One Man’s Meat Is Another Man’s Poison

Leave a comment

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.

The dose and the host make the poison and the cure.

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

“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

1 Comment

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

Click to access 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”

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

Click to access 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

A Song of Plants: Poke Sallet Annie

Leave a comment

Polk salad Annie / ‘Gators got your granny / Everybody said it was a shame / For the mama was working on the chain-gang…

Sally, sallet, salad, sale’ ??

Elvis or Johnny Cash version?

Halfway, Elvis pulls a piece of paper out from under his belt, looks at it, hands it off. Forgot the lyrics?

Vs. Johnny Cash more into it. JC: “Sadie Fox says there was 14 kinds of weeds good to eat”

TJW: “What’s one of em?”

JC: “Poke salad”

A Language of Plants

Leave a comment

Poetry, Plants and Nature, expressions of The Word and of Art, are the antidote to the dull and dreary tyranny of prose, grammar, dictionaries, conformity, and compartmentalized conventional education…

OPHELIA
There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray,
love, remember: and there is pansies, that’s for thoughts.
LAERTES
A document in madness, thoughts and remembrance fitted.
OPHELIA
There’s fennel for you, and columbines: there’s rue
for you; and here’s some for me: we may call it
herb-grace o’ Sundays: O you must wear your rue with
a difference. There’s a daisy: I would give you
some violets, but they withered all when my father
died: they say he made a good end,–
Sings
For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.

An Interview with Michael Longley, onbeing.org:

Poetry is useless and yet invaluable

I have said that where poems come from, I have no idea. And if I have a plan, if I think, “I’d love to write a poem about that,” and I do a bit of homework on the subject, it doesn’t work at all. I’ve got to be taken by surprise.

Somebody was complaining within earshot of being under-recognized, and John turned to me, and he says, “If you write poetry, it’s your own fault.”

Religious poetry: religion, from Latin religare, to bind fast or connect.

“If prose is a river, poetry is a fountain.” In other words, poetry uses language in a way that’s free-flowing, and at the same time, shapely. And I do like the word “shape.”

“I get down on my knees and do what must be done, and kiss Achilles hand, the killer of my son.“

yarrow-flowers

(Achillea/Yarrow-Heroic, Confident but Modest-what Achilles the plant’s namesake lacked until Priam humbled him)

Stanley Kunitz, and he was 100 when I went to see him, beautiful old man. And he wrote in the preface to his collected poems, which I’d recommend to anyone, that form was a way of conserving energy. Isn’t that wonderful? He said the energy soon leaks out of an ill-made work of art.

I think what poetry does is it uses words at their most precise and their most suggestive. And one word out of place, and the poem’s dead. It’s shocking, but that’s true.

… I’ve loved it for years and years — is English critic, Cyril Connolly, and he compared the arts to a little gland in the body, like the pituitary gland, which is at the base of the spine. And it seems very small and unimportant, but when it’s removed, the body dies

Accept compliments but don’t inhale

The Ice-Cream Man

Rum and raisin, vanilla, butterscotch, walnut, peach:
You would rhyme off the flavours. That was before
They murdered the ice-cream man on the Lisburn Road
And you bought carnations to lay outside his shop.
I named for you all the wild flowers of the Burren
I had seen in one day: thyme, valerian, loosestrife,
Meadowsweet, tway blade, crowfoot, ling, angelica,
Herb robert, marjoram, cow parsley, sundew, vetch,
Mountain avens, wood sage, ragged robin, stitchwort,
Yarrow, lady’s bedstraw, bindweed, bog pimpernel.

“Who was it who suggested that the opposite of war / Is not so much peace as civilisation? / He knew / Our assassinated Catholic greengrocer who died / At Christmas in the arms of our Methodist minister, / And our ice-cream man whose continuing requiem / Is the twenty-one flavors children have by heart. / Our cobbler mends shoes for everybody; our butcher / Blends into his best sausages leeks, garlic, honey; / Our corner shop sells everything from bread to kindling. / Who can bring peace to people who are not civilized? / All of these people, alive or dead, are civilized.”

HISTORY OF THE CRIES OF LONDON

Let none despise the merry, merry cries

Here’s fine rosemary, sage and thyme
Come, buy my ground-ivy
Here’s featherfew, gilliflowers and rue

Come, buy my knotted marjorum, ho !
Come, buy my mint, my fine green mint
Here’s fine lavender for your cloaths
Here’s parsley, and winter-savory
And heartsease, which all do choose
Here’s balm and hyssop and cinquefoil
All fine herbs, it is well known
Let none despise the merry, merry cries
Of famous London Town

Here’s penny royal and marygolds
Come, buy my nettle-tops
Here’s water-cresses and scurvy-grass
Come, buy my sage, of virtue, ho !
Come, buy my wormwood and mugwort
Here’s all fine herbs of every sort
Here’s southernwood that’s very good
Dandelion and houseleek
Here’s dragon’s tongue and wood sorrel
With bear’s-foot and horehound
Let none despise the merry, merry cries
Of famous London Town

https://www.daniellesplace.com/html/bible-crafts-beatitudes.html

Dandelion – “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness . . . ” Matt. 5:8

Although dandelions have both medicinal and food value they are despised by homeowners and gardeners. They are poisoned, ripped from the earth, and cursed yet they continue to flourish.

Yarrow

Leave a comment

yarrow-flowers

yarrow-achilles

A Wall Painting in Herculaneum

The uses of Yarrow and other herbs were among the Centaur Chiron’s teachings to Achilles. Yarrow, Achilleum millefollium, Milfoil, Nosebleed, Herbe a Dindes, Little Chipmunk Tail in one West Coast Native Canadian language, is among the distinctive and common “weeds” with medicinal and food uses which children can easily learn to recognize. Some others: plantain, dandelion, chicory, lambsquarters, goldenrod, nettles (ouch!), ox-eye daisies, New England aster, purslane, pineappleweed chamomile…

The same as its loud rude cousin in the Daisy family, Tansy, the stalk can be snapped off near the ground with flowering tops solidly attached. Grip the flower head in one hand then strip the leaves off between your pinched thumb and forefinger running from top to bottom. Use Yarrow leaves and the flowers as you would other flavoring herbs in a salad or in tea.

To make a pleasant healthy cold infusion to drink put any combination of leaves and flowers of edible herbs, including green or black tea (or not) whatever your preference, with water in a blender and fire away. Many healthy herbs are too strong, bitter or disagreeable tasting alone but can be less intense and even pleasant when used in combinations. Refrigeration also helps. Add a tablespoon or more dried stevia leaf in the mix to moderate the flavor. Stevia leaf is more than a sweetener; research shows it to have anti-inflammatory and anti-hypertensive properties.

Click to access 5550b9d308ae956a5d25d295.pdf

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium L., Asteraceae) is
among the most widespread and widely used
medicinal plants in the world. It has been popular
for millennia as a treatment for wounds and
infectious diseases, as well as many other conditions.
Chandler et al. (1982) reviewed the
ethnobotany and phytochemistry of yarrow in
this journal. At that time, the extent of human
use data was already enormous, and chemical
research had discovered enough constituents
having known bioactivity that Chandler et al.
(1982) were able to conclude “Many of the
plant’s other uses can also be explained by the
types of constituents present …,” adding further
that their review had “showed that . . . at least
some of the traditional medicinal herbs were
effective.” In the intervening quarter-century,
more direct evidence regarding yarrow’s bioactivities
has been generated by bioassays and animal
studies. Nonetheless, no human clinical trial of a
single-herb yarrow product for its traditional uses
has yet been conducted. The purpose of the
present review is to argue that the weight of
evidence from preclinical research and human use
data, in the absence of such trials, is sufficient to
warrant the presumption that yarrow, used in
traditional fashion, is likely to possess useful
activity, and that the medical research community
ought to initiate more thorough studies of this
promising botanical as expeditiously as possible.

https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/flower/common-yarrow

http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=ACMI2

http://eol.org/pages/467225/overview

 

Medicinal Plants at the Library Rat Root

2 Comments

acorus_calamus1

Mystery Medicinal Plant#1  (All plants have medicinal properties to those who know how to use them)

Ethnobotany:the scientific study of the traditional knowledge and customs of a people concerning plants and their medical,religious,and other uses. Those knowledgeable of plants’uses for health purposes are traditionally called by these names or equivalent: Healers,Curandero/Curandera,Medicine Man/Woman,Herbalist

Typically called by North American Native/First Nations:RAT ROOT Grows in the same areas along streams and wetlands or lakes where muskrats are found

Other names:acorus,calamus,sweet flag

Scientific name:Acorus calamus var.Americanus or simply A. Americanus

Many Northerners,Natives and Metis use this plant root for digestive and respiratory problems.It may have an immediate effect on heartburn by chewing on a small finger amt of dry root.It also has spiritual significance and may be carried in a medicine bag hanging on the neck or for practical purposes in a shirt pocket.

The North American variety produces fertile seed,unlike the Eurasian variety.The only region outside the US and Canada where this variety exists wild is Buryatia east of Lake Baikal,Siberia.Plant geneticists and anthropologists conclude that the plants were brought across the Bering land bridge by early humans15-20,000years ago.

“SI11KPt TAWOTE (MUSKRAT’S FOOD)
The most important traditional panacea medicinal
plant among the Oglala is sweet flag
(Acorus calamus L.). The Sioux call the plant
sirkpe tawoie, but some of the elders refer to
the plant by the English name, “bitter root.”
This plant of the Arum family grows in the
shallows of lakes and rivers and is valued for
its aromatic and pungent tasting rhizome. Although
the plant has been used to cure almost
every known ill, its dominant uses are for cold,
congestion, throat problems, and upset stomach.
The rhizome is chewed or made into tea.
At powwows singers place pieces of si.”kpe tawoie
in their mouths to keep clear voices.
Sirkpe tawoie is also used as a tonic and
stimulant, the Sioux often placing pieces in their
mouths in order to combat fatigue. The plant is
also used externally for sores. The Oglala give
two or three doses of tea from the boiled or
masticated rhizome to puppies so that they will
grow up to be mean watchdogs. The plant is
also burned to keep away night spirits. Many
elderly Sioux carry a small piece of sirkpe tawOle
with them as an amulet. Si.”kpe tawote is
an important plant in the medicine man’s bag,
and it is also commonly used by the people”   http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1505&context=greatplainsquarterly

The sterile variety propagated from roots was carried from their home and spread to Europe by the Mongol and Tatar invaders long ago. In Russia this was thought to be initially something like a Trojan Horse and the original Russian name was Mongol Poison. In England the pleasant smelling leaves were used as “strewing herb”and some parts of Europe the root called German ginger.

Culinary Uses of Calamus

“The leaves can be used fresh in an infusion with milk for custards, rice puddings and other desserts in much the same way as a vanilla bean or cinnamon quill is used to impart its flavor. Young leaf buds have been added to salads and the powdered root is sometimes used for its delicate cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger notes in Indian and Arab sweet dishes. Calamus is a key ingredient in Absinthe and the original recipe for Dr. Pepper.”

Rat Root Detox

Calamus root is the best antidote for the ill effects of marijuana. . . . if one smokes a pinch of calamus root powder with the marijuana, this herb will completely neutralize the toxic side effects of the drug.

This claim has gained credence, not only through force of anecdotal accounts that abound on the Internet, but with formal scientific case reports and scientific analysis (McPartland et al., 2008) documenting clearer thinking and improved memory with the cannabis–calamus combination, and with provision of a scientific rationale: calamus contains beta-asarone, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor with 10% of the potency of physotigmine (Mukherjee et al., 2007). Interestingly, the cannabis terpenoid, α-pinene, also has been characterized as a potent inhibitor of that enzyme (Miyazawa and Yamafuji, 2005), bolstering the hypothesis of a second antidote to THC contained in cannabis itself. Historical precedents also support pinene in this pharmacological role. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165946/)

Principles of Knowledge

“Like a surgeon with his instruments and knives ready for cases which suddenly need their skill, so do you have principles ready for the understanding of things divine and human…

Make for yourself a definition or description of every object presented to you, so as to see clearly what it is in its own naked substance, complete and entire, and tell yourself its proper name, and the names of the things of which it is compounded and into which it will be dissolved.”
-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, ca. 1800 years ago

Customary Disclaimer/Precautions

Any person may experience adverse effects from ingesting any particular plant part.

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” The Buddha

http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=ACAM

http://naeb.brit.org/uses/search/?string=acorus+calamus

Here is the motherload of Boreal Medicinal Plants names and uses:

https://everythingiknowaboutthatilearnedfrommysleddogs.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/boreal-medicinal-plants/

Guanyin and Willow

Leave a comment

Guanyin, Chinese Buddhist representation of compassion, often depicted with a vial of elixir in one hand, the nectar of immortality, and a willow branch in the other. Comparable in some ways to the Virgin Mary in Catholicism she will intercede for individual humans’ suffering. (Compassion vs. mercy; the later implies the action is coming from the agent or cause of the suffering.)

The willow symbolizes weeping, compassion and healing. In China willow bark was used for healing long before the first Buddhist missionaries from India arrived several thousand years ago.

Guan Yin

Danish author Isak Dinesen (Out of Africa) wrote, the third perfect form of happiness in life is the remission of pain.

 

While Guanyin was doing good deeds, her wicked father fell ill but the ever-compassionate Guanyin cut off her arms and plucked out her eyes to use as ingredients for a medicine that saved the old codger’s life. To show his gratitude he ordered the construction of a statue in her honor telling the sculptor to make the statue quanshou quanyan meaning “with completely formed arms and eyes.” The sculptor was probably from Henan and he misunderstood. He made the sculpture with qianshou qianyan “a thousand arms and eyes.” From that day on, Guanyin has been represented with a lot of arms and eyes.

According to the Garland Sutra, “The Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara lives in the Putuo Mountain.” It is said that Sudhana, another Bodhisattva has gone all the way to Putuo Mountain to pay homage to Avalokitesvara. Hsuan Tsang, the celebrated monk of the Tang Dynasty also paid visit to Putuo Mountain on his pilgrimage to India. Because the Putuo Mountain in India looked similar to China’s Mount Putuo, Mount Putuo of Zhejiang Province eventually became the domain of Avalokitesvara.

In China (2013) near Shanghai, Suzhou, Tongli Village and Lake Tai, I visited a temple on a small island. Too bad I was not clued in to this or I could have identified Guanyin.

My grandparents lived in China for most of 35 years beginning in 1901. In their memoir, Our Life:

We never visited Putu (Pu du in Ningpowhile we lived in Ningpo.About 1920 Edith and Frances visited it before Frances went to America to enter college.About 1930 when attending an Association meeting. Dr.Liu and I and others went to Pu tu and stayed over night and visited all the places of note. We ate imitation meat as no meat is permitted on the island.

There are two very large monasteries and many smaller ones and numerous small temples and shrines.We saw the end of a ceremony in the monastery in which we stayed. family had been there for a week to have masses said for their relatives and on the last day all the monks went down to the seashore to send the souls to the western heaven.It cost the family $1000U.S. Such ceremonies net the monasteries on the island over million dollars a year. By this means the temples and the monks are supported. There used to be two thousand monks but now the number is much reduced.

One of the curiosities is the body of a monk who starved himself to death and his body is covered with gold leaf and worshiped as an idol. Another is the huge footprint of Kwan Yin, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, who takes the place of Mary in Roman Catholicism, in the rock where she alighted on her flight from India. She was a man in India.The whole island is sacred to her.There is one alabaster image of her in one the temples.

The temple or monastery on the highest point on the island white glazed tile roofs. One of the largest temples has yellow glazed tiles.We talked with several abbots. They were mostly retired merchants who wished to get away from the world and no great interest in Buddhism or any religion.”

A recent study of almost 40 traditional and commonly available herbal medicines evaluated the extracts for 5 health promoting mechanisms and effects. It is noteworthy that unlike most reductionist allopathic medicine that would look to identify and isolate single constituents, thus often throwing the baby out with the bathwater, this study used the whole herb, root or seed. Among the authors’ conclusions:

“We provided evidence that each of these geroprotective PEs has different effects on cellular processes known to define longevity in organisms across phyla. Such effects include the following: 1) amplified mitochondrial respiration and membrane potential; 2) increased or decreased concentrations of ROS; 3) reduced oxidative damage to cellular proteins, membrane lipids, and mitochondrial and nuclear genomes; 4) enhanced cell resistance to oxidative and thermal stresses; and 5) accelerated degradation of neutral lipids deposited in LDs…

One of these extracts is the most potent longevity-extending pharmacological intervention yet described.”

That one is willow bark.

http://www.impactjournals.com/oncotarget/index.php?journal=oncotarget&page=article&op=view&path%5B%5D=7665&path%5B%5D=22203

The study focused on actions or processes generally associated with health and longevity, not on specific pathologies. Don’t throw away your rat root for GI upset and colds. Don’t ditch the celery seed for sore joints. There is no suggestion that use of any of the herbs/spices is exclusive of others.

The 37 herbs tested included many of the recognized healthy cooking and medicinal plants. (One I did not see is turmeric.) The 6 identified as outstanding according to their criteria for longevity and health maintenance were black cohosh, passionflower, ginkgo, valerian, celery seed and willow bark.

 

Modern Moganshan

Leave a comment

Links to photos and information about the modern day mountain resort that missionaries first developed more than a hundred years ago:

http://enroute.aircanada.com/en/articles/day-trips-from-shanghai

http://www.nakedretreats.cn/gallery/photo-gallery/

 

Borsch Is Dynamite!

Leave a comment

Good for the heart & circulatory system. The herbalist Doctrine of Signatures scores points on beetroot.

Blood color, heart shape, ascending vessel/stems:

Nitroglycerin, beet soup, Viagra, sports, Popeye, spinach… the common denominator is NO.

Beet soup combats erectile dysfunction?

My friend and neighbor, fellow dog musher Jim Stephens, had a good life until he and his logging partner won a tree cutting contract with the USDA Forest Service. One day as a result of miscommunication his partner Ted cut a tree down too close to where Jim was working and a branch bounced so to hit him in the back, tossing him a long distance through the air. After that he suffered back pain, took pain killing drugs with whiskey, smoked cigarettes; followed by heart disease, bypass surgery, then a heart transplant. In the early stages of this progression he was taking nitroglycerin for chest pain, called angina.

The party continued in Margueritaville across the road. Roasted bear meat, smoked suckers (a kind of fish) and lots of beer. Some enthusiasts shooting clay pigeons off the back porch and their yelling made as much noise as the shotgun. It was too loud. Jim and I were both walking back up the hill to his house. Bear meat makes you fart. Suckers are full of y-shaped bones, their revenge for getting hooked by fishermen although we had netted these.

Jim was puffing a bit and said he felt chest pain despite taking a nitro pill. Maybe his pills were stale. Maybe I would be a good friend and take one myself to verify if the medication worked. How would that affect me, I asked. Nothing serious, I would feel flushed because nitro dilates your blood vessels. I swallowed one pill and did not feel any immediate. I stopped to talk to someone else while Jim continued to his house. By the time I got there I felt as if my head had been inflated like a basketball with an air pump. Jim was not around for news that his nitroglycerin was still potent. He had already convinced his wife to take him to the hospital. Either way he was gone but if he had waited I would want an antidote to the pill he conned me into taking for him. I sat down until the headache dissipated. (Was it the combined beer, hops and nitro that caused OD?)

Borsch, borscht, barsch, борщ, is eastern European type of soup. I have been told that the word generally means soup. In Poland I had white borsch that was made with fermented grains similar to kvass as a base. In the USA because of immigration by Ashkenazi Jews from eastern Europe, borscht is understood to mean beetroot soup with cabbage and meat, usually topped with sour cream. (I mentioned before the Borscht Belt aka Jewish Alps in upstate New York, a resort area popular with NYC area Jewish vacationers.) It is good soup for cold weather with the effect of warming you up, sometimes you could feel overheated and need to go outside after a bowl to avoid sweating.

Today I stumbled across the explanation for the similar effects of these bioactive substances.

Having refrained from making puns about beats and beets or NO and no, avoiding the impractical and fatuous confusion about nitrate, nitrite and nitric oxide, I need only tell you, *hypocrite lecteur-mon semblable-mon frere, that nitroglycerin, TNT/trinitrotoluene, ammonium nitrate fertilizer, even nitrocellulose that was used in the early years for movie film, are explosive because of the powerful oxidizer nitrate. The agent or mediator in the body of the desirable effects is endogenous nitric oxide, NO, a vasoactive antioxidant and neurochemical.

*Hypocrite reader, my double, my brother, Baudelaire’s term for what now might be called co-conspirator. Another modern poetic translation for semblable would be avatar.

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/beets-and-beetroots

Some people are sensitive to biogenic amines caused by bacterial and yeast fermentation (wine, cheese, vegemite) or similar reactions among amino acids and NO compounds. If you get headaches from such things be forewarned.

P.S. I had a bag of powdered beet root that I mixed with lime juice and tomato salsa to drink for the present occasion as a test and so far nothing remarkable has happened. I suspect that sour cream and vinegar or other SCFA (short chain fatty acids) also play a part in the borsch exothermic mix. If you included kielbasa in your beet soup that’s got nitrates too.

P.P.S. Read the link for details about Viagra, sexual performance enhancing, erectile dysfunction etc.

More links:

http://nutsci.org/2009/10/23/how-to-get-athletes-to-eat-their-vegetables-nitrate-and-performance-part-1/

http://jap.physiology.org/content/107/5/1678.full

Anyone have good recipes for red and white borsch? Leave comments!

Update September 2015

Leave a comment

This blog title is the name of the University of Shanghai, a Baptist missionary university founded in Shanghai 1905. Hujiang, the old name of Shanghai, daxue, big school, = university. Sad to say that about 9 months ago the site was hacked and most of the pages were trashed and lost. No one has the energy to restore this content yet.

In the meantime can post other content to keep things active…

Dong Jingan Six Hundred Character Literacy Campaign

Leave a comment

sus 2 R

 

 

sus 1 R

Photos

Leave a comment

Photos.

The Moongate House

Leave a comment

The Moongate House.

Combining Fact and Fiction in The Garners of Shanghai

Leave a comment

Combining Fact and Fiction in The Garners of Shanghai.

Hemingway And Gellhorn In China

1 Comment

The 2012 movie Hemingway and Gellhorn was worth watching, though not all reviewers think so.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/hemingway_and_gellhorn_2012/

http://www.amazon.com/Hemingway-Gellhorn-Nicole-Kidman/dp/B0041KKZIM

What interested me especially was the film sequence of their trip to China in 1941 following their marriage but before Pearl Harbor. She was writing and reporting for Colliers, as she did on many trips to war zones before and after this one. The movie script for the China sequences was based largely on the chapter of her so-called travel book published in the 1970s, Travels With Myself and Another.

http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/media/books/Outdoor-Adventure-Memoirs-by-Women-Martha-Gellhorn.html

http://www.amazon.com/Travels-Myself-Another-A-Memoir/dp/B0046HAJT0

Her account in this book is fair to Hemingway, describing his cheerful, adaptable good ol’ boy character and attitude while self-deprecating of her own complaining and queasy or squeamish displeasure with conditions in China.

Reading the reviews of the book is often as entertaining as reading the book.

“This book is in many ways both tedious and haphazardly written. And it is wonderful and marvelous and educational and simply fabulous.”

“By the time I finished this book, I wanted to divorce Martha Gellhorn, and I wasn’t even married to her! She chronicles travels which she chose, which she initiated, and which she planned, and then she whines through what seems like an eternity about the circumstances she encounters. Hemingway was a saint in the first section not to kill her on the spot; though he is known for his temper, he took everything in good humor, reminding her that she was the one who wanted to be there.”

Hemingway appears only in the first chapter and Gellhorn refers to him as U. C. unwilling companion. There is no evidence here but there are claims that Hemingway was reporting to the KBG about circumstances in China, perhaps continuing his Communist contacts begun during the Spanish Civil War.

20130701164613989_0001

20130701164613989_0001

20130701164613989_0002

20130701164613989_0002

The movie and book also describe their visit to Zhou Enlai, supposedly in hiding in Chungking not far from Chiang’s palace.

The closest connection of these events to the F. J. White family is that Roberta White Taylor worked for Sung Ailing, Madame Kung, and met the other two sisters, Meiling/Madame Chiang and Chingling/Madame Sun probably in Shanghai and Nanjing when Nanking was the capitol of the KMT around 1936. She did not work long and felt she was being used as a baby sitter more than as secretary assistant.

 

Older Entries Newer Entries