Traditional Nlaka’pamux medicine goes beyond herbs and concoctions.

Scw’exmx Child & Family Services Society Resident Elder Cathy Jameson and traditional counselor Daniel Jager, as well as Crysta Johnson, a herbology student at the Wild Rose College of Natural Healing sat down and brought the Herald into the world of traditional medicine.

In the Western world, the concept of “medicine” refers to the concoctions that create remedies for ailments whilst the Nlaka’pamux concept of medicine refers to the healing process of the body, mind and spirit.

“We have different types of medicine… there is our traditional medicines that we gather upon the land, which we utilize a lot more now for healing purposes and remedies for our people because there’s no side effects,” said Jager. “And then like I say, there’s another type of medicine that I utilize more, is my knowledge of bringing the teachings of the culture, and that coincides with what we’re working with here is to create that balance between our traditional medicines that we gather and our knowledge of our culture, bringing both in balance.”

Traditional Nlaka’pamux medicine can be picked and harvested throughout the Nicola Valley.

“I feel that I myself, when I’m out there gathering medicines, I feel more at peace, calm, where as when you go to the drugstore, there’s different things that are in the medicines that they give you that sometimes either get you drowsy or gives you a headache, aftereffects, whereas natural medicines are better, they’re calming and they don’t give you an aftereffect.”

Elder Jameson shares a concoction good for treating COVID or other bad flus. Remove the stinging nettle from the devil’s club, cut it into small pieces and let it sit in a jar of ribena juice for 60 days. Shake the jar everyday.

After 60 days, strain with a cheesecloth and seal it in a can or leave it in a refrigerator. “So what you do is you take a teaspoon in the morning and a teaspoon at night. It’s real good for COVID or when you get a real bad sickness or flu and you can’t seem to kick it or you know, get rid of it. That is really good,” explained Jameson.

Johnson recommends tea made of rose buds and rose hips. “That’s a really nice kind of relaxing, pleasant tasting tea, and it’s high in vitamin C so it’s a really nice way to enjoy medicine mildly, you can drink it every day, there’s no ill side effects.”

For those with more serious sickness with a chest cough, Johnson recommends the more potent juniper tea.

“We go out to the land to gather the medicine, and even in that process alone, you’re already beginning your healing,” said Jager. “You have to be in a good frame of mind, because if you’re suffering or you’re angry or something, you grab that medicine, it’s going into the medicine, and you think you’re going to be helping somebody actually, you’re going to hurt somebody.”

“It takes time, Cathy says it’s the time piece, because you have to have that connec- tion to it because you’re always in that thought process of ‘this is going to help me’ the whole time you’re preparing that medicine,” said Jager. “And that’s the way we do our traditional medicines, it’s not just about us, we know others are out there that are suffer- ing with this, so we make this in a good medicine that it’s going to help us, but it’s also we can help them.”