Redwood (Shui Shan)
Botanical Name: Western – Sequoioideae (Sequoiadendron of California and Oregon). Eastern – Metasequioa.
The American writer John Steinbeck said, “The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color that seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.”
Below is an overview of redwood, combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of redwood.
Western Name: Redwood
Also Known As: Sequoia
Organs/Systems: Immunity, Lungs, Skin
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Stimulant, Tonic, Antibiotic, Disinfectant, Anti-inflamatory.
Pin Yin: Shui Shan
Also Known As: Dawn Redwood
Meridians: Kidney, Spleen, Lung
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Leaf and Fruit used: Clear Heat and Resolves Toxins: colds, flus, hot skin rashes. Eliminates Inflamation and Relieves Pain: abscesses, sores, cuts and bruises.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Leaves, Sap, Inner bark. Fruit is edible.
Flavors/Temps: Bitter, Cooling
Caution: High Tannin content means you want to watch dosing as too much could upset your stomach.
History/Folklore: The Giant Sequioa was named after Chief Sequoia (of the Cherokee Nation). The Sequoia tribe could read and write and had an 86 letter alaphabet. The Pomo indians used these trees for medicine and food. The Cherokee considered Redwoods as a symbol of wisdom, independence and communication. The trees are known as “peace givers” by Native Americans.
The Chinese Redwood was thought to be extinct for thousands of years and then was happily rediscovered in 1944. Redwoods have experienced morphological stasis for the last 65 million years, meaning the modern tree is identical to its late Cretaceous ancestors. The gummy sap is used as a stimulant and tonic to treat fatigue, stress, and rundown conditions. A brown dye can be made from the bark. Sprouts from burls have been used in making baskets. The soft fibrous bark can be easily harvested without hurting the tree and was used as insulating or stuffing material, the fine bark dust created while doing stripping the bark is a good soil conditioner.
The trees are an ancient symbol of protection, balance, and pursuing new visions. Redwoods are practically immune to termites and pests making their wood valuable for building with.
A Redwoods roots never die, when the tree dies or is cut down, new ones grow from the sprouts of the tree’s roots. The only way to stop a redwood from growing is to have it struck by lightening.
Bark and Wood contain very high Tannic content, very little Resin (this helps the tree from catching fire), Tannic acid.
Redwood’s fibrous bark was also used to make brownish paper.
In the Arctic
Redwood fossils have been found across North America, Canada and as far north as the Arctic.
200 Million Years
Redwood trees date back 200 million years to when dinosaurs were alive and the climate was warmer and more humid.
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