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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A selection of traditional medicinal remedies important to contermporary Carrier people in their treatment of disease Ritch-Krc, Elizabeth Maud


This project focuses on the documentation and analysis of folk medicines used by the Carrier people in northcentral British Columbia. It includes the traditional and contemporary plant knowledge of the medicinal properties of the plants, as well as methods used to prepare and administer herbal remedies. A collection of voucher specimens of the prepared medicinal plants and the plants from which they were derived accompanies this project. Important Carrier medicinal plants include: Abies lasiocarpa, Alnus incana, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Artemisia frigida. Fragaria virginiana, Juniperus communis, Picea glauca, Pinus contorta, Populus tremuloides, Rubus idaeus, Salix sp. and Shepherdia canadensis. The antimicrobial properties of some of the medicines were evaluated to determine the therapeutic properties of traditional herbal preparations. Using the disk diffusion method aqueous medicinal preparations, pitch preparations and methanolic extracts were screened against five known human pathogens: Escherichia coli, Staphlyococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida albicans and Aspergillus fumigatus. The results indicated definite antimicrobial activity in the pitch preparations of Picea glauca and Pinus contorta and provide a starting point for the pharmacognostic evaluation of these plants. In addition, a cytoxicity assay - colorimetric method - was used to test the anticancer activity of the methanolic extracts of Alnus incana and Shepherdia canadensis against mouse mastocytoma cells. Preliminary results indicated that A. incana possessed definite anticancer properties. S. canadensis also produced some cytotoxic activity, although not as great as that produced by A. incana. The study provides further evidence to support the pharmacological validity of Native herbal medicines.

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