Category: Medicinal Plants

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

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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Delicious and Nutritious – Moringa is a Miracle Tree!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JImb3LRGYrc?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen> The uses and health benefits of Moringa are amazing; some even call it miraculous! It is truly a ‘jack of all trades’ tree that can be a food, fuel, medicine, and tonic! Even if you are not a salad lover, by drying and grinding the leaves it can be added to a traditional food like soups, beans or maybe a fancy cream cheese and spinach dip! You […]

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The Natural Capital Plant Database

by Daniel Halsey The database is working very well and I encourage all permaculture designers to try it out. Especially the spreadsheet download. Let me know if you would like free access for a time to try it out. The Natural Capital™ Plant Database is a repository of plant information for ecological design. Our partner designers have combined the best sources of plant research and documentation in order to provide […]

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Permaculture Paradise at Val & Eli’s Garden (Jacksonville, Florida)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iSaRzjxL3E” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen> Val and Eli take us on a tour of their permagarden in Jacksonville FL. They have created a wonderful, natural space filled with self-sustaining fruits, vegetables, herbs, medicines, colors, water, fragrances, and wildlife… at their fingertips. And below, Val and Eli continue to harvest the organic riches of their food forest and now cut back their garden to nourish their fruit trees with natural, free fertilizers. No […]

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Wild Garlic (Allium Ursinium) – a Culinary Delight

You will find wild garlic in full bloom and looking its absolute best around March/April in the UK. It’s one of those herbs which is available when there is not much else. Whilst taking a long walk in the peak district I happily stumbled across masses of this beautiful herb and decided to post something regarding its medicinal and culinary uses. When to harvest? Ideally, the leaves should be picked […]

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What Plants Talk About

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7MOe5clOtI?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen> In 1973, Lyall Watson, a South African botanist, claimed that plants had emotions that could be recorded on a lie detector test. His research was fiercely dismissed by many in the scientific community. Recently, researchers at The University of Western Australia relaunched the debate by revealing that plants not only respond to sound, but that they also communicate to each other by making "clicking" sounds. (The article […]

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Lemon Balm Tea – Uplifting, Relaxing and Memory Enhancing

Having a garden is having your own apothecary. It’s great to be able to walk into your garden and harvest foods and plants which are full of nutrients to help you stay happy and healthy. I love growing herbs which I can use for medicines, tinctures and teas. I tend to dry some and also use the fresh herbs to make tinctures in apple cider vinegar which will keep for […]

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Medicinal Plants

Medicinal plants are more than simply objects with useful chemical and symbolic aspects. They are living organisms that are functionally embedded in the cultural fabric of social groups and institutions. They play an integral role in ideas of balance and cosmological order that often reflect sophisticated medical theories of the human body, the symptoms it experiences and their underlying causes. Many different elements are involved in the complex of ideas […]

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Tough Fruit

A line of thought evolving from the interest in both epigenetics and the Paleo diet has led to an exploration of low cultivated, western European, Asian and North American fruit trees in our Food Forest systems. What does this mean? Well, we all love fruit. A fresh, crispy apple or sweet, fleshy nectarine are hard to beat, but how often do we need to eat such super sweet treats bred […]

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Food from Perennial(ising) Plants in Temperate Climate Australia, for August 2013

Editor’s Note: I want to express my heartfelt thanks to Susan for taking the initiative for this excellent series, and, I’d also like to second Susan’s request for volunteers to continue it! There may also be individuals who would like to start a similar series for other climate zones. Either way, you’re encouraged to contact Susan, as outlined below, to find out how to proceed. This is the late Winter […]

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