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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 2.104

Medicine Wheel – Indigenous Knowledge


  • Dr. Zhanna PATAKY

Primary authors


As elder said “disease or illness affects all of us, not just the one person”. The medicine is to prevent such or to bring that harmony and balance back to the circle. All plants, trees, and natural substance are grouped in four directions of a medicine wheel, which becomes a guide for healers. Then healers ask the plants a permission to use them as to treat people. Healing is not just based on a treatment; it is based on a way of bringing a person into harmony and balance with body, mind and environment. People respect plants, birds, animals, nature. Nature has an influence on American Indians treatment. Treatment is based on four cardinal directions ,which are part of a Medicine Wheel. The “life values” in each of the four Directions are as follows. If you look at the Medicine Wheel, it has four quadrants. Four is a sacred number for native people. Four directions, four races of people, four seasons, four cycle of life. The traditional idea of medicine is based on the earlier meanings of the four cardinal directions of the Universal Circle. Cherokee frame the meanings of the Four Directions as Spiritual in the East, Natural in the South, Physical in the West, and Mental in the North. For example: a dandelion belongs to East, West, North and South medicine. The compound infusion of root is taken to produce post partum milk flow. American Indian Healers use decoction of young leaves of a plant for menstrual cramps.