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Trail Life: Healing Trees

Updated: Nov 15, 2023

Welcome to another Tree Talk segment of our Trail Life inspired by my recent book The Art of Rooting.

Last week I announced how I would commit this beautiful season to sharing more about the trails and the trees that inspired my writing this summer.

The first tree talk about was the Shagbark tree at the Cherokee Arboretum, where our hikes and "randonnées" will be taking place. ( Read more here )

Today's tree talk is about the American Beech Tree and the healing benefits of trees.

The healing benefits of trees are something that I explored deeply in the Art of Rooting.

Being originally from Africa, I draw many commonalities between the Native-American culture and my African culture.

In the Art of Rooting, I recollect personal uses of trees, pass some of my mother's medicinal tips, and educate on the way certain organizations, like Ubuntungwa Youth Organization, in Zambia, use trees to make a difference in the lives and health of their community. (Read The Art of Rooting conversation with Mwape Mwangilwa and enjoy learning more from her and her brilliant team in the book. You may be just as fascinated as I was to learn from Nathan Mwape how the Mimosa tree is used.)

Today's featured tree is the American Beech.

Some of the medicinal benefits of the American Beech include:

  • Drinking bark tea treats lung ailments like tuberculosis

  • Leaf tea is used to "wash the fire" out of burns

Other Cherokee uses:

  • The nuts are edible and are harvested early in the Fall

  • The nuts are chewed to treat worms

  • The leaves are used to make a light caramel dye

  • The wood is used for lumber and to make buttons

As I pointed in the Art of Rooting and in our previous Trail Life feature last week, Native American have such an incredible knowledge and reverence for nature that nothing was wasted. Many parts of the trees were used intentionally. I shared in the Art of Rooting that it's in recent years that I realized that I grew up enjoying a garden and lifestyle where my mother planted things very intentionally. Do you know of some whose garden is not just ornamental but serves as a pharmacy?

  • What are some trees that you have benefited from as "healing trees?"

  • How did you use them as medicine?

  • What are some of your go-to medicinal plants/trees?

  • What does the word " roots" evoke for you?

Get a copy of the Art of Rooting on Amazon to learn more about conversations about trees and our roots, leave a review on Amazon, and join us next week for our next Trail Life Tree Talk.

Enjoy other special features on the Blog like our Poet by Nature or Art of Rooting Conversations

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