[nafex] Service tree and other stuff

redherring at tnaccess.com redherring at tnaccess.com
Sat Feb 23 09:40:16 EST 2002


Lon,
    Surely sorbus means the rowan tree family?  The only member I ever saw
there was the rowan, a lovely tree, who's berries are apparently used for
wine.  This is no recommendation for food use, as a certain amount of
astringency is important for making a good wine.  (That's why peach wine
tastes insipid unless you have added tannin or a couple of tea bags per
gallon.)  The sorb is a fruit I never met in England, and apparently for
good reason.  If it is found only in Cornwall, which is quite warm, it must
come from the continent.  I can't imagine the French eating them, as
"corniers" as the book says, unless they have figured out a way to make them
taste good.  I also can't imagine the English being versatile enough cooks
to make them more than edible.
    Another fascinating fruit that ought to be in Doreen's gem of a book is
the sloe.  It looks like a small plum, it IS a Prunus, Prunus spinossima I
believe, but is also akin to persimmon in effect. It grows in hedgerows, and
LOOKS like something edible.  I only tried biting into one once, not a good
idea.  This is a favorite tree of fairies, and particularly bad luck to cut
if one tree is growing on it's own, a good indication that generations past
considered it special. My husband has heard stories of people who cut down
fairy trees......
     Long years ago, back in England, my husband to be  threw some sloes in
some with an apple dessert in a cast iron pan, and said they turned the dish
the most amazing color of blue, apparently due to interaction with the iron.
I believe one of the major active ingredients in sloes is malic acid, a very
sharp acid that is helpful in fibromyalgia.  People with fibromyalgia often
really like the taste of malic acid.  The FMS expert, Dr. St Amand, says FMS
eventually turns into arthritis.  The "Ice Man", frozen some 5,000 years
ago, was found to have severe arthritis and tattoos on traditional
acupunture points for arthritis.  He also had dried sloes and "medicinal
mushrooms" in his bag.  I'll bet the sloes tasted pretty decent to him, and
relieved his pain. ( If any of you have read the species of mushroom he had
with him, I'd love to know.  I'm a bit of a mushroom nut too.)  I always
like the thought that medicine also grows on trees.  We ought to talk more
about that kind of thing in NAFEX.
    I am going to a Chinese woman for acupuncture, and showed her a bag of
lycium berries I had bought at an oriental grocery.  She said they were
about the best thing for female trouble, menopausal women in China always
eat them.  The favored approach is to soak them in wine.  I haven't tried
that, I just eat them, they are good.  I have been trying to grow lycium for
about 7 years, can't seem to keep the dang seedlings alive, they damp off by
one inch tall.  Lycium has supposedly naturalized as a weed in Virginia.
You can sprout them right out of the dried berries.  The seeds contain
germanium, a mineral found in the entire herbal hall of fame (like ginseng,
aloe, garlic).  Germanium is being heavily researched in Japan as a cancer
cure.  Donna


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