Cancer is like a prairie grass fire--it often spreads quickly and consumes all in its path. Buffalo medicine teaches us that those who survive the prairie fires keep a level head, knowing where to go to stay alive..
Cancer is like a prairie grass fire it often spreads quickly and consumes all in its path. Buffalo medicine teaches us that those who survive the prairie fires keep a level head, knowing where to go to stay alive. Dealing with cancer using sacred medicines means a similar shift in thinking.
Cancer and diabetes were virtually non-existent when plant medicines were discovered. Now, modern illnesses have caused us to revisit our "plant people" to determine if traditional medicinal herbs have new uses. Cancer is one of the illnesses we have targeted, heads and horns down-to charge like buffalo!
Much of what our ancestors had to say about "purification" is correct. The old healing rituals remind us of the need to keep internal organs free of toxic build-up. Blood purification rituals are practised annually to keep the body free of viruses and parasites. Anything which suppresses the body's immune function is capable of starting one of the disease fires.
We use burdock root tincture for a month each autumn as a simple cleansing routine. Black walnut tincture has additional properties as a blood cleanser and vermifuge and is useful at any time of the year. Contemporary thinking about diet agrees with that of our ancestors' thinking: no hydrogenated fats, increased fibre and elimination of substances like refined sugar, alcohol and (from my observation) preservatives. This is a healthy start. The ancestors' diet of whole, natural foods, roots, vegetables and fruit when followed religiously, is both heart-smart and healing.
The ancestors' traditional diet included healing teas. The following is a partial list we use when dealing with the lifestyle changes associated with a diagnosis of cancer. These herbs often require special gathering and preparation.
Certain plants, like burdock, are gathered when they are first-year plants to maximize potency. Others are gathered before full blossoming, while some are gathered after maturity. In the case of plants like mayapple, if picked at the wrong time they are actually poisonous. Some plants are so specialized that even the time of day they are picked is crucial. Certain plants are gathered for the blossoms or leaves while some are gathered for the roots sometimes just certain sections of the root. We are careful of the moon quarter we harvest in, preferring new moon through full moon for this task. Occasionally, if necessary, we harvest in the third-quarter of the moon cycle, but never in the fourth quarter.
Ancestral Medicine is Best
In terms of preparation, plants might be dried and consumed in capsules while others are made into tea. Some are boiled with water and others infused in alcohol to extract their essence. This is the education of the medicine person we do not want desperate people going out and getting just any old version of the plants mentioned and trying to heal themselves. In North America, medicine people have used trial and error for tens of thousands of years to determine plant use.
There are many other plants, like pokeweed and chaparral, which are not as readily available in the north. Professionals must handle mayapple preparation. It's toxic if picked too early in the season.
The Ancestors' Diet
I wrote the following about the ancestors' diet: "For breakfast we consume things 'high off the earth'nuts, berries and fruits. This gives us the fructose, fats and proteins to get energized. The natural fruit sugars, or fructose, do not increase blood sugar levels in the same way as refined sugars. At lunch we eat the 'three sisters' (corn, beans and squash), grains and vegetables that grow above ground. From this group we get the complex carbohydrates, vegetable proteins and fibre needed to sustain high energy levels. For supper we eat root vegetables those grown below ground and occasionally fish, fowl or animal protein. These plants provide starches and fibre and sustain blood sugar levels through the night because they take longer to digest. Historically, animal proteins were eaten only every three or four days. This is a pH-balanced way of eating and it ensures a primarily plant-based source of protein."