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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.

Connecting the Dots by Christine McCue

Essential oils and Lyme disease

I love the plants and herbs my husband has been sharing. It’s been an essential part of of our healing process from Lyme disease.

What he hasn’t spoken too much about is how this journey began. We’ve both always loved plants and flowers… he has always been an avid gardener and purveyor of plants and seeds…and I owned florists for many years.

And so the journey began long before we knew that it would be these very things that would accelerate the healing process of Lyme to full recovery. And YES…I mean a FULL RECOVERY……From an ICU bed to a life surrounded by plants and essential oils. He seems to forget that part …and maybe it’s because he was laying in a bed in ICU sedated that he doesn’t remember me applying Frankincense and then Helichrysum to his body and massaging it into a severely injured and damaged liver area.

What happened that day and the days that followed opened my eyes to a world I didn’t even know existed… the therapeutic value of essential oils.

What was the most relevant part to me was that they contained no insecticides, heavy metals or chemical fertilizers, all of which are neurotoxins, and we were already dealing with advanced stage 3 Lyme disease that had caused not only lesions in the brain and left sided paralysis, but also a body that was atrophying before my eyes.

We couldn’t afford any further injury or stress to his neurological system. We couldn’t afford ANY further insults. I had NO experience  with essential oils… I had no experience with using them therapeutically. The only thing I had was a blind trust and no other options.

Sometimes things are given to us when we are ready to receive them, and sometimes things just happen and we watch our experiences come full circle.

So yeah… herbs are great. They’re amazing. I place a high value on herbs and their abilities.

BUT for me…the most eye opening revelation was essential oils…. herbs and plants that were CONCENTRATED…. free of toxins… free of heavy metals…. and it brought my two worlds together… nursing and my background of owning florists and loving my plants and flowers. Now I had flowers – herbs in little bottles that were CLEAN and PURE and they assisted the body in healing itself.

mysterious Lyme disease
connecting the dots

And the dots connected…. little by little.

Black Currants

the hard body alternative to blueberry

 

Russian Red Kale

eliminate carbs by using a fresh, raw leaf of Kale instead of tortillas or pita

US National Library of Medicine Celebrates Potter’s 20th Anniversary 

How many herbs and herbalists in Potter’s world?

Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance, Science, Magic & Medicine