Monthly Archives: February 2015

More Traditional native remedies!

Traditional Native Remedies for common ailments-take 2

Hello all!

Recently, I wrote a post about traditional herbal for common modern day ailments. Today, I am doing a follow up on it, covering more ailments but also ways of using the herbs. Let’s start with the latter as we might not all be familiar with terms such as decoctions or poultices... And further, our ancestors were quite ingenious in how they used the herbs, oftentimes using all the  parts in different ways (also preparing them each in a different way). Remember that although I am a mental health professional, I am not a medical doctor. So when unsure, always check with your family doctor before taking herbs.

Tea infusionsherbal tea

Well this refers to herbal teas we commonly drink. Basically, one steeps the herb’s leaves or seeds (and at times the bark). As we would assume, herbal infusions are primarily for drinking but the liquid might be applied externally on cuts or insect bites for example. 

To make tea, put a tsp of dried herbs or 2 tsp of fresh herbs in boiling water and let steep for 15 minutes. Drink when cool enough. Do not wait too long as herbal teas lose their healing power after a few hours. If you like your tea stronger, you can double the quantity of herbs but that’s as far as I would go. Using more herbs that that could create side effects rather than healing effects.

Herbal decoctionsred colored tea

What is that you ask? Well decoctions are used when using roots, bark or stem or even woodier herbs or herbs from which the medicinal ingredients are not easy to extract. The process is in some way similar to an herbal infusion. Start by placing the teaspoon of dried herbs or 2 teaspoons of fresh herbs in a pint of cool water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes to as long as an hour (depending on the herb). Straining the liquid and drink. Therefore, decoctions are meant to be drank or also can be used as an external wash (or added to a bath). Contrary to herbal infusions, decoctions can be stored in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 24 hours. 

Herbal poulticespoultice

A poultice can resemble the image on the right. It is generally used for external problems such as sores, cuts, wounds, irritations. Or even when there is pain due to sprains, or bruises for example. You could either apply the leaves directly to the area or mash or crush the fresh herbs to a paste consistency. Fresh herbs are then used, not dried. You could also boil the herbs for 10-15 minutes. If you want to go “old style” or use the traditional way of doing it, you can chew the herbs until it becomes a paste and apply it to the skin. No matter how it is done, a poultice needs to be placed in contact with the area affected. You can either place it directly on the skin or place cheesecloth or even paper towel between your skin and the herbs. 

Little note before I get to it: Remember to think of the Earth and its well-being before taking anything from it. Never take more than you need or more than a third of what is there. And do as little damage as possible to the surrounding area. Treat nature with respect, like you would with any of your relations. 

Ok let’s now look at some remedies using herbs for common ailments!

Arthritis

willow bark

willow bark

There are many kinds of arthritis and it has been around for a long time. Native Americans dealt with arthritis pain by spending time in the sweat lodge. You can recreate the effect somewhat by closing your bathroom door and running a very hot shower. Don’t go in the shower, but rather sit nearby so the heat and steam penetrate your skin, without burning you. 10-15 minutes should do. It will help loosen your muscles and allow joints to move just as taking a bath or a long shower would. Moist heat increases circulation in painful areas thus allowing the blood to bring in more healing nutrients and take away pain-causing toxins. 

As I have discussed before, willow bark contains a compound called salicin, very similar to an active ingredient in aspirin. Drank as a tea, willow bark contains a painkiller acting as an analgesic. Adding some dried licorice root will help you digest the tea. You can also counteract the pain with stinging nettle. Although it might seem counterproductive, sometimes deliberately irritating the skin with a branch of stinging nettle can make the arthritis pain less severe. The tiny stingers on the nettle inject a small amount of anti-inflammatory into the skin. 

stinging nettle

stinging nettle

Asthma

Valerian

Valerian

Today, asthma is a frequent condition. However, our ancestors lived in a world where air pollution was low, crowded living conditions were rare and although they smoked during ceremonies, they were far from smoking a pack a day of toxins containing cigarettes. Therefore, asthma was very rare. Moreover, Native Americans also routinely used herbs that were known to help asthma, such as expectorants or antispasmodics. I will share some of those herbs now but remember to consult your doctor before trying herbal remedies for asthma. Some antispasmodics are black haw, valerian, fennel, licorice and peppermint. Examples of expectorants are milkweed, mullein, licorice and peppermint. Finally, some herbs with sedative properties are hops, lady’s slipper, valerian and mullein. 

Mullein

Mullein

Back pain

Well I have suffered from my fair share of back pain, neck pain, etc. You name it! And one thing that often helps for me is to apply heat to the sore area. Again, like the principles of the sweat lodge tell us, heat relaxes the muscles. A heating pad, a hot bath, time in a steam room. All can help. Rubbing the muscles also relaxes them while also helping flushing out the pain-causing toxins such as lactic acid. It seems like a massage is in order!

For those of you who do not have health benefits covering massages….well herbs come to the

Peppermint

Peppermint

rescue. Drink peppermint tea, which contains menthol which has analgesic and muscle-relaxing properties. You could also do your own peppermint rub. Think of the heating or icing rubs drugstores sell. Same principle here. Peppermint creates a warmth sensation that penetrates in your skin and muscles. To make your own peppermint rub: fill a jar with peppermint leaves, cover with vegetable or mineral oil, cap the jar and store in a cool dark place, shaking the jar a few times a day. After 10 days, strain the oil and store in a dark jar. Use oil to massage muscles. Or buy peppermint oil and mix with mineral oil. 

Sage can also be quite helpful. You can buy sage oil in health food stores. Mix a few drops with mineral oil and rub. Or once again, willow bark to the rescue! Drink it in a tea mixed with licorice root. 

Constipation-Diarrhea

psyllium-plantain

psyllium-plantain

Yes I know not so fun to discuss but herbs can help relieve either one. So why not share them? Our ancestors were very active hunting, gathering food, etc. and therefore it is unlikely that constipation was a huge problem back then. However, they would chew gum made of the resin of the balsam tree. It makes sense if we think that chewing gum increases production of saliva (which contains digestive enzymes) which in turn relax the bowels. Nowadays, dietary fiber has been found to be the best remedy for constipation, as the fiber absorbs water in the large intestine, making the stools larger, stimulating the intestines to move them quicker. Psyllium is one of the best fibers one can take. There are readily available in grocery store or health food stores, usually grounded. However, if you want to make your own, add a teaspoon of plantain seed (psyllium comes from the plantain plant) to a cup of boiling water, allow to cool then drink, seeds and all. Do that once or twice a day. Drink lots of water when using psyllium. Further, rhubarb root is also a powerful laxative, not to take too often. Puree a few stalks of it (not the leaves, they are toxic), add apple juice, a teaspoon of lemon juice, and a tablespoon of honey. Drink once a day, not more!!

As for diarrhea, Native Americans turned to herbal teas, as tea contains tannins which constrict the walls of the intestines. Herbs used in teas were commonly raspberry, peppermint, goldenseal and yarrow leaves. And guess what? As good as psyllium is for constipation, it is also good for diarrhea. What? Yes that is true. If you remember, psyllium absorbs water in the large intestine, making stools firmer. And the fun thing is that psyllium affects different people in different ways. So for you, it might go either way or even both ways depending on the situation. Yes I know that is unusual but you will have to try it to find out!

Ok that is it for now. I hope you found this information to be useful. Once again, if there is any condition you would like me to provide herbal remedies to, let me know by commenting below. Or share your own remedies 🙂

As in my last post, I strongly recommend this wonderful book, in which I found a lot of the information above. 

healing secrets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

leather purse

Southwest inspired leather purses for sale!

Southwest Native inspired leather purses for sale!

genuine leather purse

genuine leather purse

Hello all!

Today, I recently acquired the purse above and wanted to share an offer with you. As I love this purse and its design, I am selling BRAND NEW IDENTICAL GENUINE LAMBSKIN LEATHER PURSES, dark brown with southwest inspired design. You can smell the leather as soon as you open the package. You will know its real!

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food feast

Even more Traditional Native recipes!

Great additional Traditional Native recipes

Hello everyone!

OK, as there seems to be an interest for this, I am writing a Traditional Native Recipes Take 2 🙂

Once again, I might be adapting some recipes (it’s really up to you if you want to do them with the adaptations or not). I am not presenting the recipes in any particular order, just trying to give you a variety of desserts, meat dishes, hearty vegetable dishes, and breads. In the Native culture, we cook from the heart with what is available at that time, oftentimes recipes being passed down orally from previous generations. So scroll right down to see what interests you and see my previous post for 5 more recipes. 

Chinook nut cornbread (Chinook tribe)

corn bread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 a cup flour
  • yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup of milk
  • cup of creamed corn
  • package of almonds

Directioncornbread

In a bowl, mix the flour, creamed corn, yeast (well there is no quantity here sooo… I would personally add about 1/2 tsp) and cornmeal and stir together. Add eggs, almonds (again no quantity, I would add 1/2 cup of chopped almonds) and milk. With hand mixer or with a wooden spoon (if you are very strong…), mix together and pour into a tall cake pan (you know those rectangular ones you would make banana bread in for example). Put in oven at 350 degrees until golden brown. I would check after 30 minutes to see how its doing. Serve with butter or honey. 

I am so trying this recipe!

Apache stew 

apache stew

Ingredients

2 red (or yellow or orange) bell peppers

4 oz or half cup of canned chilies (you can substitute hotter chilies)
1 Tbsp sunflower oil
1 lb elk or venison (or use beef)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 carrots chopped
3 cups hominy (don’t know what that is? Click here) or substitute canned sweet corn
3 cups water
3 cups beef (or veggie broth) broth
2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp pepper (or to taste)
1 cup chopped endive or other bitter green

Directions

Heat oil on the stovetop, add meat, garlic and onion until onion is soft and meat is browned. Put all ingredients in a crockpot except endive. Let cook on low for about 6 hours and add endive right before serving. 

If you are like me, you do not have a crockpot, you can do it on the stovetop. Let simmer (making sure all the ingredients are covered with water and broth) for about an hour, checking every 20 minutes or so. 

Algonquin Three Sisters rice

algonquin three sisters rice

Ingredients

2 1/4 cup chicken broth (use water to make vegetarian)
1 6 oz. package Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild Rice
pinch of salt to taste
2 cup cubed yellow squash (about 1 medium)
2 cup cubed zucchini (about 1 medium)
2 cup baby lima beans (or just regular ones or even shelled edamame)
2 cup whole kernel corn
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup canola oil
2 minced cloves of garlic
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 tbsp. white pepper
1/4 tbsp. paprika

Directions

Cook rice according to package or use bulk long grain or wild rice. Steam (or pan roast, that’s what I would do) squash, zucchini until brown and add lima beans at the end. Set aside in rice. In the same pan, add oil, saute garlic, onion and peppers until soft not brown (just a few minutes). Add to rice and other veggies. Add salt, pepper and paprika. Serve with chopped parsley on top. A good vegetarian meal but still with protein 🙂

Manataka Acorn Bread

manataka acorn bread

Ingredients

1 Cup Acorn meal
1 Cup White Flour
2 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3 Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar or Splenda
1 Egg, beaten
1 Cup Milk
1Tbsp Canola Oil
1Tbsp Melted Butter

FYI: Ok well you might not have heard of acorn meal or in other words, flour, before. Yes flour made of those acorns that fall from trees. There is a way to do it manually, see this guide if you are motivated. You might be able to find it in a health food store (as they do keep different types of flour). Or guess what? A nice woman named Sue actually has a site selling the acorn flour and related products she makes. If you are still without acorn flour, you could always use cornmeal or ground oats and corn starch (use 70% oats or cornmeal and 30% corn starch to make the cup).

Directions

Preheat oven at 400 degrees F, grease loaf pan and melt butter. Sift together acorn flour, white flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix egg, milk and oil. Gradually mix in melted butter. Combine dry and wet ingredients. Just stir enough to wet dry ingredients, do not over mix. It is normal that mixture be lumpy. Pour into loaf pan and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. 

Alaskan Baked Salmon (West coast, Haida)

baked salmon

Ingredients

  • King salmon fillet (about 1/1 or 1lb. per serving)
  • Sweet onion (1 large, sliced)
  • Celery stalks, roughly chopped (1 per person)
  • Tomato, chopped in large chunks – fresh if possible
  • Smoked bacon
  • Black seaweed from Alaska (dried, or seaweed from an asian supermarket)
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

Place salmon in a glass baking dish, skin side down. Sprinkle garlic powder, pepper and salt on top. Add cooked bacon slices on top to cover. Top bacon with sliced onion and roughly chopped celery stalks. Chop tomato in large chunks and sprinkle over salmon with small handful of seaweed. Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees. Cook 10 minutes per pound. So if cooking a 4-5 lbs salmon, cook for 40-50 minutes. You can serve with rice.

The tomato and celery and bacon keep the salmon moist while the seaweed gives a sea salt flavor. If you can not find seaweed, you can always use sea salt. 

I don’t know about you but this sounds good and easy to make 🙂

Traditional Native recipes

Traditional Native American Recipes

Hello all!

Today i thought I would share with you some traditional Native recipes using Old World’s ingredients (don’t worry I am giving you some good substitutions) and ingredients from our Mother Earth. Lots of fresh ingredients are used, ideally homegrown. If you are like me and live in a place with no backyard, well do what you can. I have a large balcony and in the Springtime  it gets filled with pots containing herbs of all kinds as well as vegetables. Nothing better than just opening the door to get fresh herbs for your recipes 🙂 And if that’s not possible for you, well go to the farmer’s market (some are open year long) and buy whatever you can from your local farmers.

I am also including links to sites with good recipes so you can bookmark them (well first bookmark my site…;). For some recipes, I will give you some time saving tips. Yes you might lose some of the charms of doing it “old style” but sometimes, we are a bit pressed for time….Enjoy and please comment or share your own recipes below!

P.S. I might be adding more directions to the recipes below than you would find on other traditional native sites. Indeed, oftentimes, I found that recipes were really simple but not very directive (e.g. no quantity, no time, etc.). But then again, cook from your heart and do what taste good to you!

Bean and Corn Stew/Soup (Cheyenne and Cree influences)

white bean stewIngredients

  • Dried Pinto Beans (any white beans) 
  • Shelled Corn (sweet, dried, homegrown)
  • salt,tablespoon or more
  • 1-2 dried red chilles deseeded (use your favorite ones)
  • bunch of fresh green onions, large bunch
  • smoked/dried pemmican , other meats diced

FYI: Use any type of white beans. Ratio of beans to corn is 2 to 1 (e.g. 2 cans of beans, one can of corn). You can then use canned cooked beans, rinse them well before. You can also use sweet canned corn as not a lot of people grow their own. Pemmican is an mixture of dry meat (crushed to a powder) and fat, sometimes fruits were added to it. Nowadays, beef is mostly used but game meat was often used by our ancestors. You can replace it with beef or ham or if you wish to make your own, visit this site. Or this one. You can also use vegetable broth instead of the water to cover beans or a mixture of the two.

Directions

If using dry beans and corn, soaked separately overnight. If using canned, do not soak (just rinse), place beans in a big pot, cover with water (or broth) and add salt and diced chiles. Let simmer, for 15 minutes or so, then add corn then pemmican if using and jerk meat of your choice. If not using pemmican, just use ham or even beef diced or shredded. As stated above, ratio of beans to corn is 2 to 1. So you can use 2 cans of beans or 2 cups to one can or 1 cup of corn. Let simmer until meat is tender and consistency is one of a stew (another 15 minutes or so). Right before serving, add green onions or leeks on top and serve with frybread. Enjoy!

white bean and corn stew

Green bean soup (Onondaga Nation)

Green bean soup

Ingredients

  • 6 red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 handfuls of fresh green beans, tails off, cut in half
  • 1/2 or more lb bacon or side pork
  • Water, the amount necessary to cover your vegetables for cooking
  • Milk, an equal amount with the water
  • 1/2 stick butter (or maybe a tad less…)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Cut your beans and potatoes and place in big pot covered with water. Begin cooking. Cook your bacon in a pan and once crispy and brown add to the beans and potatoes. Some might not even  cook it in a pan, just placing it in with the vegetables. However, that’s not for everyone. Alternatively, you could add it crispy on top of your strew at the very end before serving (as it will get somewhat soggy in the soup). Once veggies are cooked (*I would add carrots to this soup, just add them in at the same as the potatoes and beans), add milk (equal to the amount of water you originally put in). Add butter, salt and pepper and serve with fry bread.

beans

Salmon stuffed frybread (Nishnawbe Nation)

salmon patty sandwich

Ingredients

  • 1 Or 2 Eggs
  • 2 Cans of salmon or fresh filet cooked and flaked
  • One Batch Of Your Favorite Fry Bread Dough (see below for mine)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Bread crumbs 
  • Oil or butter to fry

My fry bread dough:

3 cups flour, 1 1/2 cup warm water, 1 tsp baking powder, pinch of salt, pinch of sugar and if wanted 1 tsp yeast (mixed in warm water). Mix dry ingredients then add water with yeast in it. Mix until dough forms. Let rest for 45 minutes if you think you can wait….

If you feel lazy, you can always buy a frybread mix on Amazon.

Directions

Form patties first. I personally would use fresh salmon rather than canned. Mix flaked fish with one egg (two if necessary) and bread crumbs. I would add green onions and parsley but it’s up to you. Shape into patties about half inch thick and a few inches wide. Fry them in a hot pan with oil (the original recipe called for Crisco). Once done, in the same pan, add one piece of frybread dough, place one salmon patty on top, then add another piece of frybread dough, forming a “sandwich”, sealing the edges. Fry, flipping half way through. Eat as is or cut in half and add vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes and pickles to make it more sandwich like. 

bannock

Gooseberry cobbler (Abenaki)

cobbler

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cups cornmeal plus 2 tbsp
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups butter or margarine (cold)
  • 3/4 cups boling water
  • 2 cans ea (15 oz) sweetened whole gooseberries. You could also use frozen blueberries or cherries, thawed.
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Directions

Sift flour with 1/2 cup cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Add butter or margarine and blend using pastry blender or fork and fingers. Blend until roughly mixed. Add hot water and blend well. Separate dough in half. Place half on a 8″x8″x2″ baking pan, pressing it to the bottom. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp cornmeal. Mash half of gooseberries in their syrup or juice or other fruit you are using (you can even mix 2 types of fruits). Then stir the remaining gooseberries with lemon juice and honey. Pour over dough in pan. Place the other half of the dough on top (it can be roughly placed) then top with remaining 1 tbsp cornmeal. Bake in oven at 400-425 (depending on your oven) for about 30 minutes, until top is golden.

P.S. you can see how this recipe uses more traditional ingredients. Indeed, in our modern days, oatmeal and sugar are often used in cobblers instead of cornmeal and honey. 

cobbler

Kick the cold out of ya tea (Akwesasne Mohawk)

green tea

Ingredients

  • Two Large handfulls White cedar needles (or just regular cedar)
  • Tea pot worth of water
  • Honey
  • REAL Lemon Juice(not the fake stuff)

FYI: I also posted more herbal remedies to treat common ailments. Read about it here. As We are in the middle of winter, cold season, I thought I would post this very easy and not too bad tasting tea recipe. It apparently has numerous vitamins in it and can help with cold symptoms such as chills, cough and runny nose.

Directions

Place needles directly in water and boil until water becomes a green color. Discard needles. Remove from heat and mix one cup of tea with a tsp of honey and a squirt of lemon. Drink a few times a day for a day or two and you will kick that cold out of ya!

 

So those were a few recipes that I wanted to share with you. A bit of everything. More to come soon. For interesting Native recipes, check this site. Or this site

to be yourself

Native American quotes

Favorite Native American quotes

Hello all!

Over time, I have collected numerous Native American quotes from great chiefs and unknown authors. Just wanted to share a few today so that all can enjoy them. As you will notice, the message is often the same. Respect the earth, as it is your mother, respect all your relations around you, animate and inanimate, remember that we are all related and connected. Therefore, what I do affects others and vice versa. Treat your children as the Elders of tomorrow and nature as your connection to the Creator. Remember what your ancestors have been through for you to be here today. Never forget the trauma the Native people have gone through. Use it as a motivation to get in touch with the traditional way of life, of healing, of living. Enjoy. Lest we forget

All my Relations

native american culture

Be humble

Be humble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

quote Sitting Bull

chief Seattle

Black Elk

Black Elk

 

 

 

 

 

white and grey wolves

 

 

 

 

daylight saving time

Wolf Clan Song

Wolf Clan Song

chief Dan George

Dan George

quote land

 

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medicine wheel herb garden

Native American natural remedies

Native American natural healing remediesnatural herbs

Hello everyone!

As you know, herbs or natural medicines are part of the Native way. They are used for cleansing, finding balance, connecting with Mother Earth and the Creator, expressing gratitude, etc. As well as healing ailments in a natural way.

As a mental health professional, I absolutely understand that at times, medication is essential. healing secretsEssential to balance one’s biochemistry for example. I have and do take medication at times as well but when possible, I would rather use what Mother Earth gives us. However, I have to advice you to consult with your doctor before making major changes in your life. That being said, natural remedies can complement and at times replace, more chemical ones. I thought I would present to you some natural remedies to common ailments. Part of the information below comes from this wonderful book on the right. You can buy it here. Alright, let’s get started. Just look over the following information or scroll down to a particular ailment. Also, the herb garden on top of the post? It is in the shape of the medicine wheel. How cool is that?

 

Colds and fever

First off, most people believe that a fever needs to be brought down as soon as possible. In fact, a fever is sometimes a good sign. A fever is basically a sign that your body is fighting a bacteria or virus. And since certain bacteria and viruses can only survive at a certain temperature, by heating itself up, the body is in defense mode and trying to slow down the growth of whatever is invading it. Native people understood that concept. Just think for a second of their practices. Especially the concept of sweatlodges. Oftentimes, they would try to raise a sick’s person body temperature and make them sweat. Nowadays, most people might not agree with the principle but doctors will nonetheless often advice patients to let the fever run its course as long as it is lower than 103 degrees. if your fever has been going on for more than 2 days and is higher than 103, please consult your doctor.

Ok, now that that is settled, I have to say that herbs can also help bring your fever down. Herbs such as cayenne, ginger, sage, peppermint, goldenseal, milkweed, hops, honeysuckle and yarrow. All herbs are best taken as teas (using their leaves). Drinking them as a tea also helps the body remain hydrated. Therefore, add a teaspoon of dried herbs or 2 teaspoons of fresh herbs to a cup of boiling water, let steep for 15 minutes and drink up to 3 cups a day.

Sage

Sage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another great remedy for fever is willow bark. However, as willow bark contains salicin (a compound similar to active ingredients in Aspirin), DO NOT GIVE IT TO CHILDREN. For adults, steep a teaspoon in cup of boiling water for 15 minutes and drink.

As for colds, a few different herbs can be taken. Ginger is a good one to neutralize cold-causing viruses and bring down a fever. Licorice can help relieve congestion, clear the lungs, and helps fight viruses. As you might have heard from your grand-mother, garlic can also be effective to stop viruses, as its active ingredients travel directly to the affected areas. The bad news? Garlic is more effective when eaten raw (one or 2 cloves a day). Or you can make a garlic tea, by smashing numerous cloves and letting them steep in hot water for 6 to 8 hours. All I can say is good luck drinking that tea!

Ginger

Ginger

Skin conditions

Goldenseal

Goldenseal

Native Americans were no strangers to itchy skin. After all, they lived surrounded with insects, nature and at times harsh weather. They did not have the luxury of calamine lotion or cortisone cream…Therefore, they often resorted to herb treatments, applied directly to the skin. For example, they would use hazel, goldenseal, licorice root, echinacea or camomile in a wash. Apply directly to the skin or as a wet compress. Oats are also great at relieving itchy skin. Today, one can take a bath with oats sprinkle in it or put oats in a cheesecloth and then in the bathtub.

Certain conditions such as eczema and psoriasis can also cause itchy skin. One’s skin should be kept well hydrated and moisturized no matter what but some herbs can also be useful. Oats, once again (wet and applied directly to the skin or in a bath) are helpful as well as licorice root (can be drunk as a tea or applied to the skin as a wash) and watercress (same as licorice root). Other herbs such as goldenseal, stinging nettle or red clover can also be used. One can crush clover leaves and use them as a poultice to relieve itching.

red clover

Red clover

Psoriasis can be not only unsightly but also very itchy. Some ways to help are to take cool baths, apply moisturizer and get sunshine. The latter is often effective at clearing the skin, at least for a while. But as exposure to the sun comes with other potential problems (hello cancer!), you might want to try herbs as well. Camomile is one of the best. You can apply compresses to the skin, buy camomile lotion or drink it as a tea. Licorice root can also be drunk as a tea or used in a wash. And once again, oats in the bathtub, which soothe the skin. Finally, as strange as it might seem, red peppers, or rather an ingredient they contain, capsaicin, can help relieve the discomfort of skin conditions. Doctors recommend buying capsaicin capsules in health store. Note that those ointments can be irritating at first but can be helpful over time.

camomile

camomile

Headaches

If you are like me, you get a lot of headaches. And further, if you are like me, most of your headaches are tension headaches (due to tense muscles in the shoulders and neck). The best way to reduce those headaches is then by relaxing the muscles. One good way to do so is by applying heat either with a heating pad, a hot bath or shower or a hot towel applied to the area. Moreover, in our world today, a lot of headaches are unfortunately due to stress, emotional or otherwise. I found relief by practising the teachings of the Red Road and the medicine wheel, trying to achieve balance within my four sides. Finally, some herbs can help relieve some of the pain caused by headaches. For example, willow, peppermint, goldenrod, violet, rose, lavender and sage are all good when drank in a tea. Vervain tea (just like lavender) also acts as a mild sedative, helping the drinker to relax. Finally, although it was not used by Native people, feverfew has been shown to help reduce headaches and migraines in about 2/3 of those using it consistently. You can chew its leaves, use them to make a tea or take it as a supplement found in health food stores. Don’t take if you are pregnant though as it can increase the risks of miscarriage.

feverfew leaves

feverfew leaves

Indigestion

fennel seeds

Fennel seeds

Many of us struggle with digestive issues, might it be gas, irritable bowel syndrome, cramps or heartburns. Rolaids, Tums, and prescribed medication are found in many homes across the country. Well, herbs can also be useful. I can attest to that one, being a sufferer of digestive issues as well as members of my family. Gas has been around way longer than beans and can be uncomfortable. The best herbs to use to relieve gas are fennel, peppermint, sage, licorice, goldenseal (that herb seems to have some kind of magical power to relieve every ailment….), dandelion or yarrow. You can use any of them in teas and take 3-4 times a day.

As for indigestion (feeling bloated, nauseated, too full), herbs can also be useful to reduce its discomfort. If one is feeling too full, a tea made of goldenseal, ginger or wormwood can be useful. Ginger will also help with the feeling of being nauseated. To relieve bloating, fennel and peppermint work wonders (peppermint also helps with heartburns). They are both staples in my home and have been for many years. They both help reduce the buildup on gas in the digestive track.

Yeast infections

Echinacea

Echinacea

Yes yes I know, not the most pleasant ailment to discuss. But it is a frequent one so let’s discuss it. And believe it or not, it is not only a female problem. Indeed, it is caused by the candida fungus, which can be present in different areas of the body (even the armpits). Unfortunately, one needs to see a doctor when one has a yeast infection but certain herbal remedies can help give a boost to anti-fungal medication. For example, echinacea can help stimulate the body’s white cells, which help destroy the organism causing the infection. You can drink it as a tea or apply it to the infected area (depending which one it is…).

Further, bearberry contains an anti-fungal compound also found in blueberries and cranberries (hence why doctors recommend drinking cranberry or blueberry juice). You can drink it as a tea. Finally, sage, goldenseal (really, go get some right now, it cures everything :)) and goldenrod also contain an anti-fungal compound. Drink them as a tea or apply them to the skin.

So here you are, some herbal remedies for you. Don’t forget to check out the incredible book mentioned above. It has become a sacred book in my home! If there are any ailments not mentioned in here that you would like input on, please write me a comment below and I will answer you.

All my Relations


 

 

 

 

Sitting Bull

Sitting Bull and General Custer

Chief Sitting Bull and General Armstrong Custer

Hello everyone

General Custer

General Custer

Today, I wish to share a bit of Native American history with you, as I believe it is important to know where we are from to know where we are going. Lots of great chiefs fought to keep their land, so that the land of their people would remain theirs. They fought as best as they could for the right to live, to practice their traditions and to fish and hunt on their land. One major opponent to the Native Americans was General Custer.

General Custer (1839-1876)

One name that is somewhat well-known in Native history is General Custer, a military commander who led the Battle of Little BigHorn, which is known as Custer’s Last Stand. Custer was born in Monroe, Michigan in 1839. Even if he struggled throughout his schooling (he finished last in his class at West Point Academy) and presented with a rebellious streak, Custer excelled during the Civil War in 1861. He presented with good luck throughout the war, avoiding injury, in a gift he came to call “Custer’s luck”.

His excellence at directing cavalry and troops during his first battle, Battle of Bull Run, earned him recognition. He was known as the young general who wore red neckties on the battlefield and he seemed destined for a great destiny. The “Boy General” is said to have played a part in the end of the Civil War in 1865. General Custer and his wife Libbie, seemed destined for a successful life.

Years following the Civil War and Battle of Little Bighorn

Following the Civil War, General Custer became known for his battles against the Native General CusterAmericans. One of the objectives then became to defeat the Cheyenne and Lakota Indians to possess more land. In 1876, the US government ordered an attack on the Lakota, an attack involving three separate forces, one of them led by General Custer. Unfortunately, the force led by Custer arrived early. However, in a brazen move, General Custer ordered his men to go ahead and invade a large Indian village on June 25. General Custer further ordered his troop of men to divide in three units. Against the rush of Lakota, Arapaho and Cheyenne warriors, they did not stand a chance. Custer and his men were killed, the battle being thus known as Custer’s Last Stand.

Native mistress?

Monahseetah

Monahseetah

Although it was never fully proven, the legend has it that General Custer had a sexual relationship with a young Cheyenne woman named Monahseetah in 1868. At the age of 17, she was taken captive by Custer’s men in a battle known as the Battle of Washita River. Her father, Chief Little Rock, was killed in that same battle. Further, according to the Cheyenne oral history, Monahseetah had a son in January of 1869 and gave birth to a second son fathered by Custer later in the same year. Pictures of Monahseetah are hard to find, but you can see her on the right.

Custer’s opponent: Chief Sitting Bull (1831-1890)

Sitting Bull

Sitting Bull

Chief Sitting Bull was sitting on the other side of the attack during the Battle of Little Bighorn. Indeed, Sitting Bull, a Teton Dakota Indian chief, was Custer’s opponent. Ironically, he was hoping for peace to come out of the battle.

Sitting Bull, born in 1831 in what is now known as South Dakota, is one of the most well known Indian chiefs in history. However, early on, he did not show his father’s (Returns-Again) skills for warfare. He was then called “slow” as a result. Nonetheless, at age 10, he killed his first buffalo, and then four years later demonstrated some skills while fighting a rival clan. Over time, he became known as a defender of his people, fighting against the United Stated for the first time in 1863. His skills as a warrior and the respect he had earned, led him to become chief of the Lakota nation in 1868.

In the mid 1870’s, confrontation was inevitable when Sitting Bull refused to hand over his land to the American government. He defended his land to preserve his culture and also out of fate he believed awaited his people. Known as a Sundancer, Sitting Bull related a vision he had had when dancing. A vision in which the Natives defeated the American army. In 1876, he famously led thousand of Sioux and Cheyenne warriors to defeat General Custer and his men.

Sitting Bull after the Battle of Little Bighorn

The defeat in the Battle of Little Bighorn was an embarrassment for the American government. To escape the wrath of the government, Sitting Bull and his people, escaped to Canada, where they stayed for 4 years. At his return to the Dakota territory, Sitting Bull was held prisoner until 1883. Once free again, he lived his life in the traditional way, honoring his people’s way of life. He famously said: “I would rather die an Indian than live a white man”. He died in 1890 when authorities came to arrest him (the government fearing his influence). Gunshots were fired and Sitting Bull was shot in the head and killed. His remains were laid to rest in Fort Yates, North Dakota and were moved in 1953 to Mobridge, South Dakota.

sitting bull death

Chief Sitting Bull got his wish and died as an Indian, defending his people’s way of life until the end. A’Ho

 

Etsy and Native American jewelry



Etsy and Native American jewelry

Hello all!

If you have been to my site before, you know I looove Etsy! For those not familiar with Etsy, it is a site where independent artists can sell their work across the world. Therefore, unique products can be found by buyers. One can literally spend hours on Etsy looking up products. However, today I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite products and shops. With Valentine’s day around the corner (yep it’s already less than 2 weeks away….), I thought I would provide some suggestions….It is not an exhaustive list but rather suggestions of a few items and shops to look up. It is really hard to go wrong when shopping on Etsy.

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Missing and murdered Indigenous Women

Missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada

Hello everyone!

In a previous post, I discussed the missing and murdered women in Canada including the fact woman fan pow wowthat approximately 80% of them are Aboriginal. I included a video of the Women’s warrior song sung in honor of the missing and deceased women (I had the pleasure and honor to sing the song 2 days ago). I just want to add here that the song stands not only for the missing Aboriginal women in Canada but also symbolizes the strength of women. Women are the life carriers and life givers. We carry a strong energy that balances the men’s energy.

I recently came across this article, which warmed my heart. For the first time, an event of this scale is taking place in the USA to honor the missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. The event: Sing our Rivers Red taking place at North Dakota state university from Feb 9 to Feb 14. On display, you will see women’s jewelry. Beaded earrings are displayed, each missing its other half in honor of the Indigenous women who have gone missing since 1980.

beaded earringsThe event aims to increase awareness for all the missing and murdered native women while encouraging bonding within the communities. As one of the organizers said: “These women have been murdered or they’re missing, but they shouldn’t be forgotten. They shouldn’t be ignored, and they should be known”. It warms my heart to hear that, as each of those women has a face, a family, friends and a community. I am including here, a link to see the missing women from the Highway of Tears, the name given to the highway between Prince Rupert and Prince George in British Columbia. It makes it real maybe, but please take a moment to look at their faces.

As I have said many times before, there is such beauty within the Native culture but there is also trauma. Indigenous women are more likely to have been physically or sexually assaulted than any other race and about a third of Native women report having been raped in their lifetime, according to the U.S. Dept. of Justice. The statistics are similar in Canada. Native women are survivors, they are a pillar of strength. Strength that comes from their voices and our voices. We must remember All my Relations, as we are all related and connected. What happens to one of us, happens and affects all of us. We are all sisters and brothers. It saddens me that so many Native women (and men) have passed into the spirit world. However, as the prayer below (a version of the Hopi prayer, a prayer for those grieving) tell us, our relatives and ancestors are around us. They are in the wind, in the sky, in the land. They are there with us to give us. And I find that very reassuring.

Mitakuye Oyasin

native prayer for grieving

 

all life is sacred

Native American beliefs (values)

Native American beliefs (code of professional conduct)

Hello everyone!

You are probably wondering what I mean by “code of professional conduct”. Well it can actually refer to different things. it could refer to the code professionals working with Native American clients respect. But it can also refer to how we treat one another, how we conduct ourselves with others (as I think the code applies to more than our professional life). The code can also be referred to the “Seven R’s”. I was introduced to it in a program I am currently enrolled in and it was used when referring to psychotherapy. I am including a code of Ethics below that also refers to how one lives amongst others when following the Red Road (or as much as possible). It refers to the traditional way of living, the way our ancestors lived, a simpler way of life. And a very beautiful way of life if you ask me. Let’s look at the Seven R’s which are inspired by the code of Ethics.

Code of Ethics

1- Relationship: Remembering that we are all connected, might that be within our family, or within a social or professional context. We are all in a relationship with one another, we are connected to one another. And as a therapist, unless you establish a connection with your client, there is no point in going further.

2-Recognition: Recognizing and being aware of the other, of their situation and story. Being aware and accepting that we all have our story that affects who we are today and our actions. Accepting that even though we are different, we are related. Accepting others as they are, and where they are in their life.

3- Reconciliation: Cooperating together, finding and re-establishing balance. Balance of all our sides, conciliating what might feel like opposites (female vs male for example). The native way is not about the “bad” and “good” but rather about finding balance and harmony.

4- Responsiveness:  Responding to the other, to their experience. Answering the other’s needs and influencing each other to be balanced and connected to the Creator.

5- Respect: Always show regard to others, always act with respect and honor one another so the other does not feel violated. Always respect one another, no judgment. If one has lost their way, then help them or pray they find it again.

6- Redress: Correct the other if you feel they are not understanding what you are saying or experiencing. Rectify your wrongs, set right what was misinterpreted or what was hurt. Speak the truth. Always say the truth in a gentle manner.

7- Representation: Find your voice. Represent your people, you nation, your ancestors. Represent your culture, have a voice.

ten native commandments

So there you have it. The picture above is a different version of the code of ethics but communicates the same message. One of respect, tolerance, kindness, truth, responsibility and balance. I leave you with a great poem by BC chief Dan George

chief Dan George

All my Relations

P.S. I just discovered this fantastic Native owned company Manitobah Mukluks. You can also buy their great footwear (mukluks and moccasins) on Amazon. Check out their website to discover this fantastic company!