I was out riding my bike this morning. Where I live, there are many neighborhood paved trails that connect parks and other wilder landscapes where birds abound, people walk, and there are many varieties of plants. I enjoyed myself immensely, and had a good workout before the temperature soared.

As I passed through a parking lot, I noticed many acorns on the ground. Looking up, I noticed the source: Quercus Alba, or White oak. Its inner bark has long been used to promote tissue healing due to its astringent properties. I peeled an acorn, and bit into it. It lacked the tannic bitterness of some oaks, but would benefit from roasting. Ground, acorns make a high protein flour.

Nearby was a familiar shrub with clusters of purple berries. Elderberry is used for lung ailments, thinning mucus and strengthening breathing. The branches can be hollowed for pipestems, while the berries can be jammed. Below on the ground was plantain. Its’ two inch broad green leaves, chewed to create a wet pulp are the best wasp and bee sting antidote I know. Place it on the bite as soon as possible. Plantain is common in lawns and disturbed ground.

I saw black walnuts with their thick green hulls, known to expel worms and other intestinal parasites. Also various willows large and small, all containing pain relieving salicytic acid–aspirin–in their inner bark

There are many plants that have been used medicinally since ancient times. Be careful to be sure that you are correct in your identification, use small amounts at first, and you will find Phytoceutical medicine useful and fun.

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