Sunday, August 25, 2013

Catnip, Cattail...

Finding so much great info on foraging stuff - love it!!

CATNIP (Nepeta cataria) This plants grows along roadsides in waste ground or disturbed soils. It blooms from late spring to early falls, flowering with white to light violet with little purple spots. The leaves are arrow-shaped, gray-green with white downy covering. It smells slightly minty. It is found all over the U.S. For medicinal purposes, it is best to use non-blooming plants for the strongest medication. The leaves from the top of the plant should be dried in the sun, crushed, and then added to a cup of tea, steeping for 1/2 and hour. This will put you right to sleep. By collecting the new leaves during the year, drying them in bunches upside-down in a dry place, you can store the leaves in a glass jar for future use. It makes a very soothing tea. This tea also makes the person sweat profusely which is sometimes a good thing as it opens the pores of the body. Be sure to drink a lot of water before and after this treatment so you don't get dehydrated. The dosage of tea can be lessened by drinking less tea or by using leaves from a blooming plant. A lesser dose will relieve pain and anxiety - a greater dose will put you to sleep and make you sweat.

CATTAIL (Typha spp.) (Similar to Bulrush above) This plant is tall and straight with sword like leaves. It is topped with a sausage-shaped head on top - which starts out with tiny flowers and golden pollen spikes. It turns from green to brown. It flowers in late spring and is found in shallow water and fresh or brackish marches. It is found everywhere in the U.S. and Canada. The stalk with its head can be dipped in tallow (grease) and used for a torch at night. Soft cattail down can be collected and stuffed into fabric to make a pillow. Many cattails collected together can be used for mats, shelter, food, warmth, making fires, making rafts, medication, and lots of other things. Young plants with pollen can be collected to use for stews and bread. Cattail roots have little corms on them which you can pick off for food and replant the root back into the ground to grow some more. The corms can be eaten raw. Young stems can be eaten raw also. The green flower stalks can be cooked and peeled and eaten like corn. The early pollen can be collected, dried, and mixed half and half with flour for bread. Cooking the pollen, it gets like oatmeal cereal. You can also add the pollen to scrambled eggs and pancakes. You can make pemmican by using dried pollen and mix with dried berries, jerky, tallow, nuts, and whatever is in the area. As a medicine, by using the rootstock cooked will cure diarrhea. About 2 cups a day will take care of that problem. If you have skin problems, by picking the leaves, there is a sticky ooze which you can put on cuts and it also numbs pain on the skin. The numbing effect can be used for toothaches too. It also works on poison ivy, boils, bee stings, and other infections. Burning the cattail can be used to keep away mosquitoes and fumigating the tent. A raw cattail stalk can be used as a toothbrush and the cattail flour used for toothpaste.

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