Shots in the Dark: How do you get respect?Do you have trouble earning respect? Don’t feel bad because I know something that has an even tougher time and it does a whole lot more than you, me, Bob the milkman, Ed the dentist, House Speaker John Boehner, John Kerry, LeAnn Rimes and Joe Biden, the oldest man ever, combined.
By: Kevin Holten, The Dickinson Press
Do you have trouble earning respect? Don’t feel bad because I know something that has an even tougher time and it does a whole lot more than you, me, Bob the milkman, Ed the dentist, House Speaker John Boehner, John Kerry, LeAnn Rimes and Joe Biden, the oldest man ever, combined.
Because this stuff not only makes a great jam and even better dessert, it destroys cancer cells, lowers cholesterol, is a great source of fiber and a mild laxative, boosts the immune system, strengthens bones and teeth and even helps to prevent diabetes.
What more can you ask one thing to do? And still some people call it a weed!
The Chinese, who seem to know everything, were using it for medicinal purposes way back in 2700 BC. Meanwhile it made it’s way to the United States in the late 1700s like everything else, including 12 million slaves, too many Brits, carbonated water, the cotton gin, many bottles of gin, the tuning fork and even the fire extinguisher and it has been a fixture ever since.
It grew up next to our swing set when I was a kid, popping up there every spring and it still does, long after the swing set went to swing-set Heaven, perhaps the most dependable thing I’ve ever seen in my life, a model of consistency and it has never needed nurturing.
When I gathered with my family at Christmas time, one of my friends specifically requested that I bring it back in my mother’s dessert form, with a graham cracker base and a meringue topping that disappears like a spring mist as it dances in amongst your taste buds.
And yet, even as a delicacy, it is blessed with natural chemicals called polyphenols that help destroy cancer cells. In fact, the best way to harness the effects of these cancer blasting polyphenols is to expose it to heat by baking it in an oven.
So effective is it that researchers are now hoping that the polyphenols found in the British version of this plant, can be used to create new anti-cancer drugs that will work when cancer cells become resistant to commonly-used cancer chemotherapy drugs.
Of course this magic weed also helps to lower cholesterol by inhibiting certain enzymes involved in cholesterol synthesis. It is a good source of compounds called anthraquinones that have natural laxative properties. Plus it is an excellent source of vitamin C, which is important to supporting a healthy immune system, a great source for calcium, which creates strong bones and teeth, and it is also high in vitamin K, which is thought to help prevent diabetes.
Meanwhile it looks like celery except that it’s pink and will continually grow in a warm climate. In colder climates, the plant will disappear during the winter months but will grow again when the weather warms up and will usually produce at least two harvests from one plant each season for a good 10 to 15 seasons, with very little water.
You might call it the miracle plant except that it also contains oxalate (a toxic substance) which can cause poisoning when large quantities of it’s raw or cooked leaves (not the stalks) are ingested.
In addition, it does have some side effects. For example, it can interact with certain medications, particularly heart and blood pressure medications and it is also high in oxalates which can increase the risk of kidney stones in people who are susceptible to them.
Which proves that nothing is perfect, nor do we want it to be, even rhubarb, the miracle plant.
And it somehow reminds me of something that Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the German writer, artist, and politician once said: “Certain flaws are necessary for the whole. It would seem strange if old friends lacked certain quirks.”