Sugar-Pine Indian Medicine

By Atom Bergstrom

Atom’s Blog

According to Adano Ley (Swami Nitty-Gritty) …

“Take sugar for a slow kidney, and salt for a fast kidney.”


Che-na-wah Weitch-ah-wah (To the American Indian, 1916) wrote …

“The Indians were preservers of the sugar-pine timber which grew on the high ranges of mountains on the north side of the river and there was a very heavy fine and also death to the Indian that willfully destroyed any of this timber. The sugar from these trees was also used by them as a medicine in different cases of sickness. The salt water mussels that they gather which cling to the rocks close to the sea-shore, is an article of food for them and they gather and eat them while fresh by boiling them. They also dry them and take them up the river to their homes for winter use. In the month of August and a part of September these mussels become poisoned, in some years worse than in others, with phosphorus. Sometimes whole families would get poisoned by eating them out of season and in this case they use the sugar which is taken from the sugar-pine tree and which is a sure cure if taken in time. This made the Indian prize the sugar-pine tree very highly and putting to death even a member of their own tribe who harmed a tree in any way.”


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