Spiny Sow Thistle

Here’s another edible and medicinal plant for you.
This is a new plant to me. At first I thought a thistle and a dandelion had cross pollinated. That’s what it looks like! I’ve learned since its actually called a Spiny Sow Thistle. It’s edible and has medicinal properties which make it even better! Here’s some info I’ve gathered, but like always be sure you’ve identified a plant 100% before consuming. I’ll be posting about Caledula next week.

Spiny Sow Thistle-

Identifying the different sow thistle:
The three common ones areSonchus oleraceus, (SON-kus oh-ler-AY-see-us ) Sonchus Asper (SON-kus ASS-pur) and Sonchus arvensis (SON-kus ar-VEN-sis.) They are respectfully the common sow thistle, the spiny sow thistle and the field sow thistle. The Oleraceus has green leaves with a bit of blue, Delta- arrow-shaped end lobes and distinctly pointed lobes where it clasps the stem. The asper has spiny round lobes where it clasps the stem. It also has a lot of spines. It’s the one that can require trimming. The arvensis has more lance shaped leaves, lobes can be irregular, and soft small spines. It is the softest of the three with a tactile feel closer to a wild lettuce.

Best way to eat.
Young sow thistles can just be tossed in the herb pot, where as some older leaves need to be trimmed of the thistles, which is a point of culinary departure. Really old leaves are bitter and not that much fun to eat even if they are edible. When young their flavor resembles lettuce and as they age more like Swiss chard. When old they are just bitter. I try to harvest them between four and 12 inches high. The young stalks peel and cooked are excellent, too. The young root is also edible when cooked but tends to be woody.

Recipes:
BUTTERED SOW-THISTLE

1 or 2 handfuls sow-thistle leaves – young

Butter or oil

Beef stock or water

Ground nutmeg – pinch

1 tsp. flour

Salt and pepper

For this recipe the young 2- to 4-inch leaves of common sow-thistle

Heat some butter or oil in a pan and add the leaves. Stir thoroughly to

coat the leaves. Add a good slug of stock or water, reduce the heat to a

simmer and cover. Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes. Add a pinch of nutmeg,

the flour and some seasoning. Stir everything, then add another knob of

butter and melt into the sow-thistle over a low heat.

Serve.

STIR-FRIED SOW-THISTLE & PORK

½-1 cup pork meat – shredded / sliced

Light soy sauce

Corn flour – pinch

Water

White wine or dry sherry

Sugar – pinch

Salt and pepper

Sows thistles

Begin by slicing the meat into pieces about 2 inches long and 1/10th inch thick. Set aside. Next, make up a marinade from the remainder of the first group of ingredients, using a splash of soy sauce, slugs of water and wine, seasoning and pinches of corn flour and sugar. Mix together well in a bowl and then add the sliced meat. Stir thoroughly so that all the pieces are

coated and leave for 30 minutes. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the ginger for a couple of minutes, stirring to prevent burning, then add the spring onion. Stir for a minute, then add the meat. Stir-fry until the meat begins to cook. Add the sow-thistle leaves and continue frying for another 3 or 4 minutes, stirring to prevent burning and distribute the heat

Medicinal uses:

The plant is emmenagogue and hepatic. An infusion has been used to bring on a tardy menstruation and to treat diarrhoea. The latex in the sap is used in the treatment of warts. It is also said to have anticancer activity. The stem juice is a powerful hydrogogue and cathartic, it should be used with great caution since it can cause colic and tenesmus. The gum has been used as a cure for the opium habit. The leaves are applied as a poultice to inflammatory swellings. An infusion of the leaves and roots is febrifuge and tonic.

Much love & many blessings!

-Jason

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Broadleaf Plantain

This herb is considered by many herbalists to be the best healing herb. Many consider it a weed, but the Plantain has many more uses.

They can be used to heal wounds, cure fevers, and draw out toxins from stings and bites, including snake bites. The older mature leaves are higher in phytochemicals and are better suited for medicinal use. The uses range from mosquito bites and rashes to kidney problems Ann’s gastrointestinal diseases. I’ll include some preparations below.

Broadleaf Plantain is also edible. The young tender leaves can be eaten fresh in a salad, but older leaves should be cooked.

-How to make a poultice-
Take a few leaves and crush them up in your palm or use a rock.

-Plantain tea-
Fresh plantain leaves – 1 cup
Water – 2 cups
Heat-proof bowl with fitting lid

Wash the plantain leaves thoroughly and keep it in a bowl with lid.
Boil the water and pour over the leaves in the bowl, cover with the lid and let them steep until the bowl is cold to touch.
Strain out the tea and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks

-Plantain tincture-

Plantain leaves washed and dried of excess moisture –
1 cup100 proof vodka or brandy –
1 pintGlass jar with tight-fitting lid

Put the leaves into a jar and pour the alcohol over it so that it completely covers the leaves and fills the jar. Use a glass rod to stir the mixture well. Put the lid on and place the jar in a dark place, giving it a good shake every few days. After 6-8 weeks, decant into clean bottles and store in a dark place

The tincture made with plantain leaves and 100% alcohol can last for two to three years without losing its potency.

It is a very potent remedy for cold, respiratory infections and ailments of the stomach. Use 10 drops under the tongue and hold for 30 seconds before swallowing. You can add 10 drops of the tincture into a glass of water and drink slowly. For external use, put a drop on boils and sores

Burns – Apply a poultice immediately and apply a bandage with leaves. Follow it up with a plantain salve.

Cuts and open sores – Stop bleeding from fresh cuts by applying crushed plantain leaves. Wash with plantain tea or diluted tincture (1 tbsp to a glass of water) to prevent infections and promote healing.

Boils and acne – Touch with a drop of tincture or apply salve

For mouth ulcers – Swish 2-3 Tbsp plantain tea in the mouth 3-4 times a day. You can use 1 tbsp of tincture diluted with a cup of water too.

For throat pain/infection – Gargle with plantain tea or diluted tincture. Take 5-10 drops of tincture under the tongue and ingest it slowly.

Dandruff and other scalp problems – Apply plantain tea or oil infusion to the scalp and wash off after an hour.

For poison ivy/sumac/oak – Apply a poultice immediately, and then wash the area with plantain tea. Apply plantain sludge (more details at the end of this article) until the stinging pain is gone

For sunburn – Apply fresh poultice or plantain sludge liberally. Wash the area with the tea and then apply the salve.

To improve liver and kidney function – Drink 1-2 glasses of plantain tea every day.

For relief from gastrointestinal inflammation – Take the tincture under the tongue or drink plantain tea.

For cold, flu, and respiratory infections – Take the tincture under the tongue or drink freshly brewed warm tea with honey

Always be positive your identifying plants properly.

Much love & many blessings!

-Jason

Papaya seedlings

I sowed some Papaya seeds on Febuary 25th from a fruit I purchased at the grocery store. I don’t like just tossing seeds. I’m always planting seeds out of fruit for the fun of It mostly. Do you like growing things from seed? I love any kind of propagation though. So far about 10 have popped through the surface. I expect more to pop up soon. With Papaya theres male and female. The females produce the fruit, so hopefully I have several females. I probably sowed close to 100 seeds co don’t need that many. I think I’ll keep 5 ladies. I’ll sell the rest at the farmers market for cheap. Here’s what they look like so far. Look closely and you can see the little green cuties!

I’ll post updates!

Much love & many blessings

Jason

Making better choices.

I’ve struggled with my weight since high school. I’ve recently started making some better choices food wise. I’ve cut out meat and have gone vegetarian. This morning I had a healthier breakfast compares to what I use to have. I has some hash browns with a runny yolk egg and avocado. Avocados are seriously my addiction! I use to have two eggs over cheesy grits with bacon and toast almost every morning. I’ve also started working out and been keeping track of my progress. I’m using a work out app and Instagram. I like using Instagram as a platform to keep myself motivated because there’s so many people who are supportive and doing the same thing you are. I don’t have a goal weight or anything. I just want to be healthy and confident in my body.

Heres a picture of my breakfast this morning.

If you want to check my Instagram out here’s some links.

My weight loss journey account:

http://www.instagram.com/body.beautiful.journey

My main account:

http://www.instagram.com/grow.eat.create.love

Art account:

http://www.instagram.com/jasonhowell.art

Much love & many blessings!

-Jason-

Knit/crochet projects I’ve been working on

Here’s several projects I have in the works.

This first project is a granny square throw I’ve been working on in fall colors. I forgot how satisfying granny squares are. The blocks are 6 1/2 inches. I plan to start another one after I finish this one or one if my other throws.

I have this beanie going with two stands of yarn. I really like how the colors compliment each other.

This is a knitted pillow. I’m actually quite farther than this right now. I love the simple texture it has with the little pops of purl stitches.

Another crocheted afghan I have going on. This one is halfway done and I’m on my 3rd or 4th skein of yarn.

Shawl I have in the works. In a lovely soft pink color.

Another afghan I have going. I need to buy more yarn for this one.

An Afghan I’ve been knitting. It’s much farther than this, but I was to lazy to pull it out.

This is what I have in the works. I need to learn restraint from starting new projects. Lol!

Much love & many blessings!

Instagram:

http://www.instagram.com/grow.eat.create.love

Kalanchoe propagation.

Long time no blog! I’m back and will be more constant. I have some blogs set to go up on future days. Today’s post is on propagation. I love propagating plants from leaves! This Kalanchoe is one of my most recent ones. My mom actually bought me two huge leaves for this NOID Kalanchoe at a booth for the local master gardeners. They have really took off! It always amazes me on how many little plantlets pop up. You just lay the leaf on top of moist soil and the leaf notches will send out roots then little plantlets will start to grow! I plan to use several of these plants as mother plants for my nursery and keep a couple for my personal collection. This would be a great project for kids to get them into gardening. You just lay the leaf on most soil, I press the leaf stem into the soil some also. Not sure if it helps any or not.  Just keep the soil moist and somewhere in indirect light. You have to be patient, but when the little plantlets pop up its so rewarding. Most Kalanchoe will do this, so give it a try! 


Much love & many blessings!

-Jason-

Simple breakfast.

Today I had a very simple breakfast. I felt like something fresh and light this morning. I just had some pineapple, macerated strawberries (99 cents at Aldi’s), sunflower kernels, chia seeds, and fresh mint. Pretty self explanatory really. It was really tasty and exactly what I needed! This was one of the best pineapples I have had in a long time!

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Much love & Many blessings!

-Jason