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Student Worksheets. Online Resources by Topic. To cite this article:. Diemer-Eaton, Jessica. By Jessica Diemer-Eaton. Originally Published on Yahoo! Voices in , republished by the author here October, Acorns, beechnuts, black walnuts, butternuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, and hickory nuts were among the nuts consumed by Woodland Native Peoples.

Before the coming of corn about 1, years ago , even at the dawn of plant domestication in the East about , years ago , nuts played a pivotal role in the diet and good health of the Indigenous Peoples here. However the nut never lost its relevance even when a high corn diet was fully adopted. The hickory tree was prized for its sweet tasting nuts.

The name "hickory" is Native American in origin, the present term created by early Europeans shortening the Virginia Indian word "pawscohicora. Indeed, it was noted historically to be a favored nut among many Native communities, but in order to make the harvesting and processing of such in large amounts feasible, the Native People employed an ingenious method of shelling the nuts. The following Delaware Lenape process was clearly noted in the 18th century: They put handfuls of nuts in a mortar probably a large wooden corn mortar and with a heavy pestle, cracked the nuts open, all while adding water.

When a sufficient amount of water was added to the cracked nuts, it was stirred so the nut meats separated from the shells, at which point, the meats and shells being different materials in the water, one floated to the top while the other sank to the bottom this method focuses on making a hickory nut milk while separating. Another method calls for the cracked, un-separated nuts to be thrown into boiling water, during which the heavy nut meats were suspended in the liquid as the light shells were carried to the top with the current of the boiling water.

If the nuts were left longer with no rapid boil, the waterlogged shells fragments sank to the bottom. Using these methods, the Native Peoples were able to process larger amounts of nuts with less energy and time devoted to it. The water in which the shells were separated was used as soup broths and beverages. If nut oil was desired, it was said the meats were ground and boiled, to separate the oil and bring it to the top of the water where it was skimmed off.

Hickory and butternut oils were noted by the Iroquois to be especially pleasant in flavor. They also fed the nutritious and fatty hickory oil to their infants.

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The pulverized boiled meats were dried for later use, or used right away in breads and puddings. The creators of this activity book are Cherokee and In Stock: 24 Add:. This book is an useful and invaluable resource for both collectors and dealers of Native American art forms. Focusing on the traditional works of the Written by Sequoyah in the nineteenth In Stock: 46 Add:. The purpose of this book, says the author, is to show the effect of Indian medicinal practices on white civilization. Actually it achieves far more. In Stock: 6 Add:.

Aboriginal people of Canada are worried that their knowledge could be stolen by profit-seeking pharmaceutical companies without acknowledging or involving communities [ ], and without proper compensation being given in return. Concerns about the respect of intellectual property rights thus render most Aboriginal people reluctant to disclose their knowledge to outsiders [ ], especially as legal protection is insufficient. Informal discussions with Cree and Algonquin communities from Northern Quebec indeed revealed that Aboriginal people are cautious in reaction to misguided research practices by academics and government agencies.

The historical background where Aboriginal people have suffered more inconveniences than they have benefited from European settlement is doubtless contributing to this generalized mistrust [ 21 ]. Also important is that land claims have not yet been settled for most Aboriginal communities and nations [ , ].


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Aboriginal people would probably be more open to share their knowledge if they had more power in land governance [ ]. Number of studies included in this review for each decade between and In such conditions ethnobotanists face important challenges related to trust building and safeguarding traditional people's intellectual property rights. Nevertheless, a trustful environment can be favoured by considering the following ethical principles [after CNR [ ]]:.

Since its adoption in , the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity CBD has strived to implement its three major goals: conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components, and a fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources [ ]. Although medicinal plants were not explicitly on the agenda of the various CBD meetings, all three goals of the Convention are fully applicable to medicinal plant resources [ ].

Agenda 21 and Forest Principles adopted at the UN Conference on Environment and Development UNCED identified forest products other than wood also called non-timber forest products or NTFPs as an important area requiring increased attention and as a source of environmentally-sound and sustainable development [ ].

Since the Johannesburg Earth Summit in , much attention has been given to the possibility of combining biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation [ ]. Via their legislations, countries are obliged to implement these various policy measures to ensure that traditional knowledge and intellectual property rights are respected [ ].

The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity held in Nagoya Japan in discussed the access and benefit sharing issues of sustainable use of biodiversity [ ]. The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights mandates countries to safeguard intellectual property rights [ ]. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Article 24 includes provisions for use of resources including medicinal plants and rights over territories [ ]:.

Indigenous individuals also have the right to access, without any discrimination, to all social and health services". The World Health Organization WHO has drafted several guidelines and passed resolutions for the integration of traditional health care systems and remedies into national health policies and regulations [ 8 , - ]. The specific guidelines on conservation of medicinal plants are provided in WHO et al. Various recommendations have been made on the use and conservation of medicinal plants, such as those associated with international conferences at Chiang Mai, Thailand, in , and Bangalore, India, in and [ 18 , ].

They included the need for co-ordinated conservation action, based on both in situ and ex situ strategies; inclusion of community and gender perspectives in the development of policies and programmes; the need for more information on medicinal plants trade; establishment of systems for inventorying and monitoring medicinal plants status; development of sustainable harvesting practices; encouragement of micro-enterprise development by indigenous and rural communities; and protection of traditional resources and intellectual property rights [ 18 ].

The recent International Healers' Conference on Promotion of Traditional Medicine for Sustainable Healthcare [ ] called for the promotion of self-regulation of all traditional health professions, capacity building in local communities to develop biocultural protocols, integration of traditional medicine into national healthcare systems, and establishment of a Permanent Forum on Traditional Health Practices at the United Nations. The regulation of existing markets by setting environmental standards for international trade is a traditional instrument advocated by international environmental policy [ ].

Biodiversity conservation oriented trade policy measures are components of international agreements e. Likewise, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade GATT also regulates biodiversity trade and imposes certain restrictions on international trade of plant resources, including several species of medicinal plants. Comprehensive national policy, laws and regulations on traditional medicine do not exist in Canada [ 10 ]. Nevertheless, Aboriginal and treaty rights are protected by the constitution of Canada, and this is reflected in forest policy and forest management practices.

Canada's National Forest Sector Strategy , reviewed and revised in , , and included provisions for ensuring rights and participation of Aboriginal people and incorporating traditional knowledge, cultural values and practices in managing forest lands [ 22 , , ]. Involvement of Aboriginal people in developing non-timber forest products and the role they play in sustainable forest management have been recognized [ 22 ].

The economic development of NTFPs for diversification of the forest industry is one of the important aspects of sustainable management of Canada's forest [ 13 ]. Canada is also an active participant of multilateral and bilateral international treaties and conventions including Forest Principles and CBD adopted in in Rio, and CITES [ 22 ]; ensuring conservation and sustainable management of medicinal plants, as well as protection of indigenous knowledge. Canada has recently - although belatedly - ratified the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that reaffirms the country's commitment to promoting and protecting the rights of Indigenous peoples and their resources [ ].

Sustainable Forests: A Canadian Commitment published in [ ] was signed by governments, industry, non-governmental organizations, Aboriginal people, and communities. The Canadian government has implemented the Species at Risk Act in to protect endangered and threatened species [ ]. Equivalent legislations also exist at the provincial level [ ].

The Canadian policy on "Natural Health Products Regulations" includes herbal medicines among other things and was implemented in by the Natural Health Products Directorate [ , ].

Medicinal Plants

The program has identified indigenous medicinal plants and Aboriginal contributions and approaches to alternative health care as priority research areas [ ]. Forest certification provides important benefits to forest communities and certified forests are increasing in proportion since the beginning of the 's. Canada is leading the world in terms of total area of certified forest and proportion of managed forests that have been certified [ ].


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Certification standards mandate forest companies to protect biodiversity and Aboriginal culture. Specific criteria protect the rights of Aboriginal people, ensure preservation of Aboriginal resources, traditional knowledge and land, and compensation of Indigenous people for the use of their traditional knowledge in forest management [ ].

These provisions provided by forest certification standards could benefit Aboriginal people by providing opportunities for protecting not only timber, but also non-timber forest values, including medicinal plants [ ]. Interestingly, certification has proven equally, or even more effective than legislation to ensure protection of species, habitats and culture, as pressure from the market is often stronger than from governments.

Ethnobotanical research in the Canadian boreal forest has so far focused on plant use by Aboriginal people from the eastern boreal zone. The Mi'kmaq and Malecite nations of the Maritimes are among the most studied groups [e. In Quebec, Cree and Innu cultures have been given more attention [e. The northwestern zone of the boreal forest has received less attention [but see [ 13 , 17 , 54 , 92 - 99 ]. After the s, there has been a shift from ethnobotanical studies to phytochemical, antimicrobial and pharmacological studies. Notwithstanding the importance of phytochemical, antimicrobial and pharmacological studies, ethnobotanical efforts should continue, especially in areas and within nations that have received less attention so far, or for which publicly available material is scarce.

For example, studies should be conducted in the northwestern Canadian boreal forest, notably with the Metis and with peoples of the Athapaskan language family, as well as with the Naskapi from northeastern Quebec. To diversify the scope of ethnobotanical studies, new methods should be adopted, for field work as well as for data analysis [e. Studies are needed to determine if, for the same active principle and at the same dosage, the efficiency is different for traditional and western remedies.

Possible interactions between medicinal plants and western medicine or between different species of medicinal plants also need to be investigated [ - ]. Studies are also needed in pharmacognosy, i. The utilization of animal products alone or in combination with plants to treat ailments has been given far less attention than medicinal plants, despite major potential [ ].

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From a governance point of view, gender-based or intergenerational knowledge differences related to medicinal plant use should be better documented. Studies are also needed to determine how traditional medicine could be given a larger place in modern health care systems [ - ]. Policy issues about traditional medicinal practices have not yet been properly addressed in Canada [ 10 ]. Canada is also lagging behind in terms of regulations about conservation and management of medicinal plants.

As suggested by Westfall and Glickman [ ], Canada requires an enforceable policy that protects wild medicinal plants, effective monitoring system for commercial harvesting, and policy incentives for the cultivation of medicinal plants in order to reduce harvesting pressure of wild plants. However, harvesting medicinal plants from cultivated fields instead of natural forests might affect spiritual and ceremonial aspects, possibly with reduced medicinal effects [ ].

Medicinal plants represent a significant contribution to human health and one of the most significant ways in which humans directly reap the benefits provided by biodiversity [ 7 , 17 ]. Use of medicinal plants by Aboriginal people from the Canadian boreal forest has a long history [ 11 ]. Here we reported on medicinal plant species used in the traditional health care systems of Aboriginal people from the Canadian boreal forest. This is the most comprehensive review to date and it shows striking similarities between medicinal plant uses in different nations.

Thus, by triangulation, it is probably still possible to document most of the knowledge, but research should continue, especially in areas or within nations that have received less attention. The Algonquian and Athapaskan language families include other peoples not listed here.

The names are those that are currently in use and different names were sometimes provided in the older literature. Ojibwa and Chippewa are names given to them by other tribes or by non-aboriginal people [see [ 19 ]]. The Algonquin also call themselves Anishinabe or Anicinape [ 33 ]. HA and NJ designed the study.

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HA supervised the work. YU and HA analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript. Medicinal plants used by the Aboriginal people of boreal Canada. Plants are sorted by scientific name. For each plant, family name, growth habit, vernacular name s , part s used, use s , and reference s are provided. Major disease categories and associated medicinal plants used by the Aboriginal people of boreal Canada.

We are grateful to everyone that helped us find the literature used in this review. We also thank four anonymous reviewers for their constructive reviews. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List J Ethnobiol Ethnomed v. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. Published online Jan Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Corresponding author. Yadav Uprety: ac. Received May 30; Accepted Jan This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.

DOC 1. Additional file 2 Major disease categories and associated medicinal plants used by the Aboriginal people of boreal Canada. DOC K. Abstract Background The boreal forest of Canada is home to several hundred thousands Aboriginal people who have been using medicinal plants in traditional health care systems for thousands of years. Methods A review of the literature published in scientific journals, books, theses and reports.

Results A total of medicinal plant taxa used by the Aboriginal people of the Canadian boreal forest were reported in the reviewed literature.

Conclusion To our knowledge, this review is the most comprehensive to date to reveal the rich traditional medicinal knowledge of Aboriginal peoples of the Canadian boreal forest. Keywords: Medicinal plants, traditional knowledge, boreal forest, Aboriginal people, Algonquian, Athapaskan, conservation, management, policy. Background Medicinal plants have been used in traditional health care systems since prehistoric times and are still the most important health care source for the vast majority of the population around the world [e. Canada's Aboriginal People and the Boreal Forest Sometimes called the land of much geography and little history [ 21 ], Canada is blessed with an immense forest endowment [ 22 ].

Open in a separate window. Figure 1. Methods We reviewed scientific studies published in journals, books, theses and reports. Ethnomedicine of Boreal Canada Traditional medicine among the Aboriginal peoples of the Canadian boreal forest is based on oral tradition transmitted through several generations [ 13 , 47 ].

Ethnomedicine of Western Canada Marles et al. Taxonomic Diversity, Growth habit and Parts Used We report on a total of medicinal plant taxa used by Aboriginal peoples of the Canadian boreal forest Additional file 1. Figure 2. Frequency of medicinal plant taxa in major taxonomic categories. Figure 3. Table 1 Major ailment categories and taxa reported. Table 2 Common forms of preparation methods for remedies made of medicinal plants. Preparation method Description Paste Fresh plant parts are crushed to obtain a paste used externally or internally.

Poultice Plant parts are crushed to obtain a soft moist mass generally used externally to treat swellings, pain, inflamed or infected body parts. Juice Obtained by squeezing or crushing plant parts and filtering through cloth. Sometimes requires addition of freshwater or other liquid for dilution. Powder Obtained by crushing dried plant parts. Chewing Fresh plant parts are chewed without prior transformation.

Infusion Plant parts are plunged in either hot or cold water for several minutes. If hot water is used infusion is taken as a tea. More than one plant species can be used in conjunction. Decoction Plant parts are boiled in water for several minutes and the extract is used.

Phytochemical and Pharmacological Studies of Boreal Canadian Medicinal Plants The most frequent approach to species selection for phytochemical, pharmacological or antimicrobial analysis is by reviewing the ethnobotanical literature. Conservation and Management of Medicinal Plants Conservation and management of traditional medicinal plants is an important issue worldwide, mostly in developing countries where medicinal plants are primary forest products for rural communities. Challenges to Traditional Medicinal Plants Research Aboriginal people of Canada are worried that their knowledge could be stolen by profit-seeking pharmaceutical companies without acknowledging or involving communities [ ], and without proper compensation being given in return.

Figure 4. Policy and Institutional Framework Related to Medicinal Plants International Perspective Since its adoption in , the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity CBD has strived to implement its three major goals: conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components, and a fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources [ ]. According to CBD's Article 8 j : Traditional Knowledge, Innovations and Practices, signatories agree to "respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and promote their wider application with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, innovations and practices and encourage the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of such knowledge innovations and practices".

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Article 24 includes provisions for use of resources including medicinal plants and rights over territories [ ]: "Indigenous peoples have the right to their traditional medicines and to maintain their health practices, including the conservation of their vital medicinal plants, animals and minerals. National Perspective Comprehensive national policy, laws and regulations on traditional medicine do not exist in Canada [ 10 ].

Forest Certification and Aboriginal Medicinal Plants of Canada Forest certification provides important benefits to forest communities and certified forests are increasing in proportion since the beginning of the 's. Trends, Gaps and Future Directions Ethnobotanical research in the Canadian boreal forest has so far focused on plant use by Aboriginal people from the eastern boreal zone.

Conclusion Medicinal plants represent a significant contribution to human health and one of the most significant ways in which humans directly reap the benefits provided by biodiversity [ 7 , 17 ]. Endnotes i Only the names of the peoples mentioned in this review are provided. Competing interests The authors declare that they have no competing interests. Authors' contributions HA and NJ designed the study. Supplementary Material Additional file 1: Medicinal plants used by the Aboriginal people of boreal Canada. Click here for file 1. Additional file 2: Major disease categories and associated medicinal plants used by the Aboriginal people of boreal Canada.

Click here for file K, DOC. References Iwu MM. Handbook of African medicinal plants. London: CRC Press; In: Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. The Netherlands: Springer; Sustainable wild collection of medicinal and aromatic plants; pp. Popular use, chemical composition and trade of cerrado's medicinal plants Goias, Brazil Environ Dev Sustain. Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used by people in Zegie peninsula, northwestern Ethiopia. Ethnobotany and its role in drug development. Phytother Res. Indigenous uses and bio-efficacy of medicinal plants in the Rasuwa district, Central Nepal.

In: The Conservation of Medicinal Plants. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Global importance of medicinal plants; pp. Geneva: World Health Organization; A new agenda for forest conservation and poverty reduction: making markets work for low- income producers. Report of WHO global survey. Herb regulation in Canada: background and issues. Medicinal use of forest trees and shrubs by indigenous people of northeastern North America. Aboriginal plant use in Canada's northwest boreal forest. Vancouver: UBC Press; Native healing traditions must be protected and preserved for future generations.

Can Med Assoc J. Country development does not presuppose the loss of forest resources for traditional medicinal use. J Ethnopharmacol. Plant biodiversity and ethnobotany inside the projected impact area of the Upper Seti Hydropower Project, Western Nepal.

Environ Dev Sustain. Prophet river ethnobotany: A report on traditional plant knowledge and contemporary concerns of the Prophet River First Nation. Medicinal plants, conservation and livelihoods.

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Biodivers Conserv. Plants used by the Great Lakes Ojibwa. Use of plants for food and medicine by Native Peoples of eastern Canada. Can J Bot. Oxford University Press; Ottawa: Canadian Council of Forest Ministers; Sustainable management of Canada's boreal forest: Progress and prospects. The current state of boreal forestry and the drive for change. Biodiversity, traditional management systems, and cultural landscapes: Examples from the boreal forest of Canada.

Inter Soc Sci J. Handbook of North American Indians: Subarctic. Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press; Aboriginal forestry in Canada. Forest Chron. First Nations, forest lands, and "aboriginal forestry" in Canada: From exclusion to comanagement and beyond. Can J Forest Res.