The Ojibway people have used medicines for centuries and one of the medicines they use is cedar. Yes, it is the cedar that is found growing in local communities, gardens, riversides and highways. Cedar is considered to aid the body and the spirit. You can drink it as a tea although it won’t taste as pleasant as a regular tea. And you wouldn’t add any sugar or cream to it. You’d boil it until it turns a dark colour, usually twenty minutes, maybe more. When it is done, you let it simmer and cool. When it’s easy to pour, add to a cup and drink. However, the longer you let it steep, the stronger the tea will be. The medicine will aid the organs inside the body and flush out toxins that are harmful to them. I would recommended picking from trees that are outdoors in the wild due to less pollution. The practice that is taught to us in Ojibway is that we never take things from Mother Earth without a gift. And our gift is always tobacco. So when I pick cedar I bring tobacco. I say my prayer, let the Earth know why I need the medicine, and ask her to accept my gift of tobacco for her medicine. Then I lie my tobacco down, thank the Earth and proceed to clip the cedar. Usually a small bag is suffice, maybe a large ziplock bag. It depends on how much you need and how much you will use. I recommend not taking more than what you need.
Cedar is also used in the sweat lodge in two ways. One is for the floor and the other is burned on hot rocks for healing. This is done because cedar is also considered a protection medicine. Ojibway people have long considered cedar and have used it for protection. We understand in this reality called life there are two sides to everything. The good and the not so good. So cedar boughs are used inside sweat lodges for protection. We also use them in our homes as well. You might see cedar hanging above doorways of homes, this is for protection. Pow wow dancers will wear cedar in the moccasins when they are at a gathering. It is to keep us safe. And so these are some of the teachings that have been handed down to me about cedar and why it is used. It is not superstition that has us practicing what we do, is it understanding of the realm of our existence. And the respect we pay to live here on Earth. Cedar is a very important medicine and it is one that can be used everyday. I keep cedar in my home all year round. And one other thing that I do is I will take an aluminum pie plate and burn cedar lightly on the stove. It releases a scent that is relaxing and it always reminds me of home. So I hope you liked my blog, please feel free to leave a comment. Thank you coming by. Miigwetch.