Traditional Medicine: Balsam Fir
Always have good thoughts when harvesting and working with traditional medicine - Elders' teachings
iiyaashiht fir - It can be found near water, rivers and lakes.
Thank the Creator for its healing medicines and the spirit of that medicine you are picking... ...mention what you need
the medicine for.
Preparing the medicine
- In a medium/large pot, pour natural spring water. Add a handful of iiyaashiht.
- Boil for 20 minutes.
- This can cleanse our homes.
- Turn off the stove or remove it from heat.
- The simmering iiyaashiht will create an aroma that can be used to heal cold or flu.
- Strain the liquid with cheese cloth (or any kind of cloth).
2-3 cups a day
- 1 cup in the morning
- 1 cup before bedtime
Warm liquid can soothe sore throat.
Store iiyaashiht in the fridge using a mason jar (or any liquid container] or future use.
Return the medicine back on the land
Thank the Creator and the medicine.
There are other ways to use ¡iyaashiht (balsam fir)
for cough, sore throat, headache, aches, pains, pneumonia, asthma and arthritis.
Believe and trust in the medicine. - Elders' Teachings
The Balsam Fir has many practical and medicinal uses.
While the boughs are commonly used as flooring for our teepees, they can also be boiled to purify indoor air.
Needles and resin can be prepared in different ways. As a paste, they treat cuts, burns and snow blindness. As a tea, they help induce sleep, as well as relieve cold symptoms including cough, sore throat and chest or sinus congestion.
How To Prepare Balsam Fir Medicine
1. Collect balsam fir branches following traditional protocols.
2. Break branches into smaller pieces and place in a large pot with 17 cups (4 litres) of water.
3. Bring the balsam to a boil,and keep boiling for about 20 minutes or until you smell the aroma throughout your home.
4. Take big calming breaths, breathing in the steam. You may also place in a bowl to directly breathe in the steam.
5. Once boiled, remove pot from heat and let liquid cool.
6. Strain cooled liquid into a clean container.
7. Once strained, it is ready to be warmed up to drink as tea, adding honey, maple syrup or other sweetener if you like. It is best to drink it warm. You may continue this procedure as long as you wish.
Recommended amount: Maximum 2-3 cups/day
Precautions when using Traditional Medicine
As with any medicine, exercise caution. Follow instructions for preparation and use, and do not exceed recommended intake.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not drink this or any other traditional medicine unless under the direct advice and guidance of a traditional healer.
In response to COVID-19, we wanted to share some of this knowledge with all Eeyouch and Eenouch so they can prevent and/or treat symptoms of COVID-19.
Sage is one of our sacred medicines growing in Eeyou Istchee and other regions
Tobacco is used in hunting rituals, healing and sacred ceremonies in Eeyou/Eenou Istchee
Sweetgrass is one of our sacred medicines, symbolizing healing and peace
The Tamarack has important medicinal uses.Its boughs, bark (and bare branches in fall and winter) can be used to make tea
The White Spruce is a large coniferous evergreen tree that can be found in Whapmagoostui and along the coast