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Native American

 Herbs  & Plants

Of The Southwest


Latin Name: Helianthus (spp) Common Name: Sunflower, “yaller flars” per redneckus armericanus


Sometimes, we do not value our most common plants, simply because they are so common- a big mistake! The Creator knew what He was doing, when He gave us an abundance of certain plants. The cheerful bright flowers of the Sunflower plant, always turning their faces to the sun, are distributed in plenty all over the American West, in fields or along roadsides. The seeds were an important (and delicious) prehistoric food source for Native Americans. Dye for weavers is extracted from the hulls of one variety of sunflower.


Description: tall, often branching, flowers usually yellow with brownish black to red center. Oil is pressed from seeds, and was used in ancient times by Native Americans. The action of sunflower oil is said to be emollient and antioxidant. The Navajo use a sunflower infusion for prenatal infections and removal of warts. A tradition skin wash, with anti-oxidant and anti-aging properties, can be made from sunflower oil, sagebrush and creosote tea, and is patted on the face twice daily with reputed youth-preserving effects. Gathering is the easy part! Freely available at larger chain grocery stores; in not in your area, then should be available in all health food stores. The cold pressed oil, where found, would retain more of the beneficial properties.


No known harmful effects have been reported, unless individual allergic reactions occur.


Be sure of the identity of the plant before you use it. If a preparation makes you sick or gives you a rash, don't use it, and throw it away! If your condition does not improve, see your doctor. Be sure to let your physician know EVERYTHING that you are taking!