The Heart-Shaped Leaf and it’s Healing Properties

The Heart-shaped Leaf and it’s Healing Properties:

ME: Could you describe this leaf, being an example of folk medicine?

M.H.: Yes. ME: So what can you tell me about the leaf?

M.H. Well, we were very poor, and of course then, we didn’t have a doctor that would come to our house very often, but one of my brothers got burned very bad playing by the fireplace. He burned his shin on his legs really bad, he was wearing denim jeans, we called them overalls at the time, and it was an injury the size of about four inches up his shin. And so, it would never heal, it kept burning him all the time, and of course as a little boy, he would cry all the time. Well, one day, this woman, who was a Cherokee Indian stopped by, and she told us about this plant. Well actually she went down to the woods, and got it growing by the moss, and brought it up. It was shaped like a heart, and you would just put it into the skillet, and heat it, and it would melt into a wax. She put it on his leg, it quit burning and it healed, and years later, one of his children skinned his knee with a tricycle, and he went to Nashville, Louisville, Lexington, Knoxville, and even St. Louis, and he was trying to go to different hospitals to get it healed, and they would take all these biopsies. So, my father and I, we went back to the old home place, and we got this plant, and we went to him. We put it in the skillet, melted it, and in one week it healed. It was a heart-shaped leaf, and something the Indians had done.

ME: I remember you telling me that story before, and it always amazed me.

M.H.: Well, the Indians had a lot of remedies. Even in the medical places today, now that was about thirty years ago that happened, well let’s see. It was the year 1950, or into the 1950s.

ME: So, how was your brother’s health, after the wax from the leaf was administered?

M.H.: It healed immediately, and we took the plants to him, and he set them in the north side of his house. This was in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and the last I heard, there were still these plants growing around his house, and he has kept them all these years in case he needed to use them again on the knee, and he had several kids he raised, and four grandchildren. Uh, he would get that, and melt the plant, and that was it. Put the ointment on the knee, and it would heal in a week’s time, completely.

ME: That’s an amazing recovery. Just in one week.

M.H.: Yeah, considering no one else could do anything. The medical profession couldn’t do anything.

ME: Then instead of an advanced medical procedure, a natural remedy took it’s place, and everything worked. Thank you.


M.H. describes an extraordinary natural, folk remedy that she attributes to the Cherokee Native Americans, or at least the particular woman who had introduced her treatments to her family. I am astounded at how quickly the natural recovery rate had been, but I have no reason to regard her account in a state of disbelief. Natural medicine can work to powerful effect, in ways that may seem baffling in terms of understanding modern medicinal practices. Much of it comes down to making do with regional resources, and that heart-shaped plant is supposed to be native to that region, although not described by any particular name.