Redwood (Shui Shan)

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.

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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.

Basic Habitat/Botany:

Redwoods have three subfamilies.  The Sequoias of California and Oregon and the Metasequioa of China. These are the largest and tallest trees in the world, living to be well over 1000 years old. The Chinese Metasequioa is a much smaller tree.

Western: California Redwoods like deep well-drained soils on flat lands and slopes in the coastal fog belt below 600 metres. Seeds sow in early spring in cold shade. Germination is very slow. Cones mature the following Fall containing seeds the size of a tomato seed. They can produce up to 10,000 seeds annually. But with very low germination, most trees grow more successfully from sprouts that form around the base of tree, using nutrients and the root systems of mature tree. When the “parent” tree dies, a new generation of tree rises, creating a circle of trees known as fairie rings. The trees are most often found in the 4-7,000 ft altitude range. They can withstand temps of -10 to 95 degrees. They flower during the wet and raining season of December and January. Fog plays a vital role in their survival. The treetop needles with tight spikes conserve moisture, while lower branches produce flat needles to catch light threw thick upper canopies. The trees have shallow root sytems that can extend over one hundred feet from the base of the tree, intertwining with roots of other redwoods. This root system increases their stability in strong winds and floods. Pollinated by the wind, the trees have both male and female flowers on single tree.

Eastern: Metasequoia is native to Sichaun-Hubei region in China (it is smaller than the California and Oregon Redwood trees that are typically at least 200 ft tall). The original Metasequoia tree, from which all other Chinese Redwoods are derived, is named “shui-sa or “water fir” and has a local shrine dedicated to it.

Redwood (Shui Shan) 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.

Key Constituents:

Bark and Wood contain very high Tannic content, very little Resin (this helps the tree from catching fire), Tannic acid.

Did you know?

Redwood Paper

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.

Fun fact!

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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ATENCIÓN: Todo el material proporcionado en este sitio web es sólo con fines informativos o educativos. No es sustituto del consejo de su profesional de la salud o médico. Esté sano. Sea feliz. Siéntase completo. Sea libre.

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