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White Cedar
Cupressaceae
Thuja occidentalis


Thunder
Thunder
Type Categories Useful Parts

Tree



Cupressaceae Family

Thuja Genus
Other Names for this Plant

Arborvitae, Thuja, Yellow Cedar, Featherleaf Cedar


Location

Indigenous to eastern North America

Physical Description
This evergreen tree, which reaches a height of 70 feet and a trunk diameter of 5 feet, needs no special description, as few people within its range are unfamiliar with its flat scalelike leaves and small cones from one-third to one-half inch long. The old bark is shed each year in long, ragged strips.


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Cupressaceae
Pinales
Pinales
Order of Pines
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
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Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
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Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
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Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

The plant was first identified as a remedy by native Indians in Canada during a 16th century expedition and was found to prove effective in the treatment of weakness from scurvy. ). In folk medicine, Thuja occ has been used to treat bronchial catarrh, enuresis, cystitis, psoriasis, uterine carcinomas, amenorrhea and rheumatism.

Medicinal Uses: According to Hartwell (1967–1971), the plant, usually as a tincture, is used in folk remedies for benign skin tumors, cancers, condylomata (of penis and vulva), excrescences, fungous flesh, neoplasms, papillomas, plantar warts, polyps, tumors, and warts. Reported to be anaphrodisiac, diaphoretic, diuretic, lactagogue, and laxative, arbor vitae is a folk remedy for burns, colds, consumption, cough, debility, distemper, dysentery, dysmenorrhea, fever, gout, headache, inflammation, malaria, paralysis, rheumatism, swollen extremities, toothache, and worms (Duke and Wain, 1981). The charcoal, mixed with bear gall, was introduced under the skin, after application, with needles in early Indian acupuncture, which resulted in black tattoos. Chippewa pricked the charcoal powder into the temples as an analgesic and used the leaves in cough compounds. Huron’s used the boughs for their bed as a snake repellant. Menominee used in herbal steam and smudges for skin ailments and unconsciousness; they decocted the inner bark for amenorrhea, and poulticed powdered leaves onto swellings. Montagnai decocted the bruised twigs as a diaphoretic. Ojibwa used the leaf decoction as an analgetic, antitussive, depurative, and smoked objects and steamed themselves with the smoke or steam as a ceremonial cleansing. Penobscot poulticed the leaves onto hands and feet, and used for cancerous warts. Potawatomi treated the plant almost like a panacea, and burned the leaves over the coals as medicine, ceremonial purification, and to repel evil spirits (Duke, 1983c). Sources cited in Hager's Handbook report that homeopathic doses are effective against animal and plant viruses and that the plant affords protection against schistosomiasis. Hager's Handbook also lists many homeopathic applications, e.g. amnesia, angina, blepharitis, cholecystosis, condylomata, conjunctivitis, gonorrhea, gout, melancholy, myalgia, neuralgia, otitis, pertussis, pharyngitis, pruritus, rheumatism, rhinitis, trachitis, etc. (List and Horhammer, 1969–1979).

Ojibwa Indians are said to have made soup from the inner bark of the young twigs. The twigs are used to make teas, perhaps more medicinal (for constipation, headache) than culinary.
Pith of young shoots - cooked. It can be added to soups. Pleasantly sweet, the pith was used as the basis of the soup according to one report. Inner bark - cooked. It is only used in times of emergency or scarcity. The inner bark can be dried and ground into a powder, then used with wheat or other cereals in making bread, biscuits etc. The leafy branchlets are used as a tea substitute but are probably best avoided by pregnant women. An aromatic flavor. Another report says that the foliage and bark are used; the resulting tea is a good source of vitamin C





White Cedar


Comment: White Cedar, Thuja occidentalis

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