Traditional Metis Tree Medicines

Populus (Poplar, Aspen)

Populus is a genus of 25-35 flowering deciduous trees native to the Northern Hemisphere. Common names for Populus include Cottonwoods, Poplars and Aspens. The name Populus (“of the people”)was given to these trees because they are so often planted in public squares and cities.

Properties of populus resin: antiseptic, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant, tonic, analgesic (pain-relieving), astringent, anti-inflammatory, reduces fever

Balsam Poplar Oil Infusion Recipe

  • Freshly picked or frozen sticky balsam buds 
  • Stable emollient oil (grapeseed, olive, jojoba, almond, and coconut oil are good options)
  • Dedicated resin slow cooker or glass pot

*The slow cooker or pot will be difficult to clean; it is best to use a dedicated resin pot and straining cloth when working with resins.

Put balsam buds in a slow cooker or glass pot and cover with oil. Cook on low heat, less than a simmer, for 1-4 hours.

Strain the oil through a clean cloth, and discard the used balsam buds. Allow oil to cool with a cloth over the top, so moisture can evaporate. Store the oil out of the light in an airtight glass container. Apply to skin as needed for aches, rashes and sores.

Picea (Spruce)

Spruce trees are large evergreen trees from the genus Picea, which contains roughly 35 members. Their needles attach singularly to the branches, and are 4-sided. Spruce wood is used in construction, paper production and to make musical instruments. Spruce pitch is used as a glue in crafting and as a medicine for respiratory infections, arthritis and angina.

Medicinal properties of spruce tips: expectorant, stimulant, antibiotic, contain vitamin C, tonic, pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory

Spruce Tip Syrup Recipe

  • Fresh, soft needles from the tips of the spruce tree, gathered in early spring
  • 1 liter of water
  • 1 liter of sugar

Boil 2 cups of spruce tips in 1 liter of water for 5 minutes, lid on. Strain, retaining the liquid. Add 1 liter of sugar and return the mixture to the stove, on medium heat, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Pour the syrup into glass jars and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. Take 1 teaspoon, 1-4 times daily as needed for sore throat.

Rhodiola, My Darling!

Rhodiola is making a come-back this year in my garden! This sweet succulent starlet is one of 4 tiny bundles transplanted late last July.

All of the transplants were seeded from wild rhodiola species growing in the Rocky mountains of Alberta, Canada. They are gathered and lovingly nurtured by Arden from Wild About Flowers, who specializes in native Alberta plant species.  I highly recommend checking out her collection of native species for hardy, hard-to-find native plants.

If you want to know more about my Darling Rhodiola, Queen of the Mountains and personal favorite of mine, you can read all about her healing properties here.

Or, come by my yard in South Calgary and I will show her off in person. I love, love, love my rhodiola !

 

Finger-weaving Interview (APTN)

Kalyn Kodiak, Metis sash weaver and herbalist, spoke with Tamara Pimental of Aboriginal Peoples Television Network about reviving the art of finger-weaving. Click the image below to see the video.

Ici Alberta – Ceintures Flechees avec Kalyn Kodiak

Tisser des ceintures fléchées au Festival des Sucres

Parmi les nombreuses activités au Calgary Maple Festival des Sucres, il y aura des ateliers pour apprendre comment tisser des ceintures fléchées. On est allé à la rencontre de Kalyn Kodiak, un des artisans qui mènera les ateliers.

Posted by ICI Alberta on Friday, March 1, 2019

I was on Ici Alberta rockin’ my peu de francais and talking about the Metis sash, culture, and what it means to be a weaver.

Video – Elderberry Syrup, Traditional Method

This video was filmed by my apprentice Carmen, at our Traditional Elderberry Syrup workshop. The preparation and preservation methods are typical of a traditional Metis recipe. The berries are fresh and locally harvested! The syrup turned out lovely. Thank you for the video, Carmen!