Decolonizing our Medicines

By Cathy Walker 

illustration by Karlene Harvey

When we talk about the effects of colonization, we only refer to how it affected a continent of people, but we should also understand the correlation of how it shaped and affected the land, the water, the animals, and all that inhabits the Earth. How migration changed, how scarce food became, or how diet changed. Not only for the two-legged already here, but how it also affected the winged ones, the four-legged, the crawlers, swimmers, the medicine plants, and the one-legged. Not only through an increase in population, but also by the medicine’s that were brought over when they came from far away lands.

I imagine before the ships came, seeds were spread through birds of prey that ate small rodents and en route to the nest, pollen or seeds fell from their wriggling bodies. Our stories talk about small rodents going through bear stool and taking seeds and spreading them wherever they went. Animals were more important for cross-pollinating, seed spreading and releasing of spores than people simply because they were larger in numbers and lived amongst the plants. Animals were more important for cross-pollinating, seed spreading, and spore release than people were due to population rates. Watching animals was how many of the Nations became knowledgeable of the medicines. For Anishnawbe people, the bear clan people were responsible for patrolling the lands around their communities to make sure they were secure. Since they were on the outside of the village, more in the bush, they were closer to the animals and so they would watch what the animals ate, what plants they stayed away from, what plants they went to when they were sick and what plants made them purge to feel better. This information is what they would use to heal their people and this is why they became the healers of the clan system. 

When the newcomers touched this strange land from their ships, they carried more than the clothes on their backs. A lot of food was carried on those big ships, many probably went to seed by the time they arrived and were dumped in a compost heap on undisturbed ground. On their trousers and shoes, they unknowingly carried little seedpods or individual seeds that stowed away in an attempt to run from the motherland. Everywhere people walked, their plants followed them like dutiful pets always wanting to be close to their humans. Maybe they were a little bit afraid at first and stayed close to those they came with, but became more brazen as settlers moved about, their medicines were never far behind. 

I like to imagine the moment an animal came into contact with one of these newcomers, what it’s reaction would have been. Did it sniff it suspiciously, or did it run away in fear knowing this was a symbol of uncertain things to come. What did the hunters, trappers, or medicine people think when they saw these new wildflowers coming? Did they see them before they saw the pale faces, did the women warn children not to touch them knowing that on some level they were dangerous? And how long did it take before they became part of our medicine bundles and started taking over all of our gardens. How many medicines dropped off from our teachings once newcomers began to take over. How many medicines and their uses did we lose once western herbs became the focal point over Indigenous based medicines. 

The colonization process has affected us on so many levels including our landscapes. Travel changed from foot and horse and small pathways of trampled grasses to dirt roads and then by gravel roads. Soon they found ways to grind the gravel and poured our grandfathers into long winding roads that went with the hills and valleys. Eventually, they saw our large grandfathers were in the way and found ways to blow apart mountains and hills so that the roads went straight through. Seedlings would never feel the warmth of the sun and now lay in dormancy. Seeds that were once spread by foot and horse, were now spread by the winds created by cars and trains and everywhere humans went. Their medicines would be sure to follow them. But not only could these men devour mountains, but they could also control waterways and some communities that were barely touched by newcomers within the last 80 years, now had villages divided up by rerouted waters and dams. Entire ecosystems were demolished and animals had to migrate to other areas in an effort to survive. Everywhere the newcomers went, meant devastation to the land, and slowly over time, those new plant medicines started taking over and started dominating over the territories. As our nations battled the newcomers, our medicines also battled, laying claim to their own territories and over the centuries slowly lost. Large parcels of land taken up by wild ginseng, blue and black cohosh, wild indigo, and northern sweet coltsfoot are now growing in smaller numbers, slowly being suffocated by the root systems and overcrowding of non Indigenous invaders that have taken over fields, farms, forests. Many are impossible to find. Yellow pond lily and Arrowhead lily are both in smaller numbers as a result of other invasive lilies, in fact, in Ontario, there are over 400 invasive species all competing with each other claiming this new land and every decade that list grows longer. 

Further north, in zones below 3, invasives still pose a problem, but it is not as dire. Still, you will see mullein and clovers in fields and roadsides, and closer to areas with larger populations. There are forests that still have large populations of Indigenous medicines if you know where to look, but even if they aren’t vying for land by invasive species, they are still at risk of being over-harvested. Ghostpipe, Ladies slipper, Calamus, golden thread, are all important traditional medicines and are all at risk to the point where people now say, they too are in hiding and only come out to those they know will honour them. And even our own people do much to dishonour them because we no longer know the spirit of the plants. We also see them as a viable resource, or as a nuisance and have been removed from our ways of giving thanks. Of laying down gifts, of spending time with them. We don’t even know their names anymore and those of us who study are taught their names in Latin instead of in our own tongue, what our grandmothers would have told us long ago. 

Our own people are so far removed that we even fight over which medicine is the best, which sage, which tobacco, which willow, when in fact a lot of our recipes were based on geographical availability. We talk about the four sacred medicines, but some of our communities didn’t have access to tobacco, we used other plants instead of in our pipe medicines. We didn’t have access to sage, and so we had other plants that were used in place of sage, same with sweetgrass, or cedar. A lot of those plants were traded and held in high regard for their healing abilities and for their power, but we didn’t have access to them all the time. This is why our recipes for things like kinikinic and minigan are as diverse as the communities themselves. But we all battle with each other, which one has the real recipe… Or the BEST one. It also shows the effects of pan-Indianism, that we all were the same and used the same medicines when we didn’t. I think of these medicines as the gifts that come from the four directions, but individually we had access to many amazing medicines that grew all around us. 

But the one way that colonization has truly taken over in the plant world is through patriarchy within our men. At one point, the children learned of the medicines because they stayed with the women. Every woman had some knowledge of how to use plants to heal her family, but the real medicine lineages came from the midwives and the healing societies, but somehow over the years, the boys outnumbered the girls that were taught. Or the only way women could learn the medicines was to learn by men, who in turn advanced on them with ulterior motives. What resulted were medicine men that were unhealthy or became community rockstars with egos to match. Even today, much emphasis is spent on supporting the men to learn, while women often have to fend for themselves or turn to “western” herbal schools and pay to get their teachings back. Factor in mixed marriages, residential schools, and foster care, and these women are even further removed from their families and removed from their ability to learn. This is not to say that men don’t have issues getting medicine teachings as well, but by far there is more emphasis on teaching the men over women, especially those going back on the red road. Overall there are more resources for men to have access to healers, sweat lodges, ceremonies, and if you have children, your ability to learn becomes even more of an obstacle, because our priority within the community is to look after our children, and there are no resources made to help build that community for respite so that we can learn. Therefore, men are an easier option. We won’t even get into the dynamics of men that have left women to raise their kids alone, who get these opportunities, but I digress… 

This article was not intended to seem bitter, or morose, but merely to speak the truth on how colonization has affected not just the medicines, but how we are around the medicines and in the end, this will affect our medicine. I think back to a time when we didn’t have that colonized mind, how if someone was in a bad way, there wasn’t a four-day protocol, people would just take that person and bring them into a lodge. They would administer medicines without prejudice. If the person was from overseas and they were sick, they would share the medicines as well. They would do whatever they could to save them and in turn teach them how to live on this land. True, they repaid us by killing us off, rounding us up on small parcels of land we call POW camps, and they took our land and resources by force, they overharvested, and purged, and took in defiance, leaving us little. So yes! We have every right to protect what we know, protect our ceremonies and our medicines and locations of where they grow. But, at the same time I have to remember, I do not own anything, let alone any plant that I use. I am not the healer, the medicines are the ones that do all the work. I just assist them… That’s all I do. That’s all any of us do.  We cannot assist the medicines if the land and water have been destroyed or contaminated and we cannot safely harvest our traditional medicines if they have been over-harvested by people who have replaced sacredness with dollar signs. We can’t assist those medicines if invasive species keep taking over, and if we keep disregarding the needs of our most sacred medicine plants, they will go to sleep and that includes those of us who walked this land since time immemorial. We have forgotten that before treaties were made between nations, we made individual treaties with our original mother to protect her. We made treaties with the plant medicines and left offerings to those that protect them. But have we honoured those treaties? Maybe their disappearance is also a reminder that they choose when to do their work, and who to do their work with, either way, we have all been affected by colonization and one way to remove that way of thinking, is to honour them as the spirits they are and to acknowledge their healing comes from selflessness and kindness and we must return to them in the same way. 

CBD as a Natural Remedy for Pain

By Matty

Where I live, I get access to free health care. I can go see a doctor or go to the hospital whenever I feel something is not right. While acknowledging that this in itself is a privilege, this is a short story about my health anxiety and my journey so far with chronic pain management.

In the summer of 2019, I moved to San Francisco for 4 months. When I found out I was leaving I put my local phone plan on pause to ensure that I wasn’t racking up any expensive roaming charges. Right before I left, I started feeling some pain in my lower right abdominal area. I went to a walk-in clinic close to my house and saw a doctor, who sent me for some lab work and an ultrasound. I never heard back from the clinic and continued on with my planned move to San Francisco, assuming that my results had come back normal.

Two months into my stay, my partner was visiting for my birthday and their visit was unfortunately interrupted by some severe abdominal pain on my right side. I was feeling feverish, and extremely panicked. I was close friends with a physician, and when I explained my symptoms he told me to go to the ER. I went to the ER and the entire time I was there I was panicking about the bills I would be racking up as an international person visiting the US. To cut a long story short, they couldn’t find out what was wrong but the pain lingered.

While I was in San Francisco, I turned to CBD in the form of micro-dosing to manage this undiagnosed pain. It helped a lot, by making me feel calmer and relaxing my body. I soon flew home and was welcomed by my family and friends. When I got home, I found a mailed letter addressed to me, and inside was an urgent message from the walk-in clinic I had gone to before I left. It read, “Please call us back. We have been trying to get hold of you since June.” I was reading this in September. I called them, and they told me that prior to leaving the doctor had diagnosed my pain as a UTI and wanted to prescribe me antibiotics.

To this day, I have no idea what caused the pain in San Francisco, whether it was some symptoms from the untreated UTI or something else that the doctors couldn’t find. The experience made me extremely skeptical of doctors in general. From September until March, I had recurring symptoms of chest pain, abdominal pain, and back pain that went undiagnosed. No one could figure out what was going on. This culminated with multiple trips to the ER and self-diagnosing myself with health anxiety, or as many people may know it — hypochondria. My pain was real, but what happened in California had thrown off my fear response so even though I had been checked out multiple times by multiple professionals, I thought that I was in danger every time I felt those symptoms in my body.

Then COVID-19 hit, and you can imagine the constant fear of feeling like I had a deadly infectious disease in my lungs got worse. But, fortunately, I finally hit a wall and started reading and connecting with other people who have struggled with health anxiety. I educated myself on the behaviors that people with health anxiety would engage in and practiced cognitive behavior therapy to train my fear response to be healthy again.

My doctor prescribed lorazepam as a quick “happy pill” for if I was spiraling and was trying to convince myself to go to the ER, but I was scared to take it because I feared getting addicted. I eventually decided that I was going to try CBD. I ordered an oil that sits under your tongue with a THC concentration of 0.5 mg/mL and a CBD concentration of 11 mg/mL. When I tried it for the first time, I remember feeling a bit buzzed immediately after, but by 45 minutes – 1 hour after I wasn’t feeling any pain and I was very relaxed. This felt great for me. With only 1 mL of this tasteless oil, I could calm myself down and have the non-life threatening pain subside for the rest of the night. I had read about alternative medications but most of the side effects said they would make you feel foggy and zombie-like. CBD has been amazing for me and I hope that more people will try this form of natural plant medicine for managing pain.

CBD is only one part of my healing, I also carry around affirmation cards, exercise regularly, eat as healthy as possible, and practice meditation daily. But, knowing that I have the oil in my back pocket if ever I start to spiral gives me a lot of peace of mind.

When We Grow Together

by Jamie Holding Eagle

Food culture can be a road to health and healing. However, work cannot stop there.

Diabetes is a chronic health condition disproportionately affecting poor, of colour, and Indigenous communities. In the Upper Midwest of the US, the prevalence rate of Type II diabetes is almost twice as high in the Indigenous population (13%) than in the white population (7%). However, the death rate is six times higher (North Dakota Diabetes Report, 2014). The rates are similarly high among Canada’s First Nations (Diabetes- First Nations and Inuit Health Canada, 2013).

Type II diabetes is a preventable disorder. Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, where the body destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. Type II occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin to break down sugar in the body. Over time, the body produces less and less, leading to long-term issues like kidney, eye, and nerve damage (North Dakota Diabetes Report 2014). Type II is influenced by diet, whereas Type I is genetic. Diabetes was relatively rare among Indigenous populations. Satterfield et al. wrote, “Many elders remember a time when there was no word for diabetes in their language because the disease was almost unknown… A word pronounced SKOO yah wahzonkah, which links words for ‘sick’ and ‘sweet’ can be found in a Dakota dictionary published in 1976” (Satterfield, 2014).

The increase in diabetes is associated with a number of factors, including land displacement, boarding school trauma, and poverty. For generations, Indigenous communities hunted, fished, and gardened. The fresh food combined with the physical activity associated with such practices served to promote health. The shifts in community structure from villages to reservations, than reservations to urban areas disrupted family connections. Children sent to boarding schools returned to their families, speaking different languages and preferring different foods.

Food is another major factor, whether related to access, education, or resources. If you know you should eat better, is there an affordable source of fresh produce nearby? If you know how to cook, do you have the utensils and dishes to do so, as well as a refrigerator in which to store leftovers? Many people now live in what are called food deserts, which refers to an area with a lack of grocery sources.  Often, a convenience or liquor store may be the closest store, neither of which generally stock fresh produce beyond bananas or apples.

Food insecurity is the term used to refer to the issues impeding the ability to access affordable and healthy food. The World Health Organization defines the converse, food security, as “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. One step further than that is food sovereignty, which refers to culturally appropriate foods as determined by the community. Food sovereignty values the connection between community health and food. Food justice is an umbrella term that incorporates all levels of the food system, from farmers to chefs to families and servers.

It is estimated that food travels an average of 1500 miles, which can be an uncertain variable when oil prices fluctuate, as well as contributes to carbon emissions. Building a local food system can help assure that access is more reliable. It also reduces environmental impact.


Current food initiatives across Indian Country are focused on rebuilding food systems in a way that draws on culture. Dream of Wild Health, in Minnesota, teaches young people how to grow and culture traditional foods. The Sioux Chef, Sean Sherman, is a chef out of Minneapolis who cooks using pre-colonial foods. Rowen White, a Mohawk seed keeper, grows ancestral seeds through the Sierra Seed Cooperative and uses sustainable practices, which she passes on through a series of classes.

I have worked with a volunteer-run group dedicated to building community through gardening. Volunteers and New American families work together during weekly meetings. All work is done by hand, no chemicals are utilized, and it is an intergenerational effort, with whole families attending.

The families are refugees from various areas of strife around the world, from Iraq to Rwanda. The Upper Midwest, with its extreme winters, can offer a sort of culture shock. Just those two factors alone, let alone language barriers, post-traumatic stress disorder, and the very stress from displacement, can have a negative effect on mental health.

The gardening program has been successful. It has grown from one garden to four within the city. Thousands of pounds of produce are grown each year. Many families participate and more attend each year.

Access to land and access to gardening can do wonderful things for the health of a community. Gardening promotes physical health, it can help make new friendships, and can provide families with fresh food. With diabetes at epidemic levels, healthy food can make a major difference in health.

However, in the long-term, a major paradigm shift will need to occur. Community gardens cannot fill in the gaps left by violence, income inequality, and inadequate access to resources. A community garden can help bring a community together, but not if neighbors are afraid of police violence. A community garden can help a mother make new friends in her neighborhood, but what about the mothers fleeing their own community gardens?

And so, if you are a food justice advocate, we cannot separate ourselves from Black Lives Matter. If we care about how people eat for community health, we must care that they are dying. Similarly with the Syrian refugee crisis. As Native folks, we are living through the generational reverberations of land displacement, violence, and family disruption, as is reflected in our high rates of diabetes. We can help rebuild our own community’s health while not turning a blind eye to suffering elsewhere. It should never be one or the other. We know firsthand that crisis we experience impacts our grandchildren. My grandmas taught me that all elders were to be respected like grandparents, and so right now, there are children like our children in danger, and there are grandmas and grandpas in danger, too.

I will end on this note. I am from the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation of North Dakota. We have been through some interesting times, to say the least. We lived through several waves of smallpox in the 1800s, killing many, sometimes in hours. The accounts are nothing short of horrific. One of the things that haunted me the most was the isolation and sense of abandonment. I feel a sense of grief for them for having gone through that, as I do for other incidents. But, I don’t feel a sense of vengeance. The strongest feeling I get is the one that says, no one should ever go through that alone, ever again. When I see other people living through that violence right now, as their homes are destroyed and their children are dying, it’s the same feeling: no one should ever go through this alone, ever again. We all deserve to eat healthy food and we all have the right to be safe in our communities and to live free of fear.


Diabetes- First Nations and Inuit Health Canada

North Dakota Diabetes Report

Satterfield, D., Debruyn, L., Francis, C., & Allen, A. (2014). A Stream Is Always Giving Life: Communities Reclaim Native Science and Traditional Ways to Prevent Diabetes and Promote Health. American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 38(1), 157-190. doi:10.17953/aicr.38.1.hp318040258r7272

World Health Organization: Food Security 


Jamie Holding Eagle
Jamie Holding Eagle is an enrolled member of the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation of North Dakota. She is completing a Master’s of Public Health and is specializing in American Indian Health. She has worked in food science research and believes cultural connections are a vital part of food and public health.

Yarrow Mind Medicine

illustration of the yarrow plant

by Sharrae Lyon

           Healing from ancestral trauma is no easy feat. In fact, it’s a revolutionary act done in private, it is done in the silences of our minds, hearts, our spirit guides and our ancestors. The process  is not out on display, to be judged or critiqued. It is the pathway to stepping towards our visionary futures as it requires us to step into the spiritual realms of our deepest and oldest past, to reintegrate with the authentic power we have within ourselves to push past our illusionary limits. For many of us, our inclinations on how life works may have been met with rejection by our families, and now we have to re-parent and re-pattern what we have known to be true our whole lives. Pattern to the ancient knowledge; that life is magic, life is what you make it, life gives you gifts worthy of development and nourishment.

For many of us, we may be holding responsibilities that don’t belong to us, and avoid the ones that do. The responsibility to heal our own wounds, not our lover’s, not our father’s, not our mother’s, but our own. Because that is the one and sole responsibility that we have the most leverage and influence and that will influence the changes and visions by mere virtue of stepping deeper into our authentic expression.

Our communities have been shamed into locking off our imaginations, holding ourselves hostage within our own cells. The violence inflicted on our bodies intergenerationally has sent an invisible message across space and time that you should not dream, should not envision your destiny, because it is unsafe. Yet look at what my people managed to accomplish in the midst of collective insanity. Past patterns can change.

Do not let your inner workings surrender to that which has attempted to annihilate you.

Remember your childhood knowings. Your vision of a better Earth. Ask yourself how much deeper can you feel? Along the journey, plant medicines have been so helpful in re-integrating back into my centre.

Yarrow most recently has been such an aid in supporting my Becoming. Below here is amessage, a reminder to all of us visionaries.

With love,



Yarrow Mental Fortitude and Will- Messages from Mother Yarrow

To envision your individual and collective futures, you must feel the presence of it NOW. You will not bring in more peace and harmony if you don’t embody it within yourself. The power of mental fortitude – aligning and yoking oneself to the thoughts and visions that give you peace and propel you to step into your purpose, with your heart and courage. I will assist you.

Lesson of Patience:

Slow down. Nothing worth the while is done without the gift of falling in love with the process. My leaves steeped in tea will help you to see your own belief systems, it will connect you to your Star family. Your star origins, only if you desire to know. But if you are trying to manifest more abundance to you that is deeply centred in your authentic expression and you need some help with keeping your thoughts aligned, yarrow will be a kind friend. Reminding you that what you envision is possible. Your relationships will improve, those that no longer vibe will go.

Letting Go:

At some point the heaviness will transform into light. What aspects of Self hidden in the dark will come to light, will become integrated. The voice of critique will transmute into the voice of guidance. Keep strong. Remember nature’s way, of fall leaves gently falling. Soften and build self-compassion. Your becoming is emerging.

Say Yes to Your Becoming:

Why deny the vision of yourself that contributes greatly to your community and family? That fills you with a wellspring of joyous clarity? Let not the mental chains of another trap you, let not the colonizer’s hopes be solidified in the quiet stillness of your mind. Let go, and say yes to your brilliance. At first it may be small steps, in time towards building momentum towards the newly formed you, by You, day by day.

When you drink me allow your mind to traverse and listen closely to the courage emanating from your heart and solar plexus. Feel your presence. I will support you in remembering how to live within your body as your mind finds the path to answers to problems awaiting to gift you your treasures. Your glory. Your legacy towards an Earth that is abundant. An Earth that all are free to be. Mix in a little of my sister Lavender to calm your nervous system, especially those of you healing from intense psychological and emotional trauma. Sweeten us with honey.


Sharrae Lyon
Sharrae Lyon is a facilitator, writer, filmmaker and public speaker. Her work is grounded in  reframing mental health as transformation.

To inquire about current workshops, contact her at

Herbal Honeys

blue illustration of two bees hovering over a honeycomb

Herbal Honeys

by Joanne Kewageshig

Honey itself is a wonderful health enhancing food! Adding herbs to honey enhances both the health benefits of honey, as well as the taste. Honey makes an excellent dressing for wounds and has been used throughout history on open wounds and ulcers on the surface of the skin. You do not need to use a herb infused honey for this. It has also been shown that honey can help soothe coughs in young children and even the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends giving honey to children to soothe coughs. By carefully selecting herbs suited to you, your child or whoever is taking the herb honey, you can enhance the benefits of taking honey.

So how do you make a herbal honey at home? It’s really simple! Before we proceed, however, a word about what kind of honey to use. A lot of commercial honey that you can purchase in stores has been pasteurised. This means it has been heated to kill bacteria. Although this may sound like a good thing, the pasteurization process also kills or removes many of the healthy, natural compounds found in honey – the good bacteria, enzymes, micronutrients and small amounts of pollen which can help alleviate allergy symptoms. To get the full health benefits of honey you want to use raw, unpasteurized honey. Also you don’t want to boil it or raise the heat too high when making syrup. If you do, you will be pasteurizing the honey and looking the health benefits. In Canada, any honey that you see in a store that says “Pasteurized” has been, well, pasteurized. If it doesn’t say pasteurized on the label then you have raw honey!



Dried herbs in the pan.

Here we have White Pine (Pinus Strobus) and Cherry Bark (Prunus virginiana)

What you need:

2oz dried herbs or 3-6oz fresh herbs

4 cups water

2 cups honey

A pot

A strainer basket

Cheesecloth or other cloth to line the strainer

Coffee filter (optional)

Your imagination!



Put your herb mix in a pot and cover with 3 to 4 cups of cool water. Cover with a lid and turn heat to medium low. When the water and herbs just begin to boil, you can the turn the heat down – and take the lid off- and allow it to simmer at a very low heat. Now we want to let the herb and water mixture simmer or steam very gently until about half or more of the water has boiled off.

Here the herbs and water have come to a boil. At this stage I will turn the heat down, take the lid off and allow it to gently simmer for an hour or so minutes. After simmering, turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes. Next, strain the herbs out through a strainer lined with cheesecloth or other light material. I strain the tea a second time through a coffee filter. This ensures that you have removed all the tiny herb particles, but is not necessary if you are making syrup for your own or your family’s use. The herbs have been strained out, the tea simmered down and now to add the honey

Next, pour the tea back into a clean pot and put it on a burner over low heat. In this step you want to evaporate some of the water until you have approximately one cup of tea left. This will give you a really concentrated herbal tea. Turn off the heat and allow the tea to cool again for a few minutes. Now you can add 2 cups of honey to the tea in the pot and stir gently until the honey and tea are completely mixed together. Turn off heat and pour the honey into a jar or bottle. Melting and mixing the honey and strained tea over low heat. So now that you know how to make a syrup, what herbs should you use? That depends on what you want to use your syrup for. Herbal honey’s are great to sweeten and flavour tea. One of my favourites to use this way is a syrup made with Ginger, Cinnamon and Elecampagne.

The possibilities for herb combinations for syrups is really only limited by your imagination and what you have on hand, so go ahead and be adventurous! Elderberries (Sambucus sps) are very popular for making syrups and Elderberry Syrup is excellent to have on hand during cold and flu season. Other popular herbs for treating coughs and colds include: Mullein (Verbascum Thapsis), Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), Horehound (Marrubium vulgare), Ginger (Zingiber officinalis), Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Wild Cherry Bark (Prunus virginiana, P.serotina), New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae,) Evergreen species and more. You can always research what herbs may be suitable for your situation or look up the individual herbs. There are different kinds of coughs, and different herbs are suited to treat each individual person and their own particular circumstances.



Joanne Kewageshig
My name is Joanne Kewageshig. I am a settler in Anishnaabe Territories and live with my husband and four children at Stoney Point First Nation, aka Aazhoodena. I have studied and worked with herbs for over 20 years, completing the Dominion Herbal College course, “Chartered Herbalist” in 2000. Our family seeks to live a traditional Anishnaabe way of life; we hunt, fish, gather and grow food and medicine and attend powwows and ceremony. We run our family herbal business- Honey Pot Herbals- from home.

Devil’s Club & Fireweed

Devil's Club with text that reads "A spiritual and medicinal plant of the pacific northwest coast indigenous peoples. photgraphed on Quw'utsun' territories by Bitty

Fireweed with text that reads "indigenous uses for fireweed: externally as medicine for burns and skin conditions. Spring roots can be used to make and anti-inflammatory poultice. Drank as tea for stomach and bronchial support. Young shoots and leaves can be eaten raw. For tea: harvest leaves around time of flowering if not eating flowers-leave for the bees!

By Bitty

Black and white mixed media photo of bitty sitting on their knees in a galactic universe. Their shirt reads "retribution will be swift"

My name is Bitty. I am two-spirit and I make art. I have maternal Coast Salish roots of Lkwungen, Quw’utsun and Lummi descent and paternal roots of mixed Irish, French and Euro ancestry. The art I contributed about Matriarch Camp is a piece I drew to fundraise to sustain camp and out of a deep respect and gratitude to Ma’amtagila grandmother Tsastilqualus Ambers Umbas and the young matriarchs, warrior womxn and salmon protectors who hold the space that is Matriarch Camp.