The Old North Trail, by Walter McClintock, , at sacred-texts.com
Page 364.—"My botanical collection."
This collection of herbs and plants, with a description of their Indian names, uses and methods of preparation by the Blackfeet, is deposited in the Carnegie Institute of Pittsburg. The specimens were identified by Mr. O. E. Jennings, Assistant Curator of Botany.
The same list was published by the Berlin Society for Anthropology, Ethnology and History (Zeitschrift fur Ethnologie, Heft 2, 1909), after a lecture by the author in the Imperial Museum for Ethnography, March 6, 1909.
KATOYA. Sweet Pine.—Balsam Fir. Abies lasiocarpa. Burned for incense in ceremonials. It was used in poultices for fevers and colds in the chest, also for hair oil by mixing with grease and for
perfume. It is more fragrant than ordinary balsam. When it grows in dry places it has a more concentrated and sweet odour.
SE-PAT-SEMO. Sweet Grass. Vanilla Grass.—Savastana odorata. After drying, Sweet Grass was generally kept by plaiting several strands. It was burned for incense and used also for making hair tonic by soaking in water. In northern Europe and Sweden it is called Holy Grass, because, with other sweet scented grasses, it is strewn before the churches. It is found throughout the world in the cold north temperate zone, northern Europe, and Asia, Newfoundland to Alaska, south to New Jersey and Wisconsin to Colorado.
EK-SISO-KE. Sharp Vine.—Bear Grass. Yucca glauca. The roots were boiled in water and used as a tonic for falling hair. The Blackfeet thought there was no better remedy than the Ek-siso-ke for breaks and sprains. The roots were grated and placed in boiling water. The inflammation was reduced by holding the injured member in the rising steam. The roots were also placed upon cuts to stop bleeding and to allay inflammation.
NITS-IK-OPA. Double Root.—Squaw Root. Carum Gairdneri. Used for sore throat and placed on swellings to draw out inflammation. It was also eaten raw or boiled as a vegetable and used for flavouring stews.
OKS-PI-POKU. Sticky Root, also called AP-AKS-IBOKU. Wide Leaves.—Tufted Primrose or Alkali Lily. Pachylobus caespitosus. The root was pounded up and applied wet to sores and swellings to allay inflammation. It grows in alkali soil and is generally found in gravel beds.
APOS-IPOCO. Tastes Dry.—Alum Root. Heuchera parvifolia. It was pounded up and used wet as an application for sores and swellings. It grows on gravel bottoms and alkali flats.
MATOA-KOA-KSI. Yellow Root or Swamp Root.—Willow Leaved Dock. Rumex salicifolius. It was boiled and used for many complaints but generally for swellings. It grows in swamps.
MAIS-TO-NATA. Crow Root.—Dotted Blazing Star, named because of the brilliant scarlet of its flowers. Lacinaria punctata. It was called Crow Root by the Blackfeet because it was eaten by crows and ravens in the autumn. The root was boiled and applied to swellings. A tea was also made with it for stomach-ache. It was sometimes eaten raw.
O-MUCK-KAS. Big Turnip.—Parsnip. Leptotaenia multifida. Belonging to the carrot family, the Big Turnip is found on the sides of hills, growing in sandy loamy soil. It was gathered in the fall. The root was used to make a hot drink as a tonic for people in a weakened condition, and to make them fat. The root was also pounded up and burned for incense. When horses had the distemper
they were made to inhale smoke from this root. It was also mixed with brains and used in soft tanning.
PA-KITO-KI. Gray Leaves.—Double Bladder Pod. Physaria didymocarpa. It is to be found growing on gravel bottoms. The Blackfeet chewed the plant for sore throats, also for cramps and stomach trouble. It was also placed in water with hot stones and used to allay swelling.
A-SAT-CHIOT-AKE. Rattle Weed.—Purple Loco Weed, Crazy Weed. Aragallus lagopus. Some of the flowers are purple, others blue, yellow and white. It grows on gravel bottoms. The Blackfeet chewed it for sore throats to allay swellings.
A-SA-PO-PINATS. Looks-like-a-plume.—Windflower or Round Fruited Anemone. Anemone globosa. It is adapted for a windy place and is found growing on hillsides where the wind strikes it, either on the plains, or in the mountains. In midsummer the flower turns into cotton which the Blackfeet burn on a hot coal for headache.
ET-AWA-AST. Makes-you-sneeze (Snuff). American White Hellebore. Veratrum speciosum. The plant grows to be about six feet high and is found in the mountain forests. The root is poisonous for eating. It was gathered by the Blackfeet both in the fall and in the spring and was used for head-ache. They broke off a small piece of the root which was very dry and snuffed it up the nose.
SIXA-WA-KASIM. Black Root.—Red Bane Berry. Actaea arguta. The berries are both red and white. It is found near the mountains in the underbrush along rivers. The roots were boiled and used for coughs and colds.
SIXIMAS. Black Root.—White Bane Berry. Actaea eburnea. The root was boiled and used for coughs and colds.
SIX-OCASIM. (Indian Horehound). It is not found on the prairies but in the mountains along streams. It was generally used after compounding with other plants, for babies’ colds.
KAKSAMIS. She Sage.—Sweet Sage, Old Man, Pasturage Sage Brush. Artemisia frigida. The roots or tops were boiled and used as a drink for mountain fever. It was also chewed for heartburn. Sage was generally tied to articles that were offered as sacrifices to the Sun.
OTSQUE-EINA. Blue Berry.—Oregon Grape. Berberis aquifolium. The roots were boiled and used for stomach trouble, also for hemorrhages. It grew in the forest on the mountains.
APOKS-IKIM. Smell Foot.—Northern Valerian. Valeriana septentrionalis. A hot drink was made from the roots for stomach trouble.
A-MUCH-KO-IYATSIS. Red Mouth Bush.—Paper Leaf Alder. Alnus tenuifolia. A hot drink was made of the bark and taken
for scrofula. The bark split readily and was also used for making stirrups, which were covered with raw-hide. The Blackfeet name originated because the bark when chewed made their mouths red.
MA-NE-KA-PE. Young Man.—Horse Mint. Monarda scabra. An eye wash was made by placing the blossoms in warm water and was used to allay inflammation.
SO-YA-ITS. Lies-on-his-belly.—Long Plumed Avens. Sieversia ciliata. It grows on the plains and in the mountains. The Blackfeet boiled it in water and used for sore and inflamed eyes.
KINE. Rose Berries or APIS-IS-KITSA-WA.—Tomato Flower. Says Rose. Rosa Sayi. A drink was made of the root and given to children for diarrhœa. The berries were sometimes eaten raw.
OMAKA-KA-TANE-WAN. Gopher Berries.—Wild potato, Ground Cherry, Cut Leaved Night Shade. Solanum triflorum. The berries were boiled and given to children for diarrhœa. The plants grow on prairie-dog hills.
KITA-KOP-SIM. Garter Root or Pachsi, Dry Root.—Silver Weed. Argentina anserina. The root was used for diarrhœa.
NUXAPIST. Little Blanket.—Indian Kemp, Dog Bane. Apocynum cannabinum. A drink was made by boiling the root in water and taken for a laxative. It was also used as a wash to prevent hair falling out. It grows on high cliffs and was gathered at all times of year.
A-PO-PIK-A-TISS. Makes-your-hair-gray.—Pore Fungus. Polyporus. A small quantity was used as a purgative. It was said to make the hair gray if too large a dose was taken. It was also used for cleaning buckskin.
AT-SI-PO-KOA. Fire Taste.—Sharp Leaved Beard Tongue. Pentstemon acuminatus. The Blackfeet named it At-si-po-koa because of its biting flavour. It was boiled in water and taken internally for cramps and pains in the stomach. It was also used to stop vomiting.
SIX-IN-OKO. Juniper.—Red Cedar. Juniperus scopulorum. The berries were made into a tea to stop vomiting. The Juniper was used ceremonially on the altar of the sacred woman at the Sun-dance.
AKS-PEIS. Sticky Weed.—Gum Plant. Grindelia squarrosa. The root was boiled and taken internally for liver trouble. It grows on the prairies.
OPET-AT-SAPIA. Gutierrezia diversifolia. Grows on the prairies in the foothills to the mountains. The roots were used by medicine men in doctoring. They placed red hot stones in water with the roots and made the patient inhale the steam.
E-SIMATCH-SIS. Dye.—Evernia vulpina. A lichen that grows on pine trees. It was used as a yellow dye for porcupine quills.
[paragraph continues] The quills were placed with the dye in boiling water. It was also used for head-ache.
E-SIMATCH-SIS. Dye.—The Yellow Orthocarpus. Orthocarpus luteus. Used for dyeing gopher skins red. The plant was first pounded up and then pressed firmly upon the skin. It grows on the prairies.
ANA-WAWA-TOKS-TIMA. Buffalo Food.—Yellow Cancer Root. Thalesia fasciculata. Used by Buffalo medicine men in doctoring wounds. They chewed and blew it upon the wound.
SA-PO-TUN-A-KIO-TOI-YIS. Joint Grass.—Scouring Rush. Equisetum hiemale. The grass was boiled in water and used as a drink, for horse medicine.
PACH-CO-I-AU-SAUKAS. Smell Mouth.—Western Sweet Cicely. Washingtonia divaricata. It was given to mares in winter. The Blackfeet say that it put them in good condition for foaling. They placed it in the mares’ mouths and made them chew it. A pleasant drink was made with a small piece of the Western Sweet Cicely root, a little more of the Sixocasim (Indian Horehound) to three cups of water. It was taken hot for colds or tickling in the throat.
KA-KA-SIN. Larb or Kinnekinick.—Bear Berry. Arctostaphylus uva ursi. The leaves which are thick and evergreen were dried and used for smoking. The berries were eaten raw and also used mashed in fat and fried. It grows in northern North America also northern Europe and Asia.
O-MAKSE-KA-KA-SIN. Big Larb.—Pipsissewa, Princess Pine. Chimaphila umbellata. It flourishes among decaying leaves in a sandy soil in the mountain forests of Northern North America. The dried leaves were used for tobacco by all the Mountain Indians. The Blackfeet had a special preference for the Big Larb in smoking.
PONO-KAU-SINNI. Turnip Elk Food.—Narrow Leaved Puccoon. Lithospermum linearifolium. The tops were dried and used for burning as incense in ceremonials.
SO-YO-TOI-YIS. Spring Grass or I-TA-PAT-ANIS, Cut-your-finger.—Slough Grass Sledge. Carex nebrascensis praevia. The Blackfeet said it was the favourite grass of the buffalo and for this reason the medicine men tied it around the horns of the sacred buffalo head used in the Sun-dance ceremonials. It grows in marshy places on the prairies.
A-PONO-KAUKI. Paper Leaves or O-TO-KAP-ATSIS. Yellow Flower.—Arrow Leaved Balsam Root. Balsamorrhiza sagittata. The
large leaves were used in a ceremonial, while roasting Camass roots.
OK-KUN-OKIN. Berry.—Sarvis Berry, June Berry, Service Berry, Shad, May Cherry. Amelanchier oblongifolia. A tall shrub or small tree growing on the prairies, along side hills and in river bottoms. The berries ripen in midsummer generally about the middle of July. The Blackfeet used them in great quantities with stews, soups and meat. They also dried them for winter use. Violent pains often followed the eating of raw Sarvis Berries.
PUKKEEP. Choke Cherry.—Western Wild Cherry. Prunus demissa. The Blackfeet say it does not ripen till later than the Sarvis Berry, generally September or even October. They were used for soups, eaten raw, and pounded up and mixed with meat. The bark was boiled and used internally in combination with roots of the Western Sweet Cicely, Northern Valerian, and Sixocasim (Indian Horehound).
MISS-IS-A-MISOI. Stink Wood.—Buffalo Berry, Silver Berry. Elaeagnus argentea. The Blackfeet gave it the name of Stink Wood because of the bad smell of the smoke. In gathering firewood a person was ridiculed if he brought in Stink Wood. The berries were used for soup. The bark was very tough and made strong rope for tying skins and parfleches when raw-hide was not at hand.
IM-A-TOCH-KOT. Dog Feet.—Disporum trachycarpum. It bears yellow berries which are eaten raw.
PO-KINT-SOMO. Wild Rhubarb.—Cow Parsnip. Heracleum lanatum. In the spring the stalks were eaten after being roasted over hot coals. The Blackfeet say the stalks are of two kinds which they designate by Napim (He) and Skim (She). They peeled and split the stalk of the Skim before roasting but only peeled the Napim. A stalk of the PO-KINT-SOMO was placed on the altar of the Sun-dance ceremonial.
PACH-OP-IT-SKINNI. Lumpy Head.—Wild Potato, Spring Beauty. Claytonia lanceolata. The Wild Potato grew on the prairies and in the foothills of the mountains. The Blackfeet dug them in spring for eating, preparing them for eating by boiling.
EK-SIK-A-PATO-API. Looks Back.—Smart Weed. Polygonum bistortoides. The root was used in soups and stews.
PESAT-SE-NEKIM. Funny Vine.—Wild Onion. Allium recurvatum. Eaten raw and also used for flavouring.
KACH-A-TAN. Tender Root.—Carolina Milk Vetch. Astragalus carolinianus. The root was gathered in the spring or fall and
eaten raw or cooked by boiling in water. It grows on the gravel bottoms, or side-hills of the prairies.
EKS-IX-IX. White Root.—Bitter Root, State Flower of Montana, Red Head Louisa. Lewisia rediviva. The Blackfeet believed it was healthy food. They prepared it by boiling in water. It grows plentifully in the mountains.
SAX-IKA-KITSIM. (Quick Smell).—American Wild Mint. Mentha canadensis. The leaves were placed in parfleches to flavour dried meat. It was also used to make tea.
MASS. Wild Turnip.—Elk Food. Lithospermum linearifolium. The roots were prepared for eating by boiling or roasting. It grows on the prairies.
O-MUCK-AI-IX-IXI. Big White Root.—Evening Primrose, Alkali Lily. Musenium divaricatum. The Blackfeet say the root has no flavour until dried. It was gathered in the fall and eaten raw. It grows on the prairies.
MISS-ISSA. Camass.—Camassia esculenta. The roots were generally dug in the fall after the blossoms had fallen. They were baked by placing in a deep hole with heated stones and a covering of leaves and grass. A fire was also kept burning on top of the ground. It was said to require two days and two nights to cook them thoroughly in this way.
AT-SINA-MO. Gros Ventre Scent.—Meadow Rue. Thalictrum occidentale. The berries were dried and placed in small buckskin bags.
KATOYA. Sweet Pine.—Balsam Fir. Abies lasiocarpa. The leaves had a delightful odour when confined in a buckskin bag. Sweet Pine was also mixed with grease in making hair oil to add fragrance.
MAT-O-AT-SIM. Perfumed Plant.—Rayless Camomile, Oregon Dog Root, Dog Fennel. Matricaria matricarioides. The blossoms were dried and used for perfumery.
SE-PAT-SEMO. Sweet Grass.—Vanilla Grass. Sevastana odorata. Sweet Grass was the most popular perfumery among the Blackfeet. It was made into braids and placed with their clothes or carried around in small bags. It was also used for a hair-wash and as incense.
Pieces of punk from the Cottonwood Tree, leaves of the Balsam Poplar, and the Ring-bone from a horse's leg were also used for perfumes.
SIK-A-PIS-CHIS. White Flower.—Aster commutatus.
OTA-KAP-IS-CHIS-KIT-SIMA. Yellow Flower.—Clasping-leaved Arnica. Arnica amplexifolia.
A-PIS-IS-KIT-SA-WA. Tomato Flower.—Red Rose. Rosa Sayi.
OT-SKA-A-PIS-IS-KIT-SA. Blue Flower.—Oblong Leaved Gentian. Gentiana affinis.
A-SA-PO-PIN-ATS. Looks-like-a-plume.—Round Fruited Anemone. Anemone globosa. Its name was derived from the appearance of the flower when it turns into cotton and resembles a soft, downy feather.
A-PO-NO-KAU-KI. Paper Leaves.—Arrow-leaved Balsam Root. Balsamorrhiza sagittata. In the hot weather its large leaves become very dry and resemble paper.
STO-O-KAT-SIS. Ghost's Lariat.—Columbian Virgins Bower. Atragene columbiana. A vine, with a beautiful light blue flower that trails along the ground and also climbs trees. The Blackfeet have named it Ghost's Lariat because it catches people and trips them up unexpectedly.