Monday, June 1, 2009
Plant walking with Frank Cook and James Duke
Jim, Frank and eager beaver students learning about plant love.
I went to a workshop by Frank Cook on neo-shamanistic plants at Dr. James Duke's garden in Fulton, MD and spent the day learning about medicinal plants and eating wild foods (read: weeds). I know that doesn't sound great, but once you saw the spanikopita made with wild mustard greens and a big salad of hostas with lemon tahini dressing you might think differently. Dr. Duke has one of the largest medicinal gardens in the country, which is divided and marked by stones engraved with the disease the plants cure.
It made me remember some things I learned in Peru and have slowly been forgetting, which is hard to explain--its something about interconnectedness and something about going back to the earth and something about how pharmaceuticals aren't as great as we think they are and maybe just how to get out the city and enjoy being in nature for a while.
Jim and Frank demonstrate a shamanic ceremony.
Jim "the barefoot doctor" Duke worked for the USDA for over 30 years and wrote the great book "The Green Pharmacy." He also writes protest songs, like this one about a study done by Eli Lilly that proved that St. Johns Wort isn't anymore effective than a placebo. They also forgot to mention that their boy Zoloft didn't do any better than the other two in the study.