Tag Archives: New World

New Historical Romance and The Lost Colony


BreakingTies_200x300I’m pleased to have Author Jo Grafford with me to share her news. When she mentioned her new release had a focus on the Lost Colony, I was on board. I’ve always been fascinated with those vanished people and learned one of the names on the original roster was a Churchman, my maiden name. My English ancestor who came over in the 1600’s was a Churchman.

Back to Jo–her biggest focus, apart from the release of her début novel, Breaking Ties, is donating 50% of the November proceeds to help fund an archaeological dig of what is hoped to be the Lost Colony fort site at Scotch Hall Preserve in Windsor, NC. She’s calling this fundraiser  ‘A Thanksgiving Wish.’ Jo is also hosting a Rafflecopter contest and will reward her guests and readers with the opportunity to win $50, $25, and $15 gift cards from Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com.  All winners will be announced Thanksgiving Day at www.JoGrafford.com. You may re-visit her website any and all days between November 1-27 for more chances to win by answering daily Lost Colony trivia questions and more.

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The Rafflecopter giveaway link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/a94fd40/

handsome young Native American manBlurb for Breaking Ties:

A cursed island, a chilling conspiracy, and an unforgettable love story. The 115 colonists on Roanoke Island couldn’t GPS, skype or twitter their ultimate destination back to their families and friends in 16th Century England. But modern laser technology has finally uncovered a clue – hidden beneath a patch on an ancient map at the British museum – that leads us to their whereabouts. Considered “lost” for centuries, these brave pioneers finally reveal the rest of their story in Book One of the Lost Colony Series.

Rose Payne’s world is left in tatters after a disastrous betrothal, making her an easy target for recruiters to the Colonies. Using every cent she has, Rose sails for the New World and a fresh start, vowing to never again fall for a wealthy man. Returning from a diplomatic tour in London, Chief Manteo is bewitched by the fiery-haired ship’s clerk and determined to overcome her distrust. He contrives a daring plan to win her heart – one that forces her, honor bound, to serve as a slave to his tribe – a plan he prays will protect her from a chilling conspiracy involving murder, blood money, and a betrayal of their fledgling colony so terrifying it can only be revealed in Breaking Ties. 

About the author: Jo Grafford is from St. Louis, Missouri. An award-winning author at Astraea Press, Jo writes historical fiction to spotlight unsung heroes and unsolved mysteries. She published her first poem in junior high, edited her high school newspaper while typesetting for a local news journal, and has been writing ever since. She holds an M.B.A. and has served as a banker, a junior college finance instructor, and a high school business teacher. She is a PRO member of Romance Writers of America and From the Heart Romance Writers RWA Chapter. The mother of three children and the wife of a soldier, she serves as a literacy volunteer for elementary school students.

12bContact Info & Links:

www.JoGrafford.com

Email: Jo@JoGrafford.com

Twitter: @jografford

FaceBook:

Buy links:

AmazonBarnes & Noble

Astraea Press:

Sweet Saturday Sample From NA Historical Romance Through the Fire–Beth Trissel


June 1758, the Colonial Frontier, the Allegheny Mountains of Western Virginia, the Shawnee Warrior Camp. 

Mild breezes caressed Rebecca’s face, wafting the tang of wood smoke and the meaty aroma of roasting venison, nudging her from a place of no dreams. Water gurgled over stones. She must lie  near a stream. Earthy humus cushioned her beneath, and a woolen blanket covered her. She traced the cloth with her fingertips.

The ache in her head made it hard to think. Groaning softly, she opened her eyes to the branches of a great oak silhouetted against the saffron sky.  Sunset. How had she come to be lying sore and bruised on the forest floor? Was Kate here?

Men’s voices drew her. She strained to understand their words. Bewildered and frightened, she shifted gingerly onto her side, peering through smoky shadows at a series of campfires.

Dear God. Warriors, not soldiers, encircled each blaze—dozens of them. Memories of the ambush rushed back as she covered her mouth in a futile effort to stifle a cry.

All heads turned, and a host of dark eyes glinted at her.

She went rigid with dread, her heart pounding. She was as good as dead. Why did she yet live?

After an agonizing moment, the men resumed their banter, some smoking pipes. One tall warrior rose from the cluster seated around the nearest campfire. His muscular body was clad only in an elk skin breechclout, blue cloth leggings, and buckskin moccasins that reached well up his calves; the same skins fashionable men wore with a far more primitive use. A sheathed knife hung from the woven belt at his waist. He’d slung a tomahawk at his side. The blade protruded above his belt and the carved handle below, ready to grasp in an instant.

She watched him intently. Her life hung on his every move. But he didn’t reach for either weapon.Rather, he bent to dip a cupful of steaming liquid from the kettle near the fire then walked to her.

Icy fingers clenched, every muscle taut, she stared up at him. Even without dry-mouthed fear, her eyes would have been fastened on this formidable male, like some New World god sprung from this wild land. A shudder coursed through her rigid body as he knelt beside her.

“I’ll not harm you.”

His assurance in clear English took her by surprise. Not only that, but there was a familiar quality about his face, his voice. Striving to remember, she searched every contour: eyes as black as a night without stars, high cheekbones, sculpted nose, strong chin. His lightly tanned skin was unstreaked by red and black paint. No silver cones hung from his ears. No ornament pierced his nose. Instead of the scalp lock worn by most braves, his black hair hung loose around his shoulders.

She shifted her gaze to the muscled planes of his bare chest, an eye-opening sight for a woman accustomed to long-sleeved shirts, waistcoats, and cravats.

She let her eyes drop lower. His narrow breechclout revealed a great deal of masculine thighs. She hurriedly returned her widened stare to his dark scrutiny. Gaping at a man, even a potentially deadly warrior, wasn’t her nature.

For a moment, he simply looked at her. What lay behind those penetrating eyes?

Through the Fire  is available in print and ebook at Amazon Kindle, The Wild Rose Press, Barnes & Noble and other online booksellers.

***For more authors participating in Sweet Saturday Samples click HERE.

Undiscovered Treasure in America–Beth Trissel


To quote Shakespeare, ‘All that glitters Is not gold,’ but SOME of it is.  The lure of buried treasure, an occasional flight of fancy for some and a soul-selling obsession for others, is an ageless fascination.  No soul bartering here, but I’ve done some research for would be treasure hunters and discovered  there are many yet undiscovered troves in America.  Apparently in every state according to the book Buried Treasures You Can Find by Robert F. Marx.  An interesting and informative read, however the font size decreases to minuscule proportions when Mr. Marx reaches the part of the book where he actually lists possible sites, so don’t expect me to recap without a magnifying glass.  Instead I’ll touch on some of his general  guidelines.  I, for one, would be happy to discover even a single gold doubloon , but it would have to wash ashore.  I’m not scuba diving.

Author Robert Marx has been treasure-seeking ever since he quit his newspaper route as a youth and has recovered an astonishing array of lost, hidden, or mislaid treasure both on land and plucked from the depths of the sea. First of all, he says you need a good metal detector and devotes pages to weighing the merits of various kinds.  Agreed, a premier detector would be fun to have, and considering I live in historic Virginia, I might actually find a Civil War button or something from the past which would thrill me.  Bear in mind that I’m easily delighted.  I once unearthed what I thought were shards of old pottery while planting a peach tree that turned out to be the remnants of an antiquated septic system.  Not very exciting.  However, my determination to dig the hole deeper in search of my imagined find got the tree planted in a hurry.  The most I’ve ever unearthed on our farm are old medicine bottles, but I’m fond of old bottles and have a kitchen windowsill filled with them.

The next step Mr. Marx advises after you’ve conducted a thorough study of metal detectors (I haven’t) and made your purchase is to learn how to use it properly and practice, practice.  Yada, yada,  we’re up to page 63 now–this book is for serious seekers–when he describes some of the most famous still to be discovered caches, also discussing WHY people bury treasure.  I assumed because they didn’t want thieves to find it, but there’s more.  In Colonial America banks were rare and often unavailable so most people buried money on their property.  Indians might suddenly attack  or the British were coming, so they prepared for calamities, possibly dying before recovering their money.

During the Civil War people in the South buried their treasures not only to keep them out of enemy hands but to avoid having to donate to the Confederate Treasury for the war effort.  As before, the ‘safest bank’ was a hole in the ground or some other secret location.  Some of the largest undiscovered treasures occurred during the Civil War: Excerpted from the book Civil War Gold & Other Lost Treasures by W. Craig Gaines. ”The really big lost treasure is that of the Confederate Treasury in custody of Jeff Davis upon leaving Richmond, fleeing the Yankee hordes. Portions of it are believed to be in Greene & Morgan Counties of Georgia. The combined hoard is believed to be between $500,000 and $600,000 in gold, the combined values of the Richmond Bank & Confederate Treasury. Most made it to Washington, Georgia, but an untold amount remains unaccounted for.”

On the Western frontier, there were many cutthroats who preyed on hapless pioneers, and Lord knows those gold prospectors were justifiably paranoid.  So they kept their big strikes secret, some taking that knowledge with them to the grave.  And there were the gamblers, soldiers, saloon keepers…who hid their earnings.  Not to mention the stage-coach robbers who hid their  loot while escaping from the posse,  thinking to return for it later. But they didn’t all.   Get the picture?  Untold treasure is still out there–somewhere.

If you’re seeking a specific cache, and there are some famous ones, Mr. Marx says to first be certain it truly exists and isn’t the stuff of legend.  Would you believe some disreputable people will  try to sell you treasure maps that aren’t actually genuine.  *Shakes head.

Mr. Marx suggests seeking documentation recorded as closely to the time of the original event as possible and that old newspapers and books are a valuable resource.  If you’re just searching out potential historic sites, then he suggests ports, river banks, anywhere construction is moving earth, old homes, ghost towns, abandoned trash dumps from bygone days… Mr. Marx has oodles of suggestions and lists them by state.

I’d love a really good metal detector…

***Royalty free images

Lovely New Reader Reviews for Red Bird’s Song


This review is from: Red Bird’s Song (Kindle Edition) Sept. 3rd 2011

Beth Trissel’s “Red Bird’s Song” could be considered a Native American romance by some, but I view it as a thoughtful and sensitive portrayal of the romance between a man and a woman from two cultures during the early days of the British colonization of the New World. Anyone interested in America’s formative years will get a history lesson not related in dull facts, but as a personal story between two people in love from different worlds . The characters put the reader in their past, in their conflict and drama, as the passion between them flares, while love and trust grow, showing that the destiny linking these two souls can not and will not be denied.~

By RebelHeart (Baton Rouge, LA USA)
Beautiful story, fantastic historical detail, September 2, 2011
This review is from: Red Bird’s Song (Kindle Edition)
I loved this book. Even from the start, the hero was someone I could love, and the heroine someone I could sympathize with. And Beth puts us right there in the action. I could see everything, so real I could reach out and touch it and the historical detail was frankly amazing. It was like being right there with them. It was a beautiful story. Beth is one my favorites. I have yet to be disappointed with one of her books.~
*RED BIRD’S SONG is up for book of the month if anyone feels inclined to vote for it at: http://www.ibookbuzz.com/

TREASURE QUEST: DISCOVERY LIES BETWEEN THE COVERS: MEGA AUTHOR BLOG HOP TOUR (July 18-25)


TOUR RULES: (I didn’t write them) 🙂

1)  HAVE FUN!

2)  INVITE ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS! SPREAD THE WORD!

3)  THIS TOUR STARTS:  Monday, July 18, at Midnight (Arizona Time) THIS TOUR ENDS: Monday, July 25, at Midnight (Arizona Time) Winners will be drawn and posted July 26th! ***

4)  MEET AND MINGLE WITH ALL THE AUTHORS! EXPERIENCE A NEW PARTY DESTINATION AT EVERY STOP! PARTICIPATE IN EVERY BLOG CONTEST AND BE ENTERED FOR CHANCES TO WIN MULTIPLE PRIZES! EVERY BLOG VISITED IS ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO WIN!!

5)  PARTICIPATION AT ALL BLOGS IS RECOMMENDED, BUT NOT REQUIRED. REMEMBER, THE MORE BLOGS YOU HOP, THE BETTER YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING PRIZES. EVERY AUTHOR IS WAITING TO MEET AND INTERACT WITH YOU, SO PLEASE BE SURE TO SHOW EVERY AUTHOR SOME LOVE!

6)  DID I MENTION TO HAVE FUN?  WHOO! HOO!! HERE WE GOOOOOOOOOOOO!

***Authors have full discretion to choose an alternate winner in the event any winner fails to claim their prize(s) within 72 hours of their name being posted or after notification of  win, whichever comes first. Anyone who participates in this blog hop tour is subject to these rules***

Undiscovered Treasure in the New World~

To quote Shakespeare, ‘All that glitters Is not gold,’ but SOME of it is.  The lure of buried treasure, an occasional flight of fancy for some and a soul-selling obsession for others, is an ageless fascination.  No soul bartering here, but I’ve done some research for would be treasure hunters and discovered  there are many yet undiscovered troves in America.  Apparently in every state according to the book Buried Treasures You Can Find by Robert F. Marx.   An interesting and informative read, however the font size decreases to minuscule proportions when Mr. Marx reaches the part of the book where he actually lists possible sites, so don’t expect me to recap without a magnifying glass.  Instead I’ll touch on some of his general  guidelines.  I, for one, would be happy to discover even a single gold doubloon , but it would have to wash ashore.  I’m not scuba diving.

Author Robert Marx has been treasure-seeking ever since he quit his newspaper route as a youth and has recovered an astonishing array of lost, hidden, or mislaid treasure both on land and plucked from the depths of the sea. First of all, he says you need a good metal detector and devotes pages to weighing the merits of various kinds.  Agreed, a premier detector would be fun to have, and considering I live in historic Virginia, I might actually find a Civil War button or something from the past which would thrill me.   Bear in mind that I’m easily delighted.  I once unearthed what I thought were shards of old pottery while planting a peach tree that turned out to be the remnants of an antiquated septic system.  Not very exciting.  However, my determination to dig the hole deeper in search of my imagined find got the tree planted in a hurry.  The most I’ve ever unearthed on our farm are old medicine bottles, but I’m fond of old bottles and have a kitchen windowsill filled with them.

The next step Mr. Marx advises after you’ve conducted a thorough study of metal detectors (I haven’t) and made your purchase is to learn how to use it properly and practice, practice.  Yada, yada,  we’re up to page 63 now–this book is for serious seekers–when he describes some of the most famous still to be discovered caches, also discussing WHY people bury treasure.    I assumed because they didn’t want thieves to find it, but there’s more.  In Colonial America banks were rare and often unavailable so most people buried money on their property.  Indians might suddenly attack  or the British were coming, so they prepared for calamities, possibly dying before recovering their money.

During the Civil War people in the South buried their treasures not only to keep them out of enemy hands but to avoid having to donate to the Confederate Treasury for the war effort.  As before, the ‘safest bank’ was a hole in the ground or some other secret location.  Some of the largest undiscovered treasures occurred during the Civil War: Excerpted from the book Civil War Gold & Other Lost Treasures by W. Craig Gaines. “The really big lost treasure is that of the Confederate Treasury in custody of Jeff Davis upon leaving Richmond, fleeing the Yankee hordes. Portions of it are believed to be in Greene & Morgan Counties of Georgia. The combined hoard is believed to be between $500,000 and $600,000 in gold, the combined values of the Richmond Bank & Confederate Treasury. Most made it to Washington, Georgia, but an untold amount remains unaccounted for.”

On the Western frontier, there were many cutthroats who preyed on hapless pioneers, and Lord knows those gold prospectors were justifiably paranoid.  So they kept their big strikes secret, some taking that knowledge with them to the grave.  And there were the gamblers, soldiers, saloon keepers…who hid their earnings.  Not to mention the stage-coach robbers who hid their  loot while escaping from the posse,  thinking to return for it later. But they didn’t all.   Get the picture?  Untold treasure is still out there–somewhere.

If you’re seeking a specific cache, and there are some famous ones, Mr. Marx says to first be certain it truly exists and isn’t the stuff of legend.  Would you believe some disreputable people will  try to sell you treasure maps that aren’t actually genuine.  *Shakes head.

Mr. Marx suggests seeking documentation recorded as closely to the time of the original event as possible and that old newspapers and books are a valuable resource.  If you’re just searching out potential historic sites, then he suggests ports, river banks, anywhere construction is moving earth, old homes, ghost towns, abandoned trash dumps from bygone days… Mr. Marx has oodles of suggestions and lists them by state.

***As a participating author in this Treasure Quest Blog Hop,  the book of mine that best fits the theme is light paranormal/time travel romance Somewhere My Lassin which the hero and heroine seek an ancient relic with miraculous powers.   So I’m giving away three digital downloads of this novella chosen from visitors who leaves me a comment (remember to leave a contact email too).

Blurb for Somewhere My Lass:

Neil MacKenzie’s well ordered life turns to chaos when Mora Campbell shows up claiming he’s her fiancé from 1602 Scotland. Her avowal that she was chased to the future by clan chieftain, Red MacDonald, is utter nonsense, and Neil must convince her that she is just addled from a blow to her head–or so he believes until the MacDonald himself shows up wanting blood.

Mora knows the Neil of the future is truly her beloved Niall who disappeared from the past. Although her kinsmen believe he’s dead, and she is now destined to marry Niall’s brother, she’s convinced that if she and Neil return to the past, all will be right. The only problem is how to get back to 1602 before it’s too late.

The balance of the present and future are in peril if she marries another, and the Neil of the present will cease to exist. An ancient relic and a few good friends in the future help pave the way back to the past, but will Mora and Neil be too late to save a love that began centuries before?~

Any treasure hunters out there?  If so, happy hunting!

****For the next stop on this Mega Author Blog Hop please pop into: http://iousex.blogspot.com/2011/07/treasure-quest-discovery-lies-between.html

 

 

 

Pennyroyal


Pennyroyal:  I love the scent of this creeping plant, wonderfully intense and fragrant.  Powerfully minty.  I’ve grown pennyroyal from time to time but haven’t found it to be as winter hardy as other mints, nor is it as able to compete and tends to get crowded out if we don’t watch.  So I need to find new plants.   After last summer’s searing drought, I have to replace some other herbs and flowers as well.

Although pennyroyal is sometimes drunk as tea (though not by me) it can cause uterine contractions and should never be imbibed by pregnant women. It has long been used to intentionally cause abortions.  *Under no conditions ever take the essential oil internally! It’s a deadly poison.

A warning from this site: http://www.teainfusion.com/types/pennyroyal-tea.html

“When making pennyroyal tea, only the pennyroyal herb should be used. The essential oil of pennyroyal should NOT be used, as it is a poison. Death from untreatable organ failure can result if the essential oil is used.”

*Please bear in mind, as with all other medicinal information given to you in this series, that these practices are not necessarily condoned today.  Some would be strongly frowned upon and are related strictly in a historical sense.

From A Modern Herbal:

Pennyroyal is the smallest of the Mints and very different in habit from any of the others. Two forms of the plant are met with in Great Britain.  The plant has been introduced into North and South America. It is mentioned in the Herbals of the New World as one of the plants the Pilgrim Fathers introduced.

It is found wild and naturalized throughout the civilized world in strong, moist soil on the borders of ponds and streams, and near pools on heaths and commons. Gerard speaks of it as found abundantly:

‘on a common at Mile End, near London, about the holes and ponds thereof, in sundrie places, from whence poore women bring plenty to sell in London markets.’

Turner says: ‘It crepeth much upon the ground and hath many little round leves not unlyke the leves of mesierum gentil, but that they are a little longer and sharper and also little indented rounde about, and grener than the leves of mariurum ar. The leves grow in little branches even from the roote of certayn ioyntes by equall spaces one devyded from an other. Whereas the leves grow in little tuftes upon the over partes of the braunches…. Pennyroyal groweth much, without any setting, besyd hundsley (Hounslow) upon the heth beside a watery place.’

Like most of its near relatives, Pennyroyal is highly aromatic, perhaps even more so than any other Mint, containing an essential oil resembling in properties that of other mints, though less powerful. The flavour is more pungent and acrid and less agreeable than that of Spearmint or Peppermint.

Pennyroyal was in high repute among the Ancients. Both Pliny and Dioscorides described its numerous virtues. In Northern Europe it was also much esteemed, as may be inferred from the frequent references to it in the Anglo-Saxon and Welsh works on medicine.

‘The boke of Secretes of Albertus Magnus of the vertues of Herbes, Stones and certaine Beastes’ states that, by putting drowning flies and bees in warm ashes of Pennyroyal ‘they shall recover their Iyfe after a little tyme as by ye space of one houre’ and be revived.

Pennyroyal is often found in cottage gardens, as an infusion of the leaves, known as Pennyroyal Tea, is an old-fashioned remedy for colds and menstrual derangements.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Pliny gives a long list of disorders for which Pennyroyal was a supposed remedy, and especially recommends it for hanging in sleeping rooms, it being considered by physicians as more conducive to health even than roses.

It was likewise thought to communicate its purifying qualities to water, and Gerard tells us: ‘If you have Pennyroyale in great quantity dry and cast it into corrupt water, it helpeth it much, neither will it hurt them that drink thereof.’ As a purifier of the blood, it was highly spoken of: ‘Penny-royale taken with honey cleanseth the lungs and cleareth the breast from all gross and thick humours.’

It was deemed by our ancestors valuable in headaches and giddiness. We are told: ‘A garland of Penny-royale made and worn about the head is of great force against the swimming in the head and the pains and giddiness thereof.’

Pennyroyal Water was distilled from the leaves and given as an antidote to spasmodic, nervous and hysterical affections. It was also used against cold and ‘affections of the joints.’

Culpepper says of Pennyroyal:

‘Drank with wine, it is good for venomous bites, and applied to the nostrils with vinegar revives those who faint and swoon. Dried and burnt, it strengthens the gums, helps the gout, if applied of itself to the place until it is red, and applied in a plaster, it takes away spots or marks on the face; applied with salt, it profits those that are splenetic, or liver grown…. The green herb bruised and putinto vinegar, cleanses foul ulcers and takes away the marks of bruises and blows about the eyes, and burns in the face, and the leprosy, if drank and applied outwardly…. One spoonful of the juice sweetened with sugar-candy is a cure for hooping-cough.’

Its action is carminative, diaphoretic, stimulant and emmenagogic, and is principally employed for the last-named property in disorders caused by sudden chill or cold. It is also beneficial in cases of spasms, hysteria, flatulence and sickness, being very warming and grateful to the stomach.~

Native American Historical Romance


The opening to both of my Native American Historical romance novels, THROUGH THE FIRE and RED BIRD’S SONG were inspired by dreams, as were some of the subsequent scenes in them.  I also encountered several of the key secondary characters in that mystical realm.  Behind these stories lies an immense wealth of research.  Boggles the mind how much work went into them (into all my stories, really).  I have shelves of books and piles of manuscripts given to me by historians, old journals, etc, heaped here and there in my house.  Now, of course, there are all the online sources too, but back in the day, there weren’t.   And I began this research fifteen plus years ago.

Apart from all of these non-fiction sources, I’ve read very little NA based fiction.  And I’d already written Red Bird’s Song before I got around to seeing the superb 1992 film,  The Last of the Mohicans.  Granted I loved the movie, but never set out to reproduce it in any of my novels, only to say that they have that sort of flavor.

My admiration for Native American people and their culture is a long-standing one, as is my profound regret at the horrific treatment they suffered at the hands of Western man.  In my stories, I aim to depict both points of view with varying the shades of grey.  No one group is ever all bad or good–people are people the world over.

I tire of some readers telling me my hero, if he’s a warrior, wouldn’t do this or that.  First, he doesn’t have to fit a Native American cookie cutter mold.  He’s an individual.  And yes, I consulted historians, anthropologists, archeologists, reenactors and even some of the Shawnee themselves before and during the writing of these stories, so I had a good idea what comprised traditional behavior for that era, and there’s no one size fits all for warriors.  It just all depended.

Bear in mind that Eastern Woodland warriors intermingled heavily with the whites, or could have, through trade, acting as guides…not to mention the inevitable warfare and captive situations that threw the two groups together.  Many warriors spoke at least some English and possessed an awareness of Western ways.   Again, to various degrees.   Some were educated.  The eloquence of their words are with us still, at least in those instances where they’ve been preserved.

Back to the interaction, remember, the first settlers to the New World arrived  in the late 1500’s (think Roanoke Island and The Lost Colony), and Jamestown was established  in the early 1600’s.   So, Eastern  Woodland Tribes had a lot of experience  with Europeans by the time period my stories take place.  Unlike western and Plains tribes, some of whom hadn’t even seen whites until the mid 1800’s.   Makes an enormous difference.

***Kira, Daughter of the Moon is the sequel to Through the Fire, a story that also builds on the history of Red Bird’s Song and follows closely on its heels time wise. All of these novels are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and from other online booksellers.

The Medicinal Value of Native American Plants: Pokeweed


Tender shoots of poke are beginning to emerge. The time of poke salad is at hand. Only the new green shoots may be harvested in spring. Once the shoots take on a reddish hue that resembles the toxic root, they are too mature to consume safely. The green shoots should be cooked in two changes of water and eaten like asparagus.

Despite poke’s potential toxicity, the medicinal value of the plant was highly valued in times past and used by Indians and colonists, though with much care. A very little bit of the dried root was steeped in several cups of boiling water and the concoction sipped sparingly.
Poke, more than any other plant, was regarded as having the power to dramatically alter the course of an ailment. Death is also a dramatic altering and that could happen if too much was administered. I suppose the healer then made a mental note to use less next time. If self-medicating, the patient didn’t have to worry about next time.
Last summer I found an extremely vigorous pokeberry bush thriving among the buddleia. I actually like poke with its deep purple berries (one of the first inks of the New World) if I don’t think about it reseeding everywhere, which it did. But I respect poke, so much more than simply a weed. New research has shown that the root may be valuable in curing some of our most challenging diseases. Just don’t experiment on your own. Consult an expert.