Passionflower Tower

the value of a trellis is often determined by the setting sun

Newfound ‘organ’ had been missed by standard method for visualizing anatomy

Researchers have identified a previously unknown feature of human anatomy with implications for the function of all organs, most tissues and the mechanisms of most major diseases.

— Read on www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180327093954.htm

Pokeweed, Lyme, Arthritis, Mastitis

Pokeweed Project: 11 weeks long ends. I posted the photo above just before boxing them up for storage. There are many uses for Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) and although it’s  worthy of much praise, I will not indulge as many knowledgeable herbalists have done so more thoroughly than I ever could. I do prefer to share my personal experience, and so what follows here will be my observations during these past 11 weeks.

First, if you missed my posting of when I first began by harvesting some beautiful Poke roots before the soil froze, take a look here. For background information on what my motivations were to make and take these herbal preparations peruse this article Connecting the Dots by Christine McCue.

I met a young woman who had just finished chemotherapy for breast cancer. I can easily identify with anyone who brushed up against death and survived. She was naturally worried that she was completely out of the woods and was making many changes to reinforce her continued recovery. As she was telling me her story my mind swirled through lists of herbs I had read about but in the end I failed to offer anything intelligible. It bothered me that I could not recall what I read and of course, it was about Pokeweed.

So I re-read everything I had collected and researched even more. Then I made Poke root infused coconut oil. Made another batch of Cayenne infused olive oil. I mixed the two in equal amounts, filled a roll-on bottle and applied to bunions on both of my feet. I did this three times each day. Nothing about joints are “normal” to anyone who has Lyme disease. If you have it, then you know. If you don’t, then your solution is custom orthotics and comfy shoes. My feet felt more flexible and less painful within a two weeks. Within a month, the width of my foot dropped a half size. I could comfortably wear shoes I hadn’t been able to for years. After the first two weeks of roll-on use, I began to take Poke fresh root tincture 3 ugtt (microdrops; 4 of which equals one drop) per day, 1 ugtt in the morning, 1 ugtt at dusk and 1 ugtt at bedtime. So although there was some benefit from the roll-on use alone, there was dramatic improvement once sublingual administration of the tincture began.

I had read that Poke root salves, ointments, oils and glycerites should be applied topically over the lymph glands surrounding the affected area.

A dear friend suffered a terrible burn to her breast from boiling water and had been treated medically at the time, complained that some two years later, her breast “never felt right afterward” and that “it feels like there’s something in there” and was always tender with scarring that still looked fresh. She began applying the roll-on Poke/Cayenne oil for two weeks then also began the take sublingual microdoses of Poke root tincture. Her recovery was truly remarkable and one of the enchanting wonders of Pokeweed. Her breast reddened, the nipple swelling twice is diameter and than began to ooze serum through the milk ducts. This was a most dramatic effect. Changing padding  many times a day, her breast seeped fluids for about two weeks. Then the nipple swelling subsided, the seepage stopped and most remarkably, the appearance of her burn scars improved greatly. Thereafter when she massaged her breast she could find no tenderness or hard spots below the surface. Her Poke tincture dose increased every two weeks for eight weeks ending at 1mL twice/day, morning and night. She applied the roll-on over her entire breast and the adjacent area below her armpit on the same side.

As my Poke use increased, I too experienced cysts seeping fluids. First along the inside arch of both feet. Later under the armpits and then behind the knees. These cysts always formed in line with each other as if they followed a subcutaneous vessel. The fluid was clear with a slightly yellow tinge but dried red and was not pus like. If there is a more powerful lymphatic herb I have yet to learn of it. The most dramatic effect for me occurred after two months of use. I was by then applying the Poke/Cayenne roll-on on all the major lymph gland areas, armpits, behind the knees and the groin. Pokeweed effects glands. It seems to be doing cleaning here. I wonder now if I had damaged tissue in my testicles perhaps from previous infections because at this point my nearly sixty year old gonads began to perform like a sixteen year old. Without embarrassing myself more, if this explanation intrigues you, it might be worth investigating with a Naturopath or Herbalist. I suggest you add Copaiba essential oil, topically and orally, to your regimen if you are working below the belt.

Finally the side effects. I noted sinus congestion. Not entirely filled or impacted but more like a bubbling feeling, not unlike the onset of a cold. This was most noticeable upon rising in the morning. Nothing really of much concern there. There was a groggy or spacey feeling at times. The major concern and here consider it a firm warning – Pokeweed is used at very low doses for a very short time because it can damage the kidneys. I noticed a slight tenderness in my lower back and that marked the end of my Pokeweed use. As always, contact me if I can answer any other questions.

Suggested Reading:

Susun Weed on Pokeweed

Corinna Wood on Poke & Lyme Disease

Mountain Medicine by Tommie Bass & Darryl Patton search for notes from my reading of this book on goodreads.com

Best Chicken Ever

Obituary for Blacky

She had more personality than most humans.

At six years old, on February 1, she jumped from a high roost made for sturdy Plymouth Rocks and broke her hip. She passed three days later.

Pokeweed – Phytolacca americana

A personal experience with American native Pokeweed.

These magnificent Pokeweed roots were harvested, rinsed and displayed side by side to show the developmental differences one year can make. The darker root on the left is two years old. Importantly, it has overwintered sucessfully and is now much more powerful than the tender yearling on the right.

Pokeweed Root
2 year old Poke on left next to 1 year old

All precautions should be taken when handling or working with either root, but from personal experience, and I am not one to over exaggerate warnings of any type, I suggest an abundance of caution with this plant. I ingested a 1gm dose of the fresh two year old root on the left and and suffered for three days. A primative and ill-advised assay easily avoided by patiently testing topicial application and careful observations. Poke had some instantaneous effects but most develop over several days. Keep your notebook handy and clock your observations. Micro dosing is advised. I found Susun Weed’s advice most accurate.

For starters this a good source of general information on Pokeweed https://www.naturalremedies.org/pokeweed/

Henriette’s list of Poke classics https://www.henriettes-herb.com/search/node/poke

You may ask, Oh but why would you want to? in my case – rheumatoid arthritis. I’m now testing a roll-on. I prepared coconut oil infused with dried Poke root 48 hrs. @ 90°F mixed half/half with olive oil infused with dried Cayenne fruit 48 hrs. @ 90°F

drug free arthritis help
roll-on oil infused with Pokeweed & Cayenne and a high mileage foot

When the berries are ripe I have to fight the Catbirds, Cardinals and Mockingbirds for them. Everyone says the berries are good mountain medicine. Old timers in Appalachia swear they’re good for joints. They say you can make a permanent ink by adding ammonia to the berry juice and that in fact, the US Declaration of Independence was scribed in Poke ink on hemp paper. The government has been against hemp since the companies took over America. Anyone remember The Truman Show?

Ripe inky Pokeweed berries in August
Ripe Pokeweed berries

Russian Red Kale in November

So if you search back to June I posted a great photo of some Russian Red Kale in all it’s springtime glory. Those cold early spring nights make all the Brassica family particularly delicious as these plants have a tasty anti-freeze system. Then in summer, the leaves become huge but can be bitter and chewier than many prefer. Unfortunately by mid-summer Kale is typically plagued by Whiteflies and that’s when most gardeners throw in the towel and hack their plants down for compost.

As the seasons turn around again and the days become shorter, the nights colder, and the dreaded Whiteflies sleep in their miserable graves, Russian Red Kale comes back fiercely like the Red Army at Kursk. Strip off any old summer leaves and the tasiest new growth emerges. Better than the spring flush, the autumn harvest from these hardy survivors is a favorite treat.

Russian Red Kale 22 Nov 2017

Drug-free (mostly) Shoulder Surgery Recovery

Hhmm… where to begin… I thought my recent experience might be useful for some. Last week a doctor performed arthroscopic surgery on my shoulder. The rotator cuff was damaged and the bicep tendon was detached.

So this story is about how, not so much why, I wanted to avoid opioid painkillers after the surgery.

fight opioid abuse
the sign of the times

In the area where I live, there are lawn signs decrying the Opioid Crisis which is ravenously consuming lives here on a daily basis. Regardless of the three unwanted prescriptions I had been given prior to surgery, I wanted to see if I would be able to get through it without taking any of them and I’m happy to report that I have.

There were so many opinions offered to me prior to surgery. Most people didn’t think taking the painkillers was a big deal. Most had done it with no problem. As I have more experience with pain than painkillers I was more comfortable in the company of the devil I know than the chemical stranger. A trusted friend who had the same surgery as I, who was about the same age and temperament, who is himself a doctor suggested I try Advil and ice before filling the scripts.

ice machine
simple cold perfection the ÖSSUR® COLD RUSH

So I woke after the surgery and of course the joint was still anesthetized – thus, no pain at all. This slowly wore off the following day. The pain I experienced was rather mild by my experience, certainly far less than many untreated accidents I’ve had before as an ironworker. It was mainly irritating at night while trying to sleep. The first few nights I slept with my arm in a sling. Then I received the ŐSSUR® COLD RUSH® COMPACT ice machine. The medical benefits and descriptions can be found elsewhere, I’ll just say it’s a 10/10 on my value scale. Ask your doctor for a prescription for this simple little machine. It’s like a small insulated bucket of ice water with a built in pump that has a tubing running to a pad which you wrap around the joint. In the pad is a maze of tubes which circulate the chilled water. No drips, no hassles. I loaded the tank with refreezable ice packs and got 8 hours of satisfaction before requiring a refill. With a single Advil capsule it was more than enough to get through a night’s sleep.

dōTERRA® Deep Blue
dōTERRA® Deep Blue Soothing Blend of essential oils

I applied dōTERRA® Deep Blue essential oil all over my shoulder and down my arm day and night. This is an excellent blend which addressed that sharp bone feeling instantly and for hours of relief at a time. The combination of Deep Blue and the ŐSSUR ice machine with an Advil at bedtime was perfect for me.

Today is 9 days after the surgery and this afternoon I go for a followup appointment where they will remove the stitches.

Nature Deficiency Syndrome – most Americans suffer from it

Nature Deficit Disorder is a very real thing. For those of us who have spent a lifetime working in and enjoying the Great Out Doors, this is guaranteed fact. I live in a big city and I love walking. I try to walk whenever I can rather than driving there. Mapping out my walks with the help of a map app shows I clock between 10-12 miles per week. Although my routes are not what anyone would consider nature walks, exercising in fresh air and sunshine is good medicine. I have no idea what biochemical effects I receive from working in my garden 6 hours a day – but I know it’s good.

This post quotes the good Dr. Mercola with a link to solutions from Japan.

nature deficit cure
Sunchokes reaching for the sky

“Americans spend 80 to 99 percent of their lives indoors — a trend that has led to “nature deficit disorder,” a term used to describe a lifestyle deficit that contributes to poor psychological and physical health”

nature breathe deep
Passionflower vines defying gravity

“Ecotherapy employs methods that cultivate the health benefits of being in nature. Research shows nature therapy lowers anxiety and depression, improves self-esteem, reduces blood pressure and more”

“Spending time outdoors can significantly lift your mood, and outdoors activities such as gardening and nature hikes have been found to be good therapy”

Outside Good For Inside – Dr. Mercola

 

Passionflower 

Passiflora incarnata “Maypop”. One of the most useful herbs in the apothecary. Calming and sedative. A long used staple of herbalists, doctors and pharmacists until Big Business started seriously promoting their addictive synthetic compounds around 1910. Included in the US and British Pharmacopeia until that time and then POOF! like Keyser Söze – it disappeared.

Passionflower - Passiflora incarnata flower
our first Passionflower for 2017

Here you will find no side effects. A homemade necessity safe for the entire family. We have found Passionflower useful for tension headaches and those produced by eye-strain and loud or incessant noise.

Easy to grow and a delight to behold. Perennial here in zone 7, New York City, USA.

Look for directions on how to prepare a tincture from the leaf and vine at the Herbarium. There’s a link at the top of this page.

Women vs. Men

Geoff Stein writing for Dave’s Garden observes and speculates about which types of plants are favored by each sex.

Venus vs. Mars

Datura Germination Tip

Following suggestions from a Dutchman, I soaked seed collected from an open thornapple I found in November in a dilute solution of rainwater and FPJ or fermented plant juice for several days. My FPJ is made of Comfrey.

The Dutchman recommended “G3” – which is a similar commercial compound. I set the seeds potted in fine sphagnum on a germination mat with a 12h on/ 12h off timer. That was on New Years Day 2017.

I waited over one and half months to see the first arise. Some of the others popped up two months later after I had given them up for dead. Everything about this plant is highly peculiar.

Night Blooming Datura

Now I must wait patiently for the Luna Moth to appear.