Alaska Medicinal Plants- Know Its Magic

alaska medicinal plants

A gap in awareness, expertise, and practice related to Alaskan medicinal plants have expanded as dependence on imported foods has increased over recent generations, and educational dynamics have changed. ANTHC’s Health Promotion program facilitates training and regional symposiums to encourage traditional plant awareness, ethical harvesting, and traditional collecting and growing of our medicine to help close this gap. 

Alaska medicinal plants is a conventional style of healing that has been passed down from generation to generation among Alaska Native peoples and is focused on long-term success and oral tradition. Traditional Alaska medicinal plants, in comparison to allopathic or western medicine, assume that disease arises from an individual’s discordance with the world and that healing must therefore begin in the person’s spirit.

Club of the devil

A close up of a flower

The Tlingit people are notorious for using the devil’s club to treat a wide range of ailments. Colds, coughs, digestive problems, tuberculosis, hypoglycaemia, cancer, depression, broken bones, congestion, and inflammation can all be treated with the weed, which can be made into tea, mashed into salves, chewed, and steamed. Due to its psychopharmacological and spiritual impact, the Tlingit regard devil’s club as “good medicine.”

Willows Are A Type Of Tree

A person planting

The willow tree bark is a well-known medicinal advantage. Willow tree bark has long been used as a pain reliever by Alaska Natives and other Native American tribes. In reality, the bark contains acetylsalicylic acid, which has been commercialized as an over-the-counter pain reliever and is now known as aspirin. The leaves of the willow tree can be used in a poultice or bath to relieve skin infections or irritations, and when ground into ash, they can be sprinkled on severe burns to avoid infection.


Native Alaskans and other Native Americans have used any portion of the dandelion for medicinal purposes. It’s high in vitamins (A, B, C, and D) and minerals. It can help with liver problems including hepatitis and jaundice while also acting as a natural diuretic and laxative. The weed’s root can also be used as a caffeine substitute.


The Gwich’in Athabaskan and Caucasian inhabitants of the Fort Yukon area of Alaska named native plants for medicinal, nutritious, and material purposes. Forty-eight native plant species or classes were classified as having some use, primarily as medicines (40 percent) and food or beverage (40 percent) (56 percent).

Alaska is home to multiple indigenous peoples who live in several environments. People needed to be conscious of the wide variety of plant and animal species in their region to survive and thrive in these conditions. Published texts on Alaskan Natives, particularly the Eskimo (Lee and DeVore 1968), have emphasized native people’s reliance on hunting for survival. 

Although this dependency is undeniable, the understanding of and volume in which vegetable services are used is often ignored. While it is difficult to summarise the use of indigenous plants by all Alaskan native peoples in a single essay, this one focuses on one region of Alaska, the Southwest, to demonstrate the Yup’ik Eskimo’s wide range of knowledge and use of indigenous flora. Plants are harvested for fruit, medicine, and practical purposes, among other things. Native cultures have few ethnobotanical references.

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