The use of plant medicines by the Dakota Indians

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Sersha, Thomas M.
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This paper describes the use of medicinal plants by the Dakota Indians. A brief ethnographic summary on the Dakota presents the history of these people during the last 250 years and provides an insight into the life and customs of this Indian group. Because medicine, to the Dakota, was not only physical but spiritual, the second part of the paper developes the concepts of religion, world view, and magic, relating them to the practice of Dakota plant medicine. The role of the medicine man, their specific types, functions, recruitment, procedures of practice and equipment, is also included. The main body of the paper describes the plants used for medicine, how they were administered, and the medical reasons for administering them. The appendix includes a comprehensive taxonomic list of all the plant material used by the Dakota for medicine as well as a glossary of the plant names and tables of drug treatments.