The edible wild plants of North America frequently have medicinal value as well.
North America includes countries like the Bahamas, Canada, Jamaica, Nicaragua and the United States. These plants are found in many different habitats. The edible flora may survive in sandy deserts in the United States as well as tropical rainforest environments.
Edible Flowers: Abal
Abal (Calligonum comosum) is one of the plants in North America that has edible flowers. It grows in shady deserts and is not very tall. It usually grows to about 1.2 meters. It produces flowers during March and April.
Abal Medicinal Uses
Abal is used to treat microbial infections, especially Listeriosis. Listeriosis is a severe food borne disease that affects humans and animals. It has a high mortality rate even when antibiotics are used against it in the early stages of the disease. Studies have shown that compounds extracted from the plant can inhibit the growth of Listeria ivanovii. These lab results indicate the bioactive extracts can control food contamination.
Edible Leaves and Pods: Acacia
Acacia is one of the plants in North America that has edible leaves and pods. People can safely consume these cooked or raw. It likes open, sunny spaces and is frequently found in the tropics.
Acacia Medicinal Uses
Acacia produces gum in the pods and this gum has been used for medicinal purposes for a number of years. People usually get the gum from the plan by crushing the leaves and pods.
People use acacia gum for the following purposes:
- Food: gum acacia has been used by people in different cultures as food. It is very nutritious and in times of famine, six ounces of it can support an adult for 24 hours.
- Treating periodontitis: acacia gum is used to kill the bacteria that contribute to gum disease. The gum must be added to water and then this solution should be used as a mouth wash.
- Bring relief from colds and sore throats: a mouth wash made with acacia gum can help to bring relief from sore throats and the symptoms of colds
- Treating wounds: acacia gum can be used to soothe small scrapes and cuts. It covers and protects areas that are inflamed.
- Treating inflammatory conditions: people may dilute gum acacia in water and drink it as a tea. It brings relief from diarrhea, dysentery, and inflammation of the urinary tract.
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English: arabic gum resin Italiano: gomma arabica resina grezza (Photo credit: Wikipedia)