Plants & Ingredients
The medicine wheel symbolizes a holistic and balanced way of living and healing. It is a powerful teaching tool consisting of many layers of wisdom and knowledge.
Learn more about the Medicine Wheel
The northern direction of the medicine wheel.
Sweetgrass is sometimes called the hair of Mother Earth and is considered a gift. After the grass is harvested, it is carefully braided; the three sections representing mind, body, and spirit.
When we smudge with sweetgrass, we are taught that the smoke from that burning sweetgrass prepares us for prayer because the scent is pleasing to the Creator. We create this nature-identical oil using a mix of plants that yield more oil than this dry-climate grass can alone.
The eastern direction of the medicine wheel.
Tobacco is considered a sacred medicine. The smoke is believed to be the pathway to the spirit world. It is also used as an offering of thanks or when requesting something from nature, an elder or knowledge keeper. Sacred herbs are powerful. Tobacco can be healing or harmful depending on how it is used.
When used in a sacred way, it can promote good health and assist with spiritual guidance, gratitude and growth. Sacred tobacco is sometimes not the actual tobacco plant but a blend of plants such as kinnikinick and the bark of the red osier dogwood. Commercial tobacco is very harmful and is laced with thousands of harmful chemicals. Many elders believe that any use of tobacco that occurs outside of ceremony with the plant in it’s natural form is an insult to Creator.
The southern direction of the medicine wheel.
Sage is found abundantly in dry areas of North America and has an herbal, spicy scent. It is used in ceremony for smudging as a means to cleanse negativity from ourselves and our spaces.
Our ancestors also used different varieties of sage for medicinal purposes. We can gargle with a strong tea made with fresh or dried sage to soothe throat infections, dental abscesses or infected gums. Sage also helps balance estrogen production, making it a good tea for women experiencing symptoms from menopause.
The western direction of the medicine wheel.
Cedar is nature’s purifier and boasts a distinctly resinous fragrance. Leaves are cleaned from the stems and separated into small pieces to be used in many ways (for making tea, bathing and ceremony). It represents grounding, maturity, purification and balance.
Elders suggest walking with cedar in your shoes to walk in a good way down your path. When a person has experienced trauma, a cedar bath was given for comfort healing to the body by adding cedar from the branches. Cedar is also used as a tea by simmering branches and is used to treat fevers, chest colds, and flu.
Carrie is reflective of her own teachings. There are many different teachings and variations.