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Herbalism Traditional and/or folk medicine practice based on the use of plants and plant extracts

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Old 05-19-14   #1
feranaja
 
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Default Today I learned...

Initially that was my premise for what I thought was going to be a little FB group, mostly composed of serious herbalists studying plan ts deeply and sharing our insights about botany, medicine-making, actions and energetics and more.
So, now it's like 12,000 people - and Donelle, a third moderator and myself all do our best to keep the level of crazy to a dull roar.
I miss the premise, though - despite my years of study and practise I learn something almost every day and it's fun and useful to share those insights.

So, I know there's only a handful of "serious herbalists" here, but anyway, this is my special space online. So- here goes - Today, what did YOU learn about herbalism?

I learned: after asking today on my group about what appeared to me as a "mutant dandelion", there is a process called Fasciation that results in plants looking very much like mine did. It was a great relief as I have NEVER seen this before and was worried maybe some chemicals from the farms next door had drifted in. Good info to have!

Description: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasciation


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Old 05-19-14   #2
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Default Re: Today I learned...

Dandelions have no posionous lookalikes but they do have a few that look similar and lack the medicinal actions we select Dandies for. The characteristic of a single flower head and a small, narrow stalk is definitive - but this thing, wow, the stalk was just HUGE! Good to know what it was. Seems like a natural process, perhaps a result of crowding.
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Old 05-19-14   #3
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Default Re: Today I learned...

I am not a Herbalist...I want to be..but I can't dedicate the time to take your course, although I would love to the next time you offer it.

I learned yesterday, that what we thought was ornamental grass was in fact a weed...with a huge root. I wanted to keep it and see what it was and something dragged it off. It looked like crab grass, but really tall , not close to the ground. No blooms or those caterpillar -like things yet.
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Old 05-20-14   #4
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Default Re: Today I learned...

I used to see Dandies with those kind of stalks all the time as a kid, especially if they were growing somewhere that didn't have much soft earth available, such as on/near a stone covered patio, near a rocky path, etc. It is I think, partly to do with crowding.
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Old 05-20-14   #5
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Default Re: Today I learned...

Apparently lots of people have seen them and not even herbalists out wallowing in the fields all the time. I don't know why I didn't see one before. But they really look odd, a dandie with several flower heads and this HUGE fragile stalk.

Haven't learned anything yet today except that my elder/calendula/lavender salve, while lovely, is not as helpful against 100 BLACKFLY bites as was my slave with Saint John's Wort and blue chamomile oil...and, some people really do not understand the difference between "irritant" and "poisonous", herbally speaking...you know, the difference between a nasty outbreak of poison ivy, and slow agonizing death from water hemlock.
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Old 05-20-14   #6
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Default Re: Today I learned...

Just wanted to pop in an say, Rosalita, the course is open and ongoing and geared to humans, cats and dogs - you can come in anytime and I would of course, give you a a major ESF discount.
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Old 05-20-14   #7
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Default Re: Today I learned...

I don't usually harvest my own fiddleheads, but today I learned that if you are not sure whether your heads are still usable, try snapping the stem. If it breaks readily, they're still ok. If it's rubbery and bends, don't use the heads.
I love fiddleheads, but I am cautious about foraging for them.


http://www.eattheweeds.com/fiddlehead-fanatics-2/
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Old 05-21-14   #8
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Default Re: Today I learned...

Quote:
Originally Posted by feranaja View Post
some people really do not understand the difference between "irritant" and "poisonous", herbally speaking...you know, the difference between a nasty outbreak of poison ivy, and slow agonizing death from water hemlock.
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Old 05-22-14   #9
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Default Re: Today I learned...

There was one woman on the FB group insisting that latex in dandelion stems is "poisonous".

Sigh.
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Old 05-23-14   #10
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Default Re: Today I learned...

Re the Dandelion stems being "poisonous". Can she explain this to the horses please as they sure love them and hunt them out to eat. They eat the whole plant including the root if they can pull or dig it out. This happens particularly when they need a specific vitamins or minerals which they know they can find in that particular plant and especially in the early summer / autumn.

They have been doing this for years and I make sure that they always have a wide selection of wild plants and herbs in there pastures so that they can eat what they need. Dandelions being one of the main ones. Its the first plant that always gets eaten besides grass and spear mint.

I've not had any of them colic or die from Dandelion poisoning yet, and these horses eat them all the time. The horses here were all came from wild herds without human intervention so they do know what they can and can't eat.

As to what plants taught me today, well due to where I live being on the edge of a protected area alongside a national park there are a lot of rare and endangered plants and animals on the land here. Today though I discovered a hidden pocket of plants that was thought to have died out in this area due to intense grassland management for cattle.

Since this land has been returned back to its natural grasses and the cattle removed so it not intensively managed a lot of seed that laid dormant has germinated. This is what seems to have happened here, so I was very happy to find this small hidden pocket of plants and its given me some incentive to keep going with what I'm doing. I learn't from this plant that things can and do remain safe and hidden for as long as they need until the conditions are right for them. This plant hasn't been seen here for the last 45 years when the previous owners started reseeding with rye grass and spraying what they felt to be weeds.

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