Preventing Poison Oak Rashes With Manzanita

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Wild Food Forums Healing Preventing Poison Oak Rashes With Manzanita

This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  wildheart 4 years, 7 months ago.

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    Hello, I found your blog to be very informative. I was told by a local
    indian woman that eating manzanita blossoms in the spring will
    prevent, or cut down the amount of poision oak.

    Can you tell me if there’s any truth to that?


    Alicia Funk


    Good question. I spoke with my Maidu friend, Farrell Cunningham. He told me that all of the Maidu elders knew that eating manzanita blossoms in the spring would help prevent getting poison oak rashes in the summer. This is another good reason to eat more flowers!




    Last year after I read this, I procrastinated in trying to find and eat the last of the manzanita blossoms on the bushes, and then regretted it during the summer when the poison oak leaves were strong and juicy while I strictly avoided them. But right NOW the manzanita blossoms are beginning to bloom on sunny slopes in the Yuba River canyon again, and I’m gathering and eating them everyday as raw snack food, even the small sticky buds.┬áMMM — YUM! The more mature manzanita blossoms are sweeter, of course, but I like the tangy taste of the tiny buds, which actually get sweeter when I save them off of the manzanita bush overnight. Manzanita blossoms stimulate my saliva so I don’t feel thirsty and leave a good clean taste in my mouth all day, too. Soon the manzanita bushes will be blooming all over the place in the higher elevations and shadier spots. Hopefully, this summer I will be immune to poison oak as I was up until a few years ago. I’ll experiment a bit with lightly touching a poison oak leaf to my skin later on in the spring and let y’all know my progress.



    So far, so good with eating raw manzanita buds as they come into fruition, growing riper and sweeter everyday — really amazingly good effects only — no ill effects in any way whatsover. I just love the way they make my mouth taste clean for hours, but this wears off after about 24 hours, so I eat more to bring the clean manzanita blossom taste and sensation back again into my mouth. No leaves out yet on the poison oak shoots to test to see if this for sure makes me immune to poison oak rash, but I have been walking amidst the leafless shoots in the forest with no poison oak rash from them so far. I am keeping in mind that the forest has been changed by logging since the days that Native Americans managed the forest and ate manzanita blossoms to prevent poison oak rash. Poison oak is much more prolific and hearty these days because poison oak grows prolifically where there has been woodland removal. This may effect whether or not manzanita blossoms can currently prevent poison oak rash, along with other factors. More later, hopefully.



    Still — so far so good with my experiment in eating manzanita blossoms to prevent poison oak rash as the Maidu once did. I’m revising my procedure in my experiment as I see the bright red poison oak leaves begin to unfold on the stalks. They look like fire to me or like red warning signs. I’m remembering that my mother told me that our Native American foremothers (of Southeastern tribes) walked in the forest in such a way that they didn’t disturb a leaf or break a stem. They walked carefully, looking forward to the ground on which they were about to place a foot, and placed their feet carefully and gently on the ground. They were not clodhoppers in boots, she explained, and the wilderness of America was much better back then for walking in, what with their good land management practices. “If it was a snake it woulda bit cha!” she used to say when I stepped on something that hurt me while walking barefoot, as I usually did when not at school. So when I was out hiking in the dense understory of the rag-tag modern forest in rainboots with my eyes gazing up high checking out a cluster of manzanita blossoms I wanted to pick, I didn’t notice a cluster of poison oak barely leafing out underfoot that I stepped roughly right in the middle of, until after I did it. I thought, “If it was a snake it woulda bit cha.” I remembered the way my Native American foremothers walked in the forest, and then looked at the ground on which I was about to step, and then paused to look up an around. But with the manzanita blossoms in my mouth, I wasn’t so afraid of getting poison oak rash from my boot, and I haven’t so far. I haven’t yet gotten any poison oak rash so far this year from my accidental brushes with a bit of it here and there. Now that I think of it, I have only gotten poison oak rash badly one time. I was taking a medicine that can lower one’s immune response, and I stepped hard in flip-flops right on a dense cluster of lush green springtime poison oak leaves, bruising leaves and breaking stems. Two weeks later, my right foot looked like it was ready for the urn. If it was a snake, it woulda bit me. So, anyway, I continue to eat bunches of manzanita blossoms for snacks every day, with no ill effects whatsoever, and many good effects in terms of a feeling of good health, good digestion, good taste, etc. I’m trying out things like not feeling afraid of getting poison oak rash from a puppy or cat brushing against me after it’s been in the woods, or getting poison oak rash from clothing, etc, that may have brushed against it. Step by step.




    Thank you for updating with your progress regarding the Manzanita blossoms and Poison Oak. I have been curious since reading your response from last year. Hope you continue to keep your immunity! I too love the taste of Manzanita blossoms and feel a sense of well-being when I consume them.

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