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16 December 2011

Grandmother Cedar ~ Winter Herb Studies

She is a good 40 feet tall

I thought my herbal studies were done for the season, but they don't call Him the Great Mystery for nothing... Last year I suffered Greatly from Non-Allergic Rhinitis for 9 months out of the year, only 3 summer months of relief before it began again this Fall.  I tried about Everything suggested to No avail.  I would use the over the counter Nose Spray for relief at night so that I could breathe and therefore sleep, waking in the early hours with major Sneezing Fits that led to more congestion to start my day.  Anyone that has taken said Nose Spray knows that you are only suppose to take it for about 3 days because it can cause symptoms to worsen.  So this year we happen to be in a campground with many Red Cedar Trees (Juniperus virginiana).  I did recall from the summer studies reading something about Juniper berries, so I looked it up.  Well I read that it was burned and inhaled for Respiratory ailments and I did just that.  The Huge Grandmother tree that we are set up near has been shedding tufts of her leaves and berry clusters.  I smudged the camper and inhaled the dried smoldering leaves.  This was 4 days ago and I have Not used the nose spray to breathe at night yet!! Praise the Great Spirit!!

She has shed her tufts of leaves and berries down for me to reach

I had also collected enough berries from the various trees to make a small tub of Juniper Berry Ointment.  This is good for wounds, itches, scars from burns, festering sores and the like, also psoriasis.  Please visit this very informational page on making herbal ointments and salves:   http://earthnotes.tripod.com/ckbk_o.htm

I left an offering of Tobacco in the designated place

The "tufts" of leaves and berries

Following was taken from a .pdf file located here: http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_juvi.pdf
The Blackfeet made a tea from the berries of the red cedar to stop vomiting (Kindscher 1992). A blackfeet remedy for arthritis and rheumatism was to boil red cedar leaves in water, add one-half teaspoon of turpentine, and when cooled, rub the mixture on affected parts. The Blackfeet also drank a tea made from red cedar root as a general tonic; mixed with
Populus leaves this root tea became a liniment for stiff backs or backache (McClintock 1909, Johnston 1970, Hellson 1974).

The Cheyenne steeped the leaves of the red cedar and drank the resulting tea to relieve persistent coughing or a tickling in the throat. It was also believed to produce sedative effects that were especially useful for calming a hyperactive person. Cheyenne women drank the red cedar tea to speed delivery during childbirth (Grinnell 1962). The Cheyenne, along with the Flathead, Nez Perce, Kutenai, and Sioux, made a tea from red cedar boughs, branches, and fleshy cones, which they drank for colds, fevers, tonsillitis, and pneumonia (Hart 1976).

As a cure for asthma, the Gros Ventres ate whole red cedar berries or pulverized them and boiled them to make a tea. They also made a preparation from the leaves mixed with the root, which they applied topically to control bleeding (Kroeber 1908). The Crows drank this medicinal tea to check diarrhea and to stop lung or nasal hemorrhage. Crow women drank it after childbirth for cleansing and healing (Hart 1976).

The young leafy twigs of the red cedar were officially listed in the
U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1894 as a diuretic (Kindscher 1992). The distilled oil of the red cedar has been officially listed as a reagent in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia since 1916 (ibid.).