Herb of the Day: Arborvitae


Arborvitae goes by several common names, including Northernwhite cedar, yellow cedar, and false cedar, as wellas cedre, so it is important to identify the tree by its scientific label, ( Thuja occidentalis ). Cherokee Indians knew the true value of this plants, they would make soothing herbal salves and create aromatic smudge sticks from one lone specimen.
A North American native, arborvitae was introduced into Europe in the 16th century by th Flemish botanist Jules Charles de L’Ecluse. Some say he chose the name arborvitae, which means, tree of life, from a identical anatomical term used to describe either hemisphere of the cerebellum, this brain tissue resembles a tree like main branch with multiple offshoots. Enough evidence exists to give credit to North Americans, who discovered many applications for T. occidentalis, and then shared their knowledge with early European settlers. This can be seen in the northwestern United States, where researchers have found cedar artifacts dating back approximately 6,600 years.
In 1535 when Jacque Cartier remained at Stadacona ( now Quebec ) with his scrurvy ridden crew. Things looked bleak until a unidentified Indian supplied Cartier with a tea made from the leaves and bark of what was called Annedda, now identified as T. occidentalis. Today we know this miraculous cure was effected by the plants,s rich store of vitamin C. Native Chippewa found white cedar for cough remedies Mohawk women drank the infusion of the herb for 40 days after giving birth, believing it to be a beneficial tonic. During the last century, loggers and outdorsmen were fond of the tea, they believed it not only prevented illness, but would give them extra strength.


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