My Dirt Time The Adventures of Tom Sciacca

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Jewelweed

My Dirt Time This is Jewelweed. I put the book down as a test to see if it would come out and help me identify the pic later on. It didn't come out very clear.

However here is some great info from a really interesting guy. He also has a good video for sale about wild edibles. Wilman Steve Brill says:

Although this isn't one of my favorite wild foods, It’s one of our most important herbs. I call jewelweed the forager’s American Express, because I never leave home without it.

It's common, widespread, easy to recognize, and invaluable to anyone venturing out-of-doors, because it's a virtual panacea for skin irritation.

If you submerge the leaves in water, their undersides will turn silvery, delighting children of all ages.

In late summer and fall, you can surround the ripe seedpods with your hand, and grab them tightly.

The seeds will pop into your hand, and you can eat them, discarding the coiled “springs.” They’re very tasty—walnut flavored, but too small for more than a trail nibble. Children, who seek out fun over efficiency, love learning to catch and eat jewelweed seeds.

Jewelweed contains two methoxy-1, four napthoquinine—an anti-inflammatory and fungicide that’s the active ingredient of Preparation H.

If you break jewelweed's stem and repeatedly apply the juice to a fresh mosquito bite for 15-20 minutes, the itching stops and the bite doesn't swell. For older bites, it works only temporarily.

Jewelweed's juice also relieves bee and wasp stings, although it doesn't always cure them completely.

It’s also good to for warts, bruises, and fungal skin infections such as athlete's foot and ringworm.

It's is also helpful for nettle stings, minor burns, cuts, eczema, acne, sores, and any skin irritations.

If you accidentally touch poison ivy and apply jewelweed juice to the affected area before the rash appears, you probably won't get the rash. One of my best strawberry patches is also infested with poison ivy. You can't avoid touching it as you collect the irresistible fruit. I have everyone apply jewelweed to all exposed areas when we leave, and nobody ever gets a rash.

The Indians treat already-developed poison ivy rash by rubbing jewelweed’s broken stem on the rash until it draws some blood. The rash then dries out, a scab forms, and healing occurs.

There are many ways to capture jewelweed's medicinal properties: The fresh plant lasts a week in a sealed container in the refrigerator. 1960s foraging guru and author Ewell Gibbons reported the jewelweed tincture he extracted in alcohol went moldy, but I've soaked fresh jewelweed in commercial witch hazel extract for a few weeks, and the extract of the two herbs works well and doesn't perish.

You can also make jewelweed ointment by simmering a small amount of jewelweed in light vegetable oil (any vegetable oil except olive oil, which burns) 10-15 minutes. Use only a small handful of jewelweed stems per quart of oil, or bubbles of jewelweed juice will form in the ointment and go moldy. Strain out the herb, add a handful of beeswax to thicken it, and heat until melted. Take out a spoonful and let it cool to test the thickness, and add more oil or beeswax as needed. Add the contents of one oil-soluble vitamin E capsule, a natural preservative, and let it cool. Refrigerated, it lasts for months.

I also have a friend that makes jewelweed tea. He keeps it in the fridge and sips it year round. Even when he works or plays in the woods and is around poison ivy (the poison ivy vine is still very powerful in the middle of the winter even though it has no leaves and might look dead) he never gets the rash. I don't recommend this since most people say you're not supposed to take it internally, but that's what he does and it seems to work. Steve Brill says "drinking jewelweed juice can cause selenium poisoning". So beware.

Jewelweed is a great plant to identify and keep in that bag of tricks that are the survival skills in your head. This last summer the kids and I were playing outside and my three year old fell in some stinging nettles (by the way, they're edible if boiled also) and was crying. Growing right next to the nettles is a bunch of jewelweed. I picked it, rubbed it in my hands and put the juice on my sons legs and it worked. He felt much better. Great survival skill for a dad.

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