Ghost Pipes

Update:  I’m happy to say the author of the article mentioned here has updated her article to be slightly more evidence-based since this was published.

I’ve seen this floating around quite a bit, and it’s created many misconceptions surrounding Monotropa Uniflora, also known as Ghost Pipes or Indian Pipes.

To respect a plant is to tell the truth, not create misconceptions. To honor it. To approach it with both evidence-based information and ancient wisdom. I urge people to respect this plant. I urge people to understand practical use.

On that note, let me debunk some of the statements in this opinion piece with information coming directly from the Wisconsin DNR and the University of Wisconsin Department of Botany.

(Note: As with any plant, distribution will vary from state to state, from country to country. This article reflects information from Wisconsin as well as most parts of the eastern United states. Check with your local DNR/University extension for information on your area.)

Per University of Wisconsin Department of Botany-

Monotropa Uniflora (Ghost pipes or Indian pipes) are NOT endangered, and are abundant in North and Central America. They are widely abundant in Wisconsin. It is not disappearing. It is not rare.

Picking the stems while leaving the roots undisturbed does NOT affect future growth. As with many plants, it is important to leave the roots so that your harvesting is sustainable. It is a traditional Native American medicinal plant, and indeed is useful to humans and has been used for many centuries as a medicine. Medicinal uses are documented, and provide benefits unlike any other plant we know of. Uses range from treating PTSD to chronic pain. As it is very potent and does not work well for individuals with certain health conditions, I would advise using it under supervision of a trained professional.

Ethics and conservation are indeed important. ALL medicinal plants deserve respect. Sustainably harvesting a widely abundant plant is no more about ego, objectification, or “plant porn” than harvesting/photographing echinacea, motherwort, St Johns wort, or any other beneficial plant.

Let me give you an example- one of my favorite medicinals, blue vervain, is rare in Wisconsin. I have only one patch I’ve found. I harvest about 25% of the patch every year, leaving the roots intact, as I have done for about 5 years. The patch has grown noticeably over the years.

In addition to that, Ghost Pipe does not photosynthesize like a typical plant. As it gets all of its sugars from fungal mycelium, the aerial parts are primarily for reproduction and not necessary to sustain the root. So as long as you leave seed to help spread some, harvesting this plant is actually more sustainable than any perennial plant that needs to photosynthesize to sustain the sugars in the taproot.

In summary, there is no science or evidence behind the claims in this article and I’d like to put that to rest. Respect the facts, respect the evidence, respect our environment and the food and medicine it provides for us, respect and pass on our ancestors wisdom and traditions.

 

Read more about this plant and its distribution here: http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=MOUN3

14877919_10101370609515053_665882241_n

Advertisements

Tap Dancing!

Today my dad and I tapped the maple trees in my yard.  This was a first attempt for both of us,  and I’m pretty sure we tapped a tree that wasn’t a maple… but I think we came out pretty good overall!  😉

You can see our process below. 36 gallons of sap will make approximately 1 gallon of syrup.  I already have 2 big producers,  so fingers crossed!  The very last picture is the amount of sap collected from one side of my better trees after about an hour.

Follow my blog to get updates as it is transformed into maple syrup!

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Get Even Healthier!
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Wild Wisconsin: A Coffee Substitute in Your Backyard

My latest find- horse gentian! Watch the video to learn more about this wild coffee substitute. Below you’ll see a picture of the berries at different stages during the whole process. The final product smells sweet like apple pie, but it’s surprisingly bitter.

Enjoy this video? Be sure to follow us on YouTubeTwitter & Facebook!

image

Raw berries

SONY DSC

After roasting

SONY DSC

Roasted, ground, and ready to brew

SONY DSC

Brewed and ready to drink!

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Get Even Healthier!
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

The Hunt for Wisconsin’s Rarest & Most Delicious Fruit

I posted a contest in my herbal medicine group Megan’s Herbal Apothecary the other day- who could identify this native Wisconsin fruit?

SONY DSC

It took quite a few guesses before someone found it online. This is the delicious, elusive, & highly sought-after Mayapple (Podophyllum), also known as Wild Mandrake. I have been searching for this fruit you see here for TWO years, and I had been tracking this particular plant since spring.

So what’s the hype? Well for starters, it’s difficult to find- each plant only bears one fruit. The fruits are generally only ripe from the last couple weeks of August to the first week of September.

SONY DSC

Every part of the plant you see above picture is highly poisonous. Until the fruit turns a delicate yellow color and becomes soft, it is toxic. Because the ripe fruits are so tasty, they are a favorite of wildlife and are typically enjoyed before humans ever find them. So even if you DO find these plants, and DO visit them during the right time, there are no guarantees you’ll get to enjoy the literal fruit of your labor.

SONY DSC

Wait… do you see what I see??

SONY DSC

Could it be?? A ripe Mayapple! Holy crap! 11888113_10100998573328553_9084070862808076319_n

(My actual face when I found it. The toddler was unimpressed.)

Come to find out, my favorite park for hiking in my hometown is full of Mayapple patches. I located about 15 patches, with dozens of plants. Out of that, I got 2 ripe fruits, and 3 green ones that I’m hoping will ripen on my counter.

*update- they do not seem to ripen when they are not attached to the plant, I would not recommend harvesting them green.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Mayapple plants (on the left) growing right next to the walking path. Hundreds of people pass by them each year, not realizing it’s food!

My first bite of this mysterious and elusive deliciousness.

SONY DSC

The Mayapple (when ripe) has an intoxicatingly deep fruity, perfumey scent. The flesh has the consistency and flavor of banana, paired with the flavor of a very ripe pear and hints of tangerine & lemon. The tender skins have a stronger hint of lemon to them, with a sweetly pleasant tang. The membranes surrounding the seeds in the middle are even sweeter- a deep, perfumy essence with a touch of vanilla. But don’t be fooled by it’s alluring flavor- the seeds are poisonous. I sucked the middle part until I got as much of the membranes off as I could, and spit out the seeds in the woods in the hopes they will become another Mayapple patch next year. (Word of caution- eating too many Mayapples can cause digestive upset. Likely why nature was wise enough to have only one fruit per plant, and make multiple fruits so hard to find!)

What an incredible experience! I know herbalists who have gone years without ever getting to experience the delight of finding and enjoying this delicious Wisconsin treat.

So if you’re out and about this time of year- do watch for the Mayapples!

SONY DSC

One last shot of my favorite park. (Ooh, what is that in the bottom corner??) 😉

Thanks for visiting!

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Get Even Healthier!
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221