Monday, April 1, 2013

Part 2 to Further 'Goldenseal Sanctuary' Adventures & Classes


“I suggest finding, and buying, a piece of land you can fall in love with”
~ Paul Strauss

Swamp White Oak Quercus bicolor
            An interestingly popular food among the native, and non-native, Appalachian folk is Poke, Phytolacca americana, being a very large rooted perennial has toxic berries, that are very bright red-purple, and the stalks are bright pink in the winter. Traditionally has been used by Native Americans for: dysentery, arthritis and rheumatism, and in the form of a poultice for sore breasts; all other ailments it was taken in the form of a berry tea. This tea was also used by them for washing sprains and swollen areas; root poultice for bruises and neuralgic pains; and lastly, folk uses are along the same lines. Paul Strauss taught us that it is a very popular plant as a medicine and food in the Appalachian area, WHEN UNDER ½ foot!! The way in which Paul ingeniously kept Poke year-round, and at the safe ‘size’, was by putting a large cutting in his root cellar, which produced fresh Poke greens and shoots, which being under ½ foot he was able to safely consume. Poke’s first ‘greens’ are in the spring, like many other wild herbs, if you dig up the root you can have this give you continuous shoots. Paul told us that the root is effective for glandular infections, as well as mastitis and other breast infections. He also informed us that a poultice of the fresh leaf can be applied to the breast for treating these infections, of the breast and glands, as well, if you do not want to ingest the root, or apply it topically.

I don’t separate organic gardening from herbalism…cause you can only get to people in some way…if you can get someone to respect herbs from an organic gardening standpoint…than you have your strategy ~ Paul Strauss

            Next we have White Oak, Quercus alba, being a strong, sturdy tree, herb and wood as well. Possesses horizontal branches, with light colored whitish bark, and possess evenly-rounded leaves…the inner bark is used to make medicine, though the outer bark can also make medicine; inner bark Paul Strauss and 7Song both believe to be ‘purer’ medicine. Best harvested in the spring; and is commonly found in dry woods.
            “I’ve been stewarded by the earth—I’ve had good teachers in human forms BUT this life and earth”…
are your best teachers ~ Paul Strauss
             Was used tribes including the Cherokee, Delaware, Menominee and Ojibwa, to name a few. They used white oak for many ailments, the most common including: sore chapped skin, mouth sores, as an antiseptic, emetic, diarrhea, laryngitis, coughs and sore throats, and rheumatism. Paul told us that white oak was once of the most commonly used woods for making baseball bats, which makes sense considering. It’s inner bark of the new growth is best harvested in the spring; you can add white oak to oatmeal Paul taught us for treating poison ivy. White oak is one of many astringent herbs, meaning it pulls proteins together, and thus tightens loose things, including: gums, skin, treating wounds and diarrhea.

“You need to believe long enough in your own idea to make it happen”
~ Paul Strauss

White Oak tree that looks sickly -Quercus alba
            Later that evening, our combined class with Paul Strauss and 7Song, they primarily covered the medicinal properties and uses of white oak. 7Song stated that the bark of white oak, fresh or dried, can be put between the gums and lips, as you would with chewing tobacco, to set your teeth, and tightens lips and gums. Similar to all other astringent, besides Oak we have many in the Rose family (Ex’s: raspberry, rose, blackberry), as well as White Willow (ie-nature’s ‘original’ aspirin). Astringent herbs also possess an anti-inflammatory action, so besides for treating diarrhea, it helps with wounds, which could be seen as an inflammatory problem, especially if it is hot. An interesting way Paul or 7Song mentioned using white oak for loose gums, is to decoct for 10-15 minutes in water, at a medium simmer, and use as a mouth wash, or drink as a tea, though be wary—you’ll be smacking your lips because your mouth will feel bone dry. They also stated that this is a very safe plan, though if you give white oak to someone with a very high metabolism it might mess up their food absorption, and their absorption of nutrients, vitamins and such.

I view money as concentrated energy, but we need to use it to do what you need to 
do to help the earth” ~ Paul Strauss

I know I am including many quotes from Paul Strauss but he always had someone so wise, meaningful and amazing to say…ALL the time…enjoy! Paul mentioned that he knew a Hopi elder and this elder said that god gave the herb chaparral for everything.

Resources:
-Peterson Field Guides Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs by Steven Foster & James A. Duke
-Native American Medicinal Plants by Daniel E. Moreman

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