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[permaculture] Native American Ethnobotany database

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Native American Ethnobotany
A Database of Foods, Drugs, Dyes and Fibers of Native
American Peoples, Derived from Plants.

Dan Moerman
Professor of Anthropology
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Native American Ethnobotany database


This database is the result of a series of efforts over 25 years. A book
based on the data base has been published by Timber Press, in Portland
OR in 1998.

The book was given the Annual Book Award of the Council for Botanical
and Herbarium Libraries in 2000.

In 2002, the database had about 80,000 hits.

As noted, In the spring of 2003, substantial revisions of the database were
made, revising its looks, and adding links to the US Department of Agriculture
PLANTS database. This means that complete botanical information on useful
plants, plus pictures, range maps, and endangered status, are immediately available

The database now contains 44,691 items. This version added foods, drugs,
dyes, fibers and other uses of plants. This represents uses by 291 Native American
groups of 4,029 species from 243 different plant families.

About half of them are medicinal.


Edge: The Third Culture:  Dan Moerman

DAN MOERMAN is William E Stirton Professor of Anthropology University
of Michigan-Dearborn. His first work related to health emerged during his
dissertation research with a rural black population in coastal South Carolina in the early 1970s.
St. Helena Islanders told him of their complex theory of health involving a
subtle system of pressures and flavors of the blood which, if things went badly,
could cause various illnesses which they treated with a series of plants
(called "weeds") gathered from fields or planted in their gardens.
Since then, he has done research primarily in two areas -- medicinal plants
(primarily of Native American peoples who originated the uses of most of
the plants used by the Islanders), and of the impact on health of the
knowledge and understanding of it that people have.


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