have found the protective and healing qualities meant for the plant can also affect our cell tissue. Studies have shown anti-biotic, anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties in native plants. Although these compounds can sometimes be reconstructed in a lab, the made compounds react poorly with living organisms and their healing characteristic is hard to duplicate. Thus, protection, propagation and research of these native plants has reached greater importance. Plants like echinacea, wild tomatillo, wild licorice and even milkweed have always been important to the native american population. Now, through their continued beliefs and science we are able to verify just how important our native plants may be to us and to our future.
For more information:Native plants in Medicine
See also : Medicinal Wild Plants of the Prairie: An Ethnobotanical Guide by Kelly Kindscher