The world view of the Iroquois League or Confederacy―the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora nations―is based on a strong cosmological belief system. This is especially evident in Iroquois medical practices, which connect man to nature and the powerful forces in the supernatural realm.
Iroquois Medical Botany is the first guide to understanding the use of herbal medicines in traditional Iroquois culture. It links Iroquois cosmology to cultural themes by showing the inherent spiritual power of plants and how the Iroquois traditionally have used and continue to use plants as remedies.
After an introduction to the Iroquois doctrine of the cosmos, authors James Herrick and Dean Snow examine how ill health directly relates to the balance and subsequent disturbance of the forces in one’s life. They next turn to general perceptions of illness and the causes of imbalances, which can result in physical manifestations from birthmarks and toothaches to sunstroke and cancer. In all, they list close to 300 phenomena.
Finally, the book enumerates specific plant regimens for various ailments with a major compilation from numerous Iroquois authorities and sources of more than 450 native names, uses, and preparations of plants.