Wild Food & Medicine

I’m not exactly sure when I first became interested in wild food and medicine, but these days I like to think of it as a bridge to the past. Long before we had big pharma, patented seeds and giant corporate farms our ancestors not only survived but thrived.

They say life was harsh and short-lived, but my great-grandmother, who was born during the Lincoln administration, lived on an organic farm to the ripe old age of 106, while my dad died at 66 from cancer after spending his working life in a factory surrounded by dangerous chemicals.

It seems to me that we have been bombarded by a vast amount of propaganda that allows men who care little about the consequences of the poisons they bring into the world to line their pockets. Instead, I choose to take ownership of my health by using wild foods and medicines rather than the unnatural things they manufacture in their labs.

One such herb is Plantain, not to be confused with the banana-like fruit with the same name. This herb is another one of those nutritious plants labeled a noxious weed that appears seemingly out of nowhere in disturbed soil. I admire its will to survive. Despite our best efforts to eradicate it from the garden, it won’t be denied its right to live and thrive in this beautiful world.

But it doesn’t just survive, Plantain gives back to those willing to give it try.  Among other things, herbalist use it to boost liver function, cleanse kidneys, or heal a gut.  Harvest the young leaves for herbal tea loaded with Vitamins A, C, and a good dose of minerals, including Zinc, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper, Phosphorous, and Calcium. It can also added to stews and salads

To your good health.

Peace out,

Robert

Pine Needle Tea

Cancer is a darkness that touches all of us to one degree or another. Many years ago, it claimed my dad and the grief damn near got me too. He was far too young to die. If it wasn’t for my children, who knows how it would have turned out. Somehow, I pulled myself together, shook off the heart-crushing grief, and made a silent promise to my daughters that I would take care myself so that I would be there when needed.

The healthcare industry has failed us. Cancer treatment is an abysmal failure. So, I began to listen to the alternatives. One alternative came from Linus Pauling, a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist who believed we are looking at cancer in the wrong way. Instead of seeing it as a foreign invader to be killed, he saw Cancer as a malfunctioning cell to be nurtured. His research focused on what it takes for a cell to be healthy and he became convinced that Vitamin C is critical.  He advocated high doses of it to both prevent and cure Cancer. Sadly, despite his two Nobel Prizes, Linus Pauling’s research findings were ridiculed by the healthcare industry.

So, what does this have to do with pine needles? When settlers came to America, the natives had a rich tradition of herbal medicine dating back thousands of years. In fact, they treated malnourished sailors suffering from scurvy with Pine Needle tea. As it turns out, this tea is loaded with Vitamin C.

Enjoy a cup today.

Peace out,
Robert

Mimosa

There was a Mimosa tree in my front yard when I was growing up. On hot summer days, the neighborhood kids gathered under its broad branches in the hopes of finding relief from the sun’s brutal onslaught. We wiled away our summer talking about life, girls, and football.

Someone once told me that farmers cut Mimosa trees down because they are poisonous. I’m not sure why they believe that, but in traditional Chinese medicine, the pink flowers and bark are used to relieve depression and lift a person’s spirits. They call it “happiness bark.”

We are an over-medicated society that gives antidepressants to our children even though they have a long list of negative side effects, including suicide. A society that puts its children at risk to control behavior has lost its way. On the other hand, Mimosa bark presents an inexpensive alternative treatment for grief without the dangerous side effects of pharmaceuticals.

Peace out,

Robert

Strong to the Finish

Maybe I watched too many Popeye cartoons as a kid, but I love spinach.  I’m sure you remember his signature song, “I’m strong to the finish because I eats me spinach, I’m Popeye the sailor man, toot, toot!”

I eat it in salads and wilted with onion and garlic as a side dish, but did you know there is a common weed that has seven times more vitamin E than spinach? It’s commonly called Purslane and you can find it throughout the summer growing wild. Like nature’s magic, it pops up in disturbed soil.

Of course, chemical companies classify it as a noxious weed even though it is also loaded with six times the beta-carotene as a carrot, as well as significant amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and riboflavin.

It is tasty and nutritious adding a slight lemony tang to your salads, so does it make any sense to kill it, instead of eating it?

Peace out,

Robert