Fireweed (Epilobium or Chamerion angustifolium).

One of the first plants to usher in new growth after a forest fire, this is a rhizomatic survivor plant, a medicine of our times that helps heal the skin of the earth. Applied topically, fireweed is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and pain-relieving, so they have a place in healing burns to our own skins too, as well as other wounds, and is helpful for arthritic joints and eczema. In her beautiful book Medicines to Help Us, Christi Belcourt shares the Michif-Cree phrase: eñ narbaazh di feu (fireweed in Michif-Cree) “acts to clean wounds and heal the skin.”

Internally, fireweed tea is one my go-tos for smooth muscle cramping, particularly in the gut, so it’s helpful for IBS and Chron’s symptoms, as well as gastro infections. And, fireweed has a special affinity for healing vaginal yeast infections, chronic or acute.

Fireweed is a wonderful food plant too, high in vitamins C and A. In the Boreal Herbal, Beverley Gray describes how the leaves can be eaten along with other sautéed greens, and the flowers make a beautiful jelly.

I am currently drying two harvests of fireweed for tea and macerating flower buds to make an eczema salve