Why do people seek a medicine man, or herbal cures these days? I guess it is safe to say, because conventional medicine has failed on many levels. People are becoming more interested in how to maintain a healthy body from the inside out. The Lakota Indians and many other Indian tribes always have and still do practice “natural medicine.” The Lakota Indians believe that medicines are people. They also believe that you need to treat them like people who you invite into your body. You should welcome them into your body by talking to them, telling them you are happy that they have come to help you. Basically, you should treat them like a spirit being. Native Americans believe that a person is made up of the body, spirit, and a destiny. The Lakota Indians talk to their bodies and ask the medicine to help them.
The ancient Lakota Indian doctors not only cared for the physically ill but for the emotionally upset as well. They used song, dance and a variety of herbs, roots and leaves to create healing tinctures and potions. They also practiced “purification”, what we call detoxification nowadays to cleanse the body and spirit. Common Native American herbs used for this purpose would be sassafras root, mullen leaves, wild cherry bark, milkweed, red cedar, blackberry root, red and black roots, dogwood root, pine, willow bark, sumac root, poke, corn, persimmon, and ash tree buds, among many more.
The Lakota Indians had many different medicine men, and they all were different. Each had different gifts and visions to help the sick. All of them believed however, that they were not in fact, doing the healing. They believed that without inviting the medicines into the body, talking to them and asking for their help, that the healing would not occur.