Tap into thousands of years of plant knowledge
The belief that all life-forms are interconnected and share the same breath—known in the Rarámuri tribe as iwígara—has resulted in a treasury of knowledge about the natural world, passed down for millennia by native cultures. Ethnobotanist Enrique Salmón builds on this concept of connection and highlights 80 plants revered by North America’s indigenous peoples. Salmón teaches us the ways plants are used as food and medicine, the details of their identification and harvest, their important health benefits, plus their role in traditional stories and myths. Discover in these pages how the timeless wisdom of iwígara can enhance your own kinship with the natural world.
Salm n (Eating the Landscape), head of California State University East Bay's Indian Studies program, provides a beautifully illustrated and philosophically uplifting guide to indigenous North American plant use. For background, Salm n delves into the spiritual beliefs of various cultures, including the Pueblo peoples of New Mexico and Arizona; the Cherokee, who once inhabited southeastern marshes; and his own people, the Rar muri of Chihuahua, Mexico, originators of the "iw gara" concept "that all life, spiritual and physical, is interconnected in a continual cycle." The bulk of the text consists of a glossary of plants' traditional medicinal and ceremonial purposes. A particular highlight of this section consists of the perhaps surprising uses introduced for familiar species. The blueberry is a fine example of this, having been used to treat colic, fever, and varicose veins, and to improve night vision. Likewise, sugar maple trees can be used for more than syrup; their inner bark can also be used for "sore eyes and as a cough remedy." Salm n includes vintage botanical drawings, b&w historical photos of the people from the cultures discussed, and color photos of the plants. This lovely compendium will strike a chord with many a nature-loving reader.