Kentucky Wild Weeds: Poke

This week, Kentucky Wild Weeds focuses on a plant called "poke."

I am sure all Kentuckians recognize this plant, it’s everywhere in Lexington. Birds love to eat the berries and they end up “depositing” the seeds everywhere they go. You’ll see little poke plants sticking out of cracks in the sidewalk and on roadsides they’ll grow up to 7 feet or better.

Some people like to eat the young Spring greens (my sister freezes some every year), and some eat a berry a year to prevent arthritis. The most active part is the root. Poke is a VERY powerful lymphatic cleanser and can really help clear infections out of your system. You can easily make a batch of root extract in the Fall that will probably last a lifetime. A dose is one drop of extract in a little water. I have seen one or two doses completely clear up swollen glands in a day. To prepare an extract, the root should be gathered in the fall after the foliage starts to die down. Wear gloves when handling this plant because it is toxic. Clean and chop a fresh root, fill a jar halfway then fill the jar all the way with 100 proof vodka. After a month you can strain out the plant material and store your extract in a brown or blue glass bottle.

You can also use the root to make an infused herbal oil to massage over swollen glands and to break up breast lumps. This remedy is too harsh to use every day so it’s not good to use as a preventative.

If you have any questions about using this plant click here for my store and start a conversation with me.

Thanks to Jackie Alberti for featuring a native Ky plant for us each week!

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