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Mid-Summer Weed Walk
July 17, 2012

This week I would like to introduce you to a mysterious, and often maligned, family of edible and strongly medicinal plants: the Solanaceae, the tomato family. Also called the nightshade family, it includes such notable members as belladonna, mandrake, henbane, tobacco, and cayenne. In addition to the tomato family plants I grow, there are several interesting weedy ones on my farm, too. Incidently, “solamen” is Latin for “quieting.”

Myths abound about this family. Many people believe that eating members of the nightshade family will aggravate arthritic pain. (Scientific studies have failed repeatedly to find this connection.) My brother-in-law told me that tomatoes and their ilk grow in the dark and so feed the weak parts of ourselves. Macrobiotic chefs believe tomato family fruits, because they are moist and swollen, are feminizing and ought to be avoided.

There are poisonous alkaloids in the green parts of plants in this family. We don’t eat tomato leaves; we eat tomatoes. We don’t eat potato leaves, or even green potatoes, either; we only eat the sound, ripe fruits/tubers. (I do not eat green peppers, prefering the ripe ones, which are orange or yellow or red.) We eat the ripe fruits of this family, if they are edible. The green fruits contain the same alkaloids as may be found in the leaves.

Whether you make my Herbed Gazpacho (recipe on last page) or just keep an eye out for those daring damsel nightshades, I am certain your life will be enriched by this fascinating family.

Next week we will gather the berries of mid-summer. Until then, green blessings to all.


To read the entire Wise Woman Herbal Ezine including color photos and a recipe for you, visit:

Author's Bio: 

Susun Weed, Copyright 2012

LEARN HOW TO PREVENT ILLNESS AND HEAL YOURSELF safely and easily the Wise Woman Way. Women's health forum, FREE women’s forum, weblog, and email group. Topics include menopause, breast health, childbearing, fertility, disease prevention, nutritional advice, and cancer prevention. Visit the Wise Woman Web

Susun Weed, green witch and wise woman, is an extraordinary teacher with a joyous spirit, a powerful presence, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of herbs and health. She is the voice of the Wise Woman Way, where common weeds, simple ceremony, and compassionate listening support and nourish health/wholeness/holiness. She has opened hearts to the magic and medicine of the green nations for three decades. Ms. Weed's four herbal medicine books focus on women's health topics including: menopause, childbearing, and breast health.

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