One Man’s Meat Is Another Man’s Poison

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Liver toxins, death cap mushrooms: think Milk Thistle

milk-thistle

Milk Thistle seeds look rather like dark sunflower seeds. The taste of roasted Milk Thistle seeds also like sunflower but for medicinal purposes don’t bother roasting them. A teaspoonful to chew on is not unpleasant. For dogs the seeds should be ground.

What foods and substances are toxic or unhealthy? It depends… Or as lawyers say, what’s the context, what are the circumstances? Without those details the question cannot have a reliable answer. Jean Drapeau, the Mayor of Montreal at the time of the Olympics, said, don’t answer hypothetical questions.

Paracelsus, 500 years ago wrote what was already well-established in ancient health and medicine doctrines, “All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; only the dose permits something not to be poisonous.” The herbalist monk in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliette says the same in more poetic detail.

SHAKESPEARE “In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities:
For nought so vile that on the earth doth live
But to the earth some special good doth give,
Nor aught so good but strain’d from that fair use
Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse:
Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied;
And vice sometimes by action dignified.”

My grandfather Francis White suffered occasional “intermittent fevers” from malaria living in China 100 years ago. One episode he recounts that the usual doses were not working,and larger doses of quinine were likely to be toxic. So he suggested to his doctor, a friend and fellow missionary Francis Goddard, to try a North American patent medicine, Indian Cholegogue, which did work. The formula is not known but publications of herbal medicine ca. 1880 propose that it contained quinine and several other herbs that amplified the effects so less of the potentially toxic components were needed.

Food and the usual metabolites of digestion and decomposition or catabolism in the body are conditionally toxic according to what amount is consumed, what other foods consumed at the same time, what is the “terrain,” the animal’s baseline health, internal and external environment. Glucose, sugar is a good example of a conditional toxin. Diabetics must limit their consumption of sugar and glycemic foods to avoid serious health problems, what could be called sugar poisoning.

Vitamins A and D are both toxic according to circumstances but together in optimum ratios may be better utilized and nontoxic at higher levels than could be tolerated separately.

To know the means look to the extremes:

Liver toxins, death cap mushrooms, milk thistle

Death Cap mushroom ingestion is usually irreversibly deadly, turning the liver into jelly.

Based on traditional use, milk thistle has been used as an emergency antidote for poisoning by death cap mushroom (Amanita phalloides). Animal studies have found that milk thistle extract completely counteracts the toxic effects of the mushroom when given within 10 minutes of ingestion. If given within 24 hours, it significantly reduces the risk of liver damage and death.

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/milk-thistle

One medical paradigm is to identify the cause and find a specific remedy or antidote. The presumption of being able to find the root cause which may depend on myriad factors often breaks down. The longer standing tradition, partly exemplified by the Eclectic herbalist school, is based not on hubris but generations of experience with treatments and remedies for similar conditions and symptoms. Treat the symptoms…

Other liver support and detox foods: chlorella and spirulina microalgae, cilantro, cilantro seed/coriander, celery seed, garlic, burdock, ginger, turmeric, dandelion, plantain, rat root-calamus. None of these are toxic at functional and effective dosage levels the way most isolated reductionist drugs and conventional Establishment medicines can be.

http://biologicalexceptions.blogspot.com/2013/03/one-mans-poison-is-another-mans-cure.html

From Russia With Vera

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Vera, Nadeshda and Lyuba are common womens’ names in Russia and other Slavic countries, corresponding to the virtues faith, hope, and love or charity as translated to English from Greek, found in a chapter and verse in the Corinthian epistles of Paul of the New Testament. Vera variously translated faith or truth is associated with Sophia or wisdom in name and meaning.

Virtue is the word used for the healthy qualities ascribed to plant herbs in the common European tradition.

chaga

The article quoted below, Medicinal Plants of the Russian Pharmacopoeia; their history and applications, highlights many plants and uses that are not so well known or appreciated in the west or that are better known for culinary use than as medicine. Dill, tansy, viburnum (highbush cranberry known as kalina/kalinka in Russia),  marsh marigold, sage, anise, caraway, mountain ash, birch buds, everlasting, spruce are some worth noting.

The words and title to the Russian song, Kalinka, Malinka, refer to viburnum/highbush cranberry and raspberry.

 

This review article examines the data on medicinal plants included in the Russian Pharmacopoeia, which have been used for many years in the officinal Russian medicine; these plants are not very well known as medicines outside of their region of origin.

Aspirin, codeine, digoxin, and other drugs have their origins in herbal medicine (Yarnell, 2000). However, not all of these efforts were successful. Scientists have often found that the herbs themselves, which possess unique combinations of chemical components, are more effective than the chemical derivatives (Li, 2002). As a result, medical science has also focused on the medicinal values of the herbs themselves and how they could best be incorporated into medical practice.

Most importantly, Soviet / Russian scientists contributed significantly to the development of plant-derived adaptogens – tonics that play an important role in the regulation of metabolism. Aralia, Rhodiola, and Chaga are good examples of adaptogens that have been studied extensively (especially in the USSR / Russia).

Since the 12th century, chaga has traditionally been used in Russia for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and even cancer. Allegedly, the Russian duke Vladimir Monomach was cured of lip cancer using chaga (Artemova, 2001). Chaga (in various combinations with other medicinal plants) has been used for the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers and for various forms of gastritis (Artemova, 2001 and Kaukin, 2002). Chaga tea increases general stamina, relieves pain and is used to treat heart, stomach, and liver diseases (Gammerman et al., 1984 and Saar, 1991).

Clinical data indicate that when chaga is administered for extended periods, it has beneficial effects in the treatment of patients with stage III – IV of cancer, irrespective of the tumor location. In most of these patients without pronounced cachexia, a 3- to 4-week administration of chaga led to a decrease and a termination of the pain syndrome, which allowed the administration of narcotic drugs to be stopped (Bulatov et al., 1959, Pyaskovskii and Rikhter, 1961 and Shashkina et al., 2006).

The therapeutic effect of the Chaga manifested slowly, reaching a maximum at the 3rd month of regular intake. In most cases, the psoriatic rashes disappeared starting at the torso, then on the scalp, upper limbs and finally, on the hips and lower legs

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874114002827

 

 

2017, Year Of The Cock

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Chinese New Year is January 28.

The year of the rooster! But even those who don’t pay attention to the Chinese zodiac knew it already; the cock ascendant!

Donald temper.png

“In English the meaning of the name Donald is: From the Gaelic Domhnall, meaning world mighty. Famous bearer: Walt Disney’s cartoon character Donald Duck.”

Is Donald Trump a monumental cock or a prosaic prick?

lipstick

“A monumental tube of lipstick sprouting from a military vehicle appeared, uninvited, on the campus of Yale University amidst the 1969 student protests against the Vietnam War. While the sculpture may have seemed like a playful, if elaborate artistic joke, Claes Oldenburg’s Lipstick (Ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks was also deeply critical. Oldenburg made the 24-foot-high sculpture in collaboration with architecture students at his alma mater and then surreptitiously delivered it to Yale’s Beinecke Plaza. In Beinecke Plaza, the sculpture overlooked both the office of Yale’s president and a prominent World War I memorial. Lipstick (Ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks claimed a visible space for the anti-war movement while also poking fun at the solemnity of the plaza. The sculpture served as a stage and backdrop for several subsequent student protests.

In the Yale sculpture, the artist combined the highly “feminine” product with the “masculine” machinery of war. In doing so, he playfully critiqued both the hawkish, hyper-masculine rhetoric of the military and the blatant consumerism of the United States.
In addition to its feminine associations, the large lipstick tube is phallic and bullet-like, making the benign beauty product seem masculine or even violent. The juxtaposition implied that the U.S. obsession with beauty and consumption both fueled and distracted from the ongoing violence in Vietnam.”

On a personal level, people I have known, the ones who are belligerent, hostile, easily insulted, bragging, bullying… paradoxically they have insecurities and overcompensate. They are dangerous! Safer to stay out of their way and avoid them.

“Better stay away from him

He’ll rip your lungs out, Jim

I’d like to meet his tailor…

I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic’s

And his hair was perfect”

Celia Cruz: Yerberito Moderno

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“Also basil for scrawny people…”

Se oye el rumor de un pregonar
Que dice asi:
El yerberito llego llego
Traigo yerba santa pa’ la garganta
Traigo jeilimon pa’ la inchazon
Traigo arrecaminos pa’ su destino
Traigo la ruda pa’ el que estornuda
Tambien traigo albacar pa’ la gente flaca
El apasote para los brotes
El metiten para el que no ve
Y con esta yerba se casa usted

(Cuban idiomatic Castellano? Many words and herb names are ambiguous.)

Yerba Santa could be hoja santa/acuyo or yerba santa another plant more commonly known by that name growing in SW USA and Mexico.

Jeilimon or caisimon or the’ limon?

Abre-caminos

Metiten or betabel

Could be interesting to compare names with older documents such Mexican pharmacopoeia on line some dating back to 1846.

 

The Horrid Devil’s Ginseng

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Devil’s club (Oplopanax horridus (Sm.) Torr. & A. Gray ex. Miq., Araliaceae) is probably the most important spiritual and medicinal plant to most indigenous peoples who live within its range. Different parts of this plant are used by over 38 linguistic groups for over 34 categories of physical ailment, as well as many spiritual applications. Devil’s club [syn. Echinopanax horridus (Sm.) Decne. & Planch, Fatsia horrida (Sm.) Benth. & Hook, Panax horridum Sm.; Riconophyllum horridum Pall.] is a common deciduous understory shrub occurring in moist, but well drained, forested ecosystems from coastal Alaska southward to central Oregon and eastward to the southwestern Yukon, the Canadian Rockies, northwestern Alberta, Montana, and Idaho. There are also several disjunct populations near northern Lake Superior, in Michigan and Ontario. The stems of this shrub are upright to decumbent and can reach heights exceeding 6 meters (~20 feet). The leaves are large (up to 35 cm across [~14 inches]) and maple-shaped.

The purpose of this paper is to clarify devil’s club’s medicinal properties by summarizing reported traditional medicinal applications, examining contemporary use by indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, and reviewing recent phytochemical research. Intellectual property rights and cultural and conservation issues associated with the commercialization of this plant are also discussed.

http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue62/article2697.html

https://ethnobiology.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/JoE/2-1/Turner1982.pdf

The book Canadian Medicinal Crops article on Devil’s Club shows a native population far removed from the primary Pacific Northwest habitat existing in the North Shore Lake Superior rain forest area including Isle Royale and adjacent mainland of Minnesota and Ontario. Devil’s Club is grown in many other areas as a garden ornamental plant.

The map below shows wild population in Michigan, however it’s misleading because apparently none in the upper Keweenaw, only verified wild populations are on two islands near Thunder Bay, and on Isle Royale and Passage Island off the NE tip of Isle Royale.  A random coincidence that of the four locations Passage Island and Porphyry Island are both sites of lighthouses? I don’t buy the explanation these orphan populations are remnants of wide-spread continuous habitat as the last continental glaciers retreated. Surely there are other islands and on the mainland in Minnesota, Ontario and UP Michigan with similar climate and soil hospitable to the plant.

devils-club

More info about various aspects of the plant:

file:///root/Downloads/2-2NPJ106-108.pdf

http://www.alaskafloatsmyboat.com/beachcombing/2013/5/12/collecting-devils-club

https://devilsclublundbc.wordpress.com/cultivation/

http://lfs-indigenous.sites.olt.ubc.ca/plants/devils-club/

  • The Vancouver Island Nuu-chah-nulth made fish lures from peeled devil’s club stems, which were tied near fishhooks to snag the fish.
  • The Ditidaht has two different fish lures out of devil’s club: one lure to attract codfish to the surface before spearing them and a hoo attached to a line and used mainly for black bass fish.
  • The Haida First Nations used the stems of devil’s club as hooks to catch black cod and octopus.

Devil’s Club can be found in the Southern part of Coastal British Columbia. It is found in open sites, especially common on disturbed sites such as along roads. It can also be found in open forests and is generally more abundant at low elevation.

Memoirs, Volumes 1-2
Harvard University. Gray Herbarium
1917 – Botany

Page 257 shows a map with distribution jumping from those four islands to Pacific NW and in an arc through the Aleutians to Japan and Korea

/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3057089/

http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue62/article2697.html

 

“If Lyme Disease Is There Japanese Knotweed Will Follow”

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Not surprising because they both spread in similar environment and climate conditions… you might not wish for either but there are collateral benefits from their coincidence.

fallopia-japonica-northshore-crop
Is it a dreadful alien invader, a terrorist among plants? The Hammer of Truth, Nature’s payback to an arrogant species (humans) for their own violence and invasions of Nature?

A Language of Plants:

Japanese Knotweed, formally known as Fallopia Japonica or Polygonum cuspidatum (cuspid/spade shaped leaves.) This plant (the specimen at the library) is the dwarf/landscape gardening variety compacta, not so aggressive and invasive as big brother; both are growing in Grand Marais, Minnesota!

In Japan it is called Itadori, the rough translation suggests its uses: relieve or remove pain.

The plant was introduced to North America more than 100 years ago and possibly more than 150. Like many black-listed invasive species, it thrives primarily in disturbed and contaminated  environments. The hollow jointed stalks resemble bamboo and the edible shoots have historically  been sold in markets as American Bamboo Shoots. The root is one source of Resveratrol, an antioxidant “longevity” supplement discovered originally in wine and grapes. See sample label below:

Supplement Facts

Serving Size 1 Softgel
Amount Per Serving % Daily Value
Resveratrol (from Polygonum cuspidatum Extract (root) 100 mg **

 

“Follow the money!”

With many Invasive Plant Species that have been around and naturalized in their new host countries for a long time, some observers wonder what all the fuss is about and whether the manufacturers of pesticides and other chemicals have conveniently exaggerated and exploited the issues to increase sales. (In the past many of those same opportunist companies started business with ammunition and explosives then expanded into nerve gas, fertilizer, pesticides, and finally other Ag chemicals and GMO/bio-engineering.)

I was going to compile a balance sheet on Japanese Knotweed, the case for the prosecution and the case for the defense. But it is too much a reflection of the current intolerant and hostile presidential campaign rhetoric.

Marcus Aurelius wrote 1800 years ago, “What Nature inflicts Nature can cure.”

Lyme disease appears to be expanding, invading new territory. A herbalist TCM practitioner has said, “If Lyme has reached your region Japanese Knotweed will not be far behind.”

Re: the meaning of the name Itadori, relieve pain, Isak Dinesen took up the same subject, writing that there are three forms of perfect happiness in life.
1. To feel within yourself an excess of strength
2. To know you are fulfilling your destiny
3. The remission of pain

Wild and Wacky Plants

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http://nwtarts.com/sites/default/files/wild_and_wacky_plants_of_the_nwt.pdf

With drawings and information about medicinal and edible plants of the NWT, many common in areas farther south, written for a children’s audience. Strange that this free download book has seen no promotion and no other review or description online…

ww-plantain

Common Plantain
Plantago major
Common plantain grows as a weed near many settled areas in
the North. The leaves have five to seven obvious ribs. The stems
are 30 cm long with a dense narrow spike of tiny, yellowish
white flowers. Look around your doorway or yard; there’s a
good chance plantain is growing there.
Seeds from this plant have
lain dormant for as long as 40
years and then sprouted
between the cracks of a
sidewalk
Another name for plantain is “white
man’s foot” because everywhere
settlers walked, the plant
sprung up.
Rulus Numeris Uno
Remember Rule #1
Plantain Salad
1. Pick young plantain leaves
early in spring.
2. Mix with other salad greens or
wild greens like dandelion.
3. Add tomatoes and cucumber.
4. Toss with vinegar and oil.

Introduction ……………………………………………………………. 1

Wildflowers
Butterwort …………………………………………………………… 2
Cloudberry ………………………………………………………….. 4
Common Plantain …………………………………………………. 6
Common Yarrow ………………………………………………….. 8
Fireweed ……………………………………………………………. 10
Indian Paintbrush ……………………………………………….. 12
Mountain Avens …………………………………………………. 14
Prickly Saxifrage…………………………………………………. 16
Red Baneberry ……………………………………………………. 18
Silverweed …………………………………………………………. 20
Twinflower ………………………………………………………… 22
Wild Mint ………………………………………………………….. 24
Yellow Lady’s Slipper ………………………………………….. 26

Aquatic Plants
Cat-tail ……………………………………………………………… 28
Duckweed …………………………………………………………..30
Rat Root ……………………………………………………………. 32
Water-arum ………………………………………………………. 34
Yellow Pond-lily …………………………………………………. 36
Horsetails
Common Horsetail ……………………………………………… 38

Sedges
Cotton-grass ……………………………………………………… 40
Shrubs
Black Currant …………………………………………………….. 42
Bog Rosemary ……………………………………………………. 44
Crowberry …………………………………………………………. 46
Ground Juniper…………………………………………………… 48
Labrador Tea ……………………………………………………….50
Mountain Cranberry and Kinnikinnick ……………………. 52
Prickly Wild Rose ……………………………………………….. 54
Silverberry…………………………………………………………. 56
Soapberry …………………………………………………………. 58
Willow ……………………………………………………………… 60

Trees
Black Spruce and White Spruce …………………………….. 62
Jack Pine …………………………………………………………… 64
Paper Birch and Dwarf Birch ………………………………… 66
Tamarack ………………………………………………………….. 68
Trembling Aspen and Balsam Poplar ………………………. 70

Reference List ………………………………………………………… 72
Index ……………………………………………………………………. 74

http://northernbushcraft.com/guide.php?ctgy=edible_plants&region=nt

http://northernbushcraft.com/

Plantago/plantain leaf is more valuable for many purposes than the seed husk.

This investigation shows that the P. major and C.
tetragonoloba contained important biologically active
compounds and P. major leaves had the highest total
phenol, flavonoid and tannin content. In addition, ethanol,
cold and hot extracts of the same plants showed
antioxidant activity, but the highest antioxidant activity
was found in ethanolic extract of P. major leaves .Also,
ethanolic extract of P. major leaves had the greatest
effect on tumor cell growth followed by hot water extract
of P. major leaves.   http://www.academicjournals.org/article/article1380545577_Mohamed%20et%20al.pdf

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