Traditional Medicine


For a general stomach-ache, many people drink tea. Medicinal teas are made from Labrador tea (the leaves can be chewed or boiled), fireweed (paunnak), cloudberry leaves (arpehutik), or bearberry leaves (kallahutik). Chewing dried loon intestines is effective, and so is applying heated stone or sand (wrapped in cloth) on the abdomen. For chronic vomiting and loss of appetite resulting from illness, cranberries (raw or boiled), boiled sculpin, (qanayuk) or raw mussels may be eaten.

Bladder problems
Herb tea, made from Labrador tea or ground juniper (qisiqtutauyak) is also good for bladder problems. Another kind of tea may be made from shavings of a bare (winter) caribou antler or from a walrus tusk. If the situation is very serious and the person can’t pass any water, a caribou sinew from the spine is twisted so that it becomes small, long, and stiff, greased with seal fat and passed into the urinary tract all the way to the bladder. This is used on both men and women, and is not as painful as it sounds. Also, heated stone or sand may be applied over the bladder.

For relief of constipation, rotten Arctic char is eaten (raw or boiled), or a small sliver of caribou fat is inserted into the rectum.

Leaves from mountain sandwort (maliksuarak) are eaten raw to treat diarrhoea.