I was on a goat forum this morning when one of the group posted a link to an article about pokeweed. There has been a lot of discussion of it’s safety in animal pastures and such. While all parts of pokeweed are toxic if ingested fresh, prepared correctly this weedy herb is actually beneficial to both men and animals. In fact, it looks like my goats can eat it in small quantities and it aids them in correcting imbalances! I thought I would share the link to the article so you could read it too.
Here is another interesting article. And here is an article for medicinal uses of pokeweed, with recipes for poultices and tea! In general, you can eat the young leaves (ones no larger than your hand and with NO red or purple tinge. You have to boil (lightly simmer) in three, (yes 3!) changes of water to remove the toxins, but the plant is a blood cleaner and tonic to your digestive system and quite full of vitamins! Who knew?!! The root can be dug and put in olive oil for a few months, then the oil used to treat itchiness and skin issues like excema. The berries attract birds in the late summer and fall, and my chickens love them, and will eat small bits of the young leaves as well. The berries also make a dye (though it is rather unstable) that can be used as ink (and was the ink used on the Declaration of Independence if I’m not mistaken) and a dye for paper, fabric, and skin if you want to be purple 🙂 *Note; I really wouldn’t purposely use this dye on my skin, it would cause major problems!!!! As a child we made ink from the poke berries and dyed clay pots and marbles we made. We loved painting the concrete stepping stones as well!