There are many examples of special relationships in nature, especially in the plant world. There is a midewiwin teaching that for all the problems humans may face, there is a plant that can help them. This teaching is perfectly articulated in the relationship between Omakakiibag and Animikiibag, Jewelweed and Poison Ivy.
Poison Ivy and it’s family are plants that can cause rashes, and skin irritation from the oils present in their structure. The most important thing to remember about Poison Ivy is that you should never burn it, as the smoke can cause serious internal burns. The oils from the plant can stay on your clothes or even animal fur, so if exposed it is important to remove this oil with hot water and strong soap. Enter Jewelweed.
Jewelweed is the solution to Poison Ivy exposure. The liquid in the plant will wash away the oils of Poison Ivy, and help relieve the pain of the rash. Jewelweed contains properties that are medicines for treating Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Poison Sumac and Stinging Nettle.
The connection these two plants have is not only that one heals the other’s irritations, but that they grow together. When you find a patch of Poison Ivy, most likely Jewelweed will be growing there too. The relationship between these two plants is a visual representation of the midewiwin teaching. If you harvest Jewelweed, make sure to offer your gratitude and give thanks for the medicines being provided.
Land Invitation: Having learned about the special relationship between Poison Ivy and Jewelweed, do you notice any other special relationships? What plants often grow together, or animals and plants that are always in the same space?