Endangered Edibles (Part 3)

Welcome to Endangered Edibles (Part 3). In this blog series, I’m sharing stories about wild plants and how they’ve helped me with dental health. Please read, share, and enjoy!

The Josephine Porter Institute describes Biodynamic Agriculture as “…the nine biodynamic preparations are made from fermented herbs, minerals, and cow manures. Three are used as field sprays. The other six are used for compost preparation. Because they are to be utilized in minute doses like homeopathic remedies for humans. Biodynamic preparations are also viewed as healing remedies for the earth.”

In early fall, or what’s commonly called Indian Summer, the southern winds deliver their warmth. I begin walking through a garden full of buzzing honeybees and magnificent yellow finches, which perch precariously upon waving mullein stalks. My feet step gently on plants of all kinds – holy basil, spearmint, chocolate mint, oregano, and wild bergamot- their sweet odors released into the air all around me.

Squatting, I put my face down into a green clump and breathed deeply. With my eyes closed, I hear busy honeybees fluttering amongst the tiny mint flowers. Feeling for my bucket and digging stick, I roughly dig up clumps in a resolution to re-plant these as soon as I got home. With the pale swinging in my hands, I walked cheerfully back home, singing “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles.

As I came to a halt after running down our vast hill, I saw my mother waiting with her flower apron draped over her neck. She asked me what was in the bucket, and I showed her by tipping it forward.

“Go ahead, Max, and give these wonderful plants a new home!” my mother exclaimed.

Our home orchard had plums, apples, pears, paw-paws, and cherry trees. We prided ourselves on being a no-spray orchard, protecting the insects here from toxic industrial chemicals. We enjoyed quality fruit, so instead of those stinking war chemicals, we use plants like those in the Lamiaceae or mint family. Mints like to spread and do well in orchards. The roots or stolon spread and soon become a carpet of smells that repel pests. In return, the fruit trees offer a necessary amount of shade needed.

Running my hands through the newly planted mints, I plucked some leaves and placed them into my mouth. Beginning to chew, I allowed the juices to swish in and out of my teeth and gums. With the plants in their rightful places and myself content with the new tastes, I napped underneath my favorite apple tree.


Common name: Bergamot Latin name: Monarda fistulosa L.


  • Its polyphenols and terpenes, such as pinene, thymol, and carvacrol, present anti-microbial and anti-parasitic properties.
  • One research team combined the oils with “Listerine” and found them a source for new treatments against cavities.


The tribes that use that use(d) this plant include the Blackfoot, Cherokee, Haudenosaunee, Choctaw, Chippewa, Crow, Dakota, Flathead, Koasati, Kutenai, Lakota, Menominee, Meskwaki, Montana, Navajo, Ramah, Ojibwa, Omaha, Sioux, Teton, Acoma, Apache, Chiricahua, Mescalero, Blackfoot, Chayenne, Hopi, Keres, Laguna, Pueblo, and the Tewa. The uses include cough medicine, dermatological aid, emetic, eye medicine, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, gastrointestinal support, heat medicine, hemostat, sedative, kidney aid, throat aid, abortifacient, analgesic, carminative, and cold remedy.

Conservation Status:

NatureServe considers this plant to be Globally Secure. (G5)


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