Thuja or western hemlock had medicinal purposes for Native Americans.
Thuja (Thuja occidentalis) is an evergreen, native North American tree which grows to a mature height of 30 to 50 feet. The tree also is referred to as eastern arborvitae, white cedar, western hemlock and American arborvitae.
Thuja has long been an important part of traditional Native American medicine as a remedy for numerous ailments. Native Americans also burned the tree for the scent the fire created, which was said to keep away the evil spirits. Does this Spark an idea?
The anti-viral properties found in thuja render it highly effective when used internally or externally for the treatment of warts and polyps. Thuja also is used to treat bacterial skin infections and herpes simplex viruses, which are responsible for cold sores. The anti-viral properties of thuja make it a popular remedy for eye inflammation, as well.
The essential oils of thuja are effective in relieving joint pain and stiffness. Extracts of thuja are prepared into ointments and creams and used on painful muscles and joints, where they help to improve the local blood supply in the area and relax stiffness. According to the website Herbs2000.com, thuja ointments are especially helpful for people suffering from arthritis.
Thuju works well as an expectorant and decongestant, as it is highly effective in treating a number of respiratory tract infections and symptoms associated with acute bronchitis. According to the Monterey Bay Spice Company, twigs of the tree are mainly used for their expectorant properties, encouraging more productive coughs, which clear up the respiratory system.
The diuretic properties in thuja help to relieve bed wetting in children. Thuja twigs especially help the body in eliminating water, and are used for the treatment of cystitis, as well.