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News Link • Outdoor Survival

Wilderness Survival: Visiting a Modern-Day Medicine Man

•, by Tim MacWelch

I have long been a dabbler in medicinal plants, curing bee stings with plantain leaf and mending scratches with yarrow. But my focus has always been plants that can be used to make a friction fire and good-tasting wild plants. I had always steered away from deeper studies in medicinal plants because there was so much bothersome stuff associated with the trade.

As long as I have known about using herbs for medicine, I have been uncomfortable with the rituals, incantations, and hokum that seemed inseparable from the art form of wild medicine. Any concern I had about Rod or his methods melted away when I was promptly served homemade cornbread and an outstanding wild herbal tea upon arrival at his home.

Then it was time to get to work. We spent the morning in a room of Rod’s home dedicated to his medicines, which he referred to as “the apothecary.” Rod then began sharing his story with me, and some of his tried and true remedy recipes. He had been an EMT for more than two decades, until a fast moving case of cancer very nearly ended his life.

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