liquorice root, roots, Indian carrots, Eskimo potato
Gwichya Gwich'in Name:
Teetł’it Gwich’in Name::
The best time to dig up bear roots is in June after the river ice breaks up and from mid-August to September before freeze up. The roots are juicy and sweet tasting at these times. Prior to eating or cooking bear root, the outer skin is peeled away with a knife, like a potato. The roots may be eaten raw, or some Gwich’in prefer to eat bear root with duck or fish oil. If the root is hard, it is normally boiled. One can then drink the juice. Gwich’in Elders say that bear root can increase a sick person’s appetite, or can be eaten raw to relieve diarrhea. The roots can be stored for the winter, with the skin on, as they keep well frozen.
Source: Andre, Alestine and Alan Fehr, Gwich'in Ethnobotany, 2nd ed. (2002)