Of Grape Leaves and Bulrush flowers…

The heat this spring/early summer is putting the pressure on for harvesting.

This week we will explore fox grape leaves and bulrush ie cattail flowers.

Fox grapes are the wild variety you see growing on fences, up trees and around hydro poles. They have heart shaped leaves, serrated edges and may be lobed; they have small, purple berries in August through October. This post will focus on the leaves, as the fruit can be used as any grapes but need extra sugar.
Following is a link to an excellent article on the health benefits of grape leaves.

http://www.healwithfood.org/health-benefits/eating-grape-vine-leaves.php

Fox Grape Leaves

I harvest the leaves as early as possible in the spring and after the leaves have unfurled. I check the under side for snails and other insect activity as they seem to be quite popular with bugs!!
I simply put them on a piece of paper or plastic and let them dry in the house. When dry I pound them ie put them in a large can and used a rounded end stick to pound them, like people pound grain to make flour using a mortar and pestal. Then I put them in the blender to make a powder. No recommendations yet on how to use them!!

Bulrush flowers are way ahead by calendar this year due to warm weather. Following are a couple of picture so I can explain (a picture is worth a 1,000 words!)

Narrow Leafed Bulrush

Narrow Leafed Bulrush

Broad Leafed Bulrush

Broad Leafed Bulrush

The first bulrushes to flower are the narrow leafed ones. The flower should be picked while it is still green and hard along its full length. These flowers start to release their pollen by swelling from the top down. The flower on the left (in the first photo) has started to release its pollen, I picked the right hand one which still had some of the paper on it. The paper is easy to remove, just grasp it and pull up. Narrow leafed bulrushes have a gap between the flower and the larger piece which becomes the head commonly associated with bulrushes.
The broad leafed have no gap between the flower and the base. You can see it where the color changes. It is not difficult to figure out in the field.
I just break the flowers off at their base, put them in the freezer, and cook them in a roasting pan with meat and other fixin’s. Boiling them in salty water for 5 minutes also yields a tasty treat. I am going to try pickling them this year. I call this lowland asparagus as the taste is slightly similar. Try it, maybe you’ll like it!!

Here is a good article about the health benefits:https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/cereal/cattail.html

When eating this delight, please note there is a stringy core which you need not eat.

I like to harvest my plant material away from highways and heavily traveled routes due to toxins from exhaust fumes and other vehicle fluids.

Remember, if in doubt leave it out. Also, mother nature has a cornucopia of treats for you!! Got any good stories for me?

Tim

Mint – Refreshing Taste, and Healthy

Mint tea or mint flavored drinks hot or cold, are my faves.

Great for drinks, seasoning and condiments

Great for drinks, seasoning and condiments

All mint family plants have square stems which helps identify them. There may be 13 to 18 different plants in this species – with varying flavors! Peppermint makes a nice iced tea treat for summer evenings.

Here’s a great little article on growing mint –

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/the-dos-donts-of-growing-mint-147458

Mint is also super healthy. I credit it with keeping me cold free this past winter. Try out this info –

http://www.livestrong.com/article/263229-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-mint-tea/

Picking is very simple – harvest the leaves and stems before flowering. Cut them off cleanly so the plant heals quickly. If flowers forms, nip them off. Flowers can also be dried for seasoning and drinks.
I dry mint on a piece of paper or plastic.
After drying, I put the material in the blender to make a powder. This takes up less storage space. I stop and start the blender numerous times, pushing the material down when the blade is stopped, in order to overcome bridging in the blender container.
Good luck! Enjoy the hardy, healthy flavor of your favorite mint treat!
Tim

Upcoming treats and natural foods from mother nature – june berries and bullrush, aka cattail, flowers

Dandelions and Your Health

Everyone loves to experience those cheery yellow flowers in their lawn in spring – yah, right!
Well they definitely have great qualities. You may find them beneficial to your physical and financial health – amazing way to fight the high cost of fresh veggies.

Following is an article on the nutritional benefits of dandelions.

Dandelion Flower Health Benefits

Here is another more in depth article – just makes you want to get out there and pick dandelions!

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/dandelion-herb.html”>

All these nutrients are stored up in the flower buds as well. If this is your preferred method of eating them. I like pickled flowers and flower buds – delicious!

Mother nature is a treasure trove of goodies. We need to educate ourselves, try a few ideas and get the benefits. Some of my ideas have ended up in the compost pit, so don’t be reticent to try yours!

Tim

PS Just enjoying my first ever cup of dandelion flower tea. Very pleasant!!

Food for the Homeless

Identifying, harvesting and preparing wild foods is a fun and money saving adventure. During the cold, dark winter months, I pour over my edible plant guide. Looking for insights and knowledge. The internet offers a plethora of images to heighten your skills of identification, and articles to wet your appetite for herbal cuisine.

After the long winter, spring is a great time to get outside, breath the fresh air and harvest wild foods. Wild mustard is an early spring favorite. The cluster of small, white flowers is easily identifiable, along with its peppery aroma when crushed between the fingers.

Wild mustard is a peppery, pleasant tasting herb. Great for fresh salads, on sandwiches and in stir fries. It has many excellent health benefits, also. See the following link.

Health benefits of Mustard Greens

Mustard greens can be successfully frozen for use in stir fries at a later time.

Wild mustard comes in many different shapes, sizes and flower colors. Good luck and happy hunting!! If in doubt, leave it out(side)!!

Generally speaking, eating flower buds is something I enjoy. Our favorite flower, the dandelion, offers a tasty, nutritionally sound spring tonic. More on this next time.

Tim, keeping it healthy – physically and financially!!

Short term missions and, yes, diarrhea!!

Most missionary and many adventurous travelers have had a bout of Montezuma’s revenge, otherwise known as dysentery, diarrhea, the scoots, Aztec two step, Basra belly, Rangoon runs, Tokyo trots, you get the idea!
It is my contention that this misfortune is largely avoidable. Which is good news unless you enjoy trotting!
Conventional prophylaxis include DUKORAL (registered trademark)and Pepto Bismal (see warnings) while treatment includes peristaltic inhibitors like Immodium. These are all options for prevention and/or treatment.
This website has some good information: http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/travelers-diarrhea

Nature’s Pharmacy

Different body types seem to tolerate discomfort at varying levels. I have a type A body – a little tense at the best of times. So cramping does not suit me at all.
During my many missions trips, I have discovered plant based treatment options. Ideal for me, being financially judicial, and the citizenry of many developing nations who have economic constraints. Working through and with a group called Action for Natural Medicine, anamed, www.anamed.org,I have discovered that eating of a 2 inch square piece of papaya leaf every day reduces the chances of acquiring the runs. Also, regularly drinking papaya tea provides the same active ingredient.
Papaya trees are very common and easy to grow in the tropical climate. They produce prodigious amounts of greenery (leaves) and thus provide lots of doses of medicine per hectare.
The leaves are also a good treatment for malaria, which is a topic for another day.
The reason for this blog post is to determine if there is sufficient interest in papaya tea to warrant the creation of a business. This enterprise would supply missionaries and travelers with a specified supply of papaya leaf tea bags to improve health outcomes while traveling abroad.
Health is never a guarantee, but taking proven preventative measures is advisable. This business would itself be a mission to those producing the product. Creating life giving work to those who benefit from same.
Please feel free to do your own research as there are many scientific studies which prove the efficacy of this approach. Then provide me with your feedback. I am looking for organisations and individuals who are wishing to support missions while doing same, or enjoying their travels – through using a proven, plant based approach to health care.
No pricing strategy is currently in place.
Thank you in advance for your feedback, as we move forward to better health outcomes.

Kind regards, Tim Wise

Why Plant based Health Options? Part 2

Last time we explored 3 markers for considering health benefits and risks – clinical effect, side effect and lethal dose 50. We discovered that when using papaya leaf that the dosage level from one marker to the next is very large, making the possibility of negative results highly unlikely. In a lethal dose 50 study done by Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, the lethal dose 50 test found that this plant is safe according to EU (European Union) and WHO (World Health Organisation) standards.

Let us consider a concept called “poorification” which results when chemicals are isolated from their naturally occurring neighbours. The body is highly complex, to make a gross understatement. Many chemicals involved in healing receive synergistic effects from companion chemicals found in the plants from which they are derived. Therefore, poorification occurs when plant based chemicals are removed from plants and purified.

How will we successfully minimize the negative economic effects of such diseases as malaria? Let us look at the numbers. In Uganda, where malaria is endemic, people get this life threatening disease twice annually on the average. With over 40 million people they have over 80 million cases of malaria annually!! Plants can provide millions of doses of medicine, per hectare!!, making this treatment option a workable solution.

What about the drawbacks? I have been hard pressed to find any and would welcome any stories, anecdotal or otherwise, from you. I know that in countries where post mortems are not routine, that if a person tries a treatment then dies of a totally unrelated cause, that the treatment can be seen as the cause of death. This is a potential drawback.

Often where money is a constraint, people will wait until they are almost dead to go to a clinic. Perhaps a week. Once at the clinic they frequently die as the disease was too far advanced to treat. With plant based options people can treat themselves at early onset, improving their chance of surviving, and thriving! Treatment time period is commonly 3 days. Thus the person can try two dosage levels in an attempt to get a clinical effect before they would normally go to the hospital.
People must understand that symptoms which might indicate a particular disease may be something else and they need to remain open to the need to go to hospital or a clinic to seek treatment and or diagnosis.

Please take some time to research such options and consider your ability to make positive change through being informed.

Kind Regards

Why Plant based Health Options?

The answer to this question may take at two directions – domestic and developing countries. We will look primarily at developing countries. The old 80/20 rule may apply here – 20 percent of the worlds population has 80 percent of the money. So the developed world has plenty of ability to buy produced health options.
What about our neighbours in developing countries who do not have this option? Are they denied health for this reason? I contend not. Plants have provided the chemical basis for 80-85 percent of the pharmaceutical chemical preparations we enjoy. Did men formulated all the chemicals that provide us with health?
Some pills during the evolution of the pharmaceutical industry have contained plant material as the health giving agent. Why not cut out the middle man?
Dosage is a big reason. How do we ensure people do not harm themselves? I cannot comment on a broad variety of plant based options, but I can about papaya leaf which can treat two of the 4 big killers – malaria and dysentery, plus worms.
There are at least three dosage levels to consider. Clinical effect, where the plant material provides the desired health effect. Side effect, where the chemical ingestion causes a negative effect, these are many. And lethal dose 50, which is the dosage at which 50 percent of the animals in the experiment are killed, resulting in a dosage, generally milograms per kilo of body weight, which is dangerous.
With papaya, the difference from one level to the next is in the magnitude of 10 to 20 times. A piece of leaf the size of ones palm will give a clinical effect whereas 7-8 full sized leaves are required for a side effect. This gives great latitude for dosage and minimizes the chance of side effects.
Please research and consider so you may be open to learning and feeling confident suggesting plant based options for people who have no other options.
There is so much more which could be said, so feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. Please see anamed.net . Anamed, Action for Natural Medicine, is a German based organization that researches and promotes plant based health options.
Research is needed into these plant based options, but there is nothing to sell, only economies to be built!!

Kind Regards

Off to Haiti, 2015

I am once again privileged to be able to take a month to spend in Haiti.

Children’s Lifeline, http://www.childrenslifeline.com/, has asked me to do agricultural education with the local community. I am currently thinking about using a 3 square model – composting, trees and vegetables being the 3 components.

Covering the soil with mulch or compost in tropical climates helps reduce the effect of intense sunshine. This improves the microbial life and the soils fertility.

Thanks for your interest in reducing poverty, disease and improving food security. I hope my postings have helped you thrive.

Take a little ride up the road to Children’s Lifeline compound – hang on!!!

Kind Regards, Tim

What would you like for Christmas?

My friend asked me what I would like for Christmas. My reply was my two front teeth!! Really what I would like is an end to global hunger.

Science makes real progress each year in feeding the world. GMO’s have produced massive amounts of food and they are controversial, and I am not supporting or rejecting them. Time will tell. GMO’s have focused on annual plants while tropical agricultural stability and stability of food supply may rest on tree based agriculture – deep rooted, drought resistant plants. For people from the northern hemisphere with continental climates, please consider a different approach rather than a variation of annuals based agriculture – we have warm and cold seasons while tropical climates have wet and dry seasons.

One website says that 90% of the poorest of the poor live in the 10/40 window. Areas with tropical climates. So how do we improve their food security?

In Niger farmers may plant their crops up to 5 times in order to get a good plant population. This requires an incredible amount of work and seed. Tree based agriculture negates this as the trees simply go dormant during periods of drought and grow when rains start. No uncertainty of food supply.

Moringa has many benefits. It is a complete food – contains all 9 essential amino acids and vitamin C. People from the developed world have been indoctrinated on the need for a varied diet etc etc. People who lack resources like a 4 burner stove, an oven and lots of pots and pans, often eat a limited variety of foods. So what option do they have for realizing good nutrition? How about 1 food that has it all?
People living in tropical climates with wet and dry seasons, may dry food in order to survive the lean, dry months. This food may be used to feed humans and animals. What about a single source complete food packed with nutrients? Moringa leaf powder has many benefits. Take a look at these stats…

http://www.africamoringa.co.za/moringa_health_benefits_nutrition.html

http://www.moringapowder.com/

eating mooring for natural health

 

(This is not an endorsement of these company products or to be construed as medical advice).

A great source of information is to put moringa leaf powder into your favourite search engine and take a look at images – tons of great info!!

Have more(-inga) energy in your day.

Kind Regards, Tim

PS You do not need to be a bonafide nutritional expert to know whether you feel better after eating a food!!

Moringa Powder and Orange Juice

Hey Moringa Lovers,

I have read about drinking raw moringa leaf powder with orange juice but never tried it, until recently. It is great!!

Moringa powder has a distinctive flavor – it is a very rich organic taste with some horse radish like heat. This taste is completely masked by the orange juice. Very cool!!

I have also sprinkled the leaves on my food which is the recommended method of ingestion by anamed – Action for Natural Medicine. (anamed.net) This method has very little effect on the taste of the food, while allowing us to get the benefits of the raw powder.

Cooking does denature some of the components, but the only way to eat the immature pods is boiled in salty water! This is a food which is full of beneficial oleic acids, commonly associated with olive oil and very abundant in moringa oil.

Morgina has amazing benefits

Have any great moringa recipes? Feel free to share them here.

Kind Regards, Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for the Holiday Season,

Tim

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