Yucca glaucoma

Yucca glaucoma

"The active material found in our studies is sensitive to light and heat. Only the fresh yucca flowers possess anti-cancer activity, not the seeds, leaves, fruits or roots. The activity is lost when the flowers wilt or dry."


YUCCA

Bruce Burnett, CH

Did you know that a substancefound in freshflowers from theyucca plant combats some strains of melanoma in test tube studies and in mice. Although the effectiveness of yucca with humanmelanoma hasyet to be proven, this often overlooked ornamental shrub IS medicinally useful in a number of ways.

Plants of the genus Yucca are native tothe Mojave Desert in the American Southwest. Also known as soap tree or soap root, yuccas were heipful to early settlers who learned from the First Nations people oft he region that the steroidal saponins in yucca root (not tobe confused with cassava, or yuca root)make an effective foaming shampoo or soap.These same steroidal saponins are the main medicinal ingredients in the yucca plant, acting as anti-inflammatory agents;md blocking the release of toxins from the intestines that impair cartilage function. Herbalists therefore frequently prescribe yucca as a remedy for both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis in formulas that combine yucca root with devil's claw, black cohosh root, prickly ash bark, ginger root, and licorice root.

These anti-inflammatory qualities also alleviate gout and urethral and prostate inflammation.Yucca is also used medicinally as acardiac stimulator, diuretic, bloodpurifier, and cholagogue (promoting the flow of bile into the intestine as a result of contraction of the gallbladder).The steroidal saponins in yucca do notenter the bloodstream, but act on the intestinal flora to regulate the balance ofthe bacterial and yeast colonies in the colon. By stimulating friendly flora and inhibiting others, yucca saponins may indirectly promote the absorption ofother nutrients and reduce toxins. However, excessive consumption oF yucca is believed to reduce tJie absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and can resuh insome intestinal cramping and diarrhea.

The addition of ginger to the formulawill lessen this effect. If taken alone, limitthe dosage for yucca root to about 14 g daily.Yucca is an ornamental plant withmany healing properties that we are onlybeginning to discover. 8.'iruea Burnett, CH., is a chartered herbalist and•uthor of HerhWite: f?-• :>ig IFell-•eing (Ocean Cruise Gwlujrbwnseproducts.com

HOT YUCCA SALAD

Both the flowers and the fruit ofthe yucca are edible. Only eat the flower petals, however, as the flower centres are extremely bitter.

2 bunches arugula, cleaned and driedi
Tbsp (60 mLl extra-virginolive
oil1/2 cup (125 mL]
pecans20 to 30 yucca flowers, bittercentres removed
1 Tbsp 115 mLi red wine vinegar

Arrange arugula leaves on plates.

Heat olive oil in a small skillet.
Add pecans and cook quickly overmedium-high heat, stirringfrequently.
As pecans begin todarken, toss in yucca flowers.
Keep them moving in the pan, cooking for no more than 2 minutes.

Spoon
the pecans and yucca over thearugula.
Add the vinegar to thehot pan to degiaze any browned bits of food that may have stuck tothe pan.
Spoon vinegar over salad.Serve immediately.

Serves 4.Source: Edible Flowers;

From Gardento Palate, by Cathy IViliinson Barash(Fulcrum, 199S)Y

ucca soapBoil 1/2 to 1 cup 1125 to 250 mUchopped fresh or dried root in1 V2 cups 1375 mLl water until suds form. Lather and rinse.

Yucca magicAccording lo Scott Cunningham in his book, Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs[Llewellyn, 20001, a cross of yucca fibres twisted together and placed anthe hearth will protect the house from evil.

First Nations of the American Southwest, for whom the yucca is a highly functional plant, have theirown magical legends, A small wreath of yucca fibres on a person's headwill enable the wearer to assume any form desired. Jumping through a hoop of yucca fibres will transform the person into an animal,alive.com 101
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My Peruvian Shaman Training

Sometimes it's good for a person to scramble her brains, reorganize them, and plop them back inside her head. This gets rid of the old junk, the dusty rubbish and the stuff that no longer serves.

What better way to scramble your brains than to visit a foreign land, reduced to basics, conscious of everything in a new and different way, to gain a new perspective on your own life.

With this in mind, and many less clear reasons I decided to visit Peru as part of a course of shaman training I have been pursuing for the past two years. Here, in the land of the Inca, the old ways still survive. There is jungle here. The feeder rivers of the Amazon begin in the mountains, pouring glacial waters down into the Madre de Dios River, a great muddy rushing river. It sweeps the banks of the rain forest that still houses tribes that raise threatening spears at the planes that occasionally fly overhead. Two hours downriver from the outpost town of Puerto Maldonado is the Eco-Amazonia Lodge, a surprisingly comfortable and relatively modern facility where the first part of our journey took place.

I was there with fifty students of the Four Winds School, many more advanced than I, a few without any shaman training at all. Some were beginning a new life, others were there simply from curiosity. We paired up in cabins made of beautiful local wood, set on stilts. They had high thatched roofs, a toilet and shower, as well as a sitting room with two chairs and two hammocks. No AC, no hot water, electricity only from 5 to 10 AM and PM. We ate in a large dining hall, where meals of great variety were presented - yucca, potato, beets, carrots, and many other lovely fresh veggies whose names I never knew, plus chicken in every possible form.

Our days consisted of various ecological tours, tromping through the jungle learning about the various trees and plants, some hundreds of feet high and supported by flying buttresses of roots that you could disappear behind. Occasionally we'd see the track of a 250 pound tapir or a jaguar who'd passed through the night before. On the first day I (alone, no camera) came face to face with a yellow and black anaconda, the giant snake of the Amazon forest. She looked at me, and I at her, before I gave her a wide berth and respectfully walked around her. The snake in the shamanic tradition teaches us to shed our past the way she sheds her skin. She represents the most basic survival instincts, the predator, the reptile inside of us. Powerful ally, fearsome foe.

Besides the jungle treks, the main event was the evening ceremony, conducted by a master shaman who dispensed a peculiar jungle brew to those of us courageous enough to partake. Most of us did. It is a concoction of two plants know to many as yage, or ayahuasca. Much has been written on this natural version of LSD, but suffice it to say it resembles Mary Poppins' medicine in that it is different for everyone who takes it. It produces visions and offers solutions to life's problems, it can change your life. It also produces massive purging in some, a fierce cleansing that humbles your ego and leaves you weak as a kitten.

Four days in the jungle and we boarded our canoes, back upriver, to meet the plane to Cuzco, the capital of the ancient Incas at an altitude of 11,500 feet. Back on the buses we continued onward to our hotel in the Sacred Valley of the Urubamba River, nestled in amongst the great apus, - the snow-capped peaks of the high Andes. These mountains are considered to be the protectors of the valley and of the world itself. They have mythic significance and special names, - Salkantay, the Feminine, Asaungate, the masculine, Pachatusan and Macchu Picchu, the sacred temple.city where the Inca fled the Spanish invaders.

Accommodating to the altitude took several days and lots of coca tea. Coca leaf is also chewed to give endurance, but it was still a common occurrence to wake in the middle of the night feeling like you can't breathe. Our day trips consisted of one or two hour bus rides to sacred sites, where the old temples have been excavated. We explored first, then sat with a high Andean shaman of the Qu'ero tribe. We created a despacho, an offering, to Pachamama, the Earth Mother and to the apus. Despachos are filled with gifts, - seeds of various kinds, candies, a tiny llama fetus stillborn, -to represent the unborn parts of ourselves, -flowers, coca leaves that carry our dreams and prayers, cotton tufts for the clouds, colourful bits of yarn representing the rainbow which stands for the weaving together of all mankind. We were initiated into the ways of the Earthkeepers, the Wisdomkeepers, the Ones who dream the New World, and other obligations which we are to take home and embody in our lives. Powerful initiations, followed by talks in the evening by the founder of the Four Winds School, Alberto Villoldo, whose books are available and which I highly recommend for those who wish to learn more. (He will be a guest on my radio show on WMNF as soon as he returns to the States, probably in September.)
By undergoing these nine rites of initiation, we became carriers of the knowledge of how to live in right relationship with the earth and with each other, a crucial ability in these critical times.

In my own life, besides being tasked with teaching this wisdom, I will continue to do ceremony to honor the generous Earth that sustains us all. I will make a fire for the full moon each month, and create my own little despachos to burn in those fires as a symbolic offering to Pachamama. Most importantly I vow to treat all living things as my brothers and sisters. You don't have to be a Peruvian shaman to see the rightness of that, nor to practice it in your own life. And you don't need a llama fetus either.