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Hugging the Arbutus tree

Botanist Diana Beresford-Kroeger recommends that people living on the West Coast “should hug the broad-leafed and cinnamon-coloured Arbutus tree (Arbutus menzeisii), especially in April or May”. That’s when it produces buds and come into flower. She suggests you put your hands on the trunk of the tree and lean against it and breathe in the aerosols produced by the canopy.

The Arbutus tree is a member of the heather family (Ericaceae). Heather exudes natural antibiotic and antiviral properties, Beresford-Kroeger says, and when you walk through heather, it bursts forth wonderful aromatic medical compounds. It is the basis of many Indigenous medicines of North America.

Diana Beresford-Kroeger talks to The Tyee about keeping well in a time of extra worry at

forest health