Category: Medicinal Plants

Rashtriya Guni Mission – Promoting Traditional Medicinal Systems (India)

A mission to revive and promote traditional health care systems — Guni traditions — in India. Abstract Herbal medicine is the oldest form of healthcare known to mankind. Much of the medicinal use of plants developed through observations of wild animals, and by trial and error. As time went on, each tribe added the medicinal power of herbs in their area to its knowledge base. With industrialization and urbanization, this […]

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New Trees in Guatemala That Are Not Just for Reforestation

Special bicycle for shelling coffee beans It sounds strange to speak of poverty as an exciting opportunity, but many of the projects in Guatemala make me do just that. I’m particularly impressed with those working with trees. Reforestation is often not so simple as just planting trees. Mass agriculture has created a need for serious reforestation efforts, but that need doesn’t override humanitarian concerns like malnutrition and poverty. A largely […]

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The Tropical Salad: Leaves of a Different Cut (Panama)

Leaves of a different cut I love the tropics as a place for permaculture, specifically the ability to grow tropical fruits and the capability to plant stuff year round. I like the interplay between rainy and dry season, the way things get incredibly green and grow uncontrollably in the wettest of times, and all that fodder for composting when things get parched. Still, living here is not without its sacrifices. […]

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Minor and Uncultivated Fruits of Eastern India

Averrhoa bilimbi A new agricultural paper describes the wild, uncultivated fruit that have long been an excellent source of nutrition and ayurvedic medicines in India (Paul, 2013). Due to rapid urbanisation and the concurrent erosion of traditional knowledge, these crops are under threat. Conservation plans need to be developed in order to re-popularise these fruits and preserve their sacred value to local people.

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Herb Spirals and Herb Circles

Fresh herbs right outside the kitchen door The herb spiral is more or less an ubiquitous installment at the permaculture farm, so when we came to work on a property in Panama, building a spiral as near to the kitchen as possible was a top priority. Not only would it supply us with fresh and flavorful meals, but it wouldn’t take long to establish a useable system, a harvestable, sustainable […]

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Saving Seed on the US/Canadian Border

For the last three years, the best-performing seeds in my garden have come from a little local outfit called Heart of the Highlands LLC. It helps that they’re locally grown: adapted to the same arid, frosty-hot climate that my garden struggles with. Now that I’ve learned a little more about the proprietor and her farm, however, I recognize there’s also extensive experience, expertise, and attention to quality involved in producing […]

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Plant Cuttings Made Simple

CERES plant propagation brings back some memories. I volunteered for a day when it was first launched. The CERES team was prepping the site for the first polytunnel and I spent the day potting on dozens of herbs with a handful of other volunteers. Five years later and the propagation enterprise has grown steadily. They now have a dedicated propagation area, sheltered from the elements with benches at the perfect […]

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Exploring Sustainable Livelihoods in Laikipia (Kenya)

Elin Lindhagen, Director, PRI-Kenya Some members of the women’s group Since it started in 2013, the Laikipia Permaculture Project in Kenya has rapidly grown with the help of the inexhaustible passion of Joseph Lentunyoi, founder and manager of the project. From the first women’s group, Nabulu, which approached the newly established Laikipia Permaculture Centre, wanting help and advice on how to grow their aloe, combat pests, improve productivity and also […]

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Edible Weeds

Last monday morning I had a chance to go for an edible weed foray with my friends Adam and Annie from Eat That Weed. It was early autumn here in south eastern Australia and quite dry but we still managed to find some of their favourite edible weeds including dandelion, purslane and sow thistle. They shared with us why weeds are important to pay attention to and how to broaden […]

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Does Comfrey Really Improve Soil?

All of us who have studied permaculture have heard some impressive claims about comfrey. It is a dynamic nutrient accumulator; it improves the soil; it is “a slow motion fountain” of nutrients, bringing them up from the subsoil to improve the topsoil. We’ve heard lots of anecdotal evidence, but where is the empirical data for these claims? Peter Harper’s article in The Land last summer, “Permaculture: the Big Rock Candy […]

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Hardy Gingers for the Food Forest Understory

Hardy_gingers_curcuma-zedoaria1

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) can handle 5°F/-15°C. The rhizomes make a great tea and are wonderful shredded into stir-frys or cooked with rice. When I visit tropical and subtropical forest gardens I often see ginger, turmeric, galangal, and cardamom in the understory, beneath and between the fruit trees. In fact, according to P.K. Nair’s fantastic Tropical Homegardens, ginger and turmeric are universally found in tropical homegardens (ancient, traditional food forests) around […]

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Weeds – What Are They Good for? (Victoria, Australia)

The subject of ‘weeds’ has always seemed to me to incite far more controversy than it should. The best description of a weed is, “a plant out of place”. It seems to me that if you have a weed, then you have an available niche in your garden that an unwanted opportunistic plant has taken advantage of. To remove that unwanted, opportunistic plant, you have to perform the act of […]

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