Walk of learn­ing

Group learns about tra­di­tional medicines and teach­ings through KACL

Kenora Daily Miner and News - - FRONT PAGE - KATH­LEEN CHARLEBOIS KCharlebois@postmedia.com

KACL pro­vides ed­u­ca­tion on tra­di­tional heal­ing meth­ods.

Jazmin Ro­ma­niuk said she’s a big be­liever in talk­ing and singing to plants when she’s gather­ing tra­di­tional medicines.

On Fri­day, July 7, she and a small group of peo­ple were col­lect­ing leaves of the Myrica gale plant, com­monly known as sweet­gale, on the shores of Rab­bit Lake near the Kenora Row­ing Club. Dragonflies darted over­head as peo­ple took off their shoes and got their feet wet, a re­lief in the hot July weather.

Ro­ma­niuk, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Ek­i­na­madi­win Heal­ing Cen­tre, was hired by the Kenora As­so­ci­a­tion for Com­mu­nity Liv­ing (KACL) to teach tra­di­tional knowl­edge.

“I have the ex­tra em­pha­sis on the sci­en­tific as­pects, so I can trans­late the best I can what the el­ders say about medicine to what doc­tors say about medicine, and vice versa. It’s re­ally valu­able in­for­ma­tion,” she said.

Yet Ro­ma­niuk said writ­ing her mas­ter’s the­sis on bo­real for­est flora was a strug­gle since tra­di­tional knowl­edge and sci­ence don’t mesh together.

“I had to be re­ally dis­ci­plined, re­ally rigid, and I had to get steered to make sure I stayed sci­en­tific, be­cause I have a predilec­tion to be tra­di­tional. It’s just my na­ture,” she said.

Af­ter giv­ing an of­fer­ing of to­bacco to the plant, Ro­ma­niuk showed how to pull the leaves up­ward off the stem, re­leas­ing a lemony scent. Look­ing closer at the leaves, they have minis­cule yel­low dots that show the plant is breath­ing and aer­at­ing.

That lemon scent means the sweet­gale leaves are high in limonenes, a com­pound with known anti-anx­i­ety ef­fects, mak­ing it ideal for tea. Ro­ma­niuk said tea made from the leaves has a flo­ral taste like green tea and also helps peo­ple have vivid dreams.

Ro­ma­niuk also said she hopes there are more gath­er­ings like this one through­out the sum­mer.

“Even though there were only a few of us, the teach­ings that we shared were hard-wired teach­ings that are in all of us,” she said. “We know water brings life, we know that ba­bies sit in water and we know how pow­er­ful water plants are. We want to be re­ally mind­ful about plants that we pick out of the water.”

The next gather­ing through KACL will in­volve gather­ing plants that give lots of en­ergy to make Kenora-style root beer, Ro­ma­niuk said.

Look­ing fur­ther, she said “I pray that one day all of the medicine peo­ple can come together here in Kenora, and we can all talk in a lov­ing way about shar­ing our knowl­edge.

Jazmin Ro­ma­niuk (left) shows Jo­hanna Hen­drick­son (right) how to gather Myrica gale leaves, com­monly known as sweet­gale, on the shores of Rab­bit Lake on Fri­day, July 7. Sweet­gale is a tra­di­tional medicine that grows in water.

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