Koa, in a survival situation or everyday food use - eating toxic plants is not safe!
Regardless what you might think Koa, I know several people who claim that you gave the impression that it was safe to eat toxic weeds, like billy goat weed, tobacco bush and wandering jew - on a regular basis....and some of those people have done exactly that, despite some of these toxic weeds having bitter flavours.
It's an ongoing situation, for example I am currently having to follow-up a report that somebody was feeding toxic weeds to children at a school fete.
Yes, Tim Low, as much as he has written some good stuff...he also made some mistakes on plant safety. To be fair, he wrote those books twenty years ago, and we now know a lot more about wildfood safety.
But citing Tim Low as the reason for your mistakes on wildfood safety is not acknowledging your own responsibility for promoting eating wildfoods in the public arena. When you publicly promote wildfoods the buck stops with you ultimately.
The difference in public risk between you and Tim, is in how you went about it. You amplified previous mistakes in such a way to make those mistakes particularly dangerous ....and you added extra mistakes, like billy goat weed. Tim's mistakes are mostly buried in out-of-print books.
But when you put those mistakes onto DVDs targeting children, you took it to whole another level of poisoning risk. You amplified and directed those mistakes to the most vulnerable people.
Also, Koa to be honest, it's apparent that you didn't have the skills to be able to handle toxicological issues and interpret the degree of risk to public safety.
When I say "fatal" I am reflecting the facts. There have been overseas reports of a fatal poisoning from eating tobacco bush berries. That's what is at risk here.
Tobacco bush, Solanum mauritianum
, contains very high levels of toxic solasodine, and other glycoalkaloids, which shutdown breathing.
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/proc ... 4-152.html
And when I criticize your dangerous advice on Ageratum conyzoides
I am basing that on real events:
Due to the on-going drought in that area the weed Ageratum conyzoides (Boraginaceae), containing the pyrrolizidine alkaloids lycopsamine and echinatine, has become widespread and may be responsible for hepatic enlargement and ascites seen in both animals and humans. Preliminary analysis of grain samples from Ethiopia has demonstrated the presence of lycopsamine and acetyl lycopsamine in many of the samples.
That's just from contamination - not even direct consumption. And that's just one of many references to toxicity for billy goat weed. ...and I know somebody who ate Ageratum conyzoides
flowers ever day, and fed it to their child as well....on the basis of your workshops and DVDs. They don't know if they have caused permanent damage to their child's and their own health.
And I find it baffling that you are still using the spurious argument that because it has a tradition of medicinal use...therefore it's safe as a food. How can you say that?! Many plants used as medicines are not safe as food. It once again shows that you don't understand how plant toxicology applies to wildfoods.
Also, the other species, Ageratum houstonianum
, you fed to children in BT with Koa
is possibly more seriously toxic:
The intoxicated cattle did not show the characteristic toxic dermatitis reported for A. houstonianum acute toxicosis; but post-mortem examination revealed bloody serous fluid in coccyx-femoral joints and hemorrhages in the large muscle tissues, while liver, kidney and heart also had hemorrhages.
Koa, you were feeding that to children and calling it "bush tucker"!
flower nectar is recommended in several books. And yes, Aboriginal people did drink Grevillea
nectar...but it's a dangerous mistake to say that all Grevillea
flowers are therefore safe. Aboriginal people traditionally drunk the nectar from specific Grevillea
. The reality is that many of the cultivated Grevillea
contain highly allergenic compounds.
Koa, would you encourage children to drink nectar from 'poison ivy'? I'm sure your answer would be 'no'. But that's what you are basically doing when you encourage children to drink nectar from common garden varieties of Grevillea
! They contain similar toxins to poison ivy.
The allergen in Toxicodendron, 3 pentadecylcatechol, is closely linked in chemical structure to 5-penladecylresorcinol. present in Grevillea banksii and tridecylresorcinol in Grevillea robusta. Patch letting in patients sensitive to Grevillea'Robyn Gordon'with tridecylresorcinol produced positive reactions, thus implicating the sensitizing role of long chain alkyl resorcinols in Grevillea'Robyn Gordon'allergy. There is a likelihood that this sensitizing potential extends to other plants of the Grevillea genus, e.g. Grevillea robusta.
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/jour ... 1&SRETRY=0
If a child's throat swells up from an allergic reaction to these compounds they could die.
And then there is cyanide in some Grevillea
flowers as well!
The introduced wandering jew is another allergenic plant that could cause a similar effect. And yes, Tim Low put 'wandering jew' as a 2nd common name for native Commelina cyanea
- which usually goes under the common name of 'scurvy weed'....and 'wandering jew' is usually the common name for the introduced Tradescantia fluminensis
. And it confused you because you told people to eat the wandering jew. Big mistake, because Tradescantia fluminensis
is seriously allergenic and dangerous.
I actually have a friend who gets a rash like reaction to Tradescantia fluminensis
. What do you think would happen to her if she ate this? Apparently allergic reactions to wandering jew are not uncommon. That's why it's not safe as a wildfood.
In Tim Low's book he does give this generalised test for wildfood safety - which is a mistake. But it's buried in the text. But, you took it a lot further Koa, you highlighted it as an 'Edibility Test'. It's a big mistake. You see how it failed on billy goat weed for example.
But also you amplified that mistake by using the edibility test as a major guide to work out the safety of plants as food for other people. Big mistake! There's many flaws with that edibility test, especially with regards to chronic toxins.
Koa, can I suggest that you publicly warn people about your DVDs, and contact as many people as possible who you know that you have sold copies to, and tell them about the specific mistakes that I've listed. It's time to take responsibility and rectify the situation before someone gets seriously ill or worse, because I'm still hearing of cases of people eating poisonous weeds because of your DVDs.