Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bermuda as a Medicinal Herb

2009 Purple hull pea crop amidst Bermuda.  Our own backyard episode of Survivor
Before you read any further, be sure to go to Michael Tierra's wonderful article over at his blog, where he recently wrote a fascinating article about Bermuda grass as a medicinal herb.  Is it any wonder that a plant so known for its hardiness, ergo weed, is a survivor plant honored in the East as a healing plant? Also known by its alternate name Durva, it's one of the Big Two, the second most "holy herb" in that locale's tradition.

I'm thrilled to know more about this subject!  I can remember a couple times in the past few years running across mention that the bane of my gardening existence, Bermuda grass, has actual beneficial uses in other areas of the world.  Here's the first brief mention I made (see point#12) where we first became aware of some of its uses.

Here's the 2010 post where I report on having tried it in smoothies and our first impressions.

We've been looking for uses for it for a while, but not focusing on it consistently.  We found other crops CAN grow right in it if provided a good enough headstart of clearing it out and putting down thick compost first.  There is no way to get all the runners out, so with heat and water, they come back.  But at some point of maturity, the planted crop, we've found, survives.  Symbiotic relationship, or simply tolerance?  I wonder if the Bermuda has any viable fertilizing qualities?? Or pest prevention qualities?

Our purple hull peas grew right alongside it this way till all were tilled right back under or mowed down when through with the harvest.  That was back in 2009. 

Such was our experience experimenting with growing okra the same year

And with moringa and calabazas the same year, pics here.

I'm not saying it's ideal, but as organic gardeners who do not use chemicals or pesticides, we don't have to be utterly defeated at the very prospect of the Bermuda war any more. 

The calabazas this year, when provided with a well-dug place for the initial plant, produced and produced with the vines growing right through heavy Bermuda (the roots have to have an initial well-dug and composted site for the main plant...the 10 foot long runners that branch off the main plant go right through thick Bermuda and try to put roots down.  I think, even though I might be wrong on this, that the untended vines were actually healthier growing through the Bermuda than the years we tried to keep them clear.  There were no borers noticed this year, and no fuzzy fungus rotting the flowers or new fruits off.

Since most of the wonderful herbs useful medicinally at some point in modern history have been (or still are) considered weeds in the West, clearly we have a lot of educating and catching up to do with the other hemispheres.  Here was my 2010 weed rant, in which Bermuda figured into a mention of "useful invasives"  and wherein I resolved to follow up on it, ok, so I've been a little slowwww :-D

I'd like to verify that our variety of Bermuda grass is not the GMO variety killing off cattle.  If I can verify that, we'll be off and running with tinctures and such ASAP...and get some weeding done in the process.

Enjoy the read!

Want more Google rabbit trails on Bermuda's medicinal uses?  here are some:

Bermuda Grass the Wonder Herb

15 Uses for Bermuda Grass

More Medicinal Uses

And Even More...

Note:   Again, be aware there are claims the genetically-altered Tifton 85 strain of Bermuda grass is linked to recent cattle grazing poisoning.  Whether this is true or not, I would always go non-GMO with anything to be tasted or ingested, for safety's sake.

Second Note:  All precautions are relevant.  Anything I mention here or link I post to must be understood as anecdotal or opinion until YOU follow up with your own choices and decisions and additional research.  YOU are responsible for your own health and health choices.  Therefore, understand, I do not offer advice via my blog posts in regards to anything related to anyone else's health or health choices but my very own, for myself alone.  YOU should research all information thoroughly and proceed with extreme caution before undertaking to experiment with your own health foods and medicines.  Thank you!