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Traditional Plant Foods of Canadian Indigenous Peoples: Nutrition, Botany and Use



Abstract Reporting on the nutritional, botanical and ethnological data of more than one thousand species of edible plants, this reference guide addresses an academic audience with a variety of backgrounds and needs. In addition to providing nutrition information, it describes regions where plants are available and presents patterns of use of particular species of Canadian Indigenous Peoples. Several cross-referencing tables containing common English plant names, botanical names and composite information about each species are accompanied by chapters giving an overview of the known ethnic uses of the most important and universally used species. In addition, a thorough index is supplied. Biologists, ethnologists, Indigenous Peoples, nutritionists, wildlife enthusiasts and health care professionals should all find this volume irreplaceable.
Kuhnlein HV and NJ Turner. 1991. Traditional Plant Foods of Canadian
Indigenous Peoples- nutrition, botany and use. Gordon and Breach 1991
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... Regarding the production, harvesting wild fruits/berries is one delicate step which becomes performed manually since otherwise it requires little specialized equipment which is not selective. It collects leaves and twigs which need to be further clean using traditional approaches (e.g., by floating the leaves and twigs in water) or other specialized equipment, such ''huckleberry combine'' (Kuhnlein and Turner 2020). Even though, the use of mechanical techniques may increase harvesting yield, they usually cause issues associated with fruits degradation (Kuhnlein and Turner 2020; Pinela et al. 2017). ...
... Therefore, their commercialization is dependent on processed rather than fresh products. Hence, storage and processing methods that allow their further preservation are of key importance (Kuhnlein and Turner 2020;Tikkanen 2015). Regarding the storage techniques, small-scale producers use very cold chest freezers and bag them while flash-freezing represents a cost-effective approach for larger producers (Tikkanen 2015). ...
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In recent years, there is a growing interest in nutraceutical-rich functional foods for promoting human health. Wild fruits and berries are excellent sources of phytochemicals even though the most deeply studied are the polyphenolic compounds, among them, the major ones such as flavonoids, anthocyanins, or tannins. This review aimed to comprehensively analyze the currently available literature on wild edible fruits and berries, since these fruits are characterized for their high content of polyphenolic compounds. Moreover, both intrinsic (ripening and genetic variability) and extrinsic (environmental conditions: habitat, light, temperature) factors where considered since they affect the polyphenolic content in these fruits. Besides, the therapeutic potential of berries for treating human diseases was assessed through the revision of in vivo and in vitro assays and clinical studies, having in mind that most of these effects are exerted due to their antioxidant capacity. Furthermore, recent challenges and future trends on the research and utilization of wild fruits and berries were addressed to complete the overview of this sustainable source of natural ingredients. Finally, ScienceDirect, Scopus, and Google Scholar were the databases used for the compilation of the information present in this review, selecting the more recent studies and comparing from a critical point of view, the information found. Thus, this review compiled information of berries regarding their polyphenolic content and the variations this suffer depending on different variables; the potential use of the berries for a therapeutic application; and the trends and challenges that the use of berries faces after the research done.
... Thuja occidentalis L., also known as cedar leaf, is prevalent in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada. Historically, Ojibwa Indians, as well as other indigenous eastern North American peoples, used the leaves of this botanical in teas (Kuhnlein and Turner, 1991). It later was named arborvitae ("tree of life") by the French explorer Jacques Cartier after local Indians treated him and his crew for scurvy using a tea prepared from the leaves and bark of the tree (Kuhnlein and Turner, 1991). ...
... Historically, Ojibwa Indians, as well as other indigenous eastern North American peoples, used the leaves of this botanical in teas (Kuhnlein and Turner, 1991). It later was named arborvitae ("tree of life") by the French explorer Jacques Cartier after local Indians treated him and his crew for scurvy using a tea prepared from the leaves and bark of the tree (Kuhnlein and Turner, 1991). Subsequent production of the oil derived from this botanical began in the mid-nineteenth century by farmers in northern New York and Vermont for use in fine fragrances and room fresheners (Guenther, 1952;Lawrence, 1979). ...
In recent years, the Expert Panel of the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) has conducted a program to re-evaluate the safety of natural flavor complexes (NFCs) used as flavor ingredients. This publication, twelfth in the series, details the re-evaluation of NFCs whose constituent profiles are characterized by alicyclic or linear ketones. In its re-evaluation, the Expert Panel applies a scientific constituent-based procedure for the safety evaluation of NFCs in commerce using a congeneric group approach. Estimated intakes of each congeneric group of the NFC are evaluated using the well-established and conservative Threshold of Toxicological Concern (TTC) approach. In addition, studies on the toxicity and genotoxicity of members of the congeneric groups and the NFCs under evaluation are reviewed. The scope of the safety evaluation of the NFCs contained herein does not include added use in dietary supplements or any products other than food. Thirteen (13) NFCs derived from the Boronia, Cinnamomum, Thuja, Ruta, Salvia, Tagetes, Hyssopus, Iris, Perilla and Artemisia genera are affirmed as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) under conditions of their intended use as flavor ingredients based on an evaluation of each NFC and the constituents and congeneric groups therein.
... Despite extensive consumption of wild plants and fungi by Indigenous people across the Canadian west, there is little indication of pre-contact consumption of morel mushrooms by Indigenous Nations (Kuhnlein & Turner, 1991). This lack of interest in morel mushrooms when compared to other wild foods has also been reported in present-day Indigenous First Nations (Doyle et al., 2012;Kuhnlein et al., 2013). ...
... Further, the governance of other wild mushrooms, such as pine, boletes and chanterelles, may be more complicated as these mushrooms are, at least traditionally, more commonly harvested in Indigenous communities (Kuhnlein & Turner, 1991). Thus, the governance of these mushrooms, even when considering the relatively less-fraught context of hobbyist harvesting (Fine, 2008), may be more complex because of the increased desire among Indigenous harvesters to pick and consume these mushrooms which fruit on their Territories (Richards & Creasy, 1996). ...
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This thesis explores processes of opportunism and socio-political change following so-called “natural” disasters through a multi-sited case study of the post-wildfire morel mushroom (Morchella sp.) harvest in Western Canada. Morels are edible fungi which fruit en masse the first spring season following large wildfires in western North America. This work follows harvesters who picked morels after the 2016 Horse River wildfire on Treaty 8 territory (near Fort McMurray, Alberta), and the 2018 Shovel Lake wildfire on Nadleh Whut’en, Stellat’en, and Nak’azdli Whut’en Territories (British Columbia). Thinking with and beyond the concepts of disaster capitalism and disaster colonialism, this thesis extends analyses of post-disaster change from considerations of states and large corporations to smaller-scale actors. As such, I consider the roles of hobbyist local harvesters, precarious pieceworkers in the wild mushroom industry, Indigenous Guardians of the Land, and forest ecologies more broadly. I demonstrate that while disaster capitalism and disaster colonialism are pervasive in the post-disaster landscape, they are not inevitable. Instead, I argue that post-disaster opportunity is emergent, contingent, and includes possibilities for reworking, resistance, and resurgence. In this work, I argue that settler-colonial aims to subsume nature produce the ecological conditions which make the commercial mushroom harvest possible. This industry, in turn, disproportionately benefits settler harvesters over Indigenous Nations and forest ecologies. I also demonstrate that the materiality of wildfire memories affects different groups’ capacities to harvest mushrooms, influence others, and define the ethical standards of the harvest. Finally, I examine how settler claims to post-disaster opportunity on Indigenous lands¬ are connected to broader affective “settler common sense” and “white possessive” claims to adventure, freedom and commerce. Together, these findings demonstrate how the concurrent and often contradicting post-disaster opportunism demonstrated by small-scale actors relate to broader politics about natural disasters, environmental politics, resource extraction, and Indigenous governance within Canada and in other settler-colonial contexts.
... Losing this emotional connection to a social-ecological system may occur in tandem with erosion of resource boundaries and sanctioning mechanisms that are key to self-governance (Ostrom, 1994), cumulatively impairing efforts in communitybased wildlife management (Benyei et al., 2022). This unravelling can have serious implications for the resilience of Indigenous communities, reducing capacity to endure environmental shocks such as pest infestation (Bentley and Rodriguez, 2001), extreme weather events (Kuhnlein and Turner, 2020) or climate change (Goḿez-Baggethun and Reyes-Garcıá, 2013). ...
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Introduction Indigenous communities typically hold diverse traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) of their social-ecological system. Much of this knowledge is embodied as skills related to subsistence practices within a specific landscape and is associated with community values and norms. Ways of knowing often reflect the different activities traditionally undertaken by men and women. The incursion of external forces, including urbanization, the cash economy and migration tends to diminish transmission of traditional embodied skills. Knowledge can be lost as culturally significant environments degrade or species become extirpated. Lack of opportunity to develop traditional knowledge and skills can diminish feelings of place and identity, and thus capacity for local environmental stewardship. Methods The Yangambi region, Democratic Republic of Congo is a hunting territory of the Turumbu ethnic group. We used questionnaires to explore how levels of wildmeat knowledge and skill may have changed over time among the Turumbu. Results The responses showed lower levels of self-reported skill among women who started to participate in the last 10-15 years. This pattern partly reflects the period of ‘apprenticeship’ but may also suggest diminished learning opportunity in recent years. Skills in cooking, smoking, and selling wildmeat persisted at a higher level than skills in curing disease and gathering wild produce. There was a much more marked pattern for men, with diminishing levels of wildmeat skill reported for around 35-40 years, and even earlier for knowledge of traditional medicine and wildmeat taboos. Questions about mentoring suggested that women have maintained knowledge pathways between mother and daughter, while men showed a shift toward increased learning from uncles. Discussion Gender differences in sharing and learning TEK may be linked to the type of skills that remain valuable in a changing social, ecological, and economic context. Men traditionally undertake the capture elements of hunting, while women deal with wildmeat processing, marketing, and cooking. The Yangambi wildmeat system has evolved from subsistence to a strongly market-driven economy during the lifetime of our study participants. This shift may partly explain why market-based kills such as food smoking and selling have endured longer than hunter’s nature-based knowledge.
... Dried laver was then used either as a snack or cooked in a variety of dishes, traditionally along with heads of halibut, clams, or salmon (Kuhnlein & Turner, 1991). European traditions (see the section below) with using various seaweeds were, in the mid-19th century, brought along with Irish and Scottish immigrants to coastal areas in both West and East North America (California, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and New England) and became part of the culinary traditions, particularly in the Canadian Maritime provinces. ...
... The traditional use of Porphyra spp. by the first nations living along the Pacific coast of North America was also documented by ethnobotanists 18,19,20,21 . In South America, pre-Inca and Inca populations also incorporated red algae in their diet 22 . ...
The human gut microbiota can acquire new catabolic functions by integrating genetic material coming from bacteria associated to the food. The most illustrative example is the acquisition of genes by the gut microbiota of Asian populations coming from marine bacteria living at the surface of algae incorporated in diet. In order to interrogate the pace of acquisition of algal polysaccharide utilizing loci (PUL) and their diffusion rate inside populations, we investigated the PUL dedicated to degradation of porphyran, the main polysaccharide of the red algae Porphyra sp. used to prepare maki-sushi. We demonstrated that both methylated and unmethylated fractions were catabolized without the help of external enzymes. The PUL organization was conserved in several Bacteroidetes strains, highlighting lateral transfers inside the microbiota, but we point out various conserved mutations, deletion and insertions. Geographic distribution of the variants showed that specific mutation and recombination events appeared independently in geographically distant populations.
Safety and quality of our food supply are crucial parts of good food governance. The primary goal of food legislation is to ensure the public's access to nutritious, pure food that is free from contamination. Food safety regulations, legislation, and standards vary from one nation to the next. All aspects of the agricultural industry are within the purview of agricultural law. Supporting and accommodating farmers is a crucial part of the project. Losses sustained by farmers need to be mitigated, and issues pertaining to farming, such as land ownership, environmental and social equity, and climate change, need to be addressed. An objective and credible analysis of the economic effect of required food and agricultural legislation on the businesses that provide them is needed. Here, the authors discuss 75 years' worth of changes and problems faced by the food manufacturing businesses as a result of mandated food and farm legislation.
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Essential oils (EOs) are advised by traditional medical systems for the treatment of a variety of disorders worldwide. In many ancient medical systems around the world, Polygonum herbs have been employed as remedies including P. equisetiforme Sm. The EO profile of P. equisetiforme and its bioactivities have yet to be discussed in depth. As a result, the current study aims to investigate the chemical profile and free radical scavenging capacity of P. equisetiforme EO. Hydrodistillation was used to obtain the EO from P. equisetiforme, and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) was used for analysis. A total of forty-three compounds, including terpenes and sesquiterpenes as the main components (76.13% and 69.06%, respectively), were identified in the oil using the GC-MS analysis. The main constituents of the oil were hexahydrofarnesyl acetone (29.45%), 7-epi-selinene (14.45%), isospathulenol (8.35%), and n-docosane (6.79%). The chemosystematic significance of the plant was established via multivariate assessing, comprising principal component analysis (PCA), hierarchical clustering, and constellation plot, of the EO principal components of the various Polygonum plants. The P. equisetiforme exhibited different associations with the studied Polygonum spp. Then, the scavenging of the free radicals 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and 2,2′-azinobis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) was used to evaluate the radical scavenging abilities of EO compared with those of vitamin C, a reference antioxidant. P. equisetiforme EO exhibited the scavenging capacity of the DPPH and the ABTS free radical with respective IC50 values of 470.01 and 113.74 mg L−1 compared with vitamin C, and with IC50 values of 39.06 and 26.09 mg L−1, respectively. The in silico studies revealed that the oxygenated sesquiterpenes, especially ar-turmerone, hexahydrofarnesyl acetone, and 5E,9E-farnesyl acetone, exhibited the best fitting with hematopoietic cell kinase (Hck) and human Peroxiredoxin 5 proteins with ΔG values of −6.14 and −4.93, −6.83 and −5.34, and −7.08 and −5.47 kcal/mol, respectively. The major components’ combined or individual effects may be responsible for the antioxidant properties. Therefore, additional extensive studies are advised to characterize the essential compounds as radical scavenger agents, either individually or in combination.
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Human knowledge about forest conservation can be realized through the local wisdom of the community. Values and meanings in local wisdom are important for suppressing ecological crises that create imbalances in ecosystems. This study aims to reveal the local wisdom values of the Karampuang indigenous people in conserving forests. The method used in this research is descriptive qualitative ethnography with data collection through participatory observation, in-depth interviews and documentation. The results of the study show that the local wisdom in forest conservation owned by the Karampuang indigenous people in the Bugis tribe has been embodied in their concept of: Mapakalebbi ale hanua (respect for the forest). The practice of mapakalebbi ale hanua such as; Mappatau ale (humanizing the forest), De’namakkasolang ale (not destroying the forest), Tuo kamase mase (simple life). The existence of the Mapakalebbi ale hanua concept is interpreted by the community to be quite effective in keeping the forest sustainable.
Wild food plants are important for human beings. Their beneficial effects are due to the multiple ingredients of these plants. Besides nutrients, recent evidence also suggests that many non-nutrient bioactive compounds besides promoting optimal health also reduces the risk of chronic diseases. They can also be used as a model plants for the development of resilient crops since they grow in wild conditions. Nowadays databases are very important since they provide the required information at one place. Several databases have been developed over the period of time which provide important information regarding the plants ranging from their taxonomy to phytochemistry to genomics. The present book chapter is an attempt to provide information regarding various databases such as the Food plant international database, eBASIS, Food composition databases, The Chemical Composition of American Food Materials, CMUAP, and TRY-plant trait database that are available and can be used for the study of wild food plants. Besides these, other available databases such as IPNI, The plant list, and efloras can be used for the correct identification and distribution of these wild food plants. There is no dedicated database for wild food plants and therefore, there is a need for developing a comprehensive database for wild food plants so that the information regarding various aspects such as taxonomy, distribution, uses, phytochemistry, etc. can be made available to researchers, planners and other users at one place. This chapter further provides a framework for how a dedicated database can be developed for wild food plants.KeywordsWild food plantsFood plantsDatabaseNutrientsFood securityWild edibles
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