(Onkwawen Tkaienthohseron “Our Garden” The Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres)
There are four main medicines we refer to which can be grown in a garden. The four kinds are: Tobacco, Sage, Cedar, and Sweetgrass.
If your garden group plans on growing the 4 medicines it’s important to grow them in a good way. You can plant the medicines in the ground or in a container; however, you should always use organic growing methods to help to keep them pure and to preserve their healing qualities. If you decide to grow them in the ground, be sure to plant them in an area of the garden that does not see heavy walking traffic. They should also be planted away from any streets where they may be exposed to any car exhaust or other sources of contamination.
Each of the four sacred medicines was given to the First Nations people as a means of communicating with the Creator. Tobacco was the first plant to be received, and is therefore considered to be the most powerful of all medicines. Tobacco is followed by sage, cedar, and sweetgrass. It is sometimes thought that tobacco sits in the eastern door, sweetgrass in the southern door, sage in the west and cedar in the north; however, these assigned directions differ from First Nation to First Nation. Together, this quartet works to establish a potent connection to the Creator and the Spirit World. Various nations have different teachings regarding these medicines.
The following section provides general information regarding the Four Sacred Medicines, and may differ from certain teachings. For a more in-depth exploration of the Four Medicines, consult with a local Elder, Healer or Medicine Person.