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Medicine Keepers: Herbs, Healing, and Pig Tales

Medicine Keepers: Herbs, Healing, and Pig Tales

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My book, Medicine Keepers: Herbs, Healing, and Pig Tales, is scheduled to be released later this year. Not only is it a work that preserves Traditional American Medicine, but it also preserves Chahta (Choctaw), one of the languages spoken by Healers who have carried the knowledge of these medicines through generations in the southeastern areas of North America. Though the book is not written entirely in Chahta, animal and plant names are scattered throughout, tying together language, medicine, and entertainment.

Pig Tales, sometimes called Hogwash or even Porch Lies, are important parts of American Indian oral tradition. Through the use of Southern vernacular and entertaining characters, Pig Tales impart important lessons and knowledge from one generation to the next. These tales often mention plants and herbs as integral components of healing and medicine. As such, these stories serve as a powerful tool for the transmission of traditional healing knowledge and practices.

Medicine Keepers: Herbs, Healing, and Pig Tales is written in the traditional Pig Tale fashion, weaving together stories and medicinal knowledge to pass down cultural heritage. Using familiar American Indian characters like Rabbit and Bear, the tales are not only entertaining but also convey important messages about the natural world and the healing properties of plants. Pig Tales and other forms of oral tradition are vital in preserving the knowledge and practices of Indigenous healing traditions.

It is an honor to share the story of Bee Balm with Skunk Magazine readers. May you continue to carry and share Traditional Medicine throughout the ages.

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Photo Credit: Aja Yasir

Bee Balm

Upn once a time, there was a duck named Okfochush who lived near a beautiful field of Bee Balm. She loved the fragrant blooms of the plant and would often spend her afternoons basking in the warm sun, admiring the colorful flowers.

One day, Okfochush fell ill with a terrible cold. She was sneezing and coughing, and her feathers were ruffled and dull. She knew she needed help, and so she decided to seek out the wise old owl who lived in the nearby woods.

As she made her way through the woods, Okfochush came across a patch of Bee Balm. She remembered hearing that the plant had medicinal properties and decided to take a closer look.

The bee balm was covered in small, fragrant flowers in shades of pink and purple. Okfochush could smell the sweet, minty aroma and noticed that bees were buzzing around the flowers, collecting nectar. She realized that the plant was not only beautiful but also had important medicinal properties.

With this newfound knowledge, Okfochush continued on her journey to find the wise old owl. When she finally found the owl’s tree, she explained her symptoms and asked for help.

The wise old owl listened intently and suggested that Okfochush try some Bee Balm tea. She explained that Bee Balm has many medicinal benefits, including being a natural remedy for colds and flu.

Okfochush was hesitant at first, but the owl assured her that the tea was safe and effective. The duck tried the tea and immediately felt better. Her sneezing stopped, and her feathers regained their luster.

Over time, Okfochush became a regular visitor to the Bee Balm field. She would collect the flowers and brew them into a soothing tea whenever she or her friends fell ill. And so, the Bee Balm became an important part of the woodland community, thanks to the curious and resourceful Okfochush.

Follow Aja on social media:

IG: @aroseforyaminah
Twitter: @yaminah_a
Clubhouse: Aja Yasir

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