NativeTech: Native American Technology and Art

Mi'kmaq (Micmac) Medicines, Foods and Teas*
contributed by Laurie Lacey.

Teaberry(Gaultheria procumbens L.)

The Mi'kmaq probably had many uses for the teaberry plant. It is known as a heart attack preventive medicine and was also given to people recovering from that affliction. It has also been used by people with blood cloting problems, and by those who have had strokes. The plant is supposed to thin and regulate the blood, much as aspirin does, thus preventing the formation of blood clots. The entire plant was steeped in water and the liquid used as a tea. Probably a more effective way to prepare the medicine is to partly (about 1/4) fill a bottle or jar with the leaves. Then fill the jar with boiling water, cover, and allow it to stand in a warm place for a couple of days. It makes a wonderful wintergreen tea.

It is probably also good as a massage liquid for sore aching muscles and joints, although I haven't tryed this personally. (Note: To find the proper dosage for teaberry, one should consult herbal books. This would vary depending on how it is made, how long it is allowed to steep, or whether the covered jar method is used, in which case the medicine would be stronger and the dosage less than if steeped for ten or fifteen minutes.) [Photograph adapted from Foster & Duke: 1990]

*The author is not responsible for the use of medicinal remedies mentioned above.
The information is given for cultural purposes only.

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© 1996 Laurie Lacey. E-mail:

© 1996 Tara Prindle.