YUCCA: A HISTORY OF BENEFITS
Yucca is an evergreen plant in the agave family identifiable by its narrow, pointed leaves. The roots, leaves and fruit of yucca plants were historically used by Native Americans for a wide variety of purposes, and still prove useful today.
Soap: By pounding the dry roots of the Yucca plant and whisking them with cold water to create a lather, Native Americans were able to create a soap used to clean hair and clothes.
Rope: Native Americans found a use for the fibrous leaves of the Yucca plant, soaking them in water, separating the fibers and then twisting them together to weave cords that can be used for belts, sandals, fishing nets and baskets.
Food: The Yucca roots have long been a source of carbohydrate rich food for Native American people. The Yucca fruit, with a taste similar to that of a potato, could be baked or even chopped and fried like French fries. Even the leaves, if boiled, and also the flower, if picked at the right time, could also be eaten. Latin American cooking often uses Yucca in stews and soups. Yucca is also one of the ingredients in Shasta root beer, used to give it a thick, foamy head.
Medicine: The Yucca fruit have been used by Native Americans for a variety of purposes such as
laxatives and the treatment of hair infested with vermin. Native Americans also benefited from Yucca’s anti-inflammatory properties in the treatment of arthritis. Chemicals in the plant make it extremely useful in the treatment of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, stomach and liver disorders, poor circulation and even cancer. The antioxidant properties of the Yucca root also make it helpful in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Applied to the skin, it can be used for sprains, joint pain and sores. Native Americans even used Yucca to treat hair loss and dandruff. Studies have also shown that Yucca extract may have anti-fungal benefits as well as protection against UV induced skin damage.
With such diverse benefits, Yucca has proven nothing short of extraordinary, not just to Native-Americans in the past but to anyone today who values the many health benefits of the natural world.