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Old 08-26-2016, 12:02 PM   #1
blue gecko
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Default Poke Weed

I found this article fascinating!


Poke Root is also known by the names Pigeon Berry,

Cancer Root, Red Ink Plant, Shang-lu, Congora,

Coakum, Inkberry, Scoke, and Red Weed. Poke Root

is an American perennial shrub which grows in damp

woodlands, hedges, and waste places, especially in the

South. The parts of this plant used medicinally are the

roots and the berries. The genus name Phytolacca is

from the Greek “phyton”, meaning “plant”, and the

French word “lac” in reference to the plant’s ability to

yield a “reddish dye”. The name Poke is derived from an

Indian word “pocan”, a name for any plant that yields

a red dye, and from “pak”, meaning “blood”. A dye

from the fermented berries has been used as ink and paint, and for

basket coloring. In fact, the United States Constitution

was written in Pokeberry ink.


Early Tribal healers and the 19th-century American

Eclectic Physicians who popularized Native botanicals

knew Poke as a powerful lymphatic system stimulant

and medicine for arthritis and various skin diseases.

Today, herbalists use Poke cautiously for similar conditions

and scientific researchers are investigating its

antiviral, anticancer, antifungal, anti-rheumatic, and

immune stimulant properties.

The Eclectic Physicians, a group of botanically inclined

practitioners working in the 19th and early

20th centuries, left an extensive literature on the

clinical use of Native American plants including


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Old 08-26-2016, 01:24 PM   #2
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Poke Salad Annie

Some of you all never been down South too much...
I' gonna tell you a little story, so you'll understand where I'm talking about
Down there we have a plant that grows out in the woods and the fields,
and it looks something like a turnip green.
Everybody calls it Polk salad. Now that's Polk salad.
Used to know a girl that lived down there and
she'd go out in the evenings to pick a mess of it...
Carry it home and cook it for supper, 'cause that's about all they had to eat,
But they did all right.
Down in Louisiana
Where the alligators grow so mean
Lived a girl that I swear to the world
Made the alligators look tame
Polk salad Annie

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― Robert A. Heinlein, The Puppet Masters
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Old 08-26-2016, 03:04 PM   #3
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Starting to see it in Northern California and southwest Washington....
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Old 08-26-2016, 06:20 PM   #4
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It's actually Poke Sallet. Middle English.

The truth shall set you free but not til it is finished with you.
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poke, weed

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