Saturday, July 30, 2016
Introducing Hairy Beggarticks
One of the most common weeds I see in the streets of New Orleans is this little daisy-like flower, Bidens alba, also known as Hairy Beggarticks. Also called Spanish Needles, it rambles up from cracks in the sidewalk. It is also growing out from under the raised piers of my little shotgun house.
Bidens is a natural antibiotic that will successfully treat antibiotic resistant bacteria. It is said to be able to out perform penicillin, tetracycline, methicillin, and other antibiotics for both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.
Bidens increases the efficiency of the kidneys to excrete uric acid from the blood, decreasing the likelihood of a gout attack. It also acts as a tonic and preventive in gastritis and ulcers, diarrhea and ulcerative colitis. It is good to treat inflammation of the mucous membranes in just about any part of the body.
Because its active ingredients are not soluble in water, people make a tincture of its leaves, using alcohol like vodka, and add black pepper, which is synergistic and enhances the properties of bidens.
Recipes instruct users to steep the macerated leaves in vodka with peppercorns and some grated ginger for about eight weeks.
I don't think I'm going to put up a tincture of Hairy Beggarticks soon, but there's something intriguing about making medicine from the weeds that grow in your neighborhood, isn't there? Plus - how about a Harry Beggarticks martini?