The Plains Indians found medicinal value in more than 200 species of native prairie plants. Unfortunately, modern American culture has not paid much attention.
White settlers did learn a few plant-based remedies from the Indians, and a few prairie plants were prescribed by frontier doctors. A couple dozen prairie species were listed as drugs in the U.S. Pharmacopeia at one time or another, and one or two, like the Purple Coneflower, found their way into the bottles of patent medicine.
But in both the number of species used and the varieties of treatments administered, Indians were far more proficient than white settlers. Their familiarity with the plants of the prairie was comprehensive: There probably were Indian names for all prairie plants, and they recognized more varieties of some species than scientists do today. Their knowledge was refined and exact enough that they could successfully administer medicinal doses of plants that are poisonous. All of the species used by frontier doctors were used first by Indians.
In Medicinal Wild Plants of the Prairie, ethnobotanist Kelly Kindscher documents the medicinal use of 203 native prairie plants by the Plains Indians. Using information gleaned from archival materials, interviews and fieldwork, Kindscher describes plant-based treatments for ailments ranging from hyperactivity to syphilis, from arthritis to worms. He also explains the use of internal and external medications, smoke treatments, moxa (the burning of a medicinal substance on the skin), and the doctrine of signatures (the belief that the form or characteristics of a plant are signatures or signs that reveal its medicinal uses). He adds information on recent pharmacological findings to further illuminate the medicinal nature of these plants.
Not since 1919 has the ethnobotany of native Great Plains plants been examined so thoroughly. Kindscher's study is the first to encompass the entire Prairie Bioregion, a 1 million-square-mile area bounded by Texas on the south, Canada on the north, the Rocky Mountains on the west, and the deciduous forests of Missouri, Indiana and Wisconsin in the east. Along with information on the medicinal uses of prairie plants by the Indians, Kindscher also lists Indian, common, and scientific names and describes Anglo folk uses, medical uses, scientific research and cultivation. Descriptions of the plants are supplemented by 44 exquisite line drawings and more than 100 range maps.
This book will help increase appreciation for prairie plants at a time when prairies and their biodiversity urgently need protection throughout the region.
Miraculous Abundance is the eloquent tale of the couple’s evolution from creating a farm to sustain their family to delving into an experiment in how to grow the most food possible, in the most ecological way possible, and create a farm model that can carry us into a post-carbon future … when oil is no longer moving goods and services, energy is scarcer, and localization is a must.
Learn how to identify and gather wild mushrooms and other fungi!
An authoritative field guide to more than 450 species of wild mushrooms from around the world, Mushrooms shows the life cycle and features of a mushroom, what supplies are needed for mushroom foraging, and how to take a spore deposit.
A photographic field guide forms the heart of the book, providing information on size, range, and habitat. The clear images and illustrations of specimens, along with information on what's poisonous and what's edible, make this the ultimate guide to mushrooms.
Mycorrhizal fungi have been waiting a long time for people to recognize just how important they are to the making of dynamic soils. These microscopic organisms partner with the root systems of approximately 95 percent of the plants on Earth, and they sequester carbon in much more meaningful ways than human “carbon offsets” will ever achieve. Most of these soil fungi are mycorrhizal, supporting plant health in elegant and sophisticated ways. The boost to green immune function in plants and community-wide networking turns out to be the true basis of ecosystem resiliency. A profound intelligence exists in the underground nutrient exchange between fungi and plant roots, which in turn determines the nutrient density of the foods we grow and eat.
In Nature as Measure, a collection of Jackson’s essays from Altars of Unhewn Stone and Becoming Native to This Place, these ideas of land conservation and education are written from the point of view of a man who has practiced what he’s preached and proven that it is possible to partially restore much of the land that we’ve ravaged. Wes Jackson lays the foundation for a new farming economy, grounded in nature’s principles and located in dying small towns and rural communities.
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Janisse Ray, award-winning author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood and Wild Card Quilt, writes an evocative paean to wildness and wilderness restoration with an extraordinary journey into southern Georgia's Pinhook Swamp.
Pinhook Swamp acts as a vital watershed and wildlife corridor, a link between the great southern wildernesses of Okefenokee Swamp and Osceola National Forest. Together Okefenokee, Osceola and Pinhook form one of the largest expanses of protected wild land east of the Mississippi River. This is one of America's last truly wild places, and Pinhook takes us into its heart.
Ray comes to know Pinhook intimately as she joins the fight to protect it, spending the night in the swamp, tasting honey made from its flowers, tracking wildlife, and talking to others about their relationship with the swamp. Ray sees Pinhook through the eyes of the people who live there: naturalists, beekeepers, homesteaders, hunters and locals at the country store. In lyrical, down-home prose, she draws together the swamp's need for restoration and the human desire for wholeness and wildness in our own lives and landscapes.
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Concerns over climate change and energy depletion are increasing exponentially. Mainstream solutions still assume a panacea that will cure our climate ills without requiring any serious modification to our way of life.
Plan C explores the risks inherent in trying to continue our energy-intensive lifestyle. Using dirtier fossil fuels (Plan A) or switching to renewable energy sources (Plan B) allows people to remain complacent in the face of a potential global catastrophe. Dramatic lifestyle change is the only way to begin to create a sustainable, equitable world. The converging crises of Peak Oil, Climate Change and increasing inequity are presented in a clear, concise manner, as are the twin solutions of community (where cooperation replaces competition) and curtailment (deliberately reducing consumption of consumer goods).
Plan C shows how each person's individual choices can dramatically reduce CO2 emissions. It offers specific strategies in the areas of food, transportation and housing. One chapter analyzes the decimation of the Cuban economy when the USSR stopped oil exports in 1990 and provides an inspiring vision for a low energy way of living.
Plan C is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in living a lower-energy, saner and sustainable lifestyle.
Plants' ability to turn sunlight into energy makes them the basis for all life; without them there is no life. And they are more than just a food source-they provide us with fuel, fibers and pharmaceuticals.
Global warming and the destruction of natural habitats are a serious threat to many plants, and there are worldwide efforts to mitigate the disaster. Plant Conservation tackles this essential topic head on. Timothy Walker plays a key role in this effort as the director of the Oxford Botanical Garden, a leader in the field of plant conservation. He highlights what is happening now, from cataloging the world's flora to conservation efforts like protecting plants from overcollecting. He also shows home gardeners how they can become involved, whether by growing their own food to decrease reliance on large agriculture or by making smart plant choices by growing natives and avoiding invasives.
Plant Conservation treats a critical topic in an accessible and optimistic way. It is required reading for students, professionals and anyone with a keen interest in the importance of plants.
Climate change presents an unprecedented challenge to the productivity and profitability of agriculture in North America. More variable weather, drought and flooding create the most obvious damage, but hot summer nights, warmer winters, longer growing seasons and other environmental changes have more subtle but far-reaching effects on plant and livestock growth and development.
Resilient Agriculture recognizes the critical role that sustainable agriculture will play in the coming decades and beyond. The latest science on climate risk, resilience and climate change adaptation is blended with the personal experience of farmers and ranchers to explore:
The climate change challenge is real, and it is here now. To enjoy the sustained production of food, fiber and fuel well into the 21st century, we must begin now to make changes that will enhance the adaptive capacity and resilience of North American agriculture. The rich knowledge base presented in Resilient Agriculture is poised to serve as the cornerstone of an evolving, climate-ready food system.
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A lifelong environmentalist, Tim Matson groped to find out which was the more ecological choice — cremation or burial? What would happen to his body at the funeral home? What if he decided to donate his organs? Humor became his defense against his own squeamishness. Round-trip to Deadsville is a fable for our times, equally funny and probing.
Secrets of the Forest: Volume 1 – The Magic and Mystery of Plants and The Lore of Survival. Part one (“The Magic and Mystery of Plants”) covers 100 plants and their uses as food, medicine, cordage fibers, insect repellents, and craft materials. This study of plants is the essential foundation for a true understanding of the skills that follow. Part two (“The Lore of Survival”) covers shelter-building, water acquisition and purification, primitive cooking, rope-making, baskets, clothing insulation, rabbit stick technique, and traps and snares. Additionally, more than 200 hands-on projects are included.
Secrets of the Forest: Volume 2 – Calling Up the Flame and Feeding the Spirit will introduce you to the art of creating fire as well as storytelling and ceremony. Part one (“Calling Up the Flame”) covers match use (for young ones), pyre-building, fuel species, fire-making species, bow-drill, hand-drill, fire-saw, and fire-banking. Part two (“Storytelling & Ceremony”) explores the use of stories and ceremony in creating the whole person. Some of this content is borrowed from Native American philosophy and adapted for contemporary application by all ages. Additionally, more than 100 hands-on projects are included.