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7 Innovations by Native Americans That Revolutionized Medicine And Public Health

by Scienceooze

November is the Annual American Indian Heritage Month, a period of appreciation for the significant sacrifices rendered by the first Americans to the creation and development of the United States. 

But, like many native forces, the month and remembrance so too go unrecognized in our everyday lives. Whether it is the invention of critical technology such as cable suspension bridges or sport for fun like lacrosse, too much of what occurs infamous society today is the direct product of what was produced before the newcomers conquered these territories. 

And the world’s health ecosystem, spanning from prevention steps to the administration of medicine, is no different because of all of the traditions and inventions with these ancestral cultures and healers. 

Here are7 Innovations by Native Americans That Revolutionized Medicine And Public Health. And most of the time, it couldn’t do without today:

1. Syringes: 

In 1853, a Scottish doctor called Alexander Wood was credited with the invention of the first hypodermic syringe, although there was a much earlier method. 

Before colonization, the Aboriginal Peoples had invented a system using a sharp hollowed-out bird bone fixed to an animal bladder that could carry and administer fluids into the body. 

These early syringes were used to do everything from administering medication to irrigating cuts. There are also instances in which these instruments have also been used to rinse ears and act as enemas. 

 2- Pain reliever

Native American healers have led the way in the relief of pain. for example, the willow bark (bark of a tree) is widely thought to have been used as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. 

In addition, it contains a chemical called salicin, which is a proven anti-inflammatory agent that when swallowed, releases salicylic acid – the active ingredient in modern aspirin tablets.

In addition to certain ingestible pain relievers, topical ointments have often been commonly used for burns, cuts and bruises. 

Two well-documented pain relievers include capsaicin and jimson weed as a topical analgesic. 

3. Oral birth control

Oral birth control was established in the United States in the 1960s as a way of stopping conception. But anything of a similar intent occurred in indigenous societies a long time ago. 

Plant-based methods, such as the consumption of dogbane and stone seed herbs, have been used at least two generations older than Western pharmaceuticals to discourage unintended birth. 

And although they are not as effective as current oral contraception, tests have shown that stone seed, in fact, has contraceptive properties.

4. Screen Sun 

North American Indians have medical uses for more than 2,500 plant species – and that is just what is actually understood between existing traditions. But for hundreds of years, many native cultures have had a traditional skin application that involved combining soil plants with water to produce products that shield the skin from the light. Sunflower oil, wallflower and aloe plant sap have all been reported for use in the protection of the skin from the sun.

5. Baby Bottles 

By today’s standards, it would not be considered sanitary or safe. Still, long before settlers made their way to American lands, the Iroquois, Seneca and others developed bottles to help feed infants.
The invention consisted of the interior of a bear and a bird’s quill.
Since washing, drying and oiling the intestines of the bear, a hollowed quill will be added as a teat, enabling the concoctions of crushed nuts, meat and water to be nourished by babies.

6. Mouth wash and oral care 

While tribes around the continent have used different diet-cleaning plants and techniques, it is rumored that people on the American continent have more effective dental procedures than the Europeans who have arrived. In specific places, mouthwash was considered to be made from a plant called Goldthread to clean the mouth. 

Many aboriginal cultures have often used it as a pain reliever for baby teething or tooth infection by rubbing it directly onto the gums. 

7. Suppositories

There’s nothing new about haemorrhoids. Nor is the pain and irritation associated with haemorrhoids. But since modern-day remedies and lifestyle adjustments, tribal communities throughout the Americas have developed dogwood tree suppositories. Dogwood is still used externally (though not often for wounds today. 

But hundreds of years before, small plugs were created by moistening, compressing and adding dogwood to cure haemorrhoids.

It’s easy to go through our everyday lives without worrying about the role that public health and medication play in keeping us safe and stable. But it’s much easier to take these things for granted without remembering the brilliant inventions and inventors who have gotten us where we are now. In some ways, our modern-day activities have been sanitized, modified and improved. 

Although in other ways, we’re not any further than our parents were. Those healers who know how to use the land and its tools to develop useful methods and substances for diseases. 

As technology pushes us forward, let’s not forget that as we evolve into the future, we are still rooted in tradition.

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