The Medicine of Our Ancient Forests

09
Jul

The Medicine of Our Ancient Forests

All science is silent, while the future is being felled in B.C., Canada. All the mothers of the First Nations of the Pacheedaht and Ditidaht nations should show their ancestral trees to their children before they are cut down. They will never see the likes of them again.

Children! Forget culture. Forget heritage. Forget language. Forget wisdom. Forget salmon. Forget owls. Forget those tiny blackberries of the salal, so sweet on your tongue. You, too, are a woodland culture whose voice goes back into the depths of Turtle Time. You will be the last of your race, hunted by hunger across a foreign world. Stand your ground! Look the Colonial Monster in the face and stare him down.

Deep in your ancient forests, you have medicine valuable to you and the rest of the planet. Look into your noble trees. Inside, in the heartwood, there is another life, invisible to the naked eye. These are endogenous fungi. These fungi are chemists. They manufacture unique medicines with extraordinary abilities. The names are a library in itself. Prostacyclin, Prostaglandin E2, Prostaglandin F2 Alpha, Prostaglandin I2. As a mixture, they are called prostaglandins. And, yes, they are anti-viral, with a unique medical ability to shut down the vascular tissue inside the nose. They block Covid-19. The medicine men of the Cree Nation have known and used them for centuries. Who asks a medicine man anything? This is the pharmacopeia of just one tree!

I have been asked to put a dollar value on the trees of Fairy Creek. They are priceless, like a smile in the eyes of a happy child, like the Mona Lisa, like a careful cougar, like good health, priceless. Nobody understands the web of life, let alone put a dollar value on it, or on the future, which is coming down, now, tree by tree.

– Diana B. Beresford-Kroeger

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