Because of the environmental easy access by which Native Americans were surrounded, their ambient access to nature’s finest storehouse of naturally rich in nutrient botanicals was a given. Their cosmetics aisles, their pharmacies and their churches were all located within their naturally occurring environment. This, for most purposes, did not mean that procurement of the ingredient-laden plants and wildlife and subsequent methods of preparation for use was anything close to being easy, as most such efforts to concoct, crush, measure and extract, which, by today’s standards, would leave most moderns opting to go without most benefits. This is not to say that we do, but all of the work of preparation is now covered by the related industries built upon the various divisions.
Native Knowledge Knew What it Took Extensive Modern Science to Prove
The associated and varying degrees of difficulty in making any purposeful skincare happen for Native American women should surely represent the faith these early Americans held in the effectiveness of each one ascribed to with any regularity. Most of today’s consumers do not realize how much of what the Natives inherently knew that it’s taken the modern Americans years of scientific study to prove in our logical world. Our world demands the requirement of supporting scientific data and extensive testing to proceed the commercial release of any ingredient-yet we arrive at many of the same conclusions that the Native wisdom has shown us. And so, for most of today’s consumers, skin enrichment and perfecting grows in a jar, cake or powder and bears a hefty price tag. In understanding the most commonly practiced Native American techniques and resources, if we don’t get inspired to make our own skincare products from scratch, at least we’ll learn to appreciate the ingredients.
What You Won’t Find
In an effort to understand Native American skincare, it’s important to know what was left out. Many of these are common ingredients in the products sold today, with questionable to no help for our skin, but only as emulsifiers, preservatives and other methods of sustaining product shelf life and overall appeal to consumers. If you determine that any of these ingredients is a component of what you’re using, it’s time to change to a better one. Among the leading “left-outs” from Native skincare were lanolin, alcohol, dyes, petroleum, and chemically based fragrances.
Because of the resounding effectiveness of many Native American skin care practices, many are available in one form or another today. Rosa Mosqueta is processed from the wild rose hip seed, and is a highly effective treatment as an anti-aging oil. Known as a “dry” oil, Rosa Mosqueta penetrates deeply into the layers of skin, rather than behaving like oil. Its high content of vitamin C makes it a prized ingredient in how it increases collagen and elastin production, as well as bumping up the regeneration of skin cells. Used to reduce acne scars on the face, wrinkles, stretch marks, liver spots, skin discoloration and eczema. People undergoing radiation therapy rely on Rosa Mosqueta today, for its healing and restorative benefits.
There are numerous skin conditions that can be eased and healed from Native preparations today, such as the prevalent dry skin problems of eczema, psoriasis and dandruff. Natural antibacterial, antiseptic, fungicidal and anti-inflammatory properties naturally occur in many ingredients that, when combined, form wonderfully effective methods of treating a myriad of skin issues, including athlete’s foot, acne and even allergen-specific skin reactions. Today, we refer to the healthiest method of procuring ingredients such as oils and juices from plant life as cold pressing, which was a given, when it came to the method of extraction employed by Native Americans. Herbal treatments were prepared by various forms of extraction or pulverization of various plant parts, tapping into every possible benefit. Highly effective Neem Leaf, Dandelion Leaves, Burdock Roots, Red Clover Blossoms were among the many plant components deemed valuable from harvesting and processing valuable flowers, seeds, bark, root, leaves, resin and wood for healing.
Essential Native American Oils
Evidence supporting the use of many botanically-derived oils by Natives includes those extracted from Evening Primrose, Flaxseed, Jojoba which served as emollient bases in which the healing “active” extracts were suspended. Oils from cedar, lavender and other blossoms were added for healing as well as their fragrant appeal. Jojoba extract provides the same benefits that come from naturally occurring sebum in the skin, among the best being increasing moisture absorption, its non-comedogenic performance, and valuable protective value against damage from free radicals.
Sunflower Oil–Used Then–Still a Prized Skin Care Ingredient and Suspension Today
Some archeologists suggest that sunflowers may have become cultivated for use before corn. There is supporting evidence that Ancestral predecessors of modern Natives in Arizona and New Mexico cultivated the sunflower around 3,000 BC. Both internally and topically, Sunflower Oil is a top nutrient-rich ingredient.
Ground Oil For Native American Skin Care, and Other Use History
The Iroquois Nation tribe of Seneca Indians living in Western Pennsylvania prized what they surmised as being a gift from the Great Spirit in the Sky–first in the form of thick, black crude found oozing into area water streams. Subsequent acquisition of this oil from Heaven became the job of Indian Medicine men, with supporting evidence dating as far back as 1410, where this “black gold” was collected via a primitive skimming process. A long-enduring oil war proceeded between Iroquois and Mohican Indians over ownership of this oil-rich territory, with the Iroquois emerging as the victorious land barons of most of Pennsylvania and its seeps. The prized crude was used in every possible manner by the Natives, being a key ingredient in many salves, and as an insect repellent. Later settlers, upon discovering the ground oil, tried merchandising it as “Seneca Oil,” claiming its infinite benefits for skin, joints and more.