Sunday, April 1, 2012

Bidens and Bala Tea

Bala, an ayurvedic name for a common weed,
Sida Rhombifolia, that grows on Maui.

I felt bad about pulling so many weeds out of the garden plot the other day, so brought home the Spanish needle (Bidens and some bala (Sida Rhombifolia) and made tea out of them, based on what I learned from David Leonard's herbal classes.  The bala is in the mallow family, like the Hawaiian Ilima. There are other kinds of "Bala" that also grow well as weeds in my garden, like Sida Cordifolia, which also has medicinal uses. 

Disclaimer: This is what I've done, but not recommended for others (because I don't want to get sued). Consult with a doctor or medical professional before experimenting on yourself or others. 

The Spanish needle plant from the garden. It's huge.

Shocking the Spanish needle roots with boiling water, which supposedly moves the active compounds into the leaves,
but maybe that's an old wives' tale. I did it anyhow. 

Chopped up bala and Spanish needle stems and leaves.

Cooked bala and Spanish needle parts with lots of water
in the pressure cooker.

I brewed up a big batch of Bidens and Bala tea - for immune defense during the latent cold season on Maui. Also some bug called the norovirus has been going around. Yuck.  I used a pressure cooker which maybe killed all the active compounds, but I didn't want to spend hours brewing tea and cleaning up the kitchen. The Bala isn't for immunity, but is a mood booster, and apparently has a million other good benefits. The tea tastes nasty. It's BITTER, but I have been drinking a lot of it. What I recall about the Bidens is that after drinking the tea, one needs to get some sunlight. The active compounds - polyacetylines - are light reactive.  I got a lot of sun at the Haiku Flower Festival. 

I am getting "tea-d" out...
My approach to gardening when it's in this weedy state, is to try to make use of the weeds - brew tea or broth, and then plant real vegetables where I pulled the weeds. Some people like to grow what they eat, but since I'm a more lax gardener, I often eat or drink what grows. As long as the weeds are medicinal.  Again, if you want to try medicinal herbs or weeds at home, take precautions and don't automatically believe what I write about. I'm not a doctor, so I'm not dispensing medical advice.  


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