The next guide excerpt is taken from the guide, Iwigara: American Indian Ethnobotanical Traditions & Science, by Enrique Salmón, and is shared with permission.


Artemisia spp.
Household: Asteraceae
Elements Used: complete plant
Season: year-round
Area: western North America

Some crops are each synonymous with American Indian herbology and icons of a selected geographic area. Sagebrush is a kind of crops. For individuals who research the indigenous information of crops of the Better Southwest in addition to your entire area west of the Mississippi, sagebrush is all the time on the forefront. It grows practically all over the place within the area, which accounts for its standing as a marker of the romanticized West. 

Each time I catch the unmistakable resinous odor of sagebrush, a rolling launch of neuropeptides fills my head, activating scores of cultural and private recollections associated to ceremony, ritual, the spirit world, visions, ancestral information, and household. Attend any American Indian occasion even barely related to traditions or tradition, and sagebrush incense shall be burning or used as a smudge to purify the house. It has such an unbelievable quantity of medicinal and different makes use of that it needs to be a central factor of any plant specialist pharmacopeia.

Makes use of

My folks use rosawari, as we name it, for diarrhea and common abdomen issues, menstrual pains—and for almost every thing else, it appears. Artemisias within the Southwest and West are utilized by American Indians in lots of related manners. Sagebrush is a common analgesic which is utilized as a poultice of leaves for toothache, cramps, and painful menses and made into a shower for rheumatism sores. It has been made right into a poultice and infusion to deal with wounds, as a burn dressing, and for eczema. An infusion of the roots will be utilized to the scalp for pores and skin infections. A tea or decoction of the leaves is used as an antidiarrheal, for fever, and to deal with colds, coughs, and intestinal and other forms of parasites. 

Many native peoples use the dried leaves as an incense or ceremonial fumigant. I can not recall any ceremony or native occasion that didn’t start with a ritual smudging of sagebrush. Navajo weavers boil the leaves and twigs to be able to create totally different shades of yellow and gold dye. Listed below are some extra particular makes use of, by species.

A decoction of Artemisia dracunculus is used for eyes, colic, and complications; a poultice is used for complications and diaper rash.

Artemisia frigida is made right into a tea that’s used as a pulmonary support, an abortifacient, and a diuretic, in addition to for heartburn, convulsions, pores and skin irritation, cough, flu, and tuberculosis. As a poultice, it’s used for ceremony and to deal with bleeding wounds.

A poultice of Artemisia ludoviciana is used as a foot deodorant in addition to for sprains and swellings, sore toes, and rashes. A tea of this species is sweet for taking away unhealthy desires and decreasing phlegm; it treats the flu, sore throat, sinus points, and constipation. Some will take a sweat bathtub utilizing the leaves to steam out an infection and flu and for defense towards unhealthy energies and damaged taboos.

An infusion of Artemisia vulgaris is sweet for chilly, flu, and sinus issues, and as an expectorant.

Well being Advantages

Artemisia species include quite a few important oils, which accounts for the attribute sagebrush aroma; one research discovered 74 totally different important oils amongst a number of species, together with thujone, an emmenagogue, and different pharmacologically efficient compounds. The genus additionally incorporates lactone glycosides, which can account for sagebrush’s anthelmintic and diaphoretic properties.

Iwigara book in a basket

If you happen to loved this excerpt, head to The Herbarium to learn an extended choice from the guide that gives an introduction and focuses on a plant every from jap North America, western North America, the Southwest, and the Southeast, providing a glimpse of each the crops and the Indigenous cultures of these ecologically various areas.

Read Iwígara: American Indian Ethnobotanical Traditions and Science (book excerpt) in The Herbarium here.

Enrique Salmón Interview

Enrique Salmón headshotAdditionally new to The Herbarium membership, you’ll discover an interview with Enrique Salmón, the place he speaks in regards to the idea of iwígara and shares insights into plant makes use of and practices of Indigenous peoples all through North America.

Head of the American Indian Research Program at Cal State College East Bay, Enrique earned a BS from Western New Mexico College, an MAT in Southwest research from Colorado Faculty, and a PhD in anthropology from Arizona State College. He has been a scholar in residence on the Heard Museum and has served as a board member for the Society of Ethnobiology. 

Along with publishing many articles on indigenous ethnobotany, agriculture, vitamin, and conventional ecological information, Enrique has additionally spoken at quite a few conferences and symposia on the subjects of cultivating resilience, Indigenous options to local weather change, the ethnobotany of Native North America, the ethnobotany of the Better Southwest, toxic crops that heal, bioculturally various areas as refuges of hope and resilience, and the language and library of Indigenous cultural information.

Watch our interview with Enrique Salmón here in The Herbarium.

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Learn more and sign up for The Herbarium here. 

Get a duplicate of Enrique Salmón’s guide, Iwígara: American Indian Ethnobotanical Traditions and Science, by way of Indiebound or Amazon.

Meet Indigenous Ethnobotanist Enrique Salmón | Herbal Academy | The following book excerpt shares the uses and health benefits of sagebrush and is taken from the book, Iwigara, by herbalist Enrique Salmón.


Salmón, E. (2020). Iwígara: American Indian Ethnobotanical Traditions and Science. Portland, OR: Timber Press.

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