The relationships between people and plants have a long, rich history in Alaska.

Before the advent of Western medicine, Alaska Natives used wormwood for colds and infections. Fireweed for stomach aches. Highbush cranberries to boost the immune system. Willow bark to reduce inflammation. And Yarrow to stop bleeding. 

In all, Ethnobotanists have identified more than 100 plants harvested to treat a range of ailments, including cancer.

At the Dena’ina Wellness Center in Kenai this month, more than a hundred people met to sample medicinal teas, share their knowledge and find ways to keep these healing traditions alive.

The theme for the conference  was “Nudnelyahi qudulyi,” which in the Dena’ina Athabascan language means “that which grows medicine.” 

The Kenaitze Tribe organized the forum in partnership with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, the CIRI Foundation and the Alaska Humanities forum.

This Sunday on Frontiers, KTVA’s Rhonda McBride will have some of the highlights from this two-day workshop – as well as a look at traditional Korean medicine, which uses some of the same medicinal plants in combination with acupuncture.

This week’s guest is Dr. Allison Kelliher, a medical doctor who incorporates healing plants into her practice.

Here’s a preview of this week’s episode of Frontiers, “Alaska’s Healing Plants,” which airs on Sunday, Oct. 1 at 4:30 and 10:30 p.m. on KTVA-Channel 11.