The "doctors" of the Native American Chippewas used material remedies and were usually members of the organization known as the Midewiwin, the remedies were the secrets of the organization. It is a teaching of the Midewiwin that every tree, bush, and plant has a use. It is freqently found that different individuals have different names and uses for the same plant. Members of the Midewiwin (sometimes shortened to Mide) were not taught many remedies at once, except at the time of their initiation. At that time, the instruction comprised "ground work in the practice of medicine," consisting of the identification and use of a number of plants. This type of instruction accompanied each advancement from one degree to another, being more extensive as they approached the higher degrees. Otherwise, one or two remedies were learned at a time, going to an old man and buying the knowledge. A medicine man usually treated one special disease and treated it successfully, in accordance with his dream. He would not try to dream of all the herbs and treat all the diseases.
A story of an aged medicine man, a member of the Mide. He came to a lodge on a winter night, cold and tired. Stating that he had a medicine that would warm him, he took an herb from his Mide bag, where he stored his year's supply of medicines. He put a little of the herbs in water and drank it. A few minutes later he announced, "I have taken the wrong medicine; I shall die." A few hours later he was dead.
The quantity of a decoction or the size of the dose varied, without any degree of accuracy usually. Liquid medicine is not measured when taken; a large swallow is considered an average dose. Or occasionally, a cupful is given.