Among the Haudenosaunee male and female healers used many methods to cure the sick, care for the injured and maintain overall health. Skilled in the use of plants and herbs, healers knew which herbs would alleviate which illness. They knew how to set broken bones, dress wounds and even perform some kinds of surgery.
But the Haudenosaunee believed that sicknesses were caused as much by magical causes as natural. To chase away evil spirits causing sicknesses and heal the ill, the Haudenosaunee employed spells, dances, ceremonies, sacred instruments and secret societies. Medicine societies have sacred masks which are used to heal the ill and chase away sickness.
Thanks and prayer was given to all herbs and berries used as medicine to ensure that they would work the way they were intended. Each community has its own medicines and traditions and it’s important to seek out the elders to learn these practices and keep the traditional medicines alive. Healing is as much a spiritual process as it is a natural and people must believe in the power of the medicine and allow the Creator to heal them.