halifaxearthtech: Photo by Joe Shneid of Louisville Kentucky, from Wikimedia Commons (Pattern)
[personal profile] halifaxearthtech
To get the most out of eating wild foods and using wild medecine, it benefits to have some basic chemistry. The same chemicals are made by a wide variety of plants; if you know the use of one of them, you can use a whole host of plants. Similarly, toxic principals can be the same across family groups.

The pyrrolyzidine alkaloids are present in many plants, and is the reason why it's not suggested to take borage or comfrey internally. They are are produced by plants as a defense mechanism against insect herbivores. It's also present in groundsel, fuki,
vipers bugloss, coltsfoot, forget me nots, chrysanthemum spinach (shungiku), ligularia, heliotrope and tansy ragwort.

Wikipedia states:
More than 660 PAs and PA N-oxides have been identified in over 6,000 plants, and about half of them exhibit hepatotoxicity. They are found frequently in plants in the Boraginaceae, (borage family) Asteraceae( aster and sunflwer family) Orchidaceae (orchids) and Leguminosae (the beans and peas) families; less frequently in the Convolvulaceae (morning glory) and Poaceae, (grasses) and in at least one species in the Lamiaceae (the mints). It has been estimated that 3% of the world’s flowering plants contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids


Many poisons are harmful to us because they damage the liver. This makes sense because the liver is where we denature toxins and prepare them to be excreted as bodily waste, and so these chemicals are sent there. Pyrrolizidine is no exception, and can cause liver damage in large amounts as well as tumours. Animals with simple digestive systems (like horses or humans, which do not have compartmentalized stomachs and do not chew cud) are at risk.

Alkaloids are produced by living beings usually for self-defense purposes. Many alkaloids have a psychoactive effect. Caffeine is an alkaloid, so are compounds like morphine, nicotine, cocaine, psyilocin and medicinal compounds like berberine (an antibacterial compound found in goldenseal) and quinine.

Pyrrolizidine alkaloids can be removed from a food or medicinal plant by cooking the plant in several changes of water to which has been added a pinch of baking soda or wood ash. Avoid consuming large quantities over a long period of time.

Date: 2013-09-12 06:37 am (UTC)
camillanightshade: (Default)
From: [personal profile] camillanightshade
Thanks for great information. I had no idea that borage were dangerous to the liver. I will not drink that one more brews. I knew about the comfrey.

Profile

halifaxearthtech: (Default)
barefootpermaculture

June 2014

S M T W T F S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
29 30     

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Dec. 19th, 2014 10:03 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios