The Legend

In the winter of 1534, a French explorer, Jacques Cartier, and his crew found themselves ice-bound – their ship frozen in the St. Lawrence River, which runs through what is now Quebec. Stranded with sparse supplies and without fruits or vegetables, Cartier’s crew soon became ill with scurvy. The disease took the lives of many onboard and Cartier knew he had to find a way to save those remaining. He disembarked and began his quest, seeking help from native Quebec Indians. These first nation people were wise as to the medicinal properties of native trees and plants and they directed the Frenchman to the Anneda tree. They told Cartier how he could use the bark and the needles of this tree, forming an ingestible extract. What remained of the bark and needles was also made into a poultice that would relieve the pain of his crew’s aching joints. Cartier provided this treatment to two of his crewmembers and within one week they had recovered. The finding of this medicinal tree bark was actually the beginning, but it wasn’t until 1986 that the healing properties of this “free-radical scavenger” was perfected and reintroduced.

 

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