Posting is a little scarce here these days (sorry!) is because I’m spending a good deal of time in my garden, pruning like crazy while the plants are dormant, doing a huge amount of weeding (which never seems to end) and preparing the areas of land for planting veggies come spring – which in my subtropical part of the world, means early March.
One of the reasons I started this blog last year, in fact, was due to my need for a creative outlet. I could do very little in the way of gardening back then due to its being the Shmittah year, and now I’m trying to get a handle on a garden that’s been left, for the most part, unkempt for nearly a year and a half (I did manage to put in some winter veggies last October – garlic, snow peas, and sweet potatoes, and a few bulbs and flowers which are now coming up, but the clay earth was rock-hard after a long dry summer, and was extremely difficult to dig in until the winter rains loosened the earth a little).
It would seem natural for someone like me, both an avid (though very amateur!) gardener and a physician, to put in a garden full of plants that have medicinal uses. My psychiatrist neighbor has, in fact, put some St. John’s Wort in his rockery – not that he uses it on patients, just for the hell of it. However, while I have plenty of herbs in my garden, they are used mainly for culinary, not medical, purposes. Thyme and rosemary go great with potatoes, basil makes wonderful pesto, I make the occasional tea using peppermint or lemon verbena…that sort of thing. I don’t have any problems with people using herbs for medicinal purposes – as long as they don’t give up any conventional treatments they need, and the herbs don’t interact with said treatment (e.g., various green herbs with warfarin, an anticoagulant). But generally speaking, it’s very hard to standardize treatments with the active ingredients in the plant by ingesting the plant as is. The same plant can vary in its active ingredient content, depending upon the soil it grows in, the weather conditions while growing, the manner in which it’s harvested and stored, etc.
Still, some of the plants may come in useful from time to time, and some of the claims of medicinal properties made for these plants are the kind I might personally use, so I decided it was time to look up the medical literature regarding a few of the plants growing in my garden.
Filed under: Alternative Medicine, Diet, Doctoring | 4 Comments »