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To Keep Native Medicinal Knowledge Alive, Leaders Organize Plant Walks

This plant is commonly call self-heals, and it refers to plants in the genus Prunella. Herbalist Stephanie Cohen says it can treat skin and digestive issues. Photo by Kathleen Masterson for VPR

To prevent their collective cultural knowledge about medicinal plants from disappearing, some Vermont tribal nations are sharing their expertise with those outside the native communities.

On a recent sunny morning, a small group of 10 or so people gathered in the parking lot at the entrance to Vermont state land for a educational plant walk through the forest.

Before making it out of the parking lot, Tom Beck, one of the instructors, pointed out the first medicinal plant to the group.

“Right here, this is a piece of sweet grass, it’s actually pretty long, and it’s quite nice,” says Beck.

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