Great Bear Rainforest :: Photo Essay :: 11

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Photo © Tim Ennis Photography
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Photo © Tim Ennis Photography
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Devil’s Club

One of the most sacred and powerful plants in North America, Devil’s club (Oplopanax horridum) is particularly important to First Nations people for medicinal and spiritual purposes. Worldwide, indigenous cultures commonly understand prickly or thorny plants as possessing the spiritual qualities of protection against evil, unwanted forces or illness. Interesting that the English name implies that the Devil would use the thorny, club-like stems of this plant to cause suffering, when in fact, indigenous peoples put pieces of stem in the 4 corners of rooms, or over doorways to ward off evil.

There are many different ways in which this plant can be prepared for medicinal or spiritual uses. According to some elders I’ve spoken with, there are also important traditional practices involved with enhancing local populations of Devil’s club in order to sustain harvesting it. Western herbalists have also come to appreciate the medicinal values of Devil’s club and it is available in raw form in the bulk section of many health food stores. Unfortunately, it may be wild-harvested to supply this market, without due concern paid to re-planting or enhancing good patches. In some areas, local populations have been wiped out as a result.

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YES Story button spacer :: UPDATE
Historic Accord Protects B.C. Forests
First Nations are gaining more control over their traditional lands while considerations of sustainability are becoming central to forestry planning.

YES Archive button spacer :: SIGN OF LIFE
Rainforest Logging Shutdown in BC
The British Columbia logging company MacMillan Bloedel announced January 8, 1997, that it is shutting down its logging operations in the Clayoquot Sound rainforest, BC.



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