Friday, May 29, 2009

Interesting Tidbits Shared at Food Coop Talk

Thank you to everyone who attended our talk at the East End Food Coop last night! What a great and interesting crowd. If you missed it, here are some tidbits that people shared:

  • One gentleman, upon his return from Vietnam, found he had developed hay fever. He ate a few comfrey leaves and his symptoms diminished by 50%. Now, if he gets a bout of hay fever, he'll eat some comfrey leaves and always gets at least a 50% diminishment of his symptoms.

  • Another gentleman hangs a large stalk of mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) in his room at night, and reports very vivid dreams

  • Quickweed is a delicious green edible, enjoyed not only by people, but ducks love it.

  • To treat poison ivy: (this is a remedy reported from Countryside magazine) Put some water in the bath tub and add 1/2 cup sea salt, and 1/2 cup Epsom Salts. Sit in the water for 30 minutes and sponge (or use wash clothe) to splash the water on.

  • pouring vinegar on poison ivy is a way to kill the plant

  • chewing plantain leaves and applying them to the skin is a great remedy for stings, bites, cuts, itchy rashes. Some people call these "fairy bandaids."

  • Comfrey (Symphytum officialis) is also referred to as "knit-bone" and external poultices on broken bones will help heal the bone

  • Homeopathic Comfrey is called Symphytum, and is also taken to help heal broken bones

  • The crown vetch (Securigera varia) that is increasing common all over Pennsylvania was created by Penn State extension. The variety is called Penngift and was created to prevent soil erosion, with mixed results. Crown Vetch is actually a perennial from Europe and is in the legume/pea family. Some consider it an invasive weed.

  • The verdict on the toxicity of Crown Vetch is still out (the master gardners at Penn State extension are only in Monday through Thursday mornings), but we did find out (online searches) that it contains high amounts of nitroglycerides, especially in the seeds, and is toxic to horses and other non ruminants (animals with one stomach, like people.) Cows and other ruminants can eat the crown vetch because their 4 stomachs convert the nitroglycerine into a nontoxic substance. Symptoms of toxicity include paralysis, high heart rate, and even death.

  • Comfrey leaves (Symphytum officinalis) can be added to compost to speed up composting. It can also be made into strong tea in large garbage pail (steep for two weeks), which is an excellent fertilizer for gardens; just be sure there are no seeds in the tea or you'll find yourself with lots of new comfrey plants!

Plus, we shared interesting recipes, enjoyed discussion of many plants, and enjoyed the delicious Red Clover Apple Cookies.

If you missed our talk but are available this weekend, please come to our Wild Edibles Workshop this Saturday morning, from 10am to 1 pm. Check our wild events page for more information.

Thanks so much!

~ Melissa