Tags: plants

Origins of Disease and Medicine

The Origins of Disease and Medicine (Cherokee Story)

Long ago the humans and the animals got along fine. All the peoples, human and animal, could communicate with each other and were at peace. The animals of that long-ago time were much larger than the animals of today. Indeed, the animals of today are but shadows of those who once were.

There came a time when we humans forgot our place and broke the harmony. We humans began to reproduce at an alarming rate, and we gave ourselves to the production of all sorts of weapons meant for the destruction of the animals: spears and atlatls, bows and arrows, blowguns and traps of all kinds. We began to hunt, not just for food, but simply for the fun of killing. We humans also killed many animals just by pure carelessness, never stopping to think of the results of our actions. Even as we walked from place to place, we were not careful where we stepped, so that many of the tiny many-legged and legless ones were crushed to death or maimed. Some humans went so far as to purposely kill little animals merely from a feeling of disgust or loathing, going out of their way to step on a bug or squash a harmless spider. It was clear that we humans believed ourselves to be the only ones who mattered in all of creation, and as we continued clearing land and building our cities; it looked as if there would soon be no more room for anyone else to live in the earth.

The animals decided something had to be done about this human problem. The bears met separately from the other animals. The Great White Bear, presiding at the council asked, "What's the problem?"

"It's these humans; they kill us indiscriminately."

"How do they kill us?"

"With bows and arrows."

"Of what are their bows made?"

"The bow of locust wood and the bowstring of our guts."

The bears decided they would make bows of their own with which to kill the humans. They got some locust wood, and one of the bears sacrificed himself to give material for the bowstring. When the bow was finished and arrows were made, one of the bears stood up to shoot. He could pull the string, but releasing it was a problem. His long claws would get hung and throw him off target. The other bears, ducking his wild arrows, cried out, "Stop, stop. Something must be done. We'll cut your claws."

After the bear's claws were cut, he could shoot a bow as well as any man. "Now the humans have had it!" all the bears said. "We will hunt them, as they have hunted us! All we have to do is cut our claws."

"Wait!" said the Great White Bear. "How is it that we bears make our living?"

"By climbing trees to get honey and by ripping open rotten logs to find insects and by digging in the earth for rodents and by catching fish."

"How do we do all these things?"

"With our long claws."

The bears understood that if they cut their claws they could no longer make a living as bears and would starve to death. The idea to hunt the humans with bows and arrows was scrapped, and they never came up with another solution.

All the other animals came together in a joint council to discuss the human problem. The Grubworm presided at the council. After all, it was his people, the little creeping and crawling peoples of the earth, who had suffered most from the actions of the humans. The animals all sat in a circle. The talking stick was passed, giving each an opportunity to speak. The Toad said, "Something must be done. These humans despise me. They are forever kicking me or throwing things at me, because they think I am ugly. Just look at all the bumps they've put on my back!"

One of the little birds rose and said, "Although I'm too small to provide much meat, their little boys kill my people and roast us over the fire until our feathers and feet are burned off." One after the other, the animals spoke of atrocities committed by the humans. The only one with nothing to say against the humans was the little chipmunk, who was too small to be hunted for food and too quick to be stepped on. When he spoke in defense of the humans, the other animals jumped on him and gave him such a scratching down his back that the stripes are there to this day!

Once it was established that something must be done about the humans in order to save the rest of creation, the floor was open for discussion of what to do. It was finally decided that each of the animal peoples would come up with at least one disease with which to inflict the humans, in order to kill most of them and to teach the rest some respect. Various animals attending the council agreed to come up with every sort of ailment from cancer to p.m.s. When the Grubworm heard this last one, he laughed so hard he fell over backwards and has been crawling around like that ever since.

So, all the animals went their separate ways to meet in council, each with their own kind, to work out the details of what they would do. The deer met in council, with their chief, Little Deer, presiding. The deer understood the humans to be a pitiful and needy people who live only by the deaths of others. For this reason, the deer decided to allow the humans to continue killing some deer each year, but only what is needed for food, NEVER FOR SPORT. Furthermore, a human hunter, upon killing a deer, is required to show respect for the spirit of the deer by begging the deer's pardon and making a proper tobacco offering. And so, Little Deer, the chief and adawehi of all the deer will come. Swiftly and invisibly he will come to the place where the deer has died. Gently he will bend down over the blood. In a whisper, he will ask the spirit of the slain deer, "Did this hunter treat you with respect? Did he beg your pardon? Did he offer tobacco?"

If the answer is, "Yes," all is well, and Little Deer will go on his way. But if the answer is, "No," Little Deer will track that hunter to his home. There, Little Deer will strike that hunter with rheumatism, that he may never hunt again!

Word was sent to the human people, and we Cherokees have not forgotten this treaty with the deer.

And so, many diseases came into the earth. Many people died. For awhile, it looked as though maybe no humans would survive in the earth. The great cities were forgotten and fell into ruin.

The plant peoples who saw all of this, also elected to come together and meet in council. Deciding to take pity on us humans, each plant agreed to give of itself to provide medicine for at least one human disease or ailment. All we humans had to do was ask in a respectful way.

Herbs and Stars

"What was the old Colchian magic, but the minute study of Nature in her lowliest works? What the fable of Medea, but a proof of the powers that may be extracted from the germ and leaf? [They] sought in the meanest herbs what, perhaps, the Babylonian sages explored in vain amidst the loftiest stars." -Bulwer-Lytton, Zanoni

The Monad and Flowering May

Now that I finally found my old drawing compass, I started today on getting more deeply into sacred geometry and mathematics. The two books I am using as texts are: A Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe: The Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science, A Voyage from 1 to 10, by Michael S. Schneider (HarperCollins, 1994) and How the World Is Made: The Story of Creation According to Sacred Geometry, by John Michell with Allan Brown (Inner Traditions, 2009).

I am of course starting with the Monad, the Circle, which represents the unity and wholeness of creation: "The goal of many religions and mythic ordeals is to return to a los state of Divine Oneness. But we have no need to return to a state of oneness because unity is axiomatic and we already are integrated in it. Barely recognizing our situation, here and now we live in a whole and beautifully harmonious wonder world. Only a self-imposed illusion of separateness keeps us from recognizing our own center of awareness and identity with the One" (Schneider, p. 20).

There are three additional principles that can be deduced from the Monad/Circle:

1. Point, the center = Stillness, the beginning, and then equal expansion (rings, waves). Nothingness: zero-dimensional point.
2. Circumference.= Cycles of movement, time, etc., always with both increase and decrease, rising and falling, but also Everythingness, without end.
3. Radius = Most efficient geometric space; maximized efficiency, the most enclosure (space) with the least exposure (smallest perimeter). Everything is contained between Nothing (the point/center) and Everything (the circumference).

At sunset, after studies, I took a walk around the neighborhood, to observe changes in the signs of the season (phenology) as well as look for examples of the monad, in the tree trunks, flowers, and more. The evening was clear, but humid (for here) and the day had been very warm (it got to about 87 F today).

The apple and crabapple blossoms that were blooming so luxuriantly last week, fragrant in the breeze, have dropped all their petals, so the calyx (blossom as a whole) is not longer as evident. Yet the inner parts of the flowers are still attached to the branches, where the ovaries will swell and the fruits will develop.

As the apple blossoms declined, the lilacs have gone into full flowering, and their scent fills the evening air. Bumblebees wobbled among the lilacs. Chokecherries too are still in bloom, as are the mountain-ash (relatives of the rowan). American linden (or basswood) flowers are not as showy, but they are evident for those who take the time to look.

All the trees are finally in full leaf, the elms the last ones, especially the old Siberian elm. The mushrooms at its base have disappeared now, a week and a half after their one-day rush to the surface. There should be another fruiting cycle sometime this season. The evening's impression was one of fruitfulness and sultriness.

Useful Plants Lists

A working list of "top 5/10/etc. most useful plants" from various sources. If you are learning to identify and use plants, or find new uses for kitchen spices, these are plants to look for. If you have a thing about so-called "weeds," realize some of these "weeds" can be more nutritious and medicinally useful than most of your pretty garden plants.

n = native to Montana (may only be in particular areas though, like yucca won't grow where western red cedar does).
i = "weedy"/nonnative/introduced invasive plant, grows in Montana
g = desirable garden/cultivated plant, can be grown in Montana
s = will not grow outside in Montana, must be bought in store

The Ten Plants with the greatest number of uses by Native Americans overall, and uses for medicinal, food, dye, fiber, and other, (Moerman 1998: 11)

Western red cedar (Thuja plicata) = n (nw MT)
Common chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) = n
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) = n
Banana yucca (Yucca baccata) = ? (Yucca glauca is native; don't know if baccata would grow here though)
Red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea) = n
Common cowparsnip (Heracleum maximum) = n
Skunkbush sumac (Rhus trilobata) = n
Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) = n
Paper birch (Betula papyrifera) = g
Balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera) = g

The Ten Plants with the greatest number of uses by Native Americans for medicines (Moerman 1998: 12)

Common yarrow (Achillea millefolium) = w
Calamus (Acorus calamus) aka Sweet flag = ?
Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), aka Grandfather Sage = n
Fernleaf biscuitroot (Lomatium dissectum) = n
Common chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) = n
Louisiana sagewort (Artemisia ludoviciana), aka White Sage, Prairie Sage, Man Sage = n
Devil's club (Oplopanax horridus) = n (nw MT)
Common juniper (Juniperus communis) = n
Canada mint (Mentha canadensis) = n
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) = n

The Ten Plants with the greatest number of uses by Native Americans for food (Moerman 1998: 15)

Common chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) = n
Banana yucca (Yucca baccata) = g?
Corn (Zea mays) = g (doesn't grow well in some parts of MT)
Saskatoon serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia) = n
Honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) = ?
American red raspberry (Rubus idaeus) = g
Saguaro cactus (Carnegia gigantea) = 0 (too cold here in MT)
Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis) = n
Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus) = n
Broadleaf cattail (Typha latifolia) = n

There are also top ten lists in Moerman for dyes, fiber, and "other" (this last category is for things like toys, fuels, tools, or ceremonial, etc.). I might add these later.

Common Plants used to treat kids
when they have simple, day-to-day, first aid type ailments
(From: http://www.learningherbs.com/)

Chickweed - w
Violet - g
Lemon balm
Plantain (the weed, not the food) - w
Chamomile - g
Calendula (pot marigold, not the common marigold)
Burdock - w
Pine - n
Rose - g, n

Herbals Medicines for your Medicine Chest (general, adults/children)
(From: http://www.learningherbs.com/)

Peppermint - w, g
Lemon balm
Eucalyptus - s
Echinacea - n
Licorice root
Tea tree
Calendula - g
St. Johnswort - w
Arnica - n
Plantain (weed, not the food) - w
Aloe vera - s
Clove - s
Slippery elm - ?s
Mullein - w
Garlic - g

= = = = = = =

Learning Herbs. http://www.learningherbs.com/
Moerman, Daniel. 1998. Native American Ethnobotany. Portland: Timber Press.

The Land and Ancestors Again

I remind myself every so often about what I am doing and how.

As I have said before, the Three that are important to every indigenous way I have experience with are: one's Ancestors/Family, the Land (and everything on and in it, seen and unseen), and the Creator/Great Spirit/God(s)/etc.

You take your Ancestors within you, wherever you go. You ARE them, they are in you. Sometimes this is a big difference between how the old traditions see things and how people today look at things. People have always had troubles with some family members. But only today, in our hyper-individualized society, do people see themselves as something separate. Blood is blood.

Now, of course the Land(s) that made/shaped your Ancestors still have some connections to you, through your Ancestors. But when you move to a new Land, you have to make a relationship with that new Land, the plants and animals there, the weather and natural cycles, the seen and unseen Beings.

That is one reason I don't go so much with the cycle of festivals that is European. You know, Imbolc, etc. It's good to know about of course, because those were connected to your Ancestors. If you feel a desire to follow them, that's your business of course. But the origins of those cycles and celebrations were based on the rhythms of the Land and the ways of life that depended on those rhythms. Solstice and Equinox cycles, fine, that's a natural pattern everywhere.

But unless you are a shepherd or woolgrower, why are you focusing on Imbolc (ewe's milk, when they prepare for lambing)? And the seasons themselves are different here than they are in Britain. It's so disconnected, people who do everything from books. But again, that's your call of course. Just don't harangue me and I won't harangue you.

In fact, people trying to follow European ways focus on Halloween as the time when the Dead return. But that's just the Celtic point of view. The Saxon-Germanic-Norse culture held that Christmas time was when the Dead returned (which is why the English (Anglo-Saxons) told ghost stories around Christmas time, like Dickens' "Christmas Carol" with Scrooge and Marley.

It's been my own experience that when it comes to Native Dead, the place is much more significant than the time. You can run into ghosts and spirits here just about anytime in my own experience.

The directions are different too in their meanings and qualities. The rains come from the West, the water flows from the Continental Divide which is west, and the creeks gather and flow to the East, where they join the mighty Upper Missouri River, which flows north along the mountains, until it breaks out up north and then begins its flow east. I do not care for standardized directions and colors and animals etc. The Place you live shows you what you need to know to be there in a good way.

Also, for me, it's the same with those deities from another Land. There may indeed be connections you choose to follow, or some kind of responsibility through your Ancestral lineages to Wodan, or Sango, or Hermes, etc. Those are gods of certain Peoples and bloodlines. Again, that's your call. I personally have no draw towards the Genius Loci or Place-Spirits of other lands where I have never lived and know nothing about other than through books.

For me, even leaving out my European ancestry for a moment, my Native American tribes homelands were in the American Midwest. A place of oak-hickory woodlands, tallgrass prairies, marshes and immense rivers. But I was raised here in Montana. The Land is different. Here there is no oak in the mountains, which are tall and covered in pine and spruce and douglas-fir. The prairies are dry and made up of shortgrass plains.

You really can't grow corn very well here, so the tribes here didn't have cycles based on planting and harvest. You have to water everything from a hose (gardening can be a real challenge), and many of our medicinal plants back in the midwest have no place here. There are different plants here, different animals and birds. The cycles here are based on the ripening of wild berries and roots, and the lifecycles of wild birds, fish and mammals.

So although I honor the worlds and lands of my European and Native ancestors for the events that led to my existence on this Earth, my life now is on THIS Land. This is the place I know, the place where I am healthy and my life joins its Life. I would be an alien in those ancestral lands.

I learn what I can from the Land here, from tasting and watching, smelling and feeling and hearing. I read the natural histories of this place and its ecology and natural communities. I read about the different plants the tribes here used. Some are the same as the ones we had in the Midwest. Some are similar or related, and some are different. Some plants even are migrants (invasives) from Europe and Asia, just like the human beings who now live here. Leaving judgements aside, this is where I live and what I keep learning more and more about.

One should be careful to distinguish what you can learn about the Land from the tribes who once (or still) live where you do now. The ethnobotany, medicines and foods, the stories of animals and plants and weather and rivers and mountains. Those are things you can learn from. But you have to work out your own covenant with the Land and its Beings. You can't piggyback on someone else's tribe.

You can learn what the Blackfeet or Salish or Crow or Shoshone did, what they called the animals, how they learned to live here, the different wild foods and behaviors and natural patterns. You can learn a lot from the cultural ways and insights. You can learn about the Other beings too, the Underwater People, the Little People or Stick Indians or Dwarves, and so on.

But you can't take up their religions and begin to try to copy the spiritual practices of Blackfeet or Crow or Salish or Shoshone. You can't just copy a sweat ritual or a dance or some bundle system, that was something that was worked out between them and the Powers. You can't just hop on someone else's covenant or agreement because you want to. That isn't how it works. They didn't even do that to each other, as Indians. You have to work it out yourself, between you and the Land and the Powers there.

Spring Equinox Report

Yesterday was the Spring Equinox and so I wanted to report on what's going on in the natural world here in Helena, as of March 21.

WEATHER: Saturday it rained, then snowed, which extended into Monday, making the world outside beautiful and slick with ice, the branches coated and frozen white. There were several inches of snow, but by the Equinox yesterday (Tuesday) it had melted off all the roads and sidewalks, as if someone had shoveled it all away. At night it is hovering around freezing, with temperatures warming up to the 40s or 50s during the afternoons all week under partly cloudy conditions. It may spit a little snow or cold rain on us throughout this week. All pretty normal stuff for this time of year here.

PLANTS: Buds are beginning to appear on some trees and bushes. When I was cleaning up the place I am going to garden this year, the grass under the weeds was green, and very small weeds have already started. I am not good enough yet at telling what kinds they are when they are so small.

ANIMALS: I bet the bears will be waking up soon. I have seen a few flying insects here and there, gnats, flies, that sort of thing. The big change this week is the appearance of flocks of migratory waterfowl stopping by on their way north. The local newspaper, the Independent Record, had a story today:

"Prime time for Helena birders starting as birds head north.

While Freezout Lake is renowned for hosting hundreds of thousands of migrating snow geese, tundra swans and pintail ducks, many of those migrating birds also can be found in Helena’s backyard.
The Missouri River is a famed flyway for migratory birds, and this is prime bird watching time for some of the larger species, as well as smaller ducks.
The next few weeks are prime time for spotting several species of migrating birds.
Bob Martinka, an avid birder, said Helena’s waterfowl watching isn’t comparable to Freezout because very little in all of North America compares to the area near Fairfield, where 150,000 snow geese and 5,000 tundra swans often land on their northward migration.
But both he and Steve Hoffman, executive director of the Montana Audubon Society, said people can see the same species — just not as many of them — at water bodies around Helena as the birds head north, with some going all the way from Mexico to the Arctic.
“If I have a full day, I go to Freezout, but if I only have a few hours I go birding around the Helena Valley,” Hoffman said. “Lake Helena, the Helena regulating reservoir and Canyon Ferry all are pretty darn good. After a 20-minute drive, you can have some pretty good bird watching.”
Hoffman said this week is the peak migration for snow geese, and the next few weeks are the prime time for watching for other large migratory birds. He said the migrating geese usually forage in fields in the morning and evening, then travel at night and in the middle of the day, often stopping to rest on large bodies of water.
“As soon as they get tired around dawn they look for places to land, so early morning is a good time to watch them come in,” Hoffman said. “My preference is the first two or three hours after the sun rise; that’s the very best time. Not only are the birds coming in but everything is more active in the morning.
“You might see other wildlife or predatory birds like golden or bald eagles looking to eat migrant ducks or geese for breakfast. They look for something injured or tired that’s lagging behind, and pick it off.”
Martinka said the best place to watch for migrating large birds locally is on the west side of Lake Helena.
“There’s this large cattail marsh and some drainages that come in from the west, and you can see just about any of the 15 to 20 duck species in Montana – mallards, northern pintails, coots – and it’s also a good area for spotting sandhill cranes. There must be a dozen of their nests in the cattail marsh,” he said. “There will be some swans out there now, lots of tundra swans and potentially trumpeter swans too.”
Another favorite bird-watching spot is at the Canyon Ferry Wildlife Management Area, especially near the dikes at the easternmost edge, where cranes and hundreds of American avocets, a unique-looking water bird with a curved bill, hang out.
A heron rookery draws Martinka to the Helena Regulating Reservoir. He said the herons have about 15 to 25 nests there, and he’s also seen geese. In addition, a great horned owl seems to have taken up residence.
“That’s a good place to check out next month,” Martinka said, adding that birders should be sure to bring along some binoculars.
Many eagles winter in the Helena area, and already have started flying north, Hoffman said.
“There are a few still hanging around, but a lot of those birds come down from Canada and spend the winter in Montana,” Hoffman said.
He expects migrating ospreys to show up any day now, with most appearing around April 1.
“Osprey don’t migrate north when they’re yearlings,” Hoffman added. “They stay south for two years.”
Pelicans also come to Helena in late March and early April. Hoffman said they’re kind of unusual in that while they fly in the V-formation like geese in order to draft each other, they break formation when they find thermal air currents that can lift them higher into the sky before they continue forward in flight.
“When they detect a rising column of air they stop the V and circle up to get a lift,” he said. “They only nest in a few places in Montana and one is Canyon Ferry. They like the islands and big bodies of water so they can fish.” (Independent Record, 03/21/2012).

Last night I poured out some honey mead on the Land to celebrate the Spring Equinox and the quickening of life...Welcome Spring!!


Waswehi: "Doctor," lit. "One Who Heals" (Ioway)

An illustration for my book "The Indians of Iowa" (University of Iowa Press, 2009). It depicts a Medicine Woman digging for medicinal plants deep in the woods at night, with the waxing-full-waning moon above. The tracks indicate she is Black Bear Clan. Bear knows the roots that heal.

Plant of the Day: Scarlet Globemallow

On my way to class, I parked at the big empty parking lot a block away from school to eat my sandwich in peace and look at the hills. As I finished, I noticed a bright splash of small orange colored flowers in the weeds in front of the car, among the purple knapweeds and yellow mustards. I walked over to take a look. The area is regularly and heavily mowed. The orange-red blossoms were small, five-petaled, with a yellow center. The gray-green leaves were elegantly and deeply lobed, like a maple-leaf scrollwork or the beaded florals my tribe made.

I am no expert in plants, their use or identification. I have however noticed that when a plant seems to grab my attention, it is for a reason, sometimes not evident for years, but there is indeed a reason. Henbane and arrowleaf balsamroot are two examples from the last few years. So I imprinted the flower in my mental gallery (I don't pick flowers unless I am going to use them for medicine, or as a gift to a loved one), and plucked a single leaf to take to identify. I know I had seen this plant many times over the years, and probably had identified it before, but the memory was very vague.

At first I thought it might be a member of the rose family, but instead, after peering through some online guides and a book from the library, I found it was a member of the mallow family: Scarlet Globemallow (Sphaeralcea coccinea (Nutt.) Rydb.).

Montana Plant Life says:

"The Navajo used tea made from scarlet globemallow as a remedy for diseases caused by witchcraft. The roots were used to stop bleeding, and they were also chewed to reduce hunger when food was scarce. The leaves are slimy and mucilaginous when crushed, and they were chewed or mashed and used as poultices or plasters on inflamed skin, sores, wounds and sore or blistered feet. Leaves were also used in lotions to relieve skin diseases, or they were dried, ground and dusted on sores. Fresh leaves and flowers were chewed to relieve hoarse or sore throats and upset stomachs. Whole plants were used to make a sweet-tasting tea that made distasteful medicines more palatable. It was also said to reduce swellings, improve appetite, relieve upset stomachs, and strengthen voices. The Dakota heyoka chewed the plants to a paste and rubbed it on their skin as protection from scalding." (http://montana.plant-life.org/)

I tasted the leaf. I put it in my mouth and let it sit there. First impression is a coolness and slight sweetness. It would make a nice tea. There is a very slight stickiness after a while, but not unpleasant. It is a "friendly" feeling plant. Pleased to meet you, scarlet globemallow. I took a sample home to learn more about scarlet globemallow, first singing an Ioway song as an offering to the plant and making sure there were other sister plants nearby. You never take the only plant. This is the one I took home (top and side view).

Kelly Kindscher also has an entry for it in his "Medicinal Wild Plants of the Prairie." The Sioux call it heyoka ta pejuta, "heyoka medicine," and the Cheyenne call it wikeisse'eyo, "sweet medicine," also used by the Cheyenne contraries. New Mexico's Hispanic herbalists call it Yerba de la Negrita. Overall, most seem to value it for its sweetness and cooling properties, for external skin issues as well as gastrointestinal problems (similar to slippery elm uses).

Coprinus, or the Inky Cap Mushroom Adventure

So at the base of one of the trees I visit, once or twice a year I see mushrooms in a big cluster. I have watched these mushrooms but have not eaten them. Until now. Time to fish or cut bait (aka poop or get off the pot).

From the gills, how they liquesce as they get older to blackness, the location, and everything I can figure out over the last couple of years, I am sure these are inky caps (genus Coprinus). At the very least I am sure they aren't one of the more deadly types of mushrooms.

Like many people, I am very nervous about mushrooms. Poisoning, dying, stuff like that. I have only eaten one kind of wild mushroom to this day, and that was the reliable, easily identifiable morel. But I am very interested in learning, and there is no teacher hereabouts that I know. So...

I saw a cluster of these at the base of the tree a few days ago, but they were gone as of yesterday, and it looked like someone dug them up. Another good sign.

This morning I saw a new cluster. So I grabbed a handful.

I carefully brushed them free of the dirt (most of it- heh) ...you do not wash mushrooms with water, it ruins the texture. I set one aside for identification purposes in case there is an adverse reaction (some mushrooms are like peanuts too, ok for some people, and not for others).

I took some butter and sauteed them. I ate them. My wife took a couple bites. The taste was very tender, delicate, meaty, almost like a ham and cheese omelette "lite". About a small mouthful. Now it is time to wait and see.

The only thing about inky caps, is there are some that have an enzyme that interferes with your liver's processing of alcohol. You are supposed to have a couple days before and after where you don't imbibe. Luckily I rarely drink, so I should be good there.

I want to start eating and using stuff I find more often. The economics, the connection with nature, the attainment of knowledge, the recovery of the older ways of being, and all-around "possum living."



No adverse aftereffects. Just good taste. Whew. Now that I recognize this mushroom and the location it grows, I can try some more. But one should never overdo anything, especially mushrooms!