These short articles are written to highlight connections of the plants, history and lore of the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden with different time frames or outside connections. A web of intersections.
Jan. 18, 2021: Dandelions to the rescue -
Written records for the use of our Common Dandelion for medicinal purposes go back into the 10th and 11th centuries. A more recent discovery comes out of Ghana. University of Ghana researcher Dorcas Osei-Safo tested herbal medicines obtained from local practitioners against laboratory cultures of various disease causing parasites. These diseases in question are sometimes referred to as Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDS) because pharmaceutical firms do not invest in cures, even though they affect several billion people in the poorer parts of the world, with the result that many people rely on herbal treatments.
Recently published in PLOS were the laboratory results - all 15 treatments tested has some effect against their disease target but one stood way out - in fact it was 30% more effective than the standard drug, diminazene aceturate, for treating sleeping sickness. The herbal treatment was a dried mix of Aloe vera and Taraxacum officinale, our common dandelion. Both plants are found in that part of the world but if you want to make your own concoction you will have to go down to Texas or Florida to find the Aloe vera, the only place where it grows in North America. More details about herbal uses of dandelion are on our plant information page. Aloe photo courtesy DJ Midgley.
Jan 8, 2021: Have you ever seen a flying squirrel? They are considered our hidden neighbors as they prefer the dimmer hours of the day. I encountered one only once when I went to clean out an unused metal birdfeeding box mounted on a pole. When I opened the top, out came the squirrel who leaped, or I should say, glided, over to a nearby tree. (Photo by Nature Smart Images)
You can read more about them in The Friends recently published newsletter, The Fringed Gentian™, along with other articles about Snow Tracks, a historic wild garden in Canada and what the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden’s Curator Susan Wilkins has to say of the past season. Read it here.