Wildcrafted, handpicked herbs are a staple of our ancient food and medicine cabinet. Despite what most people think, the Inupiaq Eskimo of northern Alaska diet actually was 40%.....almost half....berries, roots, and herbs. Here is a page dedicated to sharing a bit of this knowledge with you. Please enjoy researching these herbs for your use.
Tilaaqqiuq - Labrador tea - ledum palustre - now known as tomentosum
This low growing evergreen carpets our northern tundra in thick mats and is found in abundance. Historically used in our culture to treat for for weak blood, colds, aches and pains, breathing troubles, tuberculosis, dizziness, stomach problems, sore throats, heartburn, kidney problems and even hangover. It is the second most used medicinal herb in our culture. It is also used to make a refreshing and stimulating tea, providing a energy kick similar to caffeine. It is also used in the brewing of Gruit....though I have no experience personally with this interesting beer.
*CAUTIONS* Labrador tea does contain ledol, a strong substance that can cause cramps and paralysis if in high enough doses (very high). Avoid using more than a quarter of a teaspoon full of leaves and stem for each cup per person, I usually place a few leaves in hot water for a few minutes then remove them; do not boil in a lidded container or leave in boiling water for more than 10 minutes. Do not drink cup after cup in rapid succession. Avoid using if you have heart problems, are pregnant or are very young. May raise blood sugar in those with diabetes.
Sargiq - Caribou Leaf (aka Stinkweed) - Artemisia Tilesii
This fragrant herb is perhaps the most used medicinal herb in our arctic culture. It is used both internally and externally. The plants are often used in saunas in the interior of Alaska as switches. Medicinal teas are brewed to help with colds, coughs, indesgestion, swollen joints, or just general malaise. Externally it can be used in poultices salves and washes to help with hard to heal skin problems, like diaper rashes, sores, infections, and arthritis. It is a general heal all.
It can also be used to fend off biting insects and moths. It is often burned for that purpose here in the arctic.
*CAUTIONS* Caribou leaf contains absinthol and can cause negative and serious side effects in high doses internally. Also avoid if pregnant as it may stimulate the uterus.
Akpik - Cloudberry Leaf - Rubus Chamaemorus
Cloudberries are the most beloved of all the plant foods here is the arctic, with their buttery citrus mango flavor and high vitamin content. The leaves of the cloudberry are also revered by many around the world. When brewed into a tea they calm the stomach and relax the mind. The pale tea resulting from the leaves has a very fruity scent and is a rare experience.
More herbs to come soon.....
All the information offered on uses of herbs are created for educational
purposes only and should not be considered any sort of medical advice
for anyone. All information and recommendations are not directly meant
to diagnose, prescribe, treat, or cure any disease or illness. It is
essential for every reader to always check with his or her physician or
any qualified health care specialist prior to following any advice or
taking any product mentioned on here.