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Aboriginal Youth Identity Series: Health and WellnessSeniors Health and Wellness
Health and Wellness
Health and Wellness

Background Information for Teachers

 

 

Native Plant Chart  

Common

Name

Scientific

Name

Aboriginal

Group that

Used the plant

Plant part used

Uses of the plant

Balsam-root

Balsamorhiza

sagittata

Siksika (Siksika)

Kainai

 

Leaves

 

 

Seeds

 

 

Roots

 

-Salad for Sun Dance Ceremony

 

-Ground into flour and made into a biscuit

 

-Tender portion of root used in stew

-Roots burned as incense before a battle to bring good luck

-Used as a “holy turnip” in the Sun Dance Lodge

-Extract made for stomach trouble

Bearberry,

Kinnikinnik

Arctostaphylos

Uva-ursi

Cree

 

 

Chipewyan

Siksika (Siksika)

 

 

 

Kainai

 

Leaves

Stems, roots

Leaves

Leaves

 

Fruit

 

Fruit

 

Leaves

-Mixed with tobacco for smoking

-Boiled in water the liquid is drunk to treat diarrhoea

-Mixed with tobacco for smoking

-Mixed with tobacco for holy ceremonies of Horn Society

-Eaten raw or preserved for later use

-Dried, boiled then eaten, put in rattles, or made into necklaces

-Tea, brewed to cure haemorrhage

Bear Grass

Xerophyllum tenax

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Roots

-Boiled roots are steeped and utilized as a hair tonic and to ease sprains, or the brew is evaporated and the residue used as soap

Bergamot,

Wild Horse Mint

Monarda

fistulosa

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Kainai

Leaves

-Boiled leaves were applied directly to pimples to dry them up

-Extract for birth control

-Extract for person spitting blood

-To treat sores

Birch,

Paper or White Birch

Betula

papyrifera

Cree

Wood

 

 

 

Bark

 

 

 

Leaves

 

Sap

-White rotten wood boiled into an extract, wood then dried and powdered. Powder used for chapped skin

-Birch bark documents for Medicine Men

-Canoes, baskets

-Innermost bark produces a dye

-Leaves made into a tea-like beverage

-For syrup

Bitter-root

Lewisia

pygmaea

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Roots

-Pounded and chewed for sore throat

-Dried, scraped and used for food

Double Bladder-pod

 

Physaria didymocarpa

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Kainai

Leaves

-Steeped as a remedy for sore throats and stomach trouble

-Plant held between teeth for a toothache

-Brewed for haemorrhoids and liver trouble

-Horse medicine

Indian Bread-root

Psoralea esculenta

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Root

-Eaten or roasted fresh, dried for winter use

-Dried in the sun and ground between stones for flour to mix with soup

Cushion Cactus or Ball Cactus

Mamillaria Vivipara

Kainai

Fruit

 

Plant

-Eaten raw

-Cut and put in dirty water to clear it

-Used to cure diarrhoea in children

-Extract used to treat sore eyes

Death Camas

Zygadenus gramineus

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Bulbs

 

 

Roots

-Poisonous bulbs are pulped and applied as a wet dressing to sprains and bruises

-Mashed and applied to swollen knees and aching legs

Common

Cattail

Typha latifolia

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Flowers

 

 

Roots

-Downy seeds are used to make dressings for burns and scalds; diaper padding for cradle-boards

-Ground into flour; served raw or roasted

Ground Cedar

Lycopodium complanatum

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Entire Plant

Spores

-Extract of plant used to treat lung and venereal diseases

-Applied as an antiseptic dust on wounds or sniffed for nosebleeds

Wild Black Currant

Ribes americanum

Siksika (Blackfoot)

 

Cree

Roots

 

Stems, bark, roots

-Liquid extract of root taken for kidney ailments

-A tea is made and used to help women conceive

Red Osier Dogwood

Cornus stolonifera

Cree

 

 

 

 

Chipewyan

Bark

-Bark mixed with tobacco for smoking

-Fine scraping of young bark used to induce vomiting; to cure coughs and fevers

-Dying and tanning hides

Alpine Fir

Abies lasiocarpa

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Leaves

-Perfume

-Needles burned as incense

-Tea for colds

-Smudge

Sweet Grass

Hierochloe odorata

Kainai

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Entire Plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Entire Plant

-Incense either lit or placed on hot coals for all holy ceremonies

-Burned as an offering to mark numerous activities with spiritual significance

-Inhaled for nosebleeds

-For chapped skin

-Soaked in water to be used to wash a woman after she gives birth

-Brewed and drunk for haemorrhage

-Natural sachet

-Sewn into clothing

Gumweed

Grindelia squarrosa

Siksika (Blackfoot)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cree

Leaves and Flowers

 

Entire Plant

 

 

Entire Plant

-Resin from these parts used to treat bronchitis and asthma; to produce spittle and for relief from muscle spasms

-Used to make a beverage prized for its tonic qualities; to purify blood; to clear up colds and lung trouble

-Tea drunk for kidney trouble

-Combined with Chamomile to treat kidney pains; prevent childbearing

Bluebell

Campanula rotundifolia

Cree

Root

-Dried, chopped root made into a compress to be placed on a cut or other wound to stop bleeding, reduce swelling and speed healing

Indian Hemp

Apocynum cannabinum

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Root

-Extract taken as a laxative, to reduce fever, and to prevent falling hair

-Induces vomiting

Ground Juniper

Juniperus communis

Cree

Branches

-For sore throat boil about six inches of branch in three cups of water and gargle

Labrador Tea

Ledum groenlandicum

Cree

 

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Leaves

-Dried, crushed, and boiled in water for a tea to treat chest colds

-Powdered leaves made into an ointment for burns and scalds; tea used as a diuretic, used to induce vomiting

-Dye

Wild Licorice

Glycyrrhiza lepidota

Kainai

Roots

-Root chewed and liquid swallowed to strengthen the throat for singing

-Treatment for toothache

-Extract of root boiled to treat fever in small children and diarrhoea

-Extract for coughs and stomach trouble

Western Wood Lily

Lilium philadelphicum

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Flower

-Pulverized flowers are made into a wet dressing to treat the bite of a small, brown, poisonous spider

Yellow Pond Lily

Nuphar variegatum

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Seeds

-Roasted or ground into flour; highly nutritious

Lupine

Lupinus sp.

Kainai

Leaves

-Incense

-Chewed during Ghost Dance

-Extract used for bloated stomachs, hiccups

Wild Mint

 

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Leaves

-Tea and medicine; par fleches are lined with leaves before filling them with dried meat to be stored for the winter

Wild Onion

Allium sp.

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Entire Plant

-Sore throat remedy

-Boiled with meat, eaten fresh or preserved

Cows Parsnip

Heracleum lanatum

Cree

 

Siksika (Blackfoot)

 

 

 

 

 

Kainai

Roots

 

Young stems and roots

 

 

 

Young stems and roots

-Cure for toothache

 

-Eaten after being roasted on hot coals

-For Sun Dance Ceremony

-Treatment of rheumatism and arthritis; boiled and taken for intestinal pains

-Dried plant taken with a drink of water for a broken leg

Prairie Parsley

Lomatium triternatum

Kainai

Roots

-Induce abortion

-Extract used to stop nosebleeds

Puccoon

Lithospermum incisum

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Flowers

 

Roots

-Dried tops burned ceremonially

-Incense

-Violet dye

-Pounded fine and dried in the sun to produce a flour, which is boiled in fat broth

Wild Red Raspberry

Rubus strigosus

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Roots

-Scraped roots made into an extract, which is given to children with bowel trouble.

Rose

Rosa sp.

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Roots

 

Fruit

-Bitter drink brewed and used in treatment of diarrhoea.

-Rose fruits were used to make necklaces before trade beads were acquired.

Pasture Sage

A. frigida

Cree

 

 

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Entire Plant

 

Roots or Tops

Leaves

-Infusion of pasture sage used for bathing.

 

-Boiled and liquid taken for fever.

-Tops only chewed for heartburn.

-Tea made to treat coughs and colds.

Pasture or Prairie Sagewort

Artemisia frigida

Kainai

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cree

Leaves

 

 

 

 

Roots

 

Entire Plant

 

 

 

 

 

Entire Plant

-Used to plug a bleeding nose

-Toilet paper

-Chewed and used to bandage cuts

-Menstrual pads

-Cleanser after childbirth

-Brew made for aching liver and vomiting

-Holy, used in offering

-In Sun Dance Ceremony it was tied around head, wrists, and ankles of those who would go through self-torture

-Chewed before holy ceremonies to reinforce powers

-Incense

-Plant dried, pulverized and dropped on hot stones, then fumes inhaled for headache

Saskatoon Berry

Amelanchier alnifolia

Cree

 

 

Siksika (Blackfoot)

 

 

 

Kainai

Stems

Fruit

 

Fruit

 

Stems or branches

 

Fruit

 

 

Roots

-Arrow shafts, pipe stems

-Added to pemmican

 

-Added to soups, stews, and meats; dried for winter use

-For religious rituals

 

 

-Brewed for stomach ache

- Berry soup eaten on special occasions

-Made into tobacco

Silverweed

Potentilla anserina

Kainai

Roots

-Long roots taken for diarrhoea

-Brewed for chest pains

-Chewed up and sprayed onto clean sores to dry them up

Skeleton Weed or Prairie Pink

Lygodesmia juncea

Cree

 

 

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Stems

 

 

Stems

 

 

 

Leaves

-Chopped and brewed to make a tea for treating morning sickness or periodic pains

-Tea used to treat sore eyes

-Juice from broken stems permitted to harden and then chewed for its flavour (candy).

-Tea given to nursing mothers into increase milk flow.

Wild Strawberry

Fragaria virginiana

Cree

 

 

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Kainai

Roots

 

 

Roots

 

Leaves

-Combined with root of yarrow in the form of a cooled tea; used to cure insanity

-Extract of roots used to treat diarrhoea

-Extract used for diarrhoea

-for treating eyes

Common Annual Sunflower

Helianthus annuus

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Seeds

-Eaten raw

-Oil extracted and used to lubricate face or body; a hair decoration

Yellow Umbrella Plant

Eriogonum flavum

Kainai

Stem

 

 

Roots

-Brewed and used as face wash for drying up sores and reducing swelling

-Chewed and put in children’s ears to keep out water when swimming

-Children eat them for sweets; too many will make you sick

Willow

Salix sp.

Siksika (Blackfoot)

 

 

 

 

Kainai

Seeds

 

Bark

 

 

 

Roots

-Fluff of seed pods used to line babies cradles

-Contains a large percent of tannin, which is used for tanning hides

-Burned bark is powdered and applied to green wounds and ulcers

-Cut into small pieces, dried and brewed for haemorrhage and “waist trouble.”

-Pulverized bark removed and mixed with grease from kidneys for soaking hair for scalp sores and dandruff

-To straighten curly hair, along with kidney grease mixture

-Brew drunk to clear throat

Pussy Willow

S. discolour

Siksika (Blackfoot)

Twigs

 

   
    Buds

-Twigs gathered, preserved and steeped in boiling water, the extract taken to cure fever or as a pain killer

-Spring buds produce red dye

 

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