A wilderness Thick With Sweetgum Trees And Evergreen Pines
The Sweetgum tree has never been considered special, except for the shade it gives off. Your first clue that you are under a Sweetgum tree might be the pods that land on the forest floor. You can usually find them when the sharp needles of the seed pods go painfully through your shoes. These pods have ruined many vacations and sent forgers home in tears. But that is not the end of the story.
Flu is a widespread disease the world over and often times calls for a drug called Tamiflu. Tamiflu requires a main ingredient that can be hard to source called Shikimic Acid. The major source for Shikimir Acid are the pods of the Star Anise Tree in China. This source is limited and so researches looked elsewhere. They found it present in pine needles and the infertile pods of the Sweet Gum. It is also found in the bark and leaves. For centuries the Cherokee Tribe has made a tea of the bark and leaves to give to those who are ill with the flu. Science is is just now starting to catch up!
In The Sam Houston National Forest in Texas USA, you not only have the Sweetgum, but also the pines. This makes the area perfect for forgers and herbalists. So on your next Texas adventure, branch out and discover the pods of the Sweetgum. Remember, you want the infertile pods, which are yellow and have no side wings on the pod, the bark, and the leaves. Herbalists pay well for these parts. You can also clean and freeze the bark until needed, then make tea when you are sick.
So break out of the mold and enjoy the forest and if you are there at the right time, why not get some bark for your own use. Before using it though, remember to consult with your doctor to make sure he considers it safe for you.
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