“We have all come from The One Great Spirit and this precious Earth is our common Mother. Let us walk in harmony.”

~ Native Wisdom

Natural Medicinal and Spiritual Resources
for Families and Survivors

First Nations have practiced traditional healing and wellness since time immemorial. Traditional healing refers to the health practices, approaches, knowledge and beliefs that incorporate First Nations healing and wellness. These practices include using ceremonies, plant, animal or mineral-based medicines, energetic therapies and physical or hands-on techniques.

The Four Sacred Medicines

Four plants: tobacco, sage, cedar and sweetgrass are held sacred by the Anishinabe people, together they are referred to as the four sacred medicines. The four sacred medicines are used in everyday life and in all of our ceremonies. All of them can be used to smudge with, though sage, cedar and sweetgrass also have many other uses.


Tobacco is the first plant that the Creator gave to the Anishinabe people. It sits in the Eastern Door and represents the promise that the Creator is always willing to listen. Yellow is the colour, spring is the season and childhood is the stage of life. Also known as “sema.” Tobacco is used as an offering and to send our prayers to the Creator. Tobacco is offered to Elders and other traditional teachers or persons when they are asked to say a prayer. Our people also make offerings of tobacco when they hunt animals, fish, and harvest berries and medicines. It is also important to offer tobacco to an Elder or a traditional person if you are asking them for help or advice. Tobacco is also offered to give thanks.


Cedar is placed in the Northern Door. While Mother Earth sleeps, cedar stays green, symbolizing that Mother Earth still watches over and protects us. White is the colour, winter is the season and Elderly is the stage of life.

Cedar is used for purification and protection. Cedar can be used for taking cedar bath, drinking cedar tea which is an excellent source of Vitamin C. Cedar can also be used for smudging and is often used in traditional ceremonies.


Sage is in the West. As we move into the adult stage of our lives, we always exit through the West and sage assists in that journey. The smell of sage is intended to attract the spirits’ attention. Black is the colour, fall is the season and adulthood is the stage of life.

Sage is the medicine used most often for smudging for the purposes of cleansing and purification. Sage is also in preparation for ceremonies, traditional teachings and taking circles. When used in a smudge, sage can help cleanse a person’s spirit of negative thoughts or emotions. In a similar way, smudging with sage can also cleanse or purify the negative energy from a place or a room.


Sweetgrass is in the South and connected to Mother Earth. It has a shiny and beautiful side as well as a plain side, representative of youth. When sweetgrass is braided, it cannot be pulled apart. Likewise when your body, mind and spirit are solidly connected, you will be full and strong in your personal life. Red is the colour, summer is the season and youth is the stage of life.

This medicine represents friendship and kindness. It is all known as the “hair of mother earth.” Sweetgrass is very sweet smelling and can also be used as a smudge to purify the air or oneself.  When sweetgrass is burned, it has a calming effect. The three braids represent mind, body, and spirit.

Five Essential Oils and Their Benefits

The following is a list of the most used essential oils and a brief description of their benefits and uses:
Lavender, Tea Tree, Peppermint, Chamomile, and Lemon.

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender smells wonderful and the lavender essential oil is the most popular of all essential oils. It is most often used to relieve anxiety, reduce stress levels, help you unwind and relax and it also improves sleep.

How to use:
Try adding a few drops of lavender oil into a warm bath. The calming scent will help relieve stress and the aroma will make you feel more relaxed. You can also add a few drops of lavender essential oil into an aromatherapy diffuser or put a few drops onto your pillow for a good night sleep! It also helps with fighting colds and flus, relieving migraines, and it can sooth insect bites if applied with a carrier oil such as coconut oil. You can also put a few drops of lavender oil into your regular lotion or skin cream if you like.

Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea tree essential oil is great for fighting infections, and for lessening acne outbreaks and acne scars. It can also soothe itchy skin, scrapes, cuts and burns because it has natural antiseptic properties. Important: never apply any essential oil directly to your skin, be sure to use a carrier oil. Tea tree oil also helps boosts the immune system. It is also good for treating cold sores and sore muscles.

How to use:
You can apply tea tree oil topically with a carrier oil or you can try adding a few drops of the oil to a warm bath to help improve respiratory conditions.

Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint oil helps you stay focused and alert. The strong minty smell of peppermint will instantly refresh and re-energize you! Peppermint oil is excellent for the digestive system. It can be used to combat irritation and allergies and help with digestion. Peppermint oil is also wonderful for easing head aches and easing symptoms of nausea.

How to use:
Be careful when using peppermint oil, always use a carrier oil and avoid getting it in your eyes.

Chamomile Essential Oil

As you know, drinking a nice, hot cup of chamomile tea can be very relaxing. Chamomile is one of the best essential oils to use for calm and relaxation, along with lavender. It is most often used as an antidepressant, antiseptic, antibiotic, and a mood lifter.

How to use: You can add a few drops to your diffuser, in a bath, or on a pillow. Or, blend it with a massage oil for a soothing and relaxing massage.

Lemon Essential Oil

The clean, fresh smell of lemon essential oil is energizing, and refreshing.  To feel more energized throughout the day, simply add a few drops of lemon oil to your diffuser or mix a few drops with a carrier oil and apply it to your inner wrists.

Lemon essential oil improves concentration, helps with digestion and reduces the symptoms of arthritis and acne.

How to use: To boost your immune system, include a few drops in your bath water and soak it in for a few minutes.