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2010 Mi’kmaq Medicinal Plants for Beginners Booklet Volume 1

George Sark, cover: Kira Sark 7/1/2010


Introduction This booklet was created to assist our community youths, to identify, find and understand the medicinal uses. Some of the local plants found in this area (Waycobah), were traditionally used for. So much of our traditional knowledge, have not been passed down. It is the hope and wishes of our generation that we can once again teach our next generation, few of the traditions we as Mi’kmaq held dear. This is a small part of traditional custom, which should not be broken. It must be noted that this booklet was only created to find and identify the plants mainly. Only those of who have expertise knowledge should be the only ones, to

properly prepare these traditional medicinal plants. Both young people and their parents would have great fun searching and finding the plants in this booklet. Knowledge such as this must be shared and past down to every generation. This is the collaborative efforts of the ‘Invest in Me’ program and the We’koqma’q Health Centre.

Wela’lieg, be safe.


Buttercup

Dandelion

Parts used: Root, Leaves

Parts Used: Roots, Leaves

Description: Erect annual or perennial:

Description: Familiar weed; 1-18 in. Flowering stalk hollow, with milky juice. Leaves jagged-cut. Flowers yellow; MarchSept. And sporadically throughout the year.

2-3 ft. Leaves divided into 5-7 stalkless, lance-shaped, toothed segments. Flowers shiny; golden yellow within, lighter outside; May-Sept. Fruits flat, smooth, with distinct margins. Where found: Fields. Throughout our area, but mostly absent from prairies, and quite frequently in backyards and on the side of the roads. Some Uses: Leaves: Rheumatism, arthritis. Roots: Boils, abscesses. Warning: Extremely acrid, causing intense pain and burning of mouth, mucous membranes; blisters skin.

Where Found: Lawns, fields, waste places. Throughout our area. Some Uses: Fresh-root tea traditionally used for liver, gallbladder, kidney, and bladder ailments, diuretic. Dried root sometimes used as a coffee substitute. Leaves and flowers are rich in vitamins A and C. Warning: Contact dermatitis reported from handling the plant, probably caused by latex in stems and leaves.


Pink Lady Slipper

Blue Flag Iris

Parts used: Root

Parts used: Root

Description: Usually pink; rarely white in some individual plants or populations. Perennial; 6-15 in. Leaves 2, basal. Flower a strongly veined pouch with a deep furrow; May-June.

Description: Perennial; 1-2 ft. Leaves sword like, similar to those of garden irises. Flowers violet-blue, sepal’s violet at outer edge; veins prominent; sheaths papery. Flowers May-July.

Where found: Acid woods, shady wooded area.

Where found: Wet meadows, moist soil.

Some Uses: Nervous headaches, hysteria, insomnia, nervous irritability, mental depression and PMS.

Some Uses: Natives poultice root on swellings, sores, bruises, rheumatism, analgesic agent; roots used to “cleanse” blood.

Warning: This orchid is very rare.

Warning: Considered poisonous.


Red Clover Parts Used: Flowering tops Description: Familiar biennial or shortlived perennial; up to 18in. Leaves divided into 3 oval leaflet; leaflets fine-toothed, with prominent “V” marks. Flowers pink to red, in rounded heads; May-Sept. Where Found: Fields, roadsides. Throughout our area. A weed. Some Uses: Mild sedative, “blood purifier”; for asthma, bronchitis, spasmodic coughs; burns and ulcers. Warning: Can cause diarrhoea, dermatitis and can be poisonous in large doses.

Aster Parts Used: Root Description: Hairy-stemmed perennial; 3-7 ft. The most showy wild aster in our area. Leaves lance-shaped, without teeth; clasping stem. Flowers deeper violet than most asters, with up to 100 rays; Where Found: The asters are the largest blooming wild flowers we have here in Nova Scotia. In yards, along the roadsides, fields, etc. Some Uses: Natives used root tea for diarrhea, fevers.


Daisy

Lupines

Parts Used: Leaves, root

Parts Used: Leaves

Description: Slender, hairy perennial; 1-3 ft. Basal leaves oblong; stem leaves smaller

Description: Perennial; 1-2 ft. Leaves longstalked; divided into 7-11 oblong, lanceshaped segments. Flowers blue, pea-like; in a showy raceme; Apr.-July.

Where Found: Thickets. Most of our area. Some Uses: Plant tea is used as a diuretic; a folk remedy for diarrhea, kidney stones, diabetes and, painful urination.

Where Found: Dry soils, open woods, along roadsides.

Warning: May cause contact dermatitis.

Some Uses: Natives drank cold leaf tea to treat nausea and internal haemorrhaging. Warning: Seeds are poisonous. Some lupines are toxic.


Blackberry

Blueberry

Parts used: Root, leaves, fruits

Parts used: Leaves

Description: Shrub with arching canes that root at tips. Stem glaucous with curved prickles. Leaves whitened beneath; sharply double-toothed. Flowers white; Apr.-July. Fruits purple-black; July-Sept.

Description: Shrub; 3-24 in. Leaves narrowly lance-shaped, with tiny stiff teeth that are green and hairless on both sides. Flowers white (or pink-tinged); urn-shaped, 5-lobed. Flowers May-June. Fruits (blueberries).

Where Found: Throughout our area. Some Uses: Astringent root tea traditionally ssed for diarrhea, dysentery, stomach pain, gonorrhoea, back pain; blood tonic for boils. Leaf tea a wash for sores, ulcers, and mild inflammation of the mouth and throat.

Where Found: Sandy or acid soils. Some Uses: Natives used leaf tea as a “blood purifier�; also used for colic, labour pains, and as a tonic after miscarriage.


Works Cited Duke, S. F. (2000). Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Glossary Diuretics-Natural diuretics aid in flushing the body of toxins and breaking down fat. But moderation is the watchword even in the use of natural diuretic food. Dermatitis-An inflammation of the skin(rash).

Book cover design by Kira D. Sark

Mi'kmaq Medicanal Plants for Beginners Booklet Volume 1  

Nova Scotian plants used for traditional native medicines.

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