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Pawpaws and Bull nettle

Kathy Bilton kbilton at CAP.GWU.EDU
Sun Nov 7 15:06:27 EST 1993

(This has been cross-posted to the mailing list, HERB.)

I have just been asked by a friend who does not have access to the net to
post a couple of questions for him.  I will give his address at the bottom
of this posting - or - I will forward any replies to him on the net via
1. Doug is interested in finding some traditional pawpaw recipes.  

2. Several years ago, Bessie Jones, an elderly Sea Island, Georgia, gospel
singer told him about using Bull Nettle (Solanum caroliniense.)  

	(From here on, I will quote from Doug's letter.)

	"She called the plant 'Tread Softly.'  The roots were strung on a
string and made into a necklace and strung around a baby's neck to help
with teething.  When she told me this, I assumed the baby chewed on this
like a teething ring.
	But a couple of weeks ago at a gathering, I asked Cherokee elder,
Walker Calhoun, about the plant.  He called it 'bull weed.'  They string
it around a baby's neck 'to help 'em when they slobberin,' he told me. 
The stem and the berries are strung 'like beads.'
	'Does the baby chew on them?' I asked.
	'No,' he said, 'Might be poison.' (It is somewhat poisonous.)
	A Creek woman from Alabama had another name for it.  (I can't
remember.) She said they also use it as a necklace for teething babies.
She also said the necklace is tied tight enough so the baby can't actually
get it into its mouth.
	So - teething babies drool a lot.  Could it be that the saliva
reacts with the plant and small amounts of solanine, solanidine, or some
related anesthetic alkaloid is transmitted transdermally into the oral
cavity (or to some nerve center) to ease the sore mouth and gums!?!?"
There you have it.  I would also appreciate suggestions for other places to
post this. It has already been posted on the mailing list HERB.

Doug's address:   Doug Elliott
		  Rt. 1 Box 388
		  Union Mills, North Carolina 28167

  *****************************         Kathy Bilton
  *   Interesting Etymology:  *          P.O. Box 886
  *    "Book"  <<<  "Beech"   *           Shepherdstown, WV  25443
  *****************************            <kbilton at cap.gwu.edu>

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