Herbalist Robin Rose Bennett

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Big Little Herbal Tips: Pokeweed

By Robin Bennett
Posted in Videos
On September 09, 2020

Poke (Phytolacca americana): A little goes a long way!

Also called poke, pokeweed, skoke, pocan, coakum, pokeberry, crowberry, bear-grape, pigeonberry, inkberry, American Spinach, cancer root, American nightshade, and jalap.

The Pennsylvania Dutch are known to have made ink from the berries and if you’ve ever squeezed one, you understand why. The juice makes such a lovely, vibrant color, that it is also often used as a natural dye for fabric and other textiles.

The roots cannot be eaten, but the leaves and young shoots are eaten, gathered before there is any red in the stalks, and prepared properly, by boiling them in three changes of water, using fresh water each time. In the south, after the more sedentary life of the colder months, poke sallet, or “salad”, was commonly eaten to move the lymph in the spring.

Poke has powerful antiviral and immune-strengthening properties and can be used to stimulate the lymphatic system and relieve the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis. The medicine from this plant is very potent. The tincture should be used with care, in single drops at a time, and the berries should only be taken when fully dried and swallowed whole, like a one-a-day vitamin pill.

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Robin Rose ~*~⁣ ⁣⁣

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Robin Bennett

Robin Bennett

Robin Rose Bennett is a writer, teacher, green witch, herbalist, and a wisewoman… one who loves the earth and gives voice to the healing wild food and medicine plants which surround us. She has been a practicing herbalism for over 30 years, based in New Jersey & NYC. Robin focuses on the spiritual and ecological lessons of plants and treatment of illness.