Forest Plants for Medicinal Uses Willow, Wild Mint, Chamomile, Red Huckleberry

By Liliana Usvat

  • As far back as 400B.C., people had learned that chewing on a piece of willow bark could get rid of a headache or lessen the pain of a toothache. Today we know that willow bark contains salicin, which is used to make aspirin.

willowbark_cosmetic  medicine_willow

Many other plants that grow naturally in the Upper Great Lakes area have also been used by Native Americans and European settlers.

  • Chamomile, a feathery, yellow-flowering herb has been used to soothe stomach aches and to help people relax and sleep better.

GermanChamomile       Chamomile_Flowers

  • Wild mint has also been used for upset stomachs and for improving bad breath.

mint_wild_flowers        wildMint

  • Red huckleberry plants are abundant in the northwest. Whether you are passing a backyard garden or walking in the forest, massive old growth tree stumps are an integral part of the Pacific Northwest’s modern landscape.


They are rich in vitamin C, available sugars and minerals like manganese. Many native tribes of the Northwest collected the berries and either ate them fresh or dried them to make into cakes for use later in the year. Red huckleberries are easy to collect, you simply shake one of the branches and make sure to have a basket or open bag ready underneath. The berries will fall easily from their stem.


As heavily used as they are, not everyone enjoys their tangy-tart flavor. It is for this reason that the red huckleberries are usually combined with other berries, like the blueberry (another Vaccinium of the Ericaceae family) to add sweetness.


The dried leaves and stems, collected late in the summer to early fall, are medicinally valuable resources as well. According to Thomas Elpel in his thorough book on plants, Botany in a Day, “the berries and plants alike are rich in flavonoids, which are consumed for their antioxidant effects”. Further, the Red huckleberry plants are known to be, he says “mildly astringent, diuretic and sometimes act as vasoconstrictors”. It is because of these properties that a tea of the leaf and stem are helpful in cases of diarrhea as well as a gargle for sore throats and inflamed gums.

Michael Moore, another leading expert on plants, states in his book, Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West, that “some folks with allergies and the tendency for skin hyperactivity may find that the tea decreases their inflammatory responses”.

I have the same question. Why is legal to industrial destroy the forest and lose the entire communities that are plants and animals in the forest. Why there are no legal rights for the plants on this earth? We as society need the forests and plants that cohabited the forest. The government officials and banks personnel that direct money to promote logging have kids and leave a legacy to future generation.

Blog 75-365


About lilianausvat Reforestation:
This entry was posted in Environment, Forest, Liliana Usvat Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s