Please remember that Forage Friday is presented as trivia and not to be mistaken for medical advice.
The hot August sun pours down relentlessly. The humid air continually fogs the lens of my camera but after several attempts I finally won an image of my Crape Myrtle. I had read that it had some medicinal value but never really pursued it much. My main interests were in “wild” species and Crape Myrtle is known as a landscape species here in North America. Occasionally I see one that has escaped and is growing near the road or on the very edge of a pasture but generally speaking they don’t occur very often beyond the pavement. But after I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and specifically insulin resistance. Now in full disclosure I haven’t actually used Crape Myrtle in this capacity. I’m not taking any medications of any kind at this point in my life. But one day I might not have a choice of if it’s necessary and then I’ll have to decide if I want to attempt the botanical route or go with something commercially prepared. At this point I don’t know what the choice would be. Hopefully I’ll have a knowledgeable and open minded medicinal professional who can help me. But what if there was no doctor? No internet? No library and no person to call on for a second opinion? It’s unlikely that would happen but it’s possible that I could be stranded in my home during a power outage and suddenly need to regain control over my blood sugar. And that’s where Crape Myrtle comes in handy.
In Southeast Asia where it’s native the tree is called Banaba and has a long tradition of being used not just for control of insulin resistance but also for a wide variety of other things. First the obvious, insulin resistance. The leaves of Crape Myrtle produce a substance known as Corosolic acid. All of the online sources credit Corosolic acid with Crape Myrtle’s ability to increase insulin sensitivity. Although, some of the sources say that the tests are inconclusive. The method of use is a simple tea made from the leaves. Some sources suggest allowing the leaves to cure for two weeks before use.
The bark of Crape Myrtle is used to treat diarrhea and is ground into a powder to make styptic.
And the roots are used to make pain reliever.
The flowers and bark are said to be antimicrobial and used to wash wounds.
As far food value goes I’ve seen several references that suggest that berries are edible and tastes like a cross between juniper and rosemary and a few sources suggested that the leaves have a similar flavor. A few sites dedicated to barbecue thought that maybe the wood was good to smoke meats with. And, at least one person suggested that the seeds can be ground into a seasoning.
For a final thought tonight let me remind you that Forage Friday is presented as trivia and not medical advice. Also, I only touch on the highlights of what I’ve learned and so I expect that the reader will go out and seek more details on their own.
Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.
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