I’ve often wondered if the dandelion is one of the most overlooked medicine sources in our own back yards. In many places around the country this amazing plant is considered an annoying weed. Yet all parts of dandelion are edible and loaded with vitamins, anti-oxidants, and life-giving nutrients. There are many ways to use this source of free food: herbal jelly, dandelion honey, vinegars, oils, wine, and salad greens, but for this wintertime commentary to come, I’ll focus on the root.
Before you step out into the wilds of your back yard or elsewhere to pick weeds for lunch, there are a few precautions that you should know:
- Only harvest weeds that you can positively identify as edible. Keep a field guide on wild plants to reference before you actually consume your harvest.
- Avoid picking weeds close to areas of runoff, roadsides, or areas that you do not know if they have been treated with poisons.
- Do not harvest from areas that may have been contaminated by animal feces.
- Positively know which part of the plant is edible and discard the potentially toxic part.
self-sufficiency will reduce suffering
Something is happening in the medical industry in relation to our population that is similar to the concept of peak oil. There is a viable theory that demand will at some point outpace supply.
In the very near future there is reason to believe that even if you can afford a bed at your local hospital, clinic, or facility, there won’t necessarily be a trained human being who can care for you.
This has everything to do with the population boom right after WWII when somewhere between 65 and 78 million babies were suddenly born over a very short span of time in the United States.
This particular population is referred to as the baby boom generation and if you are a product of those wild times then the concept of home or folk medicine is of particular importance to register as primary health maintenance often becomes less and less easy to just ignore as we age.
But regardless of generation, many things prompt us to seek medical attention and it is important to understand there are still only so many trained medical staff in this country and they are already overwhelmed with the workload they are carrying.
Population surges combined with limits to trained medical personnel require that we give some thought to home care.
Though most households at one time could manage the elemental health needs of its inhabitants, folk medicine has become a lost art.
When I speak of folk medicine I am referring to the traditional medicine practices of alleviating suffering in a home or community setting by people who hold no extensive degree of formal medical education, aka: most everyone, for most every household and neighborhood. These basics are as vital as knowing how to feed ourselves and are becoming even more so as the access to healthcare diminishes.
It is becoming essential household knowledge to learn how to use food and an herb or two that you can readily find, as well as few basic techniques that can be performed or administered with things you would already have on hand.
Folk medicine is a concept that is somehow being lost in the modern outsourcing shuffle. I must politely recommend that your household maintain some basic skills and supplies if not solely for the preservation of your budget but as a tribute to survival and the alleviation of suffering.
To read about ginger root check out my last post.
In the meantime I leave you with many well wishes for health and vitality!