Saturday, August 3, 2013

What Is In Your Garden?

     I have mentioned in several posts that I suffer from the occasional outbreak of lawn guards.  They are the enforcement arm of the 'association'.  They ride around in golf carts hoping not to be called to work.  Oh, don't get me wrong, they also pick up trash the garbage truck dropped and they clean the pool.  But, often I find them examining my garden.  Apparently the city doesn't want people farming in their front yards, but I think they spend too much time worried about my garden.
     Usually, I entertain myself by answering their questions with honesty, but not 100% of the truth.  I have been asked about the squash in the big planter and I just point out the pretty yellow flowers.  Flowering vines, there's no rule against that, right?  A couple days ago, one of the guys was waiting at the end of the driveway when I got home to ask me about the exotic flowers in the shade garden.  When he pointed it out, I really didn't know much about it.

I had to go look it up. 

     Honestly, it was just a shade loving tropical I planted to hide the fact that I was rooting seeds earlier in the spring.  I acquired this plant working with one of my son's in a yard that was overgrown.  The homeowner just wanted a lawn that looked like a golf course. Unfortunately, for him, he had purchased a yard from a woman who had close ties to an actual plant wrangler.  A plant wrangler is a person who travels collecting plants for study by colleges, university, plant nurseries and botanical gardens.  This particular wrangler worked for Harry P. Leu Botanical Gardens (almost 50 acres of tropical and subtropical wonders).  I do love a gossipy neighbor!  I gave away a lot of plants and I took a lot of this material home.

     I looked at this thing the lawn guard pointed out.  It didn't look like that when I planted it, and promptly forgot about it.  It has taken to it's home and flowered.  It put out a pinecone shaped bracht on a stalk and then it put out flowers.  It was pretty odd.  So, I looked it up and thank you Plant Wranglers of the world and silly men who like flat grass!  

It is a plant called Shampoo Ginger!  Who knew?  And, for a prepper, it is a multipurpose plant.  lucky me! 

Zingiber zerumbet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Uses[edit source | editbeta]

The juice can be used to quench thirst when out walking in the forest and can be combined with Mountain Apples as a meal.

Medicinal uses[edit source | editbeta]

Specimen at North Carolina Zoo
In Hawaii, the spicy-smelling fresh rhizomes were pounded and used as medicine for indigestion and other ailments.[citation needed] The rhizomes can be stored in a cool, dark place to keep for use when needed. In traditional use, the rhizome was ground in a stone mortar with a stone pestle, was mixed with a ripe Noni fruit and then used to treat severe sprains.[citation needed] The pulp was placed in a cloth and loosely bound around the injured area.[citation needed]
For a toothache or a cavity, the cooked and softened 'Awapuhi rhizome was pressed into the hollow and left for as long as was needed.[citation needed]
To ease a stomach ache, the ground and strained rhizome material is mixed with water and drunk.[citation needed] Similarly, 'Awapuhi Pake or Ginger root (Zingiber officinale) is widely cultivated and eaten, or made into a tea for indigestion as well as increased circulation of the blood and an increased sense of well-being.[citation needed]
Rhizome extracts have been used in Malay traditional medicine for various types of ailments such as inflammatory- and pain-mediated diseases, worm infestation and diarrhea.[1]
An extract, "Zerumbone", from Zingiber zerumbet Smith, has been found to induce apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in human liver cancer cells, in an in vitro study.[2]

Indigenous Practices[edit source | editbeta]

The leaves and leaf stalks, which are also fragrant, were used in baking in the imu, underground oven, to enhance the flavor of pork and fish as they cooked. Traditionally, the aromatic underground rhizomes were sliced, dried and pounded to a powder, then added to the folds of stored Kapa (Tapa) cloth.
Perhaps the most common use of 'Awapuhi is as a shampoo and conditioner for the hair. The clear slimy juice present in the mature flower heads is excellent for softening and bringing shininess to the hair. It can be left in the hair or rinsed out. Hawaiian women often pick or cut the flowerheads of this plant in the forest, as they approach a pool or waterfallfor a refreshing summer bath, leave the flowers atop a nearby rock, and then squeeze the sweet juices into their hair and over their bodies when the swim is completed. The sudsy juice is excellent for massage also.
     Sooooo, now we have a new plant to use in the natural medicine bag, and a cleaning product for the hair.  How lucky did I get?  I already have other tropical plants that grow from rhizomes in the yard so I know how to propagate and grow this plant faster than I have by just plunking it in the ground, ooops!

      Now, it is time to go back through the yard and examine the plants there more carefully.  I was surprised the exotic flower would give me so much joy.  I need to know what every plant does besides look good and cover the few vegetables I can get away with.  

I know my lemon balm is fragrant and a bug repellant and great in soap for both reasons.  I know my canna lilies are not lilies they are a useful plant, beyond the pretty flowers, they are: a starch for humans that can make noodles and for animals, fodder from the ground up, they produce a dye from the seeds, the fibre in the stalks can be used as a jute substitute or to make paper.  

I need to thoroughly investigate the entire garden to discover prepper's gold. 

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