Eggs, Butter, Coffee

Leave a comment


Linaria vulgaris is now classified in the Plantain Family.

Imprudent lawyer enjoying coffee along the path of enlightenment…
This lovely plant with leaves resembling French tarragon, also known as butter and eggs, imprudent lawyer, yellow toadflax, is thick on an east-facing little mound opposite my garden. Since last summer in warm weather I have noticed a smell like coffee drifting from that area. Could it be?

Why called imprudent lawyer? When the throat is pressed the mouth of the flower opens.

linaria 2

>The name “snapdragon” originates from the “popping” or “snapping” sound that is made when you squeeze the flower. According to Wildflowers of Wisconsin, the other common name, toadflax, is based on how the flower opens wide like a frog or toad’s mouth when squeezed. (I wonder if the name “imprudent lawyer” is linked to that wide open mouth, too?)

A European import, it has now naturalized over most of North America, including inside my greenhouse. Though less commonly used than many other herbs, it does have anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties.


The Reality Of Modern Medicine

Leave a comment

cow hunting

If your doctor trusts the drug company data you can’t trust your doctor. That is the reality of “evidence-based medicine.”

An interview I heard on the radio a week ago finally resurfaced from what rattles around below the surface of my memory. The warnings about drugs apply also to medical devices. “The overwhelming majority of medical devices that are on the market, that are implanted in patients, undergo no clinical trials,” journalist and author Jeanne Lenzer says.

>Did you know…

  • Medical interventions have become the third leading cause of death in America, killing more Americans each year than diabetes, murders, car accidents and AIDS combined.
  • You might think medical devices—like pacemakers, artificial hips, cardiac stents, etc.—don’t have side effects like drugs do. Nothing could be further from the truth.
  • The FDA does not require clinical testing for most high-risk implanted devices, and only 5% of the highest risk cardiac devices undergo the equivalent of the standard requirement for drug testing: two randomized, blinded clinical trials. Patients serve as unwitting test subjects to determine whether devices are safe.
  • Tens of millions of Americans have an implanted medical device, and yet the death rate caused by these devices is unknown, because no one is keeping track. Not the FDA. Not the manufacturers. Not hospitals. Not doctors.
  • The FDA habitually defends the interests of industry over the public interest, in part due to the “revolving door” between the businesses being regulated and the FDA. (

Back to the clickbait subject, drugs.

Examples of Methods used Pharmaceutical Companies to Get the Results They Want from Clinical Trials:

Conduct a trial of your drug against a treatment known to be inferior.

Trial your drugs against too low a dose of a competitor drug.
Conduct a trial of your drug against too high a dose of a competitor drug (making your drug seem less toxic).
Conduct trials that are too small to show differences from competitor drugs.
Use multiple endpoints in the trial and select for publication those that give favourable results.
Do multicentre trials and select for publication results from centres that are favourable.
Conduct subgroup analyses and select for publication those that are favourable.
Present results that are most likely to impress—for example, reduction in relative rather than absolute risk.


The much bigger problem lies with the original studies, particularly the clinical trials, published by journals. Far from discounting these, readers see randomised controlled trials as one of the highest forms of evidence. A large trial published in a major journal has the journal’s stamp of approval (unlike the advertising), will be distributed around the world, and may well receive global media coverage, particularly if promoted simultaneously by press releases from both the journal and the expensive public-relations firm hired by the pharmaceutical company that sponsored the trial. For a drug company, a favourable trial is worth thousands of pages of advertising, which is why a company will sometimes spend upwards of a million dollars on reprints of the trial for worldwide distribution.

Overall, studies funded by a company were four times more likely to have results favourable to the company than studies funded from other sources. In the case of the five studies that looked at economic evaluations, the results were favourable to the sponsoring company in every case.


Wolf Totem

Leave a comment

The Great Wall(s) of China were built to keep the Han Chinese farmers in, so as not to rile the Tatars, as much or more than to keep the Mongol/Tatars out. The Tatars held back the Han Chinese farmer tide inside the Yellow River barrel for two thousand years before the Yuan, Jinghis and Kublai Khan. It’s ironic now that under the “Communist” PRC Han Chinese have become the supreme global Bourgeoisie.

Myth #2: The name for China, Zhongua, meaning middle region/country, is not from an arrogant attitude that it is the center of the universe (any more than other people call themselves The People in their own language) but because they were farming passive people squeezed for millennia in the middle between more war-like belligerent cultures and tribes to the north and to the south.

Wolf Totem is a book (and movie) about this problem. How bourgeois communist Han Chinese destroyed the environment, people and life of Inner Mongolia. The wolf represents the life of the Nomad people and cannot survive.


Feel The Burn

Leave a comment


Pungent Plants Rape/Mustard seed, Moringa, Curry Leaf (Murraya Keonigii, in the photo)

See also-

No pain, no gain? >Rapeseed-mustard is an important source of edible oil in Indian diet especially in Eastern and North-Western India. The major fatty acids of rapeseed-mustard oil are oleic, linoleic, linolenic, eicosenoic and erucic acid. Erucic acid in oil of Indian rapeseed-mustard varieties is quite high (Chauhan et al. 2007). High amount of erucic acid in edible oils has been reported to impair myocardial conductance, causes lipidosis in children and increases blood cholestrol (Gopalan et al. 1974; Renard and McGregor 1976; Ackman et al. 1977). Rapeseed-mustard cultivars grown in India also have high level of glucosinolate content (Chauhan et al. 2007). Glucosinolates, a group of plant thioglucosides, found principally among members of family Brassicaceae are responsible for the characteristic pungency of rapeseed-mustard oil. The glucosinolates are broken down by the enzyme thioglucoside glucohydrolase commonly known as myrosinase to yield sulphate, glucose and other aglucon products. Cleavage products from hydrolysis are detrimental to animal health as they reduce the feed palatability and affect the iodine uptake by the thyroid glands thus reducing feed efficiency and weight gains (Bille et al. 1983; Fenwick et al. 1983; Bell 1984) especially in non-ruminants such as pigs and poultry. (
* But glucosinolates are also considered to be healthy constituents in human diets.
>The enthusiasm for the health benefits of M. oleifera is in dire contrast with the scarcity of strong experimental and clinical evidence supporting them. Fortunately, the chasm is slowly being filled. In this article, I review current scientific data on the corrective potential of M. oleifera leaves in chronic hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia, as symptoms of diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Reported studies in experimental animals and humans, although limited in number and variable in design, seem concordant in their support for this potential. (
>Status of lipid peroxidation was studied in rats induced high fat diet and some commonly used spices, viz. Murraya koenigit and Brassica juncea. The study revealed that these species alter the peroxidation (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances) level to a beneficial extent. Histological studies also focus on modulation of hepatic functions to near normal level. (
>M. koenigii is a traditional Indian Ayurvedic herb. Apart from being a useful food supplement in curries and chutneys, the herb possesses immense therapeutic potential. The therapeutic usefulness of the herb can be easily understood from the present review. Leaves, fruits, roots and bark of this plant are a rich source of carbazole alkaloids. These alkaloids have been reported for their various pharmacological activities such as antitumor, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antidiarrhoeal, diuretic and antioxidant activities. Apart from these activities, the plant is reported to possess a wide spectrum of biological activities.
>An infusion of the roasted leaves is used to stop vomiting. The green tender leaves are eaten raw for the cure of dysentery. A decoction of the leaves is sometimes given with bitters as a febrifuge and the leaves have been claimed to be used with mint in the form of chutney to check vomiting. (

The Mighty Moringa

Leave a comment


Although you might not like the taste, it comes with the high content of health-promoting glucosinolates (think broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts) and the dried leaf can be used in any similar foods or nutritional supplements where that taste is pleasant such as curries or other savory foods…
And, see below, may be best not to use hot water or to cook it.

A general precaution in any nutritional evaluation is described here for the traditional Ayurvedic herb combination Triphala: >The increased popularity of herbal remedies such as Triphala has led to dramatic improvements in the processing of crude plant materials that serve to maximize the absorption of otherwise poorly absorbed plant components. Despite these improvements, these preparations still display pronounced variability in efficacy, which is likely related to the natural variation in composition of gut microbiota species that catalyze the biotransformation of herbal components. This response variability is not unique to herbs and, in fact, may be the case for virtually all health-promoting compounds ingested by humans. >Polyphenols in Triphala modulate the human gut microbiome and thereby promote the growth of beneficial Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus while inhibiting the growth of undesirable gut microbes. The bioactivity of Triphala is elicited by gut microbiota to generate a variety of anti-inflammatory compounds.

>Despite the recent advancements in chemotherapeutics, chemotherapy is still associated with severe adverse effects such as nephrotoxicity, nausea, hair loss, skin irritation, anemia, and infertility [38], [39]. Therefore, naturally occurring anticancer compounds from natural plants, especially those with low toxicity and high potency, have important implications for chemotherapy and chemoprevention.
>In the field of anticancer drug discovery and development process, compounds with the highest anticancer activities often have bulky hydrophobic groups within their chemical structures, rendering them water insoluble [53]. Low water solubility leads to both formulation issues and serious therapeutic challenges. Administering the poorly soluble drug candidate intravenously might result in serious complications such as embolism and respiratory system failure due to the precipitation of the drug [54], while poor absorption would result from extravascular dosing [55]. Therefore, increasing water solubility and/or developing soluble bioactive compounds with high anticancer activities have attracted increasing attention. In this study, I focused on the new water-soluble MOL extracts and examined its potential as an anticancer drug candidate.
>The reason why the difference in the cell cytotoxicity between cancer cells and normal cells is not clear at this time, but I think complex effects caused by some compounds in the extract can protect normal cells from severe cytotoxicity. Overall, these data suggest that the cold water (4°C)-soluble MOL extract may become a good candidate for anticancer therapy with high specificity and less adverse effects. In conclusion, I demonstrated that the soluble MOL extract may have be a new promising candidate for a natural anticancer drug. Further studies are required in this regard.
>Compared to the data, I had much greater inhibition rate of up to 90% by using cold-MOL extract (see Figure 2). The possible difference in anticancer activities between cold- and hot-DW treated MOL extract might be resulted from the heat inactivation of some bioactive molecules within M. olefeira leaves, but obvious reason needs to be clarified through further research.



AA, Aloe arborescens

Leave a comment


Small woodland tobacco, rat root, and Aloe arborescens. Grow your own: “Let food be your medicine and medicine your food.”

Neuroprotective potential of Aloe arborescens against copper induced neurobehavioral features of Parkinson’s disease in rat

The present investigation have brought, on the one hand, an experimental evidence of an altered dopaminergic innervations following Cu intoxication and on the other hand, a new pharmacological property of Aloe arborescens that may be used as a neuroprotective plant for neurodegenerative disorders, such as PD, touching the dopaminergic system trigged by heavy metals.

A Randomized Study of Chemotherapy VersusBiochemotherapy with Chemotherapy plus Aloe arborescens in Patients with Metastatic Cancer

Aloe is one of the of the most important plants exhibiting anticancer activity and its antineoplastic property is due to at least three different mechanisms, based on antiproliferative, immunostimulatory and antioxidant effects.

The percentage of both objective tumor regressions and disease control was significantly higher in patients concomitantly treated with Aloe arborescens than with chemotherapy alone, as well as the percent of 3-year survival patients.

Candelabra aloe (Aloe arborescens) in the therapy and prophylaxis of upper respiratory tract infections: traditional use and recent research results

Originally introduced to support the healing and recovery in cornea transplant patients, aqueous A. arborescens extracts soon became popular in the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections with a focus on toddlers and children. Recent preclinical and clinical data show that immunomodulatory, antiinflammatory, and antiviral effects contribute to its therapeutic efficacy.

In contrast, Aloe arborescens Miller (Candelabra Aloe) is characterized by a generally very low anthranoid content and is thus suited for other therapeutic purposes without
exerting laxative effects.

Secondary Phenol Metabolites (SPhMs), Distribution and Content of Some Aloe Species, Originated from Arid Zones of South Africa: A Review

Whole leaves of A. arborescens can be used as fresh food (Shioda et al., 2003). According to some studies, A. arborescensis richer than A. vera in respect to medicinal properties. The leaves of A. arborescens have long been used externally for therapeutic and cosmetic purposes. Experimentally, it has been demonstrated to exert a number of pharmacological effects (Suga and Hirata, 1983).

Barbaloin has been found to have a strong inhibitory effect on the histamine release from mast cells, while aloenin has a weak inhibitory effect. The inhibitory effect of barbaloin is much higher than that of a potent anti-inflammatory drug, such as Indomethaacin (Nakagomi et al., 1987).

Barbaloin content as a percentage of the dry weight of an Aloe arborescens leaf cut on 27 April 1993 and the consequent new growths from the same place on the plant cut on 27 May, 27 June and 27 July. The number above the column is the weight of the cut leaf (Gutterman and Chauser-Volfson, 2000a)

aloe arborescens phenol

The younger the leaf the denser is the vascular bundles and therefore the higher the content of the SPhMs.
Leaf pruning increase the content of the SPhMs in the leaves. The more times the plant is pruned the higher is the SPhMs content of its leaves, up to even 85% of the leaf dry weight.
Even pruning of one young leaf at the top part of the branch affect an increase in the leaves below. The closer the leaf below the one pruned, the higher the content of its’ SPhMs. The leaves oriented at the opposite side of the pruned leaf are also affected by increasing their content of SPhMs.



Pre-Hispanic Mexican Eats

Leave a comment

According to the Conquistadores the Aztecs called themselves La Mexica pronounced La Mechica.

In this video:

Elotes (sweet corn as called in English) originated in Peru but was brought to Mexico many centuries ago and the best quality comes from the high plateau of central Mexico.


Pericon or Anisillo (in English known as Mexican tarragon or sweet mace or sweet marigold or Mexican marigold and other names) is a true marigold, Tagetes lucida, the original flower of the dead, now sometimes applied to other marigolds or pot marigold, calendula. The Spanish word margarita and name of the tequila drink can also mean daisy, while a translation of marigold can be maravilla. I wish I could grow or buy pericon in sheafs like she puts in the pot to flavor the sweet corn in the video above and shown in the street market below! The video below explains that pericon is a corruption of the latin name of St Johnswort, Hypericum or hypericon, above the icon.

Tequesquite is a regional mineral salt found on the margins of rivers and lakes.

More on the subject in this searchable text version of 1905 book:

Full text of “Plantas comestibles de los antiguos mexicanos



Older Entries