This Week’s Plant Rant


After a tough winter that left a battlefield of limbs strewn across the Green Farmacy Garden, Mother Nature woke up and gave us a tease of spring.  She was delighted, but realized that there was a lot of work to do.

So, she hit the snooze, rolled over, and went back to sleep.

Things are starting to stir in the garden.  Snowdrops are up.  Butterbur flowers are blooming.  The red-shouldered hawks are flirting vociferously.  Molly got the beets in the ground.  Jim’s fixin’ up Duke’s Soup in the kitchen for volunteers.  And Helen’s discovering long lost tools as she rakes away the signs of last year.

Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) can be found in the Alzheimer’s plot due to the pharmacologically active alkaloid galantamine, which inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase and helps to prevent acetylcholine breakdown.  Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that is necessary for healthy brain function and memory.

It is speculated that the snowdrop was the holy moly herb that Hermes gave to Odysseus in Homer’s Odyssey to protect him from being turned into a pig by the goddess and enchantress Circe. Circe had transformed Odysseus’ men into pigs after they feasted on her food and drink laced with potions. Some believe the men were not actually turned into pigs but became delusional with amnesia from the intoxication of an anticholinergic herb. Holy moly, or snowdrop, with its alkaloids, was considered the antidote to the potion and thus securing Odysseus against receiving the same fate as his crew.

Galanthus nivalis is in the family Amaryllidaceæ and derives its Latin name from gala, milk; anthos, flower (white flower); and nivalis, of or belonging to the snow.

CAUTION!! One should not consume snowdrops.  This tidbit is for informational purposes only about the chemical components of our plant friends.

Holy Moly!…there were snowdrops, snow and a blustery chilly northwestern wind this morning (3/7/11). Please, hit the snooze just one more time.

I come to the garden alone
While the new is still on the roses (Biblical narcissuses)
But I’ve never seen, the galanthamine
Helps us old timers with Alzheimer’s
Seems to lay to waste, cholinesterase
And preserve choline in the brain
and perhaps hold back, the cerebral plaque
Delaying dementia’s brain drain

~Jim Duke
excerpt from “Come to the Garden Alone” 2004

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to This Week’s Plant Rant

  1. Carla Morstein says:

    I am completely fascinated by Jim and his garden!! I know very little about these studies, but I think this might be my passion/calling! I am still looking for my purpose, at the tender age of 51!! I have 2 school-aged children and am not happy with what I am currently doing, career-wise. I have a BS degree in Psycology however I have always worked in sales and event production, post graduation. I truly miss academia/intellectual stimulation but I don’t feel I am in a financial position to go back to school. I would love to visit the garden! I grew up in Maryland but currently live in Naples, Florida, where things grow, like crazy!!! I had a beautiful garden when I lived in Maryland, but currently grow ornamentals, especially orchids which I graft to the palm trees! I am at the beginning stages of researching what I want to do with the rest of my life! I love science but in school I only excelled in the lab parts (hands-on) and the chemistry, math and physics pushed me in a different direction. I would love the opportunity to speak with someone about some suggestions/ideas to help start my journey. I am not sure what I want to do, but, I love being with the plants, from seeds, through growth. I love working with microscopes and being challenged with scienfitic identification, etc…… I always thought I wanted to be a college professor? I would love to either start some kind of business working with plants/food as medicine or finding some type of job where I can make a living at working in this kind of capacity. Not sure if anything like that exists, especially near Naples, Florida. I welcome any and all suggestions/ideas and look so very forward to hearing back from someone! Thank you for taking time to read this! Carla

  2. Amanda says:

    Question: What can you do if one day you wake up and find out that you are salicylates sensitive.
    Is there anything to get it out of your system?

  3. gwenda pini says:

    A wonderful read plants so interesting ,music great.Well done.

  4. gwenda pini says:

    A wonderful read plants so interesting ,music great.Well done.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s