I had a bunch of ladies over from our community stitching group and offered them a taste of our homemade wine and foraged tea. The wine was hit and miss, most of the ladies being teetotalers. The tea though was a big hit. Much to my surprise, while most of them were country-raised, none of them had ever heard of making tea from two of the most common sources imaginable: pine needles and yaupon.
“A sure cure for scurvy; a remedy for cold, flu, obesity, dementia, bladder, and kidney issues; antidepressant; anti-hypertensive; anti-tumor; render chemotherapy less toxic to patients, and many more potential health improvements and nutritional benefits, can all be found in the Christmas tree you dispose of yearly!”
“The most interesting health benefits of pine include its ability to boost the immune system, improve vision health, stimulate circulation, protect against pathogens, and improve respiratory health.”
The yaupon surprised them even more than the pine, because around here it’s so prolific they are treated like annoying weeds much of the time. (Maybe that’s because they don’t realize how much the bees love them in their early spring bloom period.).
In some areas you’ll need to be sure not to confuse yaupon with Japanese privet, which is a popular landscaping shrub, but poisonous.
“Yaupon tea is a tea made from the dried leaves of the yaupon holly tree, which is scientifically known as Ilex vomitoria. This type of holly tree is native to the southeastern region of North America and was once used as an emetic and a ceremonial tea for numerous Native American tribes. The tea is also closely related to yerba mate tea and has many of the same active ingredients and nutrients.”
I also make tea with sassafras, mullein, rose hips, elderberries, sumac, and lots of other foraged goodies. Healthy and delicious, especially after you add the local honey, of course.
Foraging Texas has a great list with lots of common plants not just in Texas.
Honeybees know the value of their venom, they give their lives for it. We know how precious is the value of the honeybees’ venom, understanding it as both cure and poison.
In natural healing bee venom is used for all sorts of cures, a number of them painful.Honeybees can be merciless, even to each other, for the ‘greater good’.
What did I find today outside one of our hives but droves of drones, those are the males, kicked out by those bossy female workers who clearly decided they could no longer be supported. They will also kill and replace an unproductive queen without hesitation.
And me, being the opportunistic and cunning human that I am, collected these evicted dead bodies in order to make Podmore, considered an exceptional traditional medicine used to cure all sorts of ailments.
Quite unknown to American beekeepers, I wonder why, considering its value? Could it be they don’t like the thought or action of collecting dead bees? Podmore
This reminds me of another big related beef I have with our current cultural climate: Weakness is not a virtue.And neither is positivity.
I like the way Micheal Tsarion just put it in his last podcast, because I think it’s spot on. Our Prozac smile culture is in a “regressed state of animated autism.”
Optimistic bias undermines preparedness and invites disaster, according to sociologist Karen Cerulo.
In Barbara Ehrenreich’s 2009 book, Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America, she underscores how hard Americans have been working to adapt to the popular and largely unchallenged principles of the positivity movement, our reflexive capacity for dismissing disturbing news, whitewashing tragedy as a ‘failure of imagination’ and relentlessly spinning suffering as little more than a growth opportunity.
While in fact I am writing now out of a spirit of sourness and personal disappointment, unlike Ehrenreich according to her intro, I nonetheless find much value in her final paragraph: “Once our basic material needs are met—in my utopia, anyway—life becomes a perpetual celebration in which everyone has a talent to contribute.But we cannot levitate ourselves into that blessed condition by wishing it.We need to brace ourselves for a struggle against terrifying obstacles, both of our own making and imposed by the natural world.And the first step is to recover from the mass delusion that is positive thinking.”
The bees know.
One of the very many things that fascinate me about the bees is that the Freemasons so covet it as a symbol.I can imagine there are many reasons for this, most of which will probably remain a lifelong mystery to me.
At some point the bees simply refuse to adjust any more and they swarm, this is a natural, healthy, cyclical process, which most American beekeepers try to avoid at all costs.
We seem as a culture to abhor natural processes.
As cruel as this is sure to sound, could it be that maybe swarms and cullings are natural processes for humans as well as bees?
My new honeybee hero and virtual mentor: Dr. Leo Sharashkin!
We just wanted to share a few updates from the wee homestead, on the winter garden and other news.
Dreary weather whiplash here, hard to say if our holidays will be white, green, gray or brown, but thankfully we still eat fresh, easily, every day.
Growin’ on now are: broccoli, lots of lettuces, carrots, cabbage, brussel sprouts, beets, kohlrabi, garlic, onions, kale, our favorite herbs–dill, chervil, cilantro–loads of collards for us and the critters, planted thick as green manure and spring bee food, too, like hairy vetch.
It’s high maintenance, we cover and uncover the boxes as weather requires, and it’s slow growing with shorter days and an abundance of overcast days.
But, the limited harvest results are DELICIOUS!
Triumph for the season:
I was interviewed about natural living on Crow777, a site I’ve mentioned here many times as a cutting edge, paradigm shifting, life affirming podcast I highly recommend.
Balneotherapy, crounotherapy, the drinking cure, taking the waters–whatever you want to call it–chalybeate pools, hot springs and mineral spas have a very long tradition behind them. And before I get accused of ‘appealing to tradition’ once again in order to assert the value of these traditions, there’s beaucoup science behind them, too.
“From the frontier years of the Republic to the postwar years of the twentieth century, people flocked to the state’s mineral waters primarily for one reason–health. In that sense, Texas springs were resorts in the truest sense, despite their relative anonymity to the rest of the nation.” (Valenza)
From the Journal of the American Medical Association, 1943: “Much of the discussion to follow on the historical background of resort therapy will be concerned with the forces which at different periods have raised this therapy to the central feature of medical care, have reduced it to the status of superstition, have diverted its main features into voluptuous cultural practices, have opposed its use on the puritanical background that its measures coddled the flesh that needed scourging from the sins of disease, have degraded it to a social fad, have allowed it to pass into the hands of the charlatan and enthusiast as a panacea, have obstructed it with the lack of economic provision for care and have brushed it aside with a disinterest that has come from attention fixed on only the novel in medicine.”
(Howard Haggard, MD) sited from “Taking the Waters in Texas: Springs, Spas and Fountains of Youth by Janet Mace Valenza
“The use of mineral springs for therapeutic purposes declined for several reasons. Many hotels burned or were washed away by floods, and rebuilding them seemed inappropriate because medicine had begun to change. With the rise of “germ theory” and the discovery of sulfa drugs and antibiotics, the belief in the usefulness of mineral water diminished. Many doctors supported water cures, but some began to eschew balneology, the science of bathing, because of some resorts’ extravagant claims. In Marlin the tradition lasted into the 1960s, primarily because the medical profession appropriated the practice and transformed it into a tool for physical therapy. Other factors, such as war and depression, also hurt resorts. The railroad guaranteed the success and demise of some resort.”
“Texas spas were unique among Texas towns and also different from resorts in the East. Daily life at these resort towns revolved around the waters. Architecture reflected the tradition. Pavilions and drinking fountains became gathering places for local citizens, depots attracted bands and drummers to meet trains, bathhouses set the scene for private ablutions, and large hotels employed big bands for entertainment. Other diversions included domino games, burro rides, picnics, and dances. Bathers overcame the fears attendant upon the theory of miasma-that harmful vapors association with swampy waters cause disease-to seek the sanative pleasures of the springs and wells. Osmotic exchanges with the water were supposed to benefit the body. Rheumatism, arthritis, and skin diseases were reportedly relieved more often than any other condition. (Valenza) https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/sbm11
Sounds to me like getting cured was a lot more fun back then!
As for the science
It was Europeans like Ernest Kapp, an early geographer who opened the Hydropathic Institute, that brought these practices from their own countries and ancestors to ours. “Dr. Ernest Kapp’s Water-Cure Treatment included not only hydropathy, but also gymnastic exercises.” https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fka01
Viktor Schauberger was another early researcher studying the properties of water.
For the deep dive into where the science stands now, including references to the numerous studies and on-going research, I’m definitely over my head with this newish publication, Pure Water: The Science of Water, Waves, Water Pollution, Water Treatment, Water Therapy and Water Ecology.
But it’s fascinating nonetheless and certainly convinces me our ancestors knew more than we often give them credit for.