Who does not like Fireweed?
So many names for the same plant. No wonder I did not connect the info from various sources in the past.
Rosebay, Willowherb, Bombweed and many more. Epilobium is the former Genus/name, Chamerion the newer Genus.
Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium) is an often-overlooked herb with amazing medicinal properties. Traditional First Nations usage and modern pharmacology as well as clinical studies suggest its beneficial effects in a number of health concerns. Fireweed has been known to possess anti-inflammatory effects in addition to the recent evidence on its therapeutic effects for both benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and prevention of prostate cancers.
This mini review provides some additional information obtained from First Nations healers, the empirical knowledge associated with clinical practice and aims to stimulate additional interest in the genus, and especially in the circumpolar species of Chamerion angustifolium.
The Cree call it Ihkapaskwa, and noted it
flowered when the moose were fattening and mating.
Other names include Askapask, Athkapask, and
Akapuskwah. The root was macerated and applied to
boils or infections. The leaves were plastered on
bruises. The raw roots were a popular native food
source. Even the summer stem was split open with the
thumbnail or between the teeth, to extract the inner
edible “pith”. It tastes a bit like cucumber but is very
sweet and can give a sugar buzz when needed. The
Kamtschadalis of eastern Russia boiled the plant with
fish and used the leaves as tea. The pith was scraped
out with shells, tied in bundles and sun-dried known
as Kipri, it was boiled into thick, sweet wort and used
to make Quaffe, a fermented drink of malted rye, flour
and wild mint. Six pounds of Kipri was mixed with
one pound of cow parsnip stalks and fermented for
The Woods Cree of Saskatchewan made a tea
of the whole plant for intestinal parasites. The root
can be crushed and applied to boils or abscesses, or to
draw out infection from open wounds.
The Ojibwa call it Zhoshkidjeebik or
Oja’cid’bik meaning slippery root, or soap root. They
would moisten and pound the root until it lathered up
and applied it as a poultice to bruises, boils, furuncles
and sores. An alternate name is Kegi’nano’kuk
meaning sharp pointed weed. The northern
Chipewyan call fireweed, Gon Dhi’ele meaning Fire
New Branch. Natives of Nunavut ate the tops of
Paunnait as summer food. The young stems are full of
sweet water and can be sucked out. Sophie Thomas, a
Sai’Kuz elder and herbalist, suggests drying the root
and then cooking it to treat asthma. (https://phytomedicine.ejournals.ca/index.php/phytomedicine/article/viewFile/16/pdf_4)