By Time Wheel Blog
In the highlands of Northern California grows a variety of medicinal plants, many with usage dated back to the native American tribes, the O’odham and the Chicano, who inhabited the region. On the border of California and Oregon in the Klamath Mountains, Native American elder, Dennis Martinez, spends his life educating both native and non-native people in the way of wild medicines and indigenous reforestation.
Nick Polizzi, director of The Sacred Science had a chance to speak with Dennis himself and learn a bit about the remarkable plant medicine the grows native to the region. After his experience, Nick shared his newly acquired knowledge about a couple of the sacred trees that Dennis showed him on their journey. “Each plant has its own pace, its own way of living from year to year and producing nuts, seeds, and fruit – many of which are good food and medicine,” Dennis said to Nick.
Many are stunned to hear about the medicinal value of the pine tree. Each part can be used to either alleviate a troublesome ailment or simply improve the quality of one’s life.
The inner bark of the pine tree can be consumed for survival in times of desperation. It also serves as an excellent expectorant that lubricates the respiratory tract and eases a rough cough.
The sticky, sap-like ooze that coats the trunks of pine trees is known as the tree’s pitch. It has a very pleasant fragrance and some quite remarkable antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, making it an excellent, natural form of first-aid for cuts, slivers, and burns.
Perhaps the most cherished of the pine tree’s amenities would have to be the famous pine needles. Pine needles are a fantastic source of vitamin A, C, E, and a variety of B vitamins. They also posses antioxidant, antimutagenic, and antiproliferative properties, making them an effective tool in the prevention of cancer cell growth.
Century-old tales mention western explorers bedridden with scurvy being saved by indigenous healers using spruce needles. Also, during the Spanish influenza, those who ate pines did not contract the flu, and those who did not eat them did.
Oak trees, particularly red and white oak trees, have an array of uses that many continue to rely on to this day, earning it the nick name The Tree of Life,
The bark of the oak tree has been used in medicine for thousands of years. For bowel and indigestion problems, fresh bark can be charred and turned into a sort of ‘charcoal soup’ that alleviates the symptoms. Also, a decoction of oak bark can be used for treating throat infections, kidney infections, and kidney stones.
The leaves of oak trees posses styptic properties. They are ground up and made into infusions with the bark of the oak to treat burns and cuts.
Contrary to popular belief, oak acorns are edible and delicious so long as they are prepared properly. They can even be ground up into a nutrient packed acorn flour and baked into bread.
There is much more that can be said of the medicinal plant life of the Klamath Mountains, but for good reason, Dennis chooses to reserve some of the ancestral knowledge to a strictly need-to-know basis. “There are certain plants obviously that can’t be shared with the masses, but these are not them. If they were, I wouldn’t be talking about them. They may be exploited and they’re that valuable. They’re both culturally valuable and commercially valuable – a combination that can lead to bad things,” Dennis told Nick
Plant life with medicinal properties occurs all over Earth in an innumerable variety. To this day, we continue to discover medical applications for plant life never before recognized as medically viable. It’s likely that the very world we live on has already provided us with the compounds necessary for the treatment for all of the elusive health anomalies that plague us, but we must honor the kingdom of plant life and continue research in order to uncover these natural remedies.
Polizzi, Nick. “Sacred Medicine Trees of North America.” The Sacred Science. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.
Source: TIME WHEEL | All images via Time Wheel