Weeds may be ‘medicine at your front door’

What use does a dandelion have besides being a weed in a garden? Does devil’s club really have medicinal qualities? That and many more questions were answered by Nancy Lee-Evans during the Medicinal Plant Walk June 12 at Bishop’s Beach.

The class, part of the diverse series of Thriving Thursday wellness classes offered by Seldovia Village Tribe Health and Wellness, attracted a large crowd in spite of the rain and gusting wind. 

Lee-Evans offered paper handouts titled  “Using Five Common Alaskan Plants for Food and Medicine” to her audience under the protection of the Bishop’s Beach pavillion. She gave harvesting directions, cautionary notes, and the health and food uses for dandelion, chickweed, nettle, wild rose and spruce.

“You have medicine at your front door,” Lee-Evans said during her presentation. 

Lee-Evans then guided her group along the Beluga Lake Slough Trail and the beach, all the while listing off the medicinal and edible values of the surrounding flora.

When prepared correctly, dandelions aid in cleansing livers that are overindulged with fats and alcohol, or inflamed with hepatitis.  

Lee-Evans also brought up the hearty and spiky devil’s club plant — even though it wasn’t seen on the walk — because of its many therapeutic uses. A few uses include helping ease colds, fevers, gallstones and upset stomachs. 

Lee-Evans is the founding director of the Anam Cara Program, which “blends instruction in spiritual practice, personal growth and human development, intuition, indigenous ancestry and healing,” according to the program’s website. Lee-Evans has apprenticed with Janice Schofield, the author of the book “Discovering Wild Plants,” and has offered many educational native plant workshops.

Classes provided by the Seldovia Village Tribe Health and Wellness start at 6 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

“The classes are for anyone, and not limited to just patients,” said Amy Rattenbury, organizer of the Thriving Thursday classes. Rattenbury is a licensed acupuncturist, certified Chinese herbalist and lifestyle coach. 

SVT partners with local organizations, inviting guest speakers from the community to present on different wellness topics. Rattenbury says one of the goals is to find out what the community is interested in; she welcomes topic suggestions.

Past classes have included nutrition, gardening, essential oils and Chinese medicine.

Last week’s class “Nettle Love” was presented by Jenifer Dickson, certified nutritional therapist, on the benefits and wide uses of nettles. She juiced steamed nettles together with fruits and other vegetables for attendees to sample and advised on the correct season to harvest wild nettles. 

No class will be held tonight.

Lee-Evans is back July 10 for instruction on basic herbal preparations and July 17 for more in depth education on making a tincture and a salve. 

On July 24, Dr. Rob Downey will present on adrenal fatigue and its role in energy and vitality. On July 31 Dickson will teach on probiotic food and the benefits of eating food with good bacteria. 

For more information visit http://svthw.org  or call 226-2228 ext. 660 to suggest topics for future classes.

Shannon Reid is a freelance writer who lives in Homer.

Seldovia Village Tribe Health and Wellness Thriving Thursday


SVT Homer
Wellness Wing
880 E. End Road

Time: 6-8 p.m.

Fee: Classes are free and open to the public


July 10: “Herbal Remedies from Alaskan Plants Part One” by Nancy Lee-Evans

July 17: “Herbal Remedies from Alaskan Plants Part Two” by Nancy Lee-Evans

July 24: “Adrenal Fatigue” by Dr. Rob Downey 

July 31: “Probiotic Foods: Why They Are Essential For Excellent Health” by Jenifer Dickson