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Traditional Chinese Medicine ingredients from a food forest?

Kay Bee


Joined: Oct 10, 2009
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
I'm just starting to explore a bit in to some of the more commonly used ingredients in TCM practice and was wondering if anyone has put together a list of some of the sources of these items that could be grown in a permaculture fashion? 

I'd like to incorporate as many as reasonable in to our food forest early on, if possible.

A good number of the ingredients have a western corollary or english name, but some do not as far as I know.

If there is already a thread on this, please let me know.
thanks!


"Limitation is the mother of good management", Michael Evanari

Location: Southwestern Oregon (Jackson County), Zone 7
Kirk Hutchison


Joined: Feb 05, 2010
Posts: 418
Location: Los Angeles, CA
I think you can grow most TCM plants in a forest garden. At least on the sunny edges. Just look at the sun requirements, and if it says "Part Sun" is okay, stick it in a sunny nook.


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Joined: Jan 24, 2011
Posts: 49
Location: Elmira, ny
In TCM, botanical names are not used to identify herbs. I have found that as many as five different herbs can have the same Pinyin name and be used interchangeably or all together. That said, if you get a decent book on TCM herbal medicine, it should give the botanical names. I got one at a remainder sale for like $1.50.
Jonathan Byron


Joined: Apr 16, 2011
Posts: 225
Although today many TCM herbs are from monocrop plantations, traditionally, they were gathered from the wild. Some grow best in sunny open areas, but many were harvested from the forest. There is no reason why a permaculture site cannot offer all the niches needed - some areas of deep shade, some areas of dappled light, some edges, and some open spaces.

I personally would like to see more Eucommia ulmoides trees grown here in the US - the bark is very useful for the kidneys, blood pressure, arthritis, lumbago, cholesterol, etc.  I would be growing it, but it is probably too warm here, that tree requires more cold. 

Peony is a lovely plant, when I was growing up in Illinois, my neighbor had them growing under the shade of some oak trees. That root is valuable for many conditions.

The Angelicas (including dong quai) are lovely plants for more open areas. Lots of different uses for those in Chinese and western herbalism.

Kay Bee


Joined: Oct 10, 2009
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
Encouraging info, thanks!

I still have not come across a good source list for plants or descriptions of where some of the more common medicinals used in TCM would fit best in a forest garden.  I'll keep looking and post back more info in the form of a list as time goes on.
Jonathan Byron


Joined: Apr 16, 2011
Posts: 225
I don't know that there is any one single good source for seed & plants for the TCM garden.  Richters might get you half way there, but some species you might have to hunt around for. I was looking for epimedium a while back, and came across a place that specializes in them ... that nursery specializes in that, they sell online, but don't have other TCM plants.
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame


Joined: May 23, 2010
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
    
    3
Goji Berry ranks very highly in TCM, and nutritional analysis supports this.  Highest natural source of beta carotene, high in a wide spectrum of minerals... even more remarkable, goji berry is the only food known to stimulate the production of Human Growth Hormone that keeps us young. 

It should be fine for your shrub layer in a food-forest situation in a fairly wide range of climate zones.  The leaves are edible as a salad green, so you have at least 2 different yields (berries, leaves) with a long duration for harvest. 

Many storebought berries contain viable seeds, though some do not.  Goji is considered invasive in some areas. 
                            


Joined: Feb 05, 2011
Posts: 56
This is what you're looking for. Joe Hollis has large collection of chinese medicines growing in the appalachians.

http://www.mountaingardensherbs.com/
Kay Bee


Joined: Oct 10, 2009
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
wildeyes wrote:
This is what you're looking for. Joe Hollis has large collection of chinese medicines growing in the appalachians.

http://www.mountaingardensherbs.com/


Thank you!!  That is a very impressive site and compilation list.  Looks like he has some seeds for sale, with many other plants being shipped bare root.

http://www.mountaingardensherbs.com/chineselist.html

I see a couple of orders in my future...
                            


Joined: Feb 05, 2011
Posts: 56
I should also mention Horizon Herbs (http://www.horizonherbs.com/) and JL Hudson (http://www.jlhudsonseeds.net/) as other possible sources of seed.
 
 
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