It’s that time of year again, the time to harvest bark from woody shrubs and trees, for tincturing!
One of the few barks I have harvested, this is also known as Red Twig, Kanikanik or Kinikenick. Aboriginals in Ontario have used this herb to treat eye, lung and pregnancy related ailments, and pain.
The Cree used it for sore eyes, the Iroquois used the inner bark for hemorrhages, pain, headaches, chest congestion, sore throats, coughs and fevers and the Inuit used the fruit to treat snow-blindness and cataracts.
When smoked with tobacco it was used to treat lung sickness; and cleansed the blood and improved circulation when mixed with Chokecherry or Alder bark. Frequently an inner-bark poultice (made from the white pith) applied to a woman’s back and belly, was used to help “heal a woman’s insides” after childbirth.
Although I have never had poison ivy, it is documented that a decoction of the inner bark helps relieve the rashes and sores associated with poison ivy.
Wow! Who knew that such a common shrub would have so many uses. I will harvest the deep red bark tomorrow and begin tincturing to keep it in stock: 1 part fresh bark, to 4-5 parts alcohol (vodka or brandy-80 to 100 proof preferred) should suffice.
It also makes a nice addition to any winter floral arrangement.
Can you name this medicinal herb? Bonus points for latin name!