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Medicinal Wild Plants of the Prairie: An Ethnobotanical Guide Paperback – July 6, 1992


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Medicinal Wild Plants of the Prairie: An Ethnobotanical Guide + Edible Wild Plants of the Prairie: An Ethnobotanical Guide + Uses of Plants by the Indians of the Missouri River Region, Enlarged Edition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas; Trade Paperback Edition edition (July 6, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700605274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700605279
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #571,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"One of the most important, original contributions to American medicinal plant literature in decades. Combining thoughtful insight with thorough research, this book has broad appeal, yet is scientifically sound--a rare blend with lasting value."--Steven Foster, coauthor of A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and editor of Botanical & Herb Reviews

"Kelly Kindscher is the plains version of John Muir. Join him in the journey to discover the great pharmaceutical house on the prairie."--Wes Jackson, director of The Land Institute and author of New Roots of Agriculture

"A superb recounting of the use of prairie plants by Indian tribes of central North America."--Walter H. Lewis, coauthor of Medicinal Botany: Plants Affecting Man's Health

"Good reading-and a good source book for anthropologists, botanists, and ethnologists."--James A. Duke, author of Handbook of Northeastern Indian Medicinal Plants

About the Author

Kelly Kindscher is author of Edible Wild Plants of the Prairie: An Ethnobotanical Guide. He has a Ph.D. in plant ecology from the University of Kansas and is a consultant for Prairieland Ecological Services.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Paul Bergner on March 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
Medicinal Wild Plants contains information on nomenclature, habitat, Indian use, Anglo folk use, use in medical history, some entries for recent scientific research, and cultivation. Kindscher frequently cites Eclectic medical use for the plants. These books are authoritative. Kindscher has thoroughly studied the ethnobotany of each and presented the most useful information. What is most striking to me about these books are Kindscher's frequent comments revealing that he has personally seen and tasted these plants, and sometimes tested the methods he writes about, something rare in the ethnobotanical literatue of North America.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Crystal Klein on May 25, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a high school science teacher on the Omaha Indian Reservation, both my students and myself found this book to be an invaluable resource this past fall. As my students did their ethnobotanical survey of the reservation, I often found them waiting to use my one copy of the book. (I will be getting additional copies for the upcoming school year.) We found the information to be both accurate and thorough. The students especially enjoyed the well drawn pictures and easy to follow format. I would suggest this book to anyone interested in plains ethnobotany.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael L. Loren on January 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
Plants are given the usual science description, but then it includes fascinating information on the use of the plants by Indians and Snake oil patent promoters with the original ads and some of the beginning science and skepticism that these plants were really helpful. This is also an interesting history into the beginning of pharmacology. One fascinating patent based on echinacea was promoted as preventing mad dog disease and cure rattle snake bites. No one however was willing to test out the bite of the caged snakes.
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Format: Paperback
My scores are based on the usefulness of this book for foraging medicinal plants.
Overall rating: 4 stars
Number of plants: 3 stars
Treatment lists: 2 stars
Treatment details: 4 stars
Picture types: black & white line drawings, simplified geographic location maps
Plant identification: 3 stars
Who will find it useful: novice to experienced foragers & herbalists, homeschoolers, people interested in history & ethnobotany, historical re-enactors,

Notes: This is a great book for learning how Native Americans and early pioneers used many of the plants of the central prairie lands. Not only does the author cover medicinal treatments, but also the beliefs that the Native Americans held about the plants such as harvesting rituals. The original references/documents for each bit of information are footnoted for those who want to research the source material.
It makes for an interesting read both by foragers but also by people who want to know more about how things were done in "the olden days". Each plant has a long list of different aliments it supposedly cured, but there isn't any sort of cross-reference for telling you what plants might help your symptoms or affliction. The included maps of the locations the plants grow wild are somewhat inaccurate. Many of the plants can be found outside the ranges indicated.
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