Medicines are everywhere, even in your own backyard. You just have to know what to look for!
1. Stinging Nettle
Stinging Nettle – when heated or dried they are edible. High in iron. It has numerous stinging hairs on its stems and leaves which inject histamine, producing a stinging sensation. Used as an anti-inflammatory, especially for arthritis. Can also be used as treatment for dandruff, and as a nutritive tonic for cleansing of metabolic waste.
2. Wild Raspberry
Wild Raspberry – astringent and stimulant. Raspberry leaf tea can be used as a rinse and gargle for mouth sores, cankers and ulcers. Raspberry leaf tea is also used to treat menstrual cramps, and as a nutritive tonic during pregnancy.
3. *Broadleaf Plantain
*Broadleaf Plantain is not Indigenous to Turtle Island, and in fact, was often referred to as the white man’s slipper, since it sprouted up in concrete, and followed the trail of concrete made by settlers. It is, however, a highly medicinal plant that can now be found almost everywhere. Can be used as an astringent, applied to surface bleeding. Fresh leaves can be used for poultice for cuts, wounds, stings, sores and burns.
4. Birch Tree
Birch Tree – Birch sap and leaves has been used for time immemorial for oil and for a detoxifying tonic for removal of kidney or bladder stones, gout and arthritis. Leaves have also been used to treat hair loss externally, and insomnia when taken as a tea. The bark of Birch as well as the essential oil of Birch both contain salicylates that can treat warts, and ease sore muscles or joint pain if applied externally. Birch oil decreases inflammation in tissues and provides a counter-irritant when applied to overlaying and inflamed or irritated joints. Additionally, the bark as well as the buds have been used when antibacterial, antiviral and cell regenerative qualities are needed.
Dandelion is an important medicinal plant with countless uses and benefits. Dandelion is a very rich source of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus. It also contains B complex vitamins, trace minerals, organic sodium, vitamin D and even protein. It has been used to treat anemia, scurvy, skin problems, blood disorders, cancer, diabetes, and depression. It can be used as an anti-inflammatory, treat gallbladder, lower cholesterol and assist in stimulating the appetite.
Echinacea is Indigenous to Manitoba and Saskatchewan in the North and New Mexico, Louisiana and Texas in the South. Echinacea has been used for time immemorial as an anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory treatment. Tea and oil is the most common application. Echinacea ointment is used to treat insect bites, burns, skin ulcers, measles, snake bites and yeast infections in women.
7. Burdock Root
Burdock is a perennial whose roots, leaves, and sometimes its seeds are used widely in herbal medicine to support liver function and as a cleansing botanical. Burdock is used for circulation, as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, cleanse the kidneys, relieve the lymphatic system, rheumatism, gout, constipation, and has been said to contain arctigenin which is an inhibitor of tumor growth. Burdock tea is effective protection against cellular damage. Edible components are the roots, seeds and young stems. Burdock roots can be roasted and used as a coffee substitute.
*To find out more about healing Medicines, consult with an Elder or Medicine Healer, such as Jan Longboat at her Earth Healing Herb Gardens & Retreat Centre