Advertisement

Analysis of Environmental Contaminants in Muskrat Root, Acorus americanus Raf.: A Traditional Indigenous Medicinal Plant

  • Michelle A. GrayEmail author
  • Eva M. Walker
  • Cecelia Brooks
  • Luke deMarsh
Article

Abstract

The diets of Indigenous people rely on food and medicinal plants harvested directly from the land and there is increasing concern from Indigenous knowledge holders over changes to the appearance and flavor of wild harvested food and medicinal plants. We collected samples of muskrat root, considered an important medicinal plant, at 11 traditional collection locations to quantify contaminants of concern. There were no spatial or temporal trends apparent and the risk via consumption was found to be very low. This study provides a “base” measure to which future samples may be compared, especially as development and other anthropogenic pressures increase. This study is also an example of how western science and Indigenous knowledge, can be merged for the benefit of both knowledge systems in what is known to Indigenous groups as etuaptmumk or ‘two-eyed seeing’.

Keywords

Acorus americanus Keweswosk (Mi’kmaq) Kiwohosuwasq (Wolastoq) Calamus root (English) Muskrat root Traditional medicine 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This project was funded by the Canadian First Nations Environmental Contaminants Program. We would like to thank David Bardwell and Anthony Bardwell for assisting with the collection of samples.

References

  1. Baars AJ, Theelen RMC, Janssen PJCM, Hesse JM, van Apeldoorn ME, Meijerink MCM, Verdam L, Zeilmaker MJ (2001) Re-evaluation of human-toxicological maximum permissible risk levels. RIVM Rep 711701:025Google Scholar
  2. Bartlett C, Marshall M, Marshall A (2007) Integrative science: Enabling concepts within a journey guided by trees holding hands and two-eyed seeing. Institute for Integrative Science and Health, Cape Breton University, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  3. Bhatia M, Goyal D (2014) Analyzing remediation potential of wastewater through wetland plants: a review. Environ Prog Sustain Energy 33(1):9–27.  https://doi.org/10.1002/ep.11822 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)/ World Health Organization (WHO) (2002) Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives June 2001. In: 57th Meeting, RomeGoogle Scholar
  5. Getty G, Perley R, Fraser D, Dare P, Mioc D (2009) Mapping of the contaminants affecting the health of First Nations in New Brunswick. Report submitted to North Shore District Council and the Union of New Brunswick Indians.Google Scholar
  6. Health Canada (2005) It’s your health: Dioxins and furans. https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/hc-sc/migration/hc-sc/hl-vs/alt_formats/pacrb-dgapcr/pdf/iyh-vsv/environ/dioxin-eng.pdf. Accessed 12 Jan 2013
  7. Health Canada (2010) Part II: Health Canada Toxicological Reference Values (TRVs) and chemical-specific factors, version 2.0. Ottawa, Ontario, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  8. Health Canada (2012) Federal Contaminated Site Risk Assessment in Canada, Part I: Guidance on Human Health Preliminary Quantitative Risk Assessment (PQRA), Version 2.0. Contaminated Sites Division, Safe Environments Directorate, Health Canada, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  9. Hinds HR (2000) Flora of New Brunswick: a manual for the identification of the vascular plants of New Brunswick, 2nd edn. University of New Brunswick, FrederictonGoogle Scholar
  10. Institute of Medicine (IOM) (1997) Dietary reference intakes for calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin D, and fluoride. National Academy Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  11. Jeelani N, Yang W, Xu L, Qiao Y, An S. Leng X (2017) Phytoremediation potential of Acorus calamus in soils co-contaminated with cadmium and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Sci Rep 7:8028.  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-07831-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. McAuley C, Dersch A, Kates LN, Sowan DR, Ollson CA (2016) Improving risk assessment calculations for traditional foods through collaborative research with First Nations communities. Risk Anal 36(12):1295–2207.  https://doi.org/10.1111/risa.12578 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Schrauzer GN (2002) Lithium: occurrence, dietary intakes, nutritional essentiality. J Am Coll Nutr 21(1):14–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Tang S (1993) Experimental study of a constructed wetland for treatment of acidic wastewater from an iron mine in China. Ecol Eng 2:253–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Union of New Brunswick Indians (UNBI) (2004) Contaminants in the major river systems around the province and effects on selected New Brunswick First Nation Communities. Final report for Phase 2 (May 2003–March 2004)Google Scholar
  16. US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) (1994) Estimating exposure to dioxin-like compounds - Review Draft. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  17. USEPA (2017) Regional Screening Level (RSL) Summary Table. https://semspub.epa.gov/work/HQ/197025.pdf. Accessed 27 Nov 2017
  18. Van Oostdam J, Donaldson SG, Feeley M, Arnold D, Ayotte P, Bond G, Chan L, Dewaily E, Furgal CM, Kuhnlein H, Loring E, Muckle G, Myles E, Receveur O, Tracy B, Gill U, Kalhok S (2005) Human health implications of environmental contaminants in Arctic Canada: a review. Sci Total Environ 351–352:165–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Wang Q, Cui Y, Dong Y (2002) Phytoremediation of polluted waters potentials and prospects of wetland plants. Acta Biotechnol 22:199–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. WHO (2002) Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants. In: 57th report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. WHO Technical Report Series. No. 909Google Scholar
  21. WHO (2009) Beryllium in drinking-water background document for development of WHO guidelines for drinking-water quality. WHO, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  22. WHO (2011a) Evaluation of certain contaminants in food. In: 72nd report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. WHO Technical Report Series. No. 959Google Scholar
  23. WHO (2011b) Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants. In: 73rd report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. WHO Technical Report Series. No. 960Google Scholar
  24. WHO (2011c) Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants. In: 74th report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. WHO Technical Report Series. No. 966Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle A. Gray
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eva M. Walker
    • 1
  • Cecelia Brooks
    • 2
  • Luke deMarsh
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management and the Canadian Rivers InstituteUniversity of New BrunswickFrederictonCanada
  2. 2.Mi’gmawe’l Tplu’taqnn Incorporated (MTI)MiramichiCanada

Personalised recommendations