Open Thread for Saturday

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HERBS

Physician Preparing an Elixir

Physician Preparing an Elixir
Folio from a Materia Medica of Dioscorides
A.H. 621/A.D 1224
From the late Abbasid Iraq of the 13th century
Metropolitan Museum of Art


File:Starr 070906-8878 Petroselinum crispum.jpg

Using plants as medicine is an ancient practice. Now more people are learning (or having to relearn) that food can be viewed as medicine as well. Putting herbs and spices into our food can kick up the nutritional and health benefits of a meal.
Easy herbs to grow are; Basil, mint, oregano, thyme, sage, parsley, rosemary, lemongrass, lemon balm, lemon verbena, bay laurel, chives, aloe vera, dandelion, chickweed, nettle, chile pequin, hot peppers of all kinds, dill, fennel, and red clover. They all do well in containers. (Clover does well all over the ground.)
New to my garden are hoja santa, epazote, and fenugreek.
Up next for me to try is ginger, turmeric, and goldenseal.

Curandera
BY PAT MORA
They think she lives alone
on the edge of town in a two-room house
where she moved when her husband died
at thirty-five of a gunshot wound
in the bed of another woman. The curandera
and house have aged together to the rhythm
of the desert.

She wakes early, lights candles before
her sacred statues, brews tea of yerbabuena.
She moves down her porch steps, rubs
cool morning sand into her hands, into her arms.
Like a large black bird, she feeds on
the desert, gathering herbs for her basket.

Her days are slow, days of grinding
dried snake into powder, of crushing
wild bees to mix with white wine.
And the townspeople come, hoping
to be touched by her ointments,
her hands, her prayers, her eyes.
She listens to their stories, and she listens
to the desert, always, to the desert.

By sunset she is tired. The wind
strokes the strands of long gray hair,
the smell of drying plants drifts
into her blood, the sun seeps
into her bones. She dozes
on her back porch. Rocking, rocking.

A celebration of good food and a deep connection with the plants, animals, and spirits of the land:
More old wisdom; a collection of observation and prescription for ailments:

The Great Herball
Peter Treveris 1526
Metropolitan Museum of Art


"Fir0002/Flagstaffotos".

Some of my favorite ways to prepare the fresh green herbs is to make salsas, pestos, chimichuri sauce, and raitas. They also do well in pasta sauces of all kinds including a puttanesca sauce. Thai soups and dishes use tons of greens as do Mideastern and Indian dishes. The list goes on forever.
What are your favorite ways to use all those herbs?

The Ebers Papyrus (c. 1550 BC) from Ancient Egypt describes the use of hundreds of plant medicines
wikipedia commons
PEbers_c41.jpg: Einsamer Schütze


Ramas_de_Tomillo.jpg

wikimedia commons used for images of parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme respectively.
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Herbs
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It's a foggy humid morning here and unseasonably warm at 69 degrees and just a slight chance of rain. We are way behind in rainfall.
Hope everyone is doing well.

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Lookout's picture

Thanks for the OT randtntx. We grow several herbs and I'm moving them outside the fence since deer don't browse them. I think this botanical book is from the 14 or 15 hundreds.
IMG_0718.jpg
...using dried specimens. I used to press and dry plants I collected, but have not done so for years.

I would grow a herb to smoke except they can take my place away from me if I was caught. Kinda crazy, I can kill someone and they won't take my place, but grow a little herb???

It is another pretty day here. I've already been to trade day and the grocery. Bought a nice turkey for $6 - $0.47/pound. As we say, I'm de-thawing it to cook on the smoker this week. Well y'all all have a nice day!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout that rabbits and deer usually don't have a taste for most herbs. Everything here has to be protected with fences otherwise those critters will clean you out. So I get to be more relaxed about the herbs.

I haven't collected plant specimens in forever, the thought brings back fond memories. Sometimes when I go through old books that belonged to my grandparents, I run across a dried leaf or flower. It's a bit jarring, in a bittersweet way.

I love botanical books, they are hands-down fascinating to me. Once I had the opportunity to look at, touch, and talk to the man that was curating an old herbal compendium from the colonists here. It was at a rare book collection in Massachusetts in a beautiful old rare book library. Pure heaven.

Crazy that we can't plant whatever we want right? It's just an example of a system with dumb priorities; follow the money I guess. That hemp used to be a crop that was not allowed, is really crazy because it is such a useful plant in so many ways.

Smoked turkey sounds nice, I have 2 people in the family who are very resistant to this celebration so we have to engage them in other ways. I'm working on that.

Thanks for stopping by, have a good one.

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Have been interested in growing herbs mainly for food seasoning. Maybe this will move me forward.
Starting my trek down to Texas from New Mexico. Know this is not best time but there are some non-covid related issues that need attention from my doctor
Have packed road food and water, created a porta potties and should only need to make human contact to check into hotel.
Taking longer driving because energy level is dimished but here I go. Wish had an energy herb to boost me!

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Life is what you make it, so make it something worthwhile.

This ain't no dress rehearsal!

@jakkalbessie that those herbs contribute to your dish can be fabulous. Just take pesto for example, it can change something that is boring to something that is so good. But then I love garlic and most things with added garlic are kicked up a notch for me on the enjoyability scale. The flavor of green, and lemon juice, and parmesan are also something else. I think I love food.

The good thing about herbs are that most of them grow like weeds, in fact, most of them are weeds and require minimal upkeep here in TX. If you need any pointers I'd be glad to pitch in what I've encountered in growing my little herb garden. I've been at it for a while. I'd love to give you some small starts, I have so many specimens.

Take care on your road trip, we had to do a road trip to NY mid summer to move someone out of the city. It looks like all we accomplished with that endeavor was to move that person out of the frying pan and into the fire. And yes, I know what you mean about the port-a-potty. We ended up pitching a tent and camping along the way but there were two of us on the way up and a big dog along for the ride. Caffeine is my usual energy substance, especially for driving, but it has its drawbacks under our current circumstances.

Best to you, thanks for stopping by on your busy day.

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Granma's picture

@jakkalbessie and productive doctor visit.

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Evening Primrose Oil has medicinal value, turns out a lot weeds around here do too.
I think the rain made this thing grow another few inches, it is tall! and still blooming:

epo.jpg
10 Benefits of Evening Primrose Oil

The benefits of evening primrose oil include its ability to soothe inflammation, strengthen the bones, promote good skin health, balance hormones, lower cholesterol, optimize digestion, regulate blood sugar levels, prevent hair loss, ease pain and aid in weight loss efforts.

right on

Other herbs down there are thai basil, culinary sage, and rosemary. The rain knocked most of the blooms off the basil but I still saw a honey bee browsing on the ground. Good worker bee. There's oak leaf lettuce patches in the white clover, and more sunflowers. I planted four seeds and the fifth one is a volunteer, the biggest and the best keep coming from the volunteers.

Here is my volunteer partner zoomed in down there: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark-eyed_junco

from earth worms to ear worms
junco_partner.jpg
The Clash-Junco Partner

happy smiley day!
Peace and Love

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@eyo , happy smiley day. Funny that, he's created a culture of sorts.

Worms, worms are good. Someone just told me they saw a video of a person in an apartment who had a small vermiculture thing going. I love it. It's on my agenda to buy a bunch of worms and put them in my raised beds. I have pretty bad dirt here, it's hard and clay-like and doesn't appear to have much organic matter. Plus there's not much of it to begin with, I have mostly rock. I'm always trying to fix my dirt. Smile

I did make my raised beds to be modified hugelkulture type things. They stand about 3 feet-plus high and have no bottom so they are in direct contact with the earth. Then I put a bunch of wood and leaves etc. in the bed and topped it off with dirt. Now I need to introduce some magic worms into the equation.

I see you use a sawed-off plastic bottle for something. I do the same. Recently someone gave me oodles of Burr Oak acorns, so I planted them in those plastic bottles. While my back was turned the squirrels immediately found and raided them! They must taste very good.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quercus_macrocarpa

They are very large acorns, almost bigger than the squirrels (not really, but I don't see how they carry them around). The Burr Oak tree is gorgeous as well.

I love your garden plot, it's awesome. I have to go back and read what you said, which I'm going to do right now.

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magiamma's picture

@randtntx
is supposed to help break down clay. We have clay here too.

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@magiamma . I keep trying different things in different areas of the garden. It's an ongoing experiment. I'll let you know how it goes.

We also borrow a bit of ground from extended family who have acreage in an area that is river-bottom sandy soil. Everything grows there. It's like the garden of Eden. The contrast between that part of town and where we are is just amazing in terms of how easy it is to grow things. It's pretty interesting.

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@randtntx @randtntx thanks, I didn't see many earth worms until I dug two holes ten inches deep, and composted oak leaves and coffee grounds to make the stuff they like to eat. I shred up everything green in to small pieces by hand, and mix that sometimes ground egg shells in too. I can't have too much kitchen scraps composting right down there on the street. The crows would spread it everywhere, rascals. The earth worms love those holes, they are multiplying.

Vermiculture (edit: not vermiculite) is done with red worms I think, they are different. More efficient? I don't know and now another rabbit hole, thanks a lot. SMILE

I built a wall with the rocks I dug out of those holes, that subliminal sticker is still on my neighbor's truck (TRUMP 2016 Build The Wall). He did get the most votes for city council this time so... whoomp there it is. Ha ha TMEW too many ear worms. My district Supervisor just got promoted to President of The Counties or some fancy title like that, he failed up again! LOL yeah the seasons change but nothing else. cheers

rockwallshadows.jpg

Don't ask how all this politically incorrect music got stuck in my lint trap, it's just there. Waiting years and years to finally pop up and say... can you dig it? I hope so, over and over.

Tag Team ‎– Whoomp! (There It Is) (HD) 1993

Oops almost forgot the couple of EP links I dug up. ar ar! The oil comes from the tiny seeds I think but the leaves and roots are also beneficial.

http://naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/o/oenothera-biennis=evening-primr...
https://www.plantshospital.com/evening-primrose-benefits/
http://www.eattheweeds.com/oenothera-biennis-foraging-standby-2/

good luck

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@eyo rabbit holes, damn rabbits.

Yes also on the red worms, they are called red wigglers. I found a place to get them and it's on my to do list. I have worms in the yard and I know it because after it rains I have little hills of worm castings everywhere. Sometimes I go and collect the worm castings but it's pretty labor intensive. I just want worms directly in my raised beds and I'm going to try and keep them there with a little feeding system that I set up. I'll have to see if it works.

I like that little rock wall you built. It's very attractive. I hope I get to live long enough to build a rock wall around something. For some reason it has been something I really want to do for a long time. It doesn't have to be big. I can start small. I know someone who is the furthest thing from a mason and she built a very nice rock wall I was very impressed.

Thanks for all those links, I love reading about herbs and plants, I can't wait to open those links up, hopefully tonight, like little presents. Music too, nice.

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eyo, that the little junco is a proponent of guerrilla gardening, he looks to be studying the plot you have. He's plotting. Some of those stealth gardeners show up here. One planted a sunflower out back that bloomed through the fall and someone planted a bunch of milkweed that also bloomed in October. I'm blaming the masked chickadees, they seem a little bit secretive.

I don't know anything about evening primrose except what you just said. I want to read about it. It certainly has a romantic sounding name.

I accidentally grew a avocado plant alongside my compost pile and yesterday I transplanted it into a pot but in the process of doing that I transplanted fire ants as well. Now I'm strategizing on how to make the fire ants leave so I can bring the pot indoors during the cold weather. I just learned that you can eat avocado leaves. Apparently they make good wraps. I also saw on youtube that you can eat the seeds as well. I'm not sure about that and will have to do more research as many seeds are toxic.

Thanks for the clash ear worm, takes me back, it's a good worm.
Good to hear from you and thanks for the cool pics. Be well.

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magiamma's picture

@randtntx
in my yard that was planted by my daughter when she was seven. She is almost fifty now. It is easily 50 feet tall. Yes it fruits and the birds get them all. So mode it be. May the prosper and live well.

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@magiamma I really do like that idea of your daughter planting the tree and now look at it. We planted trees but we never designated one or made a special thing out of it. Now I realize we should have, it would be very meaningful.

I have two avocado trees in big pots that a friend gave me about 5 years ago or so. They are about 15 feet tall and kind of scrawny, I keep thinking I might try to put them in the ground. I won't dig a hole but I have a big bottomless box made out of wood and sheet metal that I can put the trees in and then fill with dirt. I can prepare the ground as best I can and dig a hole as far as I can (which will not be very far) and stick the tree in there. I haven't decided yet.

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enhydra lutris's picture

note, but the true definitin of a weed is whatever the "farmer" doesn't want growing where it is growing. Thus, rye, mustard, or basil in the wheat or tomatoes are weeds, but dandelions in a small dedicated garden patch where it is grown for sale as a herb is not. I mention this because some are invasive as all get out and you have picked one such, epazote. I had some growing in an isolated container set on rock for a while, but accidentally let it die. "They say" it spreads llike wildfire, but mine didn't.

I had Italian parsley that did spread like wildfire, but gradually all died off, and my attempts at growing more all failed. We also currently have mint, an invasive volunteer from the neighbor's yard that we fight and do not cultivate.

Of your list, we have mint, thyme, sage(s), parsley, rosemary, plus garlic chives and an Italian Bay. and volunteer dandelions, but I really miss having a stand of parsley outside the back door.

I sporadically smoke whole chickens, and annually, a whole turkey, in a weber kettle, and generate the smoke by loading the coals with fresh Salvia Clevelandia, culinary sage and white sage, rosemary, crushed garlic and bay leaves. Beyond that, our herbs are exclusively used for cooking, though I do make a tea from purchased yerba mate'

Thanks for the OT and the information.

be well and have a good one.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris , I like your idea of putting the herbs on the coals when smoking your food. I will have to suggest that next time. We don't often smoke our food, just very occasionally. Smile

I use so much mint that I wouldn't mind if it became invasive. I don't think that would happen here because it gets so hot and dry. The prickly pear cactus on the other hand takes over. It's a valuable plant though and if I would, I could use some of it. It is a labor intensive process though, most of the problem having to do with thorn removal. The best revenge for invasive plants is to eat them. If everyone would eat their dandelions they would be in better health. (You can also find other uses if possible). I'm trying to roll with the punches here and use those invasives.

I saw somewhere that kudzu was edible. If true, there are possibilities with that.

I'll keep an eye on that epazote, right now it's slow growing as molasses. My Italian parsley looks like it's turned into a perennial, or it just keeps reseeding itself. It's quite the handsome guy in the garden.

Thanks for stopping by and thx for the tips.

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enhydra lutris's picture

@randtntx

itself, until, one year, it doesn't. Mysterioso. There's a specific butterfly that loves it too.

prickly pear, uh-huh.

The fruit - remove with heavy gloves, peel, eat raw of impale on a stick and roast over a fire. I for one find it too seedy, but a chacun son gout.

The pads. Nopales! There's probably a lot of info on da wiki or you Tube, but, with heavy gloves, cut off the younger pads, lay flat and use a knife to scrape off thorns. You can grill the pads, really quickly, and chop and eat, put on tostadas, in salads and omelettes, etc. Other preparation methods generate slime, which some don't mind, but many do, so you boil in salted water, rinse, boil and rinse again, or some say just saute until the slime releases and cook it off.

There was a study done on one indian tribe that had mostly converted to US foods and had a high incidence of diabetes. They put a portion of them on a traditional diet, that included plenty of nopal, and they got better while the others did not, fwiw.

You tube has a bunch of videos - just type nopal or nopales into the you tube search box.

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris trying to use the cactus in our yard several years ago. I collected the tunas and squeezed the juice out of them with a big manual lemon squeezer. I can't remember if I boiled them or not, I seem to think I did, but oh well, I really can't remember. It was a beautiful garnet color and I got a whole bunch, enough to freeze. It was not a very tasty juice in my opinion. It had an odd flavor and you do have to add sugar to it which I am not crazy about. But it is a fabulous color.

Nopales are on our menu occasionally. I would eat them more often if I wasn't so lazy about collecting them. I have more than enough to collect. They are best in the spring. You are right, youtube has some good instructions on using prickly pear. You can buy fresh nopales in our grocery stores in town and sometimes you will find them at the farmer's markets. They are also sold in jars. But I feel like I should use mine and so I never buy them.

I know about the diabetes preventative ability of nopales. I don't know the mechanism but it is really interesting. One of these days I will do a deep dive and try to find out more about it. Many in this city have diabetes type 2. It could be a very important plant.

I'm going to have to look up that butterfly that likes Italian parsley. I hope he comes to my neck of the woods. I planted more late fall, so I will share.

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All we have left is parsley and oregano
brought inside during the night freezes

Still beginners in the herb dimension
although hemp seems to be doing well on occasion
just need to find better seeds of the fertile sort
the last batch was dormant, probably 20 years old

Good luck with your garden!

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@QMS . Yes cold winters put a kibosh on the garden stuff. I haven't had to deal with one of those in quite some time. I do miss aspects of winter though and your summers are far superior to ours.

We get a few days of freezing, just enough to scurry around and have to cover/protect everything. We generally end up doing that several times in the winter because we don't leave them covered the whole winter since the temperature vacillates so much that it can be in the 80's in December, then dip into the 20's for a day or two.

Twenty year old seeds, wow. Maybe if you store them outside in your cold temps like they do in that Norwegian seed vault (I know, it's climate controlled or at least humidity controlled) their germination rate would be just fine? If we store seeds here, they just cook. We have toasted seeds if we leave them too long. We could always just grind them up and make a garam masala I guess.

Thanks for stopping by, have a good one.

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magiamma's picture

Thanks for this great ot. Many years ago a woman took me under her wing and taught me about local herbs on walks. She had learned from the local natives there (in Mt. Shasta). I have used them all my life. My fave, one that is not so common, is Comfrey. Likes water and cool but gets mold if it is too moist. I have used it a compress of it for years on bruises. Also mends bones. Another name for it is bone knit and it was used in the second world war for broken bones. Do not take internally, though some have, I would not recommend. I use a combination of golden seal and myrrh tincture for colds and flues. Oregon Grape Root is also good and grows wild in many places. I grow the normal slew of herbs for cooking. Raspberry leaf tea is good for cramps if taken early on in the menstrual cycle. And Tansy is good to cause abortion if taken very early on. All good witches have a rosemary plant growing near their front door. My favorite go-to herb book is Back to Eden.

The chip pile is disappearing and the edges of my world are looking fab. Adabertto, who has been helping me move it, el me dijo ( he told me ) that things would look great for Christmas. Stopped me in my tracks. Of course it will. And for Soltice. Made me smile.

Take good care everyone. Thanks r for this. Be well.

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@magiamma . Someone to teach me the local native plants. You were so fortunate and you were so smart to make use of that great opportunity.

When I read about indigenous people all around the globe who knew and some still know how to use their native plants medicinally, I am truly impressed. The amount they have to know to be a good and effective healer is extensive and complicated. Just as is our field of medicine and pharmacology.

I have to come back to answer you in more depth. I'm off to make a snack of hummus for the crew since I have the garbanzo beans soaked, cooked, and ready to be squished.

This conversation was interesting, thanks to you all.

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@magiamma on Comfry. I have not used it and am not familiar with it. I would probably have to buy the leaves somewhere because I doubt it would grow well here. I will certainly read up on it and find a good source.

TY also for your Back to Eden source/reference. I have several plant identification books for my area that are my go-to sources and two very nice books specifically on foraging. One is called Southwest Foraging by John Slattery, and the other is Edible and Useful Plants of Texans and the Southwest by Delena Tull. All have a wealth of information.

I also use Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs for very basic tea recipes and other basic mixtures. Right now I'm trying to help a family member through a very difficult time. I'm not sure I can do it and we have the 'professionals' involved already so I am by no means proposing that we dispense with other help. We are in that pipeline and will utilize it as necessary. I am one who strongly believes in doing all the easy and least strong remedies first and work up from there.

Thanks again magi, I have my rosemary by my door.

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magiamma's picture

@randtntx
Very big smile. You take good care.

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