Frenchman combs the globe for edible greens

French botanist Francois Couplan has spent half a century travelling the globe searching for the lost culinary secrets of the plant world to record them for posterity.
“It is amazing the uses different people have found for plants, but also everything that has been lost in a bid to imitate Western lifestyles,” he said.
Southeast Asia – especially countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar – still remains perhaps the biggest “kitchen” for plants where development has not killed off traditional foods, he explained.

Couplan, who now lives in Switzerland, has written more than 30 books on his passion, recording edible plants, as well as those which are highly poisonous. And any specimens he collects end up in the cooking pot to be tasted and evaluated.
He also loves to pass down the recipes he has learned, organising cooking schools for small groups at a property he owns in Haute-Provence, south-eastern France. His unusual courses have even attracted some of top French chefs, such as Marc Veyrat and Michel Bras.
His aim is to refresh our memories of the way our ancestors used to live, when for millions of years man lived in symbiosis with plants which were their staple foods, as well as providing medicines, shelter and fire.

Couplan’s goal is to revive and complete this lost heritage, which represented a vast reservoir of collected knowledge.
Few people today would know that the humble nettle in fact contains “seven times more vitamin C than oranges”.
“Simply chopped up with butter, olive oil, salt and lemon juice, they are delicious,” he said.
This enthusiastic botanist, whose father had wanted him to become an engineer before he left for the United States at the age of 18, has criss-crossed the globe to unveil the secrets of plants.

Now he is working on an encyclopedia of edible plants, of which he estimates there could be as many as 400 000 species – discounting all the varieties of algae and mushrooms.
“For the last half century, my life has revolved around going to find plants. This will take me another 10 years, then I’ll hang up my apron.”

But Does it Mean Anything?

You may remember the scene in ‘The Sound of Music’ where Julie Andrews is teaching her young charges the musical scale (Do, Re, Mi) and one of them asks, “But does it mean anything?”

That’s what some of you might think when you see something like:

“This statement has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration.”

Have you seen that one?

It’s what many nutritional companies are now placing on advertisements for their products.

Does that mean the product won’t act in the way described?

No. Not necessarily.

In fact, what it does mean but does not say in so many words is that the FDA does not evaluate products of this kind as to their effectiveness because nature is in the public domain and natural products can’t be patented.

No drug company will spend the millions of dollars needed to prove a natural product’s worth to the FDA. The money is in selling you their patented, protected poisons.

Yes, poisons!

Prescription drugs are the third leading cause of death in America, right behind cardiovascular diseases and cancer. No accidents or overdoses, just drugs used as they’re prescribed.

Here’s another disclaimer you’ll see on nutritional products:

“This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease.”

Isn’t that asinine?

How can a nutritional supplement diagnose anything?

And how dare nature, the source of life, provide us with anything that could be beneficial to us, that could be used to treat, prevent, or cure something?

Are such statements necessary to protect you? Or are they needed to protect the medical/pharmeceutical complex and their vested interest in keeping you ill and dependent?

Did you know most drugs are probably being prescribed to treat the side effects of other drugs?

I believe we are living in the Dark Age of ‘Medicine’ and that there is a lot you can do to stay well so you won’t need them to treat your “illness.”

Health care is what you do. Sick care is what they do.

You can quote me on that!

Lawrence Stepanowicz, ND

Discover How To Revitalize Your Life With Herbs

For thousands of years, herbs have played an important role in man’s life. The ancients used them for improved health and wellbeing, and today, even with the miracles of modern medicine, herbs continue to play a significant role in keeping us strong, safe and robust.

No matter what your problem or need, there is likely to be an herb that’s just right for you!

Did you know that most people refer to herbs as weed!?

With so many applications and so many different types and functions, it’s no wonder that our modern culture is experiencing such a strong interest in just what herbs can do for us. Although herbs have been around since the beginning of human history, those of us in Western societies may only just now be realizing the great power of these seemingly innocuous plants.

And what power they possess! Herbs have been shown to heal stomach ailments, improve mood, lose weight, stave off the common cold, and even to help us quit smoking. They even have the power to help regulate blood pressure, cure chronic conditions, and alleviate PMS symptoms. As flavorful additions to our food, they can boost our immune system and contribute to better overall health. It’s no wonder that over a quarter of prescriptions drugs on the market today contain some sort of plant derivative—and while modern society is often quick to use the latest technology to cure our ills, herbal remedies are all natural, without dangerous side effects.

Have you heard the saying, “Everything old is new again”? Well, it’s true that herbs are enjoying a popular resurgence, but it’s not necessarily your grandmother’s version of herbs that we’re talking about here! Today’s herbs come in a diversity of forms, from herb-infused dipping oils that are served with bread for a snack to herb-scented bath oils to fancy pre-packaged teas. We’ve come a long way from the days of simply boiling rosemary twigs in water!

It’s true that we still revere the purity of fresh herbs, but we’ve also learned to embrace the more sophisticated herbal products and more expensive herbal remedies. Celebrities shell out big bucks for herbal cosmetics and skin care products, and herb-scented candles can cost upwards of $50 or even $100 dollars! Fancy herbal potpourris are sold expensively at upscale boutiques, and dishes featuring trendy herbs are offered at the hottest, most exclusive restaurants.