Native uses of salal

Salal (Gaultheria shallon)

Salal, the Pacific Northwest native, which has a major presence in our woodlands was used extensively by the indigenous people for culinary and medicinal purposes. Salal’s dark blue berries and young leaves are both edible and are efficient appetite suppressants, both with a unique flavor. G. shallon berries were a significant food resource for native people, who ate them fresh and dried them into cakes. Some folded the leaves like cones for drinking. 

The berries were also used for medicinal purposes for a wide range of ailments including but not limited to, treatment for cuts and burns, an infusion for indigestion, colic and diarrhea, respiratory distress from colds or tuberculosis, and as a convalescent tonic. 

Considering how prevalent salal is in Pacific Northwest forests it is no wonder that native peoples found so many uses for the plant.