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  • #31
    Originally posted by OLChemist View Post
    I'm sorry if it sounded like I was criticizing your late husband. I was going for a variation on the stock disclaimer I put on any info about medicinal chemistry. I know too many New Agey types who think they can just play herbalist. In someways, I think their attitude is a kind of unconscious contempt for our culture. "It's got to be simple, after all these primitive people developed it."

    There is a lot involved in safely gathering and using wild food, or traditional medicines. And most of us in the modern world don't have enough exposure to plants. I grew up with two generations that foraged for wild foods and herbs, and I what I learned is what I don't know. There were plants my auntie wouldn't harvest if it was dry because she said they weren't good then. One of them I later learned from a colleague, who was extracting and identifying compounds in the home remedies used by mountain people in the Ozarks, produced a toxic alkaloid in response to stress to prevent predation. It takes an years of guidance and experience to learn to safely gather, prepare and use traditional foods and medicines. Our ancestors were skilled practical botanists and chemists. And they invested much time and energy into transmitting this knowledge, which cannot be casually acquired.

    Many of these plants are leaving our daily lives, even for those of us in cities. This fall I went back to the town where I grew up and back to my where my grandparents farm used to be for the first time in over twenty years. Like I said in my earlier post there used to be wild food and medicinal plants in ditches, right aways and creek beds. So much is gone. Widespread use of herbicides, in particular N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine, has decimated the broadleaved "weeds". Milkweed, ironweed, ragweed, false globe mallow, morning glory and so many plants were just gone from the roadsides and ditches. Places I used to pick touch-me-not leaves to put on bug bites were all invasive species now. And I won't have eaten the elderberries that were limping along in some of the places that used to me lush gardens of berries.

    MoonWoman, touch-me-not, jewelweed, Impatiens capensis sap contains 2-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone a natural dye which turns your skin orange/brown/yellow. Some scientists say the sap has antifungal properties. It is a widely used folk remedy for poison ivy and bug bites. Your teachin' for the day *wink*

    That's A Keeper.


    • #32
      You Guys Are Truly Amazing. Thank you.


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