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Ferns had many practical uses in traditional Native American life: they were eaten as greens, boiled into herbal teas, and woven into mats. Ferns are associated with water by many tribes and considered important medicine plants-- different species of ferns were used by Native Americans to treat everything from digestive problems to arthritis to childbirth pains. Virginia moonwort, a type of fern known as "rattlesnake masterpiece," was said to cure snakebite and ward off snakes. And maidenhair ferns were a symbol of traditional dancing in many Northwest Coast tribes, and used as part of traditional Northern California dance regalia.
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