The land of toxic milk and honey

Reply Thu 2 Sep, 2010 04:14 pm
This article ran in the gardening section of my paper today....

"This is one of the worst years for tansy in some time," said Sam Leininger, WeedWise program manager at Clackamas Soil & Water Conservation District. "The flea beetle lives and feeds on the roots before the plants flower, weakening the tansy so it dies from water stress. This year the spring was so wet that the tansy survived the beetle damage."

Tansy ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) is classed as a prohibited noxious weed because it can be deadly to humans, horses, cattle and sometimes other livestock. Cattle allowed to feed on tansy, even in hay, can produce contaminated milk. The pollen is also toxic, and tansy ragwort within two miles of hives can produce dangerous honey without the beekeeper knowing.

Leininger said, "The damage caused by tansy is dangerous because it accumulates in the liver, producing irreversible liver damage. Even small infestations of tansy carry the risk of getting into the food system and damaging people or animals in ways that aren't immediately apparent."

As if there weren't enough problems with our food chain.

Have you ever heard of such a thing? Do you know of any other dangerous plants that could so easily end up in our food supply?
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Reply Thu 2 Sep, 2010 08:36 pm
I looked up tansy on Wiki and learned a great deal about:

1.) it was hung in windows to repel flies;

2.) it was used medicinally, because it has toxic components, to repel intestinal worms, everyone's favorite parasite;

3.) it was rubbed on meat to repel insects and prevent decay:

4.) it was used both as an abortifacient and as a fertility drug!;

5.) it was used for joint pain;

6.) people formerly used it to flavor puddings and omelets.

I visited a farm where milk-sharing -- calves are left with their mothers to nurse in the manner human infants are encouraged to nurse, on demand -- and where all the cows are pasture fed. The farmers said that the mothers teach the calves to avoid poisonous plants and electric fences, lowering their vet bills.

I also took a bee keeping class where someone brought up the notion of toxic honey. The instructor said that what is toxic for humans is also toxic for bees and that they avoid toxic plants.

however, golden rod makes great honey and rich milk. If you eat golden rod honey, it will help you build immunities to the allergens in the plant.

Poison ivy also makes rich milk and cows love both golden rod and poison ivy. Renting a cow is a good way to clear both plants from your property.
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