Our Plantcestars: Starting our materia medica archive

This archive of materia medica (a living document, collectively and constantly in the process of being re-collected) is dedicated to exploring the sacred and practical uses of plants natively and ancestrally used in the SWANA region. I wish for us to be protected and strengthened practically, and uplifted spiritually and emotionally by this medicine and our engagement and re-memory of it. May their memory at this time serve the highest healing of all who receive it, and the truest and widest liberation of all our peoples and lands in alignment with Natural Law and a respect for life that instills life.


In times of intensified crisis, trauma, and violence throughout the SWANA region and across the global south and many of our diasporic homes from Fergeson, Missouri to Los Angeles, Detroit, and beyond, it is necessary to keep our spirits and bodies strong. Our ancestral medicines and lands provide powerful natural allies who have helped us to heal and sustain ourselves amidst troubles of heart, body, and spirit throughout the ages, including through times of political strife.  As our kin back home struggle for the very right to live and survive in basic dignity, I hope that invoking and re-membering the knowledge of our native plantcestors and original ways can be a part of the insistence and strengthening power that we and our ways will not ever be defeated nor effaced. I hope that these medicines can reinforce us as we reaffirm our rights and sustain and care for ourselves and one another through these difficult times. Our ways are part of our life force, our ways are part of our land and our relationship to it which our kin in Gaza and Syria and Iraq and beyond make courageous sacrifices every day just to maintain. Our ancestral medicines have the power to guide and uphold us through the most powerful and horrific of times. They are allies that connect us to the very pulse and essence of our connection to this earth, nourish the essence of life itself, and connect us to the stories of our lineages whose labors of love have offered us the opportunity to be alive on the earth today. This particular archive is meant to honor and more deeply acquaint ourselves with the medicine of our SWANA homes and ancestors specifically, to bring energy to the sacred healing traditions of our ancestral region and do our part in helping to keep them (and ourselves) alive.

To easily access the archive of information available within our Materia Medica, search under the category “SWANA Plantcestors Archive”, or see the menu bar item called “SWANA Plantcestars” and a list of each entry will show up beneath it in alphabetical order.

Written by:
Layla Kristy Feghali,
MSW, creator of River Rose Apothecary, the نجمع جذورنا – reGather our Ancestors Program and the SWANA Ancestral Medicine HUB. She is a plantcestral educator/herbalist dedicated to the reclamation, healing, and re-membrance of the original teachings and medicine of our indigenous ancestors with a particular focus on the SWANA region.

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