Dandelions: 31+ Medicinal and Culinary Uses for the King of Weeds

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This article is part of a series on weed gardens and identifying and using the plants you’ll often find there. For other articles in the series, please click here.

Dandelions - Uses, Eating. Medicine

As you can see, the weed garden is really starting to come to life. I’ve got henbit, sedges, dayflowers, wood sorrel, pokeweed, and a few other visitors. But one weed I would gladly welcome has yet to show up. Dandelions!

Dandelions - Uses, Eating. Medicine

Dandelions are pretty much the unofficial mascots for foraging and herbal medicine. They can be found on every continent (except Antarctica) and have tremendous value as food and medicine. They invade lawns, fields, and waste spaces despite every effort to control, contain, and kill them.

Dandelions are survivors, and they pass on a little of that to us when we consume them.

Identifying Dandelions

While dandelions do have a few look-alikes, none of them are toxic. Among the common fakers, you’ll find cat’s ear, chicory, shepherd’s purse, and hawksbeard. Here’s your guide to telling the real thing from the fakers.

Dandelions are perennials1)Perennial: Any plant that lives for more than 2 years. that grow in a basal rosette.2)Basal Rosette: A circular arrangement of leaves at ground level. You’ll never find leaves growing from the stem. Leaves are anywhere from 2 inches to over a foot (5 to 40 centimeters) long and have jagged teeth.

Dandelions - Uses, Eating. Medicine

The jagged pattern of the leaves can vary quite a bit. On some plants, the indentations will go nearly to the midline of the leaf, while others will have fairly shallow teeth. The tips of the teeth tend to point backward, toward the center of the plant. Leaves are virtually hairless at all stages of growth.

Dandelions - Uses, Eating. Medicine

By the way, the name “dandelion” is said to come from “dent de lion” or “teeth of the lion.” And depending on who you ask, this either refers to the jagged leaves or the flower petals.

The scientific name, Taraxacum officinale, could be translated as “the official cure for every disorder.”

Dandelions - Uses, Eating. Medicine

The yellow blooms are composite flowers. That is, they look like one flower, but are technically a cluster of tiny flowers. The ends of the petals tend to be flat, rather than tapering to a point, and they overlap all the way to the center of the flower. Blooming happens mostly in spring, and again in fall, with sporadic blooming at any time.

Dandelions - Uses, Eating. Medicine

These flowers turn into the puffballs that kids love to blow on to make wishes. A single dandelion plant may produce many stems and flowers, but each stem will have only a single flower. The stems are hollow and can range in length from 2 to 18 inches (5 to 45 centimeters).

All parts of the plant contain a white, milky sap. This would normally be a warning sign, but dandelions are an exception to the rule.

Read More: “How to Not Die While Wildcrafting: 15 Rules for Foraging Safely”

There are even some rather useful applications for this sap, which we’ll get into below. Be aware that dandelion sap has occasionally been reported to cause contact dermatitis in some individuals.

Dandelions can be found throughout the U.S., Canada, and most of the rest of the world, especially around people. This is another plant that loves us and wants to be near us. You can find them in lawns, fields, pastures, waste spaces, and disturbed ground. They seem to survive everything from drought, to over-picking, to digging, to mowing, to herbicides. But why would you want to get rid of these happy little guys? They’re beautiful, and they’re trying so hard to help us.

Edible Uses and Dandelion Recipes

If you do an Internet search for dandelion recipes, you’ll find page after page of preparations for this versatile vegetation. Recipes abound!

I, myself, have only scratched the surface of dandelion delicacies. There are just so many!

Nutritional Value

And why shouldn’t there be? Every part of the plant is edible, raw or cooked. And not only are dandelions plentiful, they’re very nearly a perfect food. Dandelions are rich in potassium; magnesium; manganese; phosphorus; sodium; copper; choline; calcium; iron; lecithin; biotin; inositol; chlorophyll; fiber; and vitamins A, B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, B12, C, D, and E.3)Foster, Steven, James A. Duke, and Steven Foster. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.,4)Peterson, Lee Allen, and Roger Tory Peterson. A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999.,5)Chevallier, Andrew. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. London: DK/Penguin Random House, 2016.,6)Blair, Katrina. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014.,7)Gladstar, Rosemary. The Beginners Guide to Medicinal Herbs 35 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use. Storey Books, 2012.,8)Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.

That’s quite a mouthful. Literally.

They have more vitamin A than any other green plant—six times more than carrots—and a single cup of fresh greens will meet your daily requirement of beta-carotene, iron, calcium, and potassium!9)Blair, Katrina. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014.

That tap root really reaches down to bring up the good stuff. You can see why I call them the king of weeds.

Furthermore, when eaten as a whole (roots to flowers/seeds), the dandelion forms a complete protein, with all 9 essential amino acids.10)Blair, Katrina. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014. That’s a pretty good trick for a plant.

Dandelion also seems to help with the absorption and balance of minerals.11)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.

Overcoming the Bitter Taste

But let’s address the elephant in the room. Dandelions are bitter. Very bitter. Involuntarily-spit-them-out-and-go-wash-your-mouth-out-with-ice-cream bitter.

Perhaps I exaggerate. But how is one to get past the bitterness to access those amazing nutrients? I’ve got you covered.

First, you should select the best dandelions. The best-tasting leaves have had the easiest life. Don’t pick any sunbaked, twice-stepped-on leaves. Harvest from a plant in a shady, well-watered location. Harvest younger greens, earlier in the year. Leaves toward the center of the rosette also tend to be less bitter.

Next, choose the right preparation. It’s the rare individual who enjoys eating a handful of dandelion greens raw. It’s a lot easier to moderate their taste by chopping them up and mixing them with other greens. They also pair well with savory dishes.

Of all the cooking methods, boiling does the best job of reducing bitterness. Drop the leaves into boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes. If you’ve picked a good plant, it shouldn’t take much more than this. If not, you can always boil them longer. Use plenty of water so the bitterness has someplace to go.

Eating the Roots: Stir-fried, Pickled, and as a Coffee Substitute

The root can be eaten raw, but tastes better when cooked. Try them sliced and stir-fried with other veggies. Cooking breaks down the root’s inulin into fructose, bringing out a much sweeter taste. They’re also a fine addition to soups and stews, and—although I’ve never tried it—they are reportedly quite tasty when pickled.

Dandelions - Uses, Eating. Medicine

Dandelion Coffee Recipe

The root is typically harvested from late fall to early spring. Second-year roots are preferred, but good luck on guessing how old a dandelion is by looking at it. If it’s too old and woody to eat, you can still use it to make a caffeine-free coffee substitute. Slice up the root and slow-roast it in your oven until it turns dark brown and becomes brittle. This should take about 30 minutes at 350°F (175°C). Let it cool, and then grind it up to use like coffee grounds. I’m usually not a fan of coffee substitutes, but this is one I really enjoy.

Dandelion Mocha Recipe

If you’d like to take your dandelion coffee to the next level (and who wouldn’t?), you can turn it into a dandelion mocha. This recipe comes from Rosemary Gladstar, and it is delightful.

Use 1 tbsp each of dandelion coffee grounds and cacao nibs. Simmer in 3 cups of water for 30 minutes. Then strain and add ½ cup milk (or milk substitute), ½ tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. vanilla extract, 1 tbsp. honey (or other sweetener), and a dash of ground nutmeg or cloves.

It’s excellent. I highly recommend you try it.

Eating the Flowers: Sautéed, Fried, and Infused

The flowers make a colorful addition to salads, soups, ice creams, or just about anything else. Two of my favorite ways to eat them are sautéed in butter and as an ingredient in dandelion lemonade.

  • Sautéed blooms are easy. Just melt some butter and sauté away. (Alternately, you could make a simple egg-and-flour batter and fry them. Yum!)
  • To make dandelion lemonade, just add about a quart of dandelion flowers to a half gallon of lemonade. Let the mixture infuse in the fridge overnight, then strain out the blossoms and enjoy.

The less green you have from the base of the blossoms, the less bitter they will taste. Here’s a brief clip demonstrating a super easy way to separate the petals from the bitter greens:

https://youtu.be/fWyA35Cs5e0

The last way to get past the bitterness is simply to build up an appreciation for it. Sure, it’s not the most popular option, but you really can develop a taste for a food by consistently consuming small portions of it. Gradually, your aversion turns into tolerance. And then tolerance can even become a craving. It really works. Try it!

Medicinal Uses for Dandelions

Dandelion’s medicinal effects are not limited to its impressive nutritional profile. It sports a bevy of benefits. Let’s dive in!

As a Digestive Aid

Dandelion’s bitter taste is likely also its best-known medicinal property. It’s a bitter. Bitters are plants that encourage optimal digestion by stimulating the secretion of enzymes and digestive juices.12)Gladstar, Rosemary. The Beginners Guide to Medicinal Herbs 35 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use. Storey Books, 2012.,13)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.

Dandelion stimulates appetite, aids the liver in its detoxification duties, helps to regulate the release of pancreatic hormone, is stimulating to the spleen, supports correct bile duct function, and even helps to repair the gut wall.14)Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.,15)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.,16)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013. It may even help to resist the progression of cirrhosis of the liver.17)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.

Dandelion is a remarkable plant!

To Treat Colitis

In one experiment, participants with non-specific colitis were given dandelion along with calendula, lemon balm, and St. John’s wort. Complete relief from spontaneous and palpable pains was reported by 96% of participants, and stools were normalized in those with diarrhea symptoms.18)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.

As a Spring Tonic and Diuretic

Dandelion is also well-known as a spring tonic. It helps to flush and tone the body after enduring the rigors of winter.

The entire plant is diuretic, flushing excess water from the body and generally giving us a good cleansing. The leaf is more powerful than the root, and is comparable to the drug furosemide in terms of strength.19)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003. Don’t take it right before bed or you’ll be up all night. Trust me. I know.

Dandelion’s diuretic properties help to relieve fluid retention.20)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013. It is also used to dissolve calcium stones and to prevent new ones from forming, and can be used safely over long periods.21)Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.,22)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.

Dandelion’s diuretic nature may also help to explain its effectiveness in relieving arthritic complaints.23)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.

With conventional pharmaceuticals, as the body flushes out water, it’s also flushing out our supply of potassium. This can be rough on your heart and cause problems for anyone with a heart condition.24)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003. Dandelion, on the other hand, is so rich in potassium that even while it flushes out the body, it still provides a net gain in potassium.25)Chevallier, Andrew. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. London: DK/Penguin Random House, 2016. This makes it an ideal diuretic herb for people with heart issues.26)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.

For Skin Health

The natural latex in its sap is helpful in getting rid of warts.27)Gladstar, Rosemary. The Beginners Guide to Medicinal Herbs 35 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use. Storey Books, 2012. However, this is not a quick process. The sap must be applied several times a day for 2 to 3 weeks. Direct application of the sap can also help with moles, pimples, canker sores, and other skin blemishes.28)Blair, Katrina. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014., 29)Grossberg, George T., and Barry Fox. The Essential Herb-drug-vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medications and Supplements Together. New York: Broadway Books, 2007.

To Fight Cancer and Harmful Bacteria

Dandelion may have anti-tumor/anti-cancer properties, though it is not clear whether this would be from a direct action or indirectly through its ability to cleanse and support normal body function.30)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.,31)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013. Dandelion also appears to have selective antimicrobial properties, supporting healthy gut bacteria while discouraging unhealthy ones.32)Foster, Steven, James A. Duke, and Steven Foster. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.,33)Blair, Katrina. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014.,34)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013. It even helps prevent plaque buildup on teeth.35)Blair, Katrina. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014.

Other Medicinal Uses

Dandelion is also cooling and drying, and can be used as a fever reducer.36)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013. It’s a mild laxative and has an alkalizing effect on the body.37)Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.,38)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.,39)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013. Dandelion may also help some people with allergies and food intolerances.40)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.

In animal studies, dandelion has been shown to have hypoglycemic activities.41)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003. This may make it a helpful plant for those with diabetes, but could be a contraindication for those with hypoglycemia.42)Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.,43)Grossberg, George T., and Barry Fox. The Essential Herb-drug-vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medications and Supplements Together. New York: Broadway Books, 2007.

Medicinal Formats and Dosages

You can use dandelion via any of the normal methods: fresh, dried, tincture, decoction, infusion, etc. The dried leaves make an excellent addition to green powders.

Outside of some very specific circumstances, dandelion is widely considered to be safe. Recommendations vary from herbalist to herbalist as to how much you should take.

I will present some amounts that I think are reasonable, but you should view them as suggestions, rather than rules. Other quantities/frequencies could be equally valid, depending on your situation.

Root Tincture

1:5 ratio in 60% alcohol. Use 2.5–5 ml, 3 times daily.

Root Decoction

Use 2–3 tsp of root material in 1 cup of water. Simmer for 10–15 minutes. Drink this 3 times a day.

Leaf Tincture

1:5 ratio in 40% alcohol. Use 5–10 ml, 3 times daily.

Leaf Infusion

Pour boiling water over ½ tsp of dried leaf and allow to steep for 10–15 minutes. Drink this 3 times a day.

Long Live the King!

Dandelions are so impressively versatile that I could never fit everything into a single article.

For example, did you know that the sap can be used as glue, or that the stem can be fashioned into a working flute?

What else did I leave out? What’s your favorite recipe or medicinal use? Do you have any dandelion stories (or horror stories about the bitter flavor)? Are dandelions really the king of weeds, or should that title belong to a different plant? Let me know in the comments!

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Psst! Our Lawyer Wants You to Read This Big, Bad Medical Disclaimer –> The contents of this article, made available via The Grow Network (TGN), are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information provided by TGN. Reliance on any information provided by this article is solely at your own risk. And, of course, never eat a wild plant without first checking with a local expert.

_______________________________________________________

 

References   [ + ]

1. Perennial: Any plant that lives for more than 2 years.
2. Basal Rosette: A circular arrangement of leaves at ground level.
3, 32. Foster, Steven, James A. Duke, and Steven Foster. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.
4. Peterson, Lee Allen, and Roger Tory Peterson. A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999.
5, 25. Chevallier, Andrew. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. London: DK/Penguin Random House, 2016.
6, 9, 10, 28, 33, 35. Blair, Katrina. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014.
7, 12, 27. Gladstar, Rosemary. The Beginners Guide to Medicinal Herbs 35 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use. Storey Books, 2012.
8, 14, 21, 37, 42. Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.
11, 13, 15, 19, 23, 24, 26, 30, 38, 41. Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.
16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 31, 34, 36, 39, 40. Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.
29, 43. Grossberg, George T., and Barry Fox. The Essential Herb-drug-vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medications and Supplements Together. New York: Broadway Books, 2007.

The post Dandelions: 31+ Medicinal and Culinary Uses for the King of Weeds appeared first on The Grow Network.

How to Not Die While Wildcrafting: 15 Rules for Foraging Safely

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Walking out into the forests or fields and coming back with an armload of food and medicine is a rewarding experience. With every new plant you learn to identify and use, you become more empowered to care for yourself and your family. You also become less dependent on—and less vulnerable to—big, corporate entities. But this expanding freedom also comes with the responsibility of ensuring your own safety.

Poisonous plants exist. Some of them look like the good plants. Some plants are good or bad, depending on the quantity. And even the safest plants can harm if harvested from a contaminated environment.

I want to help you maximize your rewards while minimizing your risks. That’s why I am presenting you with 15 rules for safe wildcrafting. The more experienced you become, the more you’ll see exceptions to the rules and know when to ignore them. But I advise the novice to follow them all, because nobody wants to become a cautionary tale.

 

1) Go Slowly

The No. 1 rule with any new plant is to go slowly. You can have allergies and intolerances to wild plants, just like you can to conventional foods. The first couple of times you sample a plant, use a small portion. Also, you should only try one new plant at a time. This way, if you have a reaction, you’ll know which plant caused it.

2) Talk to a Local Expert

Local experts will often know little tips and tricks that the books and websites won’t mention, and they will have specific knowledge about how the plants look and behave in your area.

If you can’t find an expert in your area, books and websites are an acceptable way to learn wildcrafting. However, they can’t warn you if you’re about to make a mistake. Use caution and consult multiple sources to minimize your risks.

3) Don’t Eat a Plant Just Because Someone Said It Was Okay

I really hope this one goes without saying. If you watch someone harvest it, prepare it, and eat it—and if they’re still alive the next day—then maybe you could try a little.

4) Know Your Environment

Physical hazards include thorns, holes, ledges, wild animals, moving vehicles, quicksand, and volcanoes. Just keep your eyes open and don’t stick your hands and feet anywhere you won’t be able to see them.

Chemical hazards can be a bit trickier to detect. Don’t wildcraft from locations that get sprayed with herbicides or pesticides. (If you don’t know, ask. You don’t want to eat that stuff.)

Avoid foraging beside busy roads. When it rains, the ditches are irrigated by vehicle-waste runoff. Many municipalities will also spray herbicides along the sides of rural roads. Apparently, this saves money compared to running the mowing trucks. But it also ruins many lightly trafficked areas that I would otherwise love to forage from. Areas around trash storage, treated wood, and industrial waste should also be avoided.

Only harvest plants from pure waterways. Streams and rivers can carry dangerous waste for miles.

Respect private property. Don’t go foraging around someone’s house after dark. Getting mistaken for a burglar and shot would just ruin your evening. And why were you foraging in the dark, anyway?

Lastly … you know what poison ivy and poison oak look like, right?

Wildcrafting Foraging Safely - Poison Ivy

5) Use All of Your Senses    

How does the plant look? What patterns do you see? What colors? What’s the overall shape? How does it feel? (Rough? Smooth? Fuzzy?) What does it smell and taste like? (Ideally, you would be reasonably sure it wasn’t poisonous before tasting it, or even touching it.) Does it have a peculiar sound? Yes, plants can have telltale sounds.

6) If a Plant Doesn’t Match, Don’t Use It

Sometimes you’ll come across a plant that looks ALMOST right, but something doesn’t quite fit. You may have found a subspecies or variation. Then again, it might be a dangerous look-alike. It’s best just to leave that one alone until you can get a firmer identification.

7) Avoid Plants With White Sap

This one has a number of exceptions. Some plants, like dandelions, are perfectly safe. Others might be safe once they’ve been correctly prepared. But as a general rule, if a plant has white sap, leave it alone.

8) Avoid Plants With White Berries

This rule has almost no exceptions. Plants with white berries are plants that do not mess around. Don’t even touch them.

9) Be Humble With Umbels

If you see a plant with umbels,1)Umbel: A flat, disk-shaped, or umbrella-shaped cluster of flowers. you’d better be 110% sure of what it is before you harvest and use it. Elderberry, yarrow, and carrots all form umbels, and they’re great. Poison hemlock has umbels, too, and it will render you in the permanent past tense.

Unfortunately, a lot of these plants will look very similar. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t ever wildcraft them, but you should probably build up your skills on safer plants first. When you’re ready for the umbels, double-check their characteristics every single time.

No matter how smart you are or how much experience you have, anyone can poison themselves if they get cocky or careless. Do yourself a favor and be humble with the umbles. 

Wildcrafting Foraging Safely - Umbels

10) Be 115% Sure About Mushrooms

Mushrooms take the term “poisonous” as a personal challenge. Some of them, like the death cap mushroom, reportedly taste good. To make things worse, mushroom look-alikes can be very tricky to tell apart.

On the flipside, mushrooms are delicious and a lot of fun. They can be wildcrafted safely, if you choose the right type. Some mushrooms, like morels and puffballs, are reasonably safe for beginners to gather. Just exercise due caution, research their appearance and look-alikes, and go out with an experienced guide until you get the feel for it.

11) If It Looks Like an Onion AND Smells Like an Onion, It’s an Onion

This rule works for garlic too, but the plant you find has to both look and smell oniony or garlicy. There are some dangerous look-alikes, but none of them are also “smell-alikes.”

Wildcrafting Foraging Safely - Wild Onion

12) All Mustards Are Edible

You can find mustards (Brassicaceae family) all over the world, and they’re all edible. Great. So what does a mustard look like? The surest way to identify them is by the bloom. All mustard family plants have 4 petals and 6 stamens2)Stamen: The pollen-producing reproductive organ of a flower. (4 tall and 2 short). The flowers are often small, so you may need a magnifying lens. Some members of this family may be too spicy to eat in any quantity.

Wildcrafting Foraging Safely - Mustard Family Bloom

Read More: “Mustard Greens: What You Need to Know Before You Grow (With Recipe)”

13) If It Looks Like a Mint AND Smells Like a Mint, It’s an Edible Mint

Mints (Lamiaceae family) usually have square stems and opposite3)Opposite: A leaf pattern in which leaves appear in pairs, on opposite sides, of a stem. leaves. These leaf pairs will rotate back and forth 90 degrees as they move up the stem. If a plant looks like a mint, but doesn’t smell minty, avoid it. It might be fine. It might not.

Wildcrafting Foraging Safely - Lemon Balm

14) Seeing an Animal Eat It Does Not Make It Safe

Animals can eat a lot of things that would make us sick or dead. They usually know what’s good for them. They don’t know what’s good for us. Don’t copy the animals.

15) Experience Trumps Theory

It may be very helpful to watch a video or read a book about wildcrafting. But until you’ve actually gone out to harvest and use a plant yourself, you can’t rely on that skill. Issues will often come up that books and videos can’t prepare you for. Theory is great for laying a foundation of knowledge, but experience is the ultimate teacher.

Whether the grid goes down or you just have a kid with a tummy ache, do you want to know that you’ve read about it in a book or that you’ve successfully harvested and used these plants before?

Conclusion

Hopefully, this guide has encouraged you, rather than scaring you off. Wildcrafting is a wonderful way to empower yourself, and it’s just a really fun way to spend an afternoon. If you follow the rules, and use a bit of common sense, you’ll come back in one piece.

What are your favorite plants to wildcraft? Do you have any tips that I missed? Let me know in the comments, and we can get a good plant talk going.

 

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Psst! Our Lawyer Wants You to Read This Big, Bad Medical Disclaimer –> The contents of this article, made available via The Grow Network (TGN), are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information provided by TGN. Reliance on any information provided by this article is solely at your own risk. And, of course, never eat a wild plant without first checking with a local expert.

_______________________________________________________

 

References   [ + ]

1. Umbel: A flat, disk-shaped, or umbrella-shaped cluster of flowers.
2. Stamen: The pollen-producing reproductive organ of a flower.
3. Opposite: A leaf pattern in which leaves appear in pairs, on opposite sides, of a stem.

The post How to Not Die While Wildcrafting: 15 Rules for Foraging Safely appeared first on The Grow Network.

Pokeweed: The Weed, the Myth, the Legend

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This article on pokeweed is part of a series on weed gardens and identifying and using the plants you’ll often find there. For other articles in the series, please click here.

Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) is a milestone plant for many foragers. It’s the first plant that many of us eat that could also kill us.

Don’t get me wrong. Correctly prepared, pokeweed is absolutely safe. It’s also highly nutritious and delicious. But it’s a rare person who doesn’t feel at least a little trepidation when cooking and eating it for the first time.

Pokeweed = Poison?

My most vivid memory of pokeweed isn’t from painting with the berries as a child, or from the smell coming from the boiling pot in my grandmother’s kitchen. It’s from just last year. Our (then) 2-year-old came up to me with a big purple-stained grin on his face.

“Have you been eating elderberries again?” I asked him.

He shook his head and led me to a tall pokeweed plant. I saw that berries were missing. Lots of them. One of us might have said a swear word. I’ll let you guess who.

It’s funny how panic will totally wreck your ability to think. My mind was racing to recall everything I knew about pokeweed, but all I was getting was the word “poison.”

I took several slow, deep breaths to calm myself. Gradually, my brain started to work again. The berry is the least poisonous part of the plant. The juice from the berry is safe. It’s the seed that’s poisonous 1) http://www.eattheweeds.com/can-be-deadly-but-oh-so-delicious-pokeweed-2. The seeds are designed to pass safely through the digestive tract so that the plant can spread. So unless he chewed up the seeds, any poisons would likely remain safely locked away. And at this age, our boy was more of a gulper than a chewer.

My wife and I decided to wait and see if any symptoms developed. As it turned out, he was fine. He never had any problems with the pokeberries at all.

That day, two things happened:

  1. One was that I cut down all of the pokeweed plants in our yard.
  2. The other was that I became skeptical of the oft-repeated claims of 10 berries (or even 1 berry 2)The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medication and Supplements Together. George T. Grossberg M.D., and Barry Fox. Publisher: Harmony. 2008.) being enough to poison a child.

One study tried to determine the lethal dose of pokeberries for mice. What the researchers found was that it was impossible to give the mice a large enough dose to kill them. After three doses, one per hour, of as much as the mice’s bellies could hold, some finally died. The equivalent amount for an adult, male human would be about 45 pounds (20 kilograms).3)http://digital.library.okstate.edu/oas/oas_pdf/v43/p54_57.pdf Just for the record, 45 pounds of water would also kill an adult, male human.4)http://www.nleomf.org/officers/search/search-results/james-c-mcbride.html

Of course I wouldn’t recommend you eat a big bowlful of the berries. Humans may not be very much like mice. But this study does give credence to some people’s claims of having eaten pokeberry pie.

Let’s Eat Some Pokeweed!

Our grandparents would have thought all this caution and fear was far overblown. For them, pokeweed was a mundane food—a staple of spring. But at some point that familiarity with our wild, native plants began to dwindle, and now pokeweed is something of a daredevil food for aspiring foragers. Let’s take back our horticultural heritage and eat some pokeweed (after preparing it correctly, of course).

This video should help:

Plant Identification

Adult plants are the easiest to identify, so let’s start there. Mature pokeweed (also called poke salad, poke sallet, pokeberry, and others) stands 5–10 feet (1.5–3 meters) tall.

Pokeweed leaf close

The leaves are alternate,5)Alternate: A leaf pattern in which leaves appear back and forth or in a spiraling pattern on a stem. large (4–10 inches or 10–25 centimeters), toothless, oval- or lance-shaped, fairly succulent, somewhat wavy along the edges, and prominently veined.

They also make a neat, rubbery sound when you rub a handful of them together.

The flowers are white, pink, or green; grow on a pink stem; and form a drooping, finger-shaped cluster. Flowers appear in spring through summer and turn into glossy, deep purple-to-black berries toward the end of summer and into fall. The berries are about the size of a pea and are flattened at the top and bottom. A mature pokeweed stem is red or magenta, darker near the base, and has a mostly hollow core.

Pokeweed has a perennial root, with the aboveground parts dying back every winter. The dead stalk can remain through the winter and are one of the easiest ways for beginners to safely ID young plants. Mark the location of a dead stalk and come back in the spring to harvest the new stalks growing where it stood. Once you do this several times, you’ll start to recognize the young leaves by sight even without the older stalk to give it away.

Look-alikes

Overall, the mature plant is very easy to identify, though it might be confused with elderberry. Elderberry does not have alternate leaves, and the berries grow in an umbel,6)Umbel: A flat, disk-shaped or umbrella-shaped cluster of flower. rather than a spike.

The berry clusters resemble wild cherries, though cherries don’t have that garish stem color, their leaves are toothed, and they grow on a tree.

Some people say that pokeweed is a grape lookalike. I don’t see it, myself. But if you’re having trouble, remember that grapes grow on a vine. Pokeweed does not.

Where to Find Pokeweed

Pokeweed is native to the U.S., growing throughout most of the contiguous states, except for in the Rocky Mountain States and North and South Dakota. It can also be found in the eastern provinces of Canada and has been naturalized in the Mediterranean region.

It prefers damp woodlands and open area.

Birds help spread the seeds in their droppings, as well. You can often find pokeweed shoots beneath popular perches. Try fence rows.

Harvesting Pokeweed

The conventional wisdom is to harvest leaves and stems from young plants, no more than 6-10 inches (15-25 centimeters) tall.7)Peterson Field Guides. Edible Wild Plants: Eastern/Central North America. Lee Allen Peterson.

Pokeweed young plant

Berries can be harvested whenever they are ripe, from summer into fall.

I do not recommend harvesting the root, as it contains the highest concentration of poison. (However, those who do opt to take the risk typically harvest the root in the fall, after the main stalk has died back.)

Some people harvest from taller plants, even taking the newer growth from mature pokeweed. Depending on your level of sensitivity to the plant and your level of experience, this might or might not be a good idea.

The Pokeweed Boogeyman

And this would probably be a good time to talk about the pokeweed boogeyman.

In my opinion, the poisonous nature of pokeweed has been exaggerated. People tend to repeat warnings about poisonous plants without verifying them. This can cause errors or exaggerations to be perpetuated until they assume the rank of “fact.” This seems to be what has happened with pokeweed.8)http://digital.library.okstate.edu/oas/oas_pdf/v43/p54_57.pdf

Don’t misunderstand me. Pokeweed is poisonous and has killed people. You have to respect it, and you have to use it correctly. But the level of fear exceeds the reality.9)Herbal Antibiotics, 2nd Edition: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-resistant Bacteria. Stephen Harrod Buhner. Storey Publishing, LLC. 2012.

To further muddy the waters, some people are more sensitive to the toxins in pokeweed than others.

  • For example, the plant juice causes dermatitis in some people (like my wife) and not in others (like myself).
  • Some people get a stomachache if they boil the leaves only once, while others may have no ill effects and always boil once.
  • I’ve even seen a man claim that he saved the cooking water for use in soups. That one’s a bit much for me, but you can see how the claims of pokeweed’s relative toxicity might get confused.

A Common-Sense Caution

So what’s a forager to do?

Go slowly.

Just cook a little bit your first time, and use one of the longer boiling methods described below. The next time, you can cook more.

Just use your own wisdom, listen to your body, and don’t do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. In all likelihood, you’ll be fixin’ a big mess of greens in no time.

Culinary Uses: Cooking and Eating Pokeweed

Nutritionally, pokeweed is a powerhouse plant. It’s a dynamite source of vitamins A and C, and a good source of calcium and iron, too.10)http://www.eattheweeds.com/can-be-deadly-but-oh-so-delicious-pokeweed-2 But how do you get to that nutrition without poisoning yourself?

Poke leaves are boiled before eating. Opinions differ as to how long they must be boiled and in how many changes of water. This is how I do it:

  1. Boil the leaves for 1 minute.
  2. Pour out the water and bring new water to a boil.
  3. Now boil the leaves for another full minute.
  4. Change out the water and boil for 15 minutes.

The whole process looks like this:

Boil 1 minute –> Change water –> Boil 1 minute –> Change water –> Boil 15 minutes

Remember, your timer doesn’t start until the water reaches a full boil. You can keep a second pot of water boiling so that you don’t have to wait for the water to heat up every time.

If you want to err on the cautious side, you can always boil it longer. Two boils of 15 minutes each, or three boils of 10 minutes each, are common cooking protocols.

Serve with salt, pepper, and butter. Some people like to add vinegar or olive oil, as well. I like to add a pinch of brown sugar. My way isn’t the healthiest, but it gets the kids to eat it. Another popular option is to toss the cooked pokeweed into a pan and scramble it with eggs. I like to add barbecue sauce. (Try it, then tell me if I’m crazy!)

Young shoots can be peeled, breaded in cornmeal, and fried. Some people boil them first, but many (including myself) don’t. Another option is to boil and then pickle the stalks. I’ve never tried this one, but it sounds tasty.

Medicinal Uses: Properties and Contraindications

Used correctly, pokeweed is a powerful medicinal plant. However, the margins of safety are smaller than with most popular herbs.

The berry is the safest part of the plant to use medicinally. The root, while a very powerful medicine, is also the most poisonous. Use caution, and get in touch with an experienced herbalist before experimenting with it yourself.

Pokeweed has a wide variety of medicinal uses, both traditional and modern. Most of these likely stem from its antiviral, lymphatic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Properties

Pokeweed has terrifically potent antiviral properties against a wide range of viruses, including SARS and coronavirus. Pokeweed is a powerful lymphatic-system stimulant, helping to prevent cytokine storms.11)Cytokine Storm: A potentially fatal, hyper-inflammatory, immune response often linked to certain viruses. Isolated compounds from the pokeweed plant have even been used to inactivate the HIV virus in rats, rendering them HIV-negative.12)Herbal Antivirals: Natural Remedies for Emerging & Resistant Viral Infections. Stephen Harrod Buhner. Storey Publishing, LLC. 2013. That’s a lot of antiviral potential.

Pokeweed is also strongly anti-inflammatory, and has a long history as an arthritis herb.13)Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: The Definitive Home Reference Guide to 550 Key Herbs with all their Uses as Remedies for Common Ailments. Andrew Chevallier. DK Adult. 2000. Some people take 1 berry a day to ease their symptoms. Others use the root in powder or tincture14)Tincture: A preparation in herbal medicine wherein the medicinal components of a plant are pulled into a solution of alcohol, vinegar, or glycerin and administered by dropper. form. One suggested dose of root powder is 60–100 milligrams.15)The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medication and Supplements Together. George T. Grossberg M.D., and Barry Fox. Publisher: Harmony. 2008. A 1:5 tincture of the dried root in 50% alcohol has also been suggested with a dose of 5–15 drops up to 3 times a day.16)Herbal Antibiotics, 2nd Edition: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-resistant Bacteria. Stephen Harrod Buhner. Storey Publishing, LLC. 2012. 

Again, use caution and seek a trained expert before putting any of this into your body.

Contraindications

Pokeweed has the potential to interact with drugs that have sedative properties. Possible side effects include lowered blood pressure, confusion, weakness, blurred vision, nausea, difficulty breathing, and death.17)The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medication and Supplements Together. George T. Grossberg M.D., and Barry Fox. Publisher: Harmony. 2008. Pregnant women should not use pokeweed.18)Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: The Definitive Home Reference Guide to 550 Key Herbs with all their Uses as Remedies for Common Ailments. Andrew Chevallier. DK Adult. 2000.

If you’re looking for similar effects from safer plants, try skullcap or cleavers as alternatives.19)Herbal Antivirals: Natural Remedies for Emerging & Resistant Viral Infections. Stephen Harrod Buhner. Storey Publishing, LLC. 2013. Red root also has some similar properties, though it has safety issues, as well.

Hopefully I’ve scared you just the right amount—not so much that I scared you away, but not so little that you jump in with abandon. Pokeweed is a powerful, nutritious, delicious plant that is safe when it’s given proper respect, and dangerous when it’s not.

What are your experiences with pokeweed? Were they good or bad? Have any of you every tried pokeberry pie and lived to tell the tale? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments.

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Psst! Our Lawyer Wants You to Read This Big, Bad Medical Disclaimer –> The contents of this article, made available via The Grow Network (TGN), are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information provided by TGN. Reliance on any information provided by this article is solely at your own risk. And, of course, never eat a wild plant without first checking with a local expert.
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References   [ + ]

1. http://www.eattheweeds.com/can-be-deadly-but-oh-so-delicious-pokeweed-2
2. The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medication and Supplements Together. George T. Grossberg M.D., and Barry Fox. Publisher: Harmony. 2008.
3, 8. http://digital.library.okstate.edu/oas/oas_pdf/v43/p54_57.pdf
4. http://www.nleomf.org/officers/search/search-results/james-c-mcbride.html
5. Alternate: A leaf pattern in which leaves appear back and forth or in a spiraling pattern on a stem.
6. Umbel: A flat, disk-shaped or umbrella-shaped cluster of flower.
7. Peterson Field Guides. Edible Wild Plants: Eastern/Central North America. Lee Allen Peterson.
9, 16. Herbal Antibiotics, 2nd Edition: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-resistant Bacteria. Stephen Harrod Buhner. Storey Publishing, LLC. 2012.
10. http://www.eattheweeds.com/can-be-deadly-but-oh-so-delicious-pokeweed-2
11. Cytokine Storm: A potentially fatal, hyper-inflammatory, immune response often linked to certain viruses.
12, 19. Herbal Antivirals: Natural Remedies for Emerging & Resistant Viral Infections. Stephen Harrod Buhner. Storey Publishing, LLC. 2013.
13, 18. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: The Definitive Home Reference Guide to 550 Key Herbs with all their Uses as Remedies for Common Ailments. Andrew Chevallier. DK Adult. 2000.
14. Tincture: A preparation in herbal medicine wherein the medicinal components of a plant are pulled into a solution of alcohol, vinegar, or glycerin and administered by dropper.
15, 17. The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medication and Supplements Together. George T. Grossberg M.D., and Barry Fox. Publisher: Harmony. 2008.

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Garden Slugs? 3 Easy Ways To Kill Them WITHOUT Poison

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What’s the best way to kill garden slugs organically? Well, I’m glad you asked.

There’s more than one way to kill slugs in the garden… instead of giving you one cure-all, today I’ll give you three easy ways to slaughter the slimy saboteurs.

This post was inspired by JTF, who asked: “Please tell me how you stop slugs eating through your crops! l have a million slugs, you would think l was trying to grow them! Any help appreciated.”

A few years back we had a major slug infestation in our gardens and I had to act fast. Now if slugs attack, I’m ready.

Here are three ways to catch and kill garden slugs that actually work.

How to Kill Garden Slugs Method #1: Scrap Lumber

One simple method to find slugs is to wet some pieces of scrap lumber, then lay them on the ground in the evening.

The next morning, the slugs will often be underneath them, hiding from the sun.

Actually killing them now requires you to embrace your hatred.

You can throw slugs into a bowl of sudsy water, put salt on them, or just go full psycho and chop them into pieces with a knife or scissors.

How to Kill Garden Slugs Method #2: Cheap Beer

If the slugs in your garden are really out of control, go out and get yourself a few cans of cheap beer.

Now, drink them all. After a few minutes, you will no longer care about the slug infestation.

Just kidding. The beer is for the slugs, not you.

Get yourself some little bowls and put them here and there around the garden in the evening. Pour an inch or so of beer in the bottom of each one. The next morning, each bowl should have dead slugs in it.

See, slugs are nature’s alcoholics. They have very sensitive senses of smell and will crawl to wherever there is beer and literally drink themselves to death.

This method was quite effective in our garden. But we also paired it with slug-killing method #3 for a complete beatdown.

How to Kill Garden Slugs Method #3: Hand-Pickin’

Slugs are mostly nocturnal. They like the cool, moist evenings.

When the slugs really started destroying our pea plot a few years ago, my wife and I went out with flashlights a little after dark and started slug hunting.

Sure enough, we found dozens.

The first night’s hunt I brought a little dish of salt with me and we tossed them in there to bubble away into slimy, desiccated corpses…. but then we found it was just easier to take scissors in hand and nip the slugs in half with the blades.

Brutal revenge.

Final Thoughts

A few last points.

If you have mulch in your garden, slugs love that. They don’t like bare ground as much. Slugs and their cousin the snail like lots of material they can hide in. Bare ground doesn’t provide that. Raised beds with wood or stone borders also give them a place to hide. That’s one reason to just build your beds from mounded soil, like so:

Double-Dug Garden Beds

 

It’s also cheaper than buying boards or blocks.

Also, staying on top of slug issues will keep you from losing as many plants. Look for shiny trails around the garden and obviously gnawed areas—and don’t wait to get started! Hunt around and get killing before they eat up your hard work.

If you have ducks, they love to eat slugs. Letting them wander the garden now and again might work, though I don’t have enough faith in ducks to do so. Better to just pick off garden slugs and throw them to the ducks.

You can also throw the bowls of beer and slugs into your compost pile. Slugs compost just fine, as does beer.

Show no mercy.

 

The post Garden Slugs? 3 Easy Ways To Kill Them WITHOUT Poison appeared first on The Grow Network.

Hog Apocalypse: This State’s Gonna Kill 2.5 Million Pigs With Poison

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Hog Apocalypse: This State Hopes To Kill 2.5 Million Wild Pigs With Poison

Image source: Pixabay.com

A southwestern state is facing a feral hog apocalypse that threatens agriculture, and now the state’s agriculture commissioner thinks has an answer: poison.

Texas is being overrun by 2.5 million wild or feral hogs that cause at least $50 million a year in damage to agriculture, The Austin American Statesman reported. The hogs also destroy lawns, flower beds, vegetable gardens, livestock tanks and even Internet, television and phone cables.

Not even the killing of 750,000 wild pigs by hunters each year has been able to control the hog invasion. The hogs were brought to Texas centuries ago by Spanish pioneers who turned them loose to ensure a food supply.

The solution to the hog problem is a poison called Kaput Feral Hog Lure, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller told the newspaper. The poison has a substance called warfarin, which acts as a blood thinner in humans. But it kills pigs.

Diatomaceous Earth: The All-Natural Livestock De-Wormer!

“This is going to be the hog apocalypse, if you like,” Miller told The American-Statesman. “If you want them gone, this will get them gone.”

The plan is to allow people to attract hogs with nontoxic food, and once the hogs keep coming back, replace the food with the poison.

One group not sold on Miller’s idea is the state’s hog hunters. They fear it will threaten their families and damage the environment.

“If this hog is poisoned, do I want to feed it to my family?” Eydin Hansen, the vice president of the Texas Hog Hunters Association, asked.

“If a hog dies, what eats it? Coyotes, buzzards…” Hansen told AP. “We’re gonna affect possibly the whole ecosystem.”

Some Texans use hog hunting to put food on the table.

“It’s a way to feed your family,” Hansen said.

Hogs who have eaten the poison have fat that is blue, Miller said.

Would you back a plan to kill hogs with poison? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Discover The Secret To Saving Thousands At The Grocery Store. Read More Here.

Contamination in Australian water & foods.

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(Click the web browser refresh button to see the latest reports. Date Formatting is Day/Month/Year – 11th March 2011 is 11.03.2011.) March 2015 – Tuna Contamination Report,
This incident reportedly happened six months ago, and unfortunately there was no available sample to test.
In late March I received this email from a contact who has a Geiger counter.
I have removed some information from the correspondence to protect the contacts anonymity.
“You have to watch your food like a hawk. My daughter had some tuna in oil….very small tin. I had been warning her. But dad is crazy. I found the tin going into the recycle, it still had a bit of oil in it. So, me being me, I got out my geiger counter and took a reading………it went ballistic.
It just keep climbing and climbing. I didn’t think it was going to stop……It stopped climbing when it hit 38K counts per minute….I didn’t know my bGeigie Nano meter went that high. The oil seemed OK, the tin seemed OK, but a tiny flake of leftover tuna the size of a match head was on the lip of the tin, that is what set it off. Don’t eat ANYTHING from the sea….anymore. That tuna was toxic radioactive nuclear waste, and not food.”
38K counts per minute would be around 1000 times background, using this model Geiger counter!
I sent this email to get more information on this very high detection.
Do you still have the sample?
If you are located in Australia, and still have the sample, I could test it, if you posted to me.
If you don’t have it, if you provide the information below, I may be able to source some here, and test it.
In what country was the tuna tinned?
In what country was it purchased?
Here is the reply to my email query.
This happened over 6 months ago.
I can only assume it was canned in the USA. tuna in oil. At that time I thought the reading was coming from the oil in the tin….I didn’t notice the flake that was on the outside top edge of the can. I got it stuck on my finger and washed it off. After this, is when I couldn’t get a reading from the tin or the oil again. I realized that the flake which was gone down the drain by then was the cause.
I thought my Geiger counter was malfunctioning at the time, which it never has before or since. The count was going up and it freaked out my son as we watched it climb. The highest reading I have ever gotten until then was 164 CPM off of a milled piece of pine, but at that time I was (and still am) learning how to use the geiger counter.
Comment:
A small number of tests on different brands of tinned tuna have been conducted here recently, and over the last couple years. There was nothing to report from these tests. This is only one community testing lab, and each test takes 24 hours, or more. A large variety of mainly Australian food products have been tested, so statistically the number of tinned tuna tests conducted here at this stage is very small.
It obvious more widespread community and government food testing needs to be conducted.
08.03.2014 – Proven: Pilliga groundwater contaminated by Santos CSG
Extracts:
Documents obtained by The Wilderness Society show that groundwater in the Pilliga has been contaminated by Santos CSG operations.
Uranium levels recorded in the groundwater as a result of CSG activities are at 20 times the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.
The NSW EPA have confirmed the contamination event, but failed to act with any proper legal force, choosing to fine Santos only $1,500 dollars.
On Friday, EPA chief environmental regulator Mark Gifford confirmed the contamination was caused by water leaking from the pond and that lead, aluminium, arsenic, barium, boron, nickel and uranium had been detected in an aquifer at levels ”elevated when compared to livestock, irrigation and health guidelines’
Comment By Lock the Gate:
Uranium levels recorded in the groundwater as a result of CSG activities are at 20 times the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. It is the nightmare that the communities of the north west dreaded, and we hope that the contamination is contained and does no harm. Groundwater is the lifeblood of towns and rural businesses and the worst fears of local farmers are being realised.
http://www.lockthegate.org.au/proven_groundwater_contaminatedhttp://www.smh.com.au/environment/santos-coal-seam-gas-project-contaminates-aquifer-20140307-34csb.html
26.09.2013 – Detection of Radon-220 in the rain
http://sccc.org.au/detection-of-radon-220-in-the-rain-september-2013
20.09.2013 – “Contaminated seawater reaches the east coast of Australia and Indonesia,” Japan Meteorological Research Institute.
Comment:
It is important to read the PDF presentation to fully understand the dynamics of this. (Link provided below)
http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/09/japan-meteorological-research-institute-contaminated-seawater-reaches-the-east-coast-of-australia-and-indonesia/http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Meetings/PDFplus/2013/cn207/Presentations/1028-Aoyama.pdf
09.09.2013 – Detection of radioactive Iodine I-129 in roof gutter moss Australia.
http://sccc.org.au/detection-of-radioactive-iodine-i-129-in-roof-gutter-moss-australia
October 2012, Impact on Australia from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident
1. Food imported from Japan, page 22.
2. Family living in Fukushima for 150 days, page 32.
3. Vehicles and Military aircraft, including American helicopters, page 28.  (They appear to be using measurements of square centimeters cm2 instead of per square meter m2, so multiply by 10,000 to get the Bequerel per square meter amount.)
4. Mutton Birds Tasmania, page 36.
http://www.arpansa.gov.au/pubs/technicalreports/tr162.pdf
11.09.2011 – Silent Storm atomic testing in Australia
Extracts:
Australia’s milk supply? From 1957 to 1978, scientists secretly removed bone samples from over 21,000 dead Australians as they searched for evidence of the deadly poison, Strontium 90 – a by-product of nuclear testing.
Official claims that British atomic tests posed no threat to the Australian people.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDOUeniCNKM


12 Home Remedies For Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac

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12 Home Remedies For Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac

Prepare for the changing seasons early! Before you know it, spring will be back. Stay prepared with these 12 home remedies for poison ivy, oak and Sumac. Winter is definitely in full swing…there’s no denying that! My neck of the woods, the Lone Star state, is experiencing an extremely cold week. Heavy jackets, scarves, gloves, and winter hats are officially part of the Texan wardrobe – at least for now.

With old man winter comes barren landscapes, for the most part. Before you know it though, spring and summer will be upon us and once again all plant life will be plush and green once more.

But…did you know that some plants are actually very much alive and look much different in the winter months? The plants I am referring to are poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Some people are highly allergic to these plants while others are not allergic in the least. Some do not recognize these plants in the winter months, therefore, walk among them only to break out in the terrible rashes that these poisonous plants leave behind.

If you are among those who may not know what these three plants look like in the winter months, check out my previous article, Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac: Be Aware All Year Round, for a complete photo gallery of what they look like all year round.

I know of a few people who have experienced severe rashes this winter due to these poisonous plants. Some were in total shock that it was even a possibility in January. If you have had an unfortunate run-in with any of these three plants this winter, not to worry. I have compiled a list of great home remedies for poison ivy, oak and sumac that have produced great results!

12 Home Remedies For Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac

If you suspect contact with any of these three plants wash the area with warm water and mild soap before the oils from the plant have had a chance to be absorbed into your skin.

If a rash has already begun to develop, try any of these home remedies to help ease the itching, inflammation, and pain. In my research, I have found that the following remedies have had the most successful results

* Disclaimer: These suggestions are not medically proven. If the rash continues (or gets worse), please seek medical advice or treatment from a medical professional.

Aloe Vera Gel

This wonderful plant is great for treating sunburns and other types of burns! It is also great for treating the rash caused by these poisonous plants.

Just split open the leaves and place the gel directly on the affected area. Aloe vera gel will relieve the pain and itching. If you don’t have an aloe vera plant, you can buy the bottled aloe vera gel at your local market and it will be just as effective.

Baking Soda

Add ½ cup of baking soda in warm bathwater and soak. You can also make a paste with warm water and apply directly to the rash caused by poison ivy, oak, or sumac.

Oatmeal

Make a paste of cooked oatmeal and apply it to the rash. This home remedy has great results because it helps draw out the toxins therefore relieving the pain and itching these rashes cause.

 

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apply a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to the affected area. ACV has the ability to pull the poison from the rash. You can also treat the affected area with a cotton towel soaked with warm ACV. Reapply to the skin as needed until the rash subsides.

Himalayan Crystal Salt

This home remedy is especially effective for a rash caused by poison ivy. Poison ivy can cause the skin to become wet and inflamed. Himalayan crystal salt dries out the skin therefore drying out a poison ivy rash.

Make a paste out of purified water and himalayan crystal salt and place it directly onto the rash. You can also soak in a bath of warm water and a cup of himalayan crystal salt for a ½ hour.

Banana Peel

This method is pretty simple. Just rub the inside of a banana peel on the affected area to help relieve itching and inflammation.

Potato

Blend a raw potato in the blender or food processor. Apply the potato paste to the skin and cover area with plastic wrap to relieve itching. The starch from the potato also helps dry out the skin which promotes a quicker healing process.

Dawn Soap

Apply dawn soap directly to the affected area. Leave on for a couple of minutes then wash off with cold water. The grease fighting action of dawn soap will aid in drying out the oils within the blisters of a poison ivy rash.

Turmeric

Make a paste out of turmeric and lemon juice or rubbing alcohol. (All three of these ingredients aid in the drying out process of a blistering rash caused by poison ivy.) Apply this paste to the affected area for about 15 minutes and wipe off. The color of the turmeric can yellow your skin but not to worry – it’s not permanent.

Cucumber

Cut a cucumber into slices or make a cucumber paste (you can accomplish the cucumber paste by using a blender or food processor). Apply the slices or paste directly to the affected area. Leave on for at least 15 minutes. Repeat as necessary.

Epsom Salt

As with the himalayan crystal salt remedy, epsom salts dry out the blisters of a poison ivy rash. Add 2 cups to a warm bath and soak for 20 mins. You can also soak a paper towel with warm epsom salt and apply directly to the affected for 20 minutes.

Tea Bags

I would personally suggest green tea or chamomile tea bags for this remedy. Seep tea bags for 2-3 minutes then once cooled completely, apply to the affected area for about 15 minutes.

Did you like our post on home remedies for poison ivy, oak and sumac? If you have a home remedy you would like to share with us, please share with us in the comment section below.

Source : survivallife.com

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5 Common Plants That Deliver All-Natural Rash Relief (No. 4 Might Already Be In Your Garden!)

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5 Wild Plants That Deliver All-Natural Rash-Relief

Milkweed. Image source: Pixabay.com

 

As a kid, I used to run through this huge patch of poison sumac while playing. I often had rashes — sometimes so bad I couldn’t even open my eyes. In fact, I didn’t know why I was catching the rashes until I got older.

5 Wild Plants That Deliver All-Natural Rash-Relief

Jewelweed. Image source: Pixabay.com

Poison sumac, ivy or oak can ruin your week fast – especially if you don’t know how to treat it. Fear not: Nature has provided us with cures.

Let’s take a look at five all-natural treatments for rashes found in the wild:

1. Jewelweed

Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) is a natural remedy used to neutralize the irritants from poisonous plants, bug bites, ring worms and even stinging nettle.

Jewelweed grows three to five feet tall, with oval leaves and hanging trumpet-shaped flowers. The flowers can be yellow or orange with dark red spots. I used to love poking the seed pods as a kid because they pop and the seeds seemed to explode.

Fast, All-Natural Pain Relief With No Nasty Side Effects!

5 Wild Plants That Deliver All-Natural Rash-Relief

Mugwort. Image source: Pixabay.com

The orange variety with dark red spots works better than the yellow flowered variety. My family likes to collect the stocks of jewelweed and store them frozen in freezer bags. This makes it easy to take one out and squeeze out the jelly for application on irritated areas of the body.

2. Mugwort

Mugwort is easy to grow and is even found in some wild areas. It can neutralize the urushiol found in poisonous plants and has other healing properties, too. Just grind the fresh-picked leaves and apply to the affected area.

5 Wild Plants That Deliver All-Natural Rash-Relief

Honeysuckle. Image source: Pixabay.com

3. Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle can be blended with water (ratio: 3-1) and strained to relieve some of the discomfort associated with symptoms of poisonous plants like sumac, oak and ivy.

4. Rhubarb

We love growing rhubarb in the garden. It has so many uses, but in this application we can treat our itch. Rhubarb can give you instant relief from pain and itch caused by urushiol. To use it, just break a stem and rub the affected area up to three times a day.

5. Milkweed

This weed grows just about everywhere, and there are 140 known species. It’s named after its milky sap that’s made up of alkaloids, latex and other compounds. Applying this milky sap will help relieve the symptoms and dry up blisters associated with a poison rash.

Just use caution when identifying it, because it does have poisonous lookalikes like dogbane.

Now that you know all about plants that can relieve rashes, you are safe to take a stroll in the woods!

What plants would you add to this list? Do you have additional advice? Share your thoughts in the section below:

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

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How To Treat & Avoid Poison Ivy, Poison Oak & Poison Sumac

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How To Treat & Avoid Poison Ivy, Poison Oak & Poison Sumac Poison ivy, oak and sumac are the leading culprits behind of allergic skin reactions in the United States — with an estimated 55 million occurrences each year. If you’re in the 70 percent or so of the population who is sensitive to this …

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Common, Everyday Plants You’ll Be Shocked Are Poisonous

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7 Common Plants You'll Be Shocked Are Poisonous (No. 5

Aloe vera. Image source: Pixabay.com

It’s not common for most people to walk around a yard or garden and indiscriminately munch on plants. But it’s a whole different story when it comes to kids and pets.

There are also plants that can cause significant skin irritations while planting or weeding a garden. We’re going to review some common plants that are surprisingly toxic — and in many instances, deadly. If you have them in your garden, you may want to think twice if young children or family pets are around.

7 Common Plants You'll Be Shocked Are Poisonous (No. 5

Yew. Image source: Pixabay.com

1. Yew. A common evergreen that is popular as a landscaping shrub, the yew has bright red berries with a dark side peeking out at the bottom of the berry. What’s curious is that the berry itself is not toxic, but every other part of the plant, including the seeds in the berries, are dangerously poisonous. This is due to an alkaloid called taxin, in addition to ephedrine and taxiphyllin. Death often follows in hours and sometimes presents no symptoms. When signs and symptoms do occur, they include weak pulse, trembling, staggering, coldness and collapse.

7 Common Plants You'll Be Shocked Are Poisonous

English ivy. Image source: Pixabay.com

2. English ivy. It decorates the walls of buildings on college campuses across the country. Many people plant it to create a similar look on their homes. Too bad it’s poisonous. The leaves can cause rashing, blisters, general skin irritation and itching. Ingesting the leaves can lead to convulsions, fever, delirium and even hallucinations. It doesn’t sound real smart to plant English ivy anywhere. Makes you wonder why they’re so popular on college campuses.

Easter lily. Image source: Pixabay.com

Easter lily. Image source: Pixabay.com

3. Easter lily. A flowering plant that’s popular and common at Easter, it is, in fact, quite toxic, especially to small animals like cats. Humans don’t fair much better due to an alkaloid called lycorine. It’s found in the bulbs and stem and causes vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, shivering and nausea. That’s not exactly the way most people want to spend their Easter.

7 Common Plants You'll Be Shocked Are Poisonous (No. 5

Holly. Image source: Pixabay.com

4. Holly. Here’s another holiday favorite with dangerous side effects. Holly and its bright red berries are a standard decoration at Christmas. Unfortunately, the red berries are highly toxic. An alkaloid called theobromine is the primary problem.

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Children ingesting as few as two red berries will suffer vomiting, drowsiness, diarrhea — and higher doses can be lethal. Twenty holly berries could kill an adult. Maybe we should deck the halls with boughs of something else.

5. Aloe Vera. Who’d have thunk it? A plant that has been used for thousands of years by native people to treat burns and skin irritations actually has a poison component. The gel of the plant is not poisonous, but there is a thin membrane inside the leaves that contains chemicals known as aloin and anthraquinone c-glycoside. Both are very toxic and can — if ingested in large quantities — cause vomiting, nausea, cramping and diarrhea. It’s OK to break off a leaf and apply the gel to skin, but if you have any thoughts of eating it, you may want to consider buying a professionally prepared product instead.

7 Common Plants You'll Be Shocked Are Poisonous (No. 5

Chrysanthemum. Image source: Pixabay.com

6. Chrysanthemum. A very common flower often referred to as mums. The curious contradiction is that they were sometimes used in Chinese medicine. The problem is that poisoning can easily occur due to a group of chemicals called pyrethrins, resulting in significant skin irritations. Pyrethrins affect the nervous system and can cause eye damage, asthma and inflammation. A curious note is that the pyrethrins in chrysanthemums have been processed to create a potent, natural insecticide. It’s a good bet that if it’s bad for bugs, it’s bad for us.

7 Common Plants You'll Be Shocked Are Poisonous (No. 5

Larkspur. Image source: Pixabay.com

7. Larkspur or delphinium. Larkspur is a very attractive, purple plant and is a member of the buttercup family. The bad news is that all parts of the plant are poisonous. Animals, particularly horses and cattle, are particularly susceptible to poisoning while grazing. Symptoms of larkspur poisoning in humans include numbness and burning of the lips, mouth and throat, in addition to intense vomiting and diarrhea, spasms, weak pulse, muscular weakness, convulsion and paralysis of the respiratory system, which leads to death.

If you believe someone or a pet is suffering from one of these natural poisons, then immediately go to the emergency room or vet. Symptoms and effects tend to worsen over time. You also may want to carry a sample of the plant or berry with you if you suspect you know what could be the culprit.

What would you add to our list? Share your thoughts in the section below:

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

All-Natural, Poison-Free Ways To Rid Your Home Of Mice

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All-Natural, Poison-Free Ways To Rid Your Home Of Mice

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Although they are small, mice can cause big problems when they enter your home. They can carry and spread disease and, since they breed quickly, they can do damage to your home and your belongings if left unchecked.

No one wants to think a mouse infestation is in the home, but if you are seeing any of these signs, you may have a rodent problem:

  • Unexplained tears, holes or shredding in clothing, fabric, insulation or other materials.
  • Small holes in desk drawers, kitchen cabinets and other furniture.
  • Mouse droppings; these are black, granular in shape and are three to six mm in length.
  • Strange rustling and scratching noises in the walls, especially at night.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, mouse poisons account for thousands of calls to poison control centers each year, and research shows that remnants of these highly toxic substances can linger around your home for years, posing a danger to your family members, your pets as well as plants and wildlife.

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You have probably seen cartoons throughout your life of mousetraps wedged with bits of cheese, but you may be looking for other ways of removing these pests from your home and then keeping them out.

As is the case with many pests, including insects, ridding your home of mice can be a bit of trial and error. However, here are some effective – and natural – ways to get rid of them.

Peppermint oil is a natural product that is safe for both humans and animals, but mice hate the smell. Simply place a few drops of 100 percent pure peppermint oil on some cotton balls and then leave the cotton balls in areas where you have seen evidence of mice.

All-Natural, Poison-Free Ways To Rid Your Home Of Mice

Image source: Pixabay.com

Other options for deterring mice with mint are to place mint plants or mint leaves around your home or even to smear mint toothpaste along baseboards or cabinet corners where mice have been. Another idea is to brew some strong peppermint tea and place it in a spray bottle. You can then spray the tea in areas where mice have entered your home.

The smell of mint will lose its effectiveness in a day or two, so be sure to replace the oil, mint or toothpaste several times a week for best results.

Bay leaves also have a strong odor that mice dislike. Try scattering some bay leaves in your pantry, kitchen cabinets and on shelves where mice have been active.

Mice also detest the smell of cloves. As you did with the peppermint oil, you can put several drops of clove essential oil on cotton balls and place the cotton in areas mice have gathered. Another option is to place whole cloves in a cotton mesh bag and set or hang the bags in trouble spots.

It may sound a little unusual, but mice do not like aluminum foil. They cannot chew through it easily, and they do not like the sound it makes when they walk on it. Therefore, you can place aluminum foil in areas mice have entered, or cover areas they have walked with sheets of aluminum foil.

Similarly, scented dryer sheets are a good mouse deterrent. You also can use them to seal cracks and crevices where mice may have entered or place them in areas where you suspect mice congregate at night.

Another safe way to deter mice is with baking soda. Simply sprinkle baking soda in trouble areas. You can sweep or wipe it up in the morning and reapply in the evening for best effectiveness.

Now that you have gotten rid of the mice that have taken up residence in your home, let’s look at ways to keep them out.

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The bad news is that mice can enter your home through gaps, cracks and openings in your home that are as small as a dime. Your first line of defense is to find and seal these openings. Be sure to examine areas where utility wires (such as for cable TV or the phone) enter your home. Also, look at areas around exhaust fans and dryer vents as well as the edges around windows and doors.

You can stuff steel wool into larger gaps before sealing them with caulk. Mice have difficulty chewing through steel wool, so it serves as a deterrent.

Mice are nocturnal and are constantly foraging for food and for bedding materials. Here are some tips for making the interior of your home less attractive to mice:

  • Store food –including cereals, rice and flour — in airtight containers.
  • Wipe down counters and sweep floors of crumbs at least once a day.
  • Pick up pet food bowls after feeding.
  • Keep sink and counters free of dirty dishes.
  • Empty kitchen trash at night.
  • Keep outdoor trash cans away from home entrances.
  • Remove and recycle old newspapers and magazines.

Finally, one of the best ways to keep mice away from your home is by adopting a cat. Cats are natural predators of mice.

Additionally, mice have strong aversion to the odor of cat urine and stay away from a home when they detect the smell. In fact, even if your cat is lazy at hunting mice, placing tubs of used kitty litter around the perimeter of your home can do the trick of keeping mice away.

What all-natural tips would you add for keeping mice away from your home? Share your advice in the section below:

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.