Medicinal Plants of Alaska

The use of plants as medicine predates written human history, and many of the chemical compounds found today in our pharmaceuticals are derived from plants that have a long history of being used in traditional plant based medicines. 

Alaska has some of the largest and most intact,undisturbed wild natural areas left on our planet.  The wild lands that surround us provide an opportunity to practice sustainable living; living in natural balance and respectful of humanity's symbiotic relationship with the Earth's  ecology and cycles.  Our land is full of plants that will help facilitate the healing from numerous different ailments.   

Before foraging any wild plants do thorough research and if you are unsure of the plants medicinal use seek the advice of your medical doctor, Ayurvedic practitioner or experienced herbalist.  Don't harvest anything that you can't positively identify and deem safe.  



Ethical Foraging

Choose your plants wisely; get to know the plants in your area.  You should be able to identify and know a plants medicinal properties before foraging the plant.  You should also make sure you have a plan for how you'll use the plant.  This will ensure that you do not gather and then let the plant go to waste or that you don't gather more than you need.  Only harvest as much as you need and only about 10% (or 1 for every 10) of the plants of any one kind in a given patch.  Over-harvesting will eventually start to lead to the diminishing return of a plant species.

Harvest different parts of the plant depending on the plant's current life cycle. The general guidelines for gathering edibles in season are:
Gather leaves in spring and summer
Gather roots in winter and for some, late fall and winter
Gather fruits in late summer and fall
Gather seeds after flowering in late summer and fall

Yarrow

Yarrow pacifies both the Pitta and Kapha doshas.  

Tea can be made with fresh or dried Yarrow leaves and flowers.  Yarrow is an excellent herb to use when you have a cold or flu as it will help relieve a fever, get rid of excess phlegm and boosts your immune system.  Gargling yarrow tea will help heal a sore throat.  It also aids in digestion, promotes circulation, reduces inflamation/fever and is a natural pain killer.  Topically applied it will help stop bleeding and it can be chewed to relieve a tooth ache.  These are just a few of the medicinal uses of Yarrow.  

Dandelion 

Dandelion pacifies the Pitta dosha.  

This picture is of my little boston terrier, Maggie, in a field of dandelions.  Summer time is the Pitta season and fortunately, as if divinely planned, dandelions are plentiful during the summer; helping to reduce the intense Pitta energy that the summer heat creates.  It's a beatiful reminder that everything we need is provided for us through nature.

Dandelion is a cooling better herb, which reduces heat and inflamation.  It relieves pain, cleanses the liver, flushes out the kidneys and aids in digestion.  

Emotionally they will help you chill out; keeping you cool headed and calm.  

Try the leaves and/or flowers in a salad or use the dried roots to make dandelion tea.  

Fireweed

Fireweed will help pacify the Pitta dosha.​

Fireweed is a potent anti-inflammatory used topically it will help reduce eczema, redness and acne.

Try using some dried fireweed in a tea bag to place in your bath water.  You can then also gently press the tea bag over eczema or acne to target those areas.  

Taken internally it will have a mild laxative effect.


More Coming Soon!