Amazing wild anise

  Wild anise, Pimpinella anisum, is a self-seeding annual that has now been naturalized in most places in the world so it grows in most countries. It likes areas where it gets plenty of moisture and a combination of both sunlight and shade. This makes proper identification important, since it often grows in the same areas that water hemlock grows and the two plants have a somewhat similar appearance. The identification really isn’t difficult, though, because crushing a wild anise leaf or seed releases an unmistakable and pleasant licorice-like aroma. Water hemlock, which is poisonous, has a disagreeable smell. The number of ways that wild anise can be used medicinally is large. The best part is that this herb has a mild action, to the point that it can be used for even young children. I had this knowledge affirmed when I went camping with my wife, our son and daughter in law and three of our grandchildren. It had taken about an hour and a half to drive our vehicles to our intended camping place. It took another hour to set up camp. Our youngest grandchild was cranky and whimpering, but I gave it little thought since the infant was obviously in unfamiliar surroundings. His whimpering continued well after dark when he finally fell asleep. A child’s pain I was up the following morning long before anyone else was awake and took in the wonderful sights and smells of the forest. My son finally got up and was joining Continue Reading →

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Guide to Harvesting Wild American Ginseng

Ginseng root is well-known for its medicinal properties and it is both grown commercially and harvested from the wild. Actually, there are 11 different species of ginseng and they have a similar appearance. The ginseng that most people in the world are acquainted with is probably the one that is alternately called Asian, Korean or Chinese ginseng and it grows mostly in eastern Asia, in cooler areas. Asian ginseng has been used for medicinal purposes for several thousand years. American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is a species that is native to North America and some herbalists claim that it is stronger in action than the Asian counterparts. American ginseng has been used medicinally by Native Americans for about the same length of time that Asians have been using Asian ginseng. Before thinking of harvesting wild American ginseng, you should be aware that some states don’t allow harvest. It is important to check with the US Forest Service in your location to find out if you can legally collect it. According to the US Fish & Wildlife Service, American ginseng can be collected in 17 states; Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin. In several other states, it can be grown for harvest, but wild American ginseng can’t be legally harvested. What American ginseng looks like American ginseng grows about a foot tall, with erect stems. The stems normally have three leaves, each leaf being divided into five leaflets. Continue Reading →

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