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Mountain Ash - Sorbus Americanus Marsh.

Mountain Ash
Sorbus Americanus Marsh.

In Mi'kmaq culture, the mountain ash was used to treat stomach pains. The bark (probably the inner bark) was steeped in water and the resulting tea used for this purpose. Terry Willard, in his book, Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains and neighbouring Territories, 1992, p. 122, reports " the bark has also been used as a blood cleanser and spring tonic." On the same page, he states that it is similar to wild cherries in that mountain ash berries contain amygdalin and cyanogenic heterosides and are useful for throat inflammation.

In Nova Scotia, mountain ash is found growing among other hardwoods or, in mixed forests, near lake shores. The fruits or berries grow in dense bunches or clusters and may persist into winter. However, the berries are a favourite food of birds and are often eaten before winter arrives. They are palatable after a frost or two and may be eaten raw, but are more interesting and tasty when cooked. For sauce, they may be prepared and stewed like cranberries.

A Winter Nature Note
2 January 1999, 8:15 A.M.

The frost is extreme this morning. Everything sparkles. As I walk towards the "medicine woods," the tall dry grasses glisten before me and crack under my boots. I approach an old hemlock tree which has been a favourite of mine since early childhood, and feel the rough bark, noticing that it, too, has been touched by the frost of the night just passed. Standing there, I relax, and close my eyes.

The hemlock is a strong medicine,
It will bath you in its healing energy,
The landscape seems perfectly still and timeless,
The trees do not whisper,
I am moved to break this stillness,
I return home to observe the frost
From my kitchen window.

Laurie Lacey is not responsible for the misuse of information presented on this homepage (for example, the incorrect prepartion and usage of teas and medicines given herein.) The use of recipes for medicines and teas from this page is strictly the responsibility of each individual.