Traditional Medicine

The 4 Sacred Medicines: Sweetgrass, Tobacco, Sage, and Cedar.

At the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, traditional medicines are intertwined with clinical services, teachings and programming.

Often, the 4 sacred medicines are respectfully utilized to engage Indigenous people in their culture while helping them with other services. For example, the Wabano Smoking Cessation group discusses the use of traditional tobacco to help Indigenous people decrease or stop using commercial tobacco/cigarettes while educating them on healthy lifestyle.

Sweetgrass: Sweetgrass is the sacred hair of Mother Earth. Its sweet aroma reminds people of the gentleness, love and kindness she has for people.

Sage: Sage is used to prepare people for ceremonies and teachings. Sage is used for releasing what is troubling the mind and for removing negative energy.

Tobacco: Traditional people say that tobacco is always given first. It is used as an offering. Traditional tobacco was given to us so that we can communicate with the spirit world.

Cedar: Cedar is used to purify the home. It also has many restorative medicinal uses. Cedar is used in fasting and sweatlodge ceremonies as a form of protection.

*This information was collected from the Anishnawbe Health Centre in Toronto. Teachings vary from region to region.

If you are interested in learning more about traditional medicines and Indigenous culture, please contact:

Vanessa Cyr
Culture Team Lead
(613) 748-0657 ext.c 317