Western Redcedar traditionally grows along the northwestern coast of the United States and in southwestern Canada. The natives of these areas all recognize the Western Redcedar as an important part of their individual cultures. Traditionally, this wood was used for many medical purposes while also providing lumber for structures and other materials for buildings and tools. Today, Western Redcedar is no longer lauded for amazing medical cures; however, the prolific use of Western Redcedar in the creation of saunas due to rot resistant qualities does bring this lumber back into the physical and mental health world.
The ancient peoples of North America are a resourceful group, and the tribes that used the Western Redcedar were no different. For these people, a single tree would hold not only shelter and tool materials but also medicinal and spiritual value. The Lummi tribe, for example, would thoroughly chew and swallow the buds as a cure for sore lungs. The Cowlitz chewed them for toothaches.
Three different tribes boiled parts of the tree in order to cure sore throats, soothe coughs, and even as a tuberculosis medicine. Lastly, the Quinault infused bark and twigs to help with kidney trouble and boiled cedar limbs to wash sores cause by venereal diseases. The Redcedar was so important to some tribes that they called themselves “people of the Redcedar”. This “tree of life,” as many tribes called it, not only helped cure ailments, but also provided shelter, clothing, and materials for baskets, tools, and weapons.
Western Redcedar continues to be an important lumber in the 21st century builder. While the name given by the Natives has fallen away, some still praise Redcedar for its healing properties. Redcedar is naturally rot resistant because of extractives, which are a natural fungicide, and this unique characteristic makes Redcedar perfect for outdoor applications, such as furniture, shingles, siding, and decking.
Many people also seek out Redcedar for saunas. The rot resistance makes this luxurious wood perfect for sweat bathing. Saunas made from Western Redcedar help promote healthy blood circulation, improved lung function, and a stronger immune systems. Skin rejuvenation and mental relaxation are also benefits of this relaxing practice.
Finding Western Redcedar
Medical brews, baskets, and saunas may not be the main uses of Western Redcedar today, but they do attest to the versatility and strength of this lumber. J. Gibson McIlvain, a wholesale lumber supplier located in White Marsh, Maryland, understands the intricacies of Western Redcedar. They are dedicated to bringing their clients the best quality Redcedar lumber for every project. Contact them for a free quote today!
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