“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the whole world revolves.
If we look beyond the label 'weed', we'll find a plant rich with history, health benefits and more.
Poke has been used in Chinese medicine, Appalachian folk medicine, attributed to healing cancer, arthritis, and Lyme disease. A folk cure for arthritis is to swallow one berry a day, fresh or dried, I am NOT recommending this, but have a friend who swears by it. The poison is said to be contained in the seeds so if you don't chew them and release the poison, they pass right through.
Corrina Wood, founder and director of Southeast Wise Women, gives a wealth of additional information on using poke for medicinal purposes for any who are interested.
The berries were used to make ink for the draft of the Declaration of Independence, I've made the ink to use for journaling as well as painting, (recipe below) and the color is exquisite! It has also been used as a dye. Few colors rival the beauty of poke.
In my all of my courses, whether Enhancing Your Life with Herbs, Illustrated Journaling, Mosaics and Kaleidoscopes, A More Creative You and others, I encourage people to consider a creative approach. An interesting challenge for poke is to write a poem or a song about it. You can write your own, or if you prefer, you can listen to Tony Joe White's version!
Tony wrote Polk Salad Annie, and Elvis made it famous. Ok, not as famous as Love Me Tender or Jailhouse Rock, but there are some who know and love it. I'm one of them. It's on this site - see Mabon, Poke and Elvis, or just do a google search. I have no idea why it isn't one of his best known. Actually, Elvis doesn't even know it very well - he had to use a cheat sheet when he sang it. Who but the King could get away with that?
In the song, polk (poke) salad is gathered - oh, here. I'll include the lyrics below.
Do The Write Thing
Fashion And Fabrics
Lessons From Nature
Pay It Forward
Take The Rose Instead
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!