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Thread: American Beautyberry

  1. #21
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
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    I have drank it, and if you harvest them at the right time of year, when the sap is down, I would think the "toxic properties" would be minimized. Carcinogens take a while to build up in the system.
    There are lots of reasons to be wary of this type of information. Perhaps it was the manufacturing process that caused the saps to be carcinogenic.. as with any plant, when you isolate the constituents, you create chemicals that don't actually occur in the plant as a whole. Modern science and primitive technology are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Modern takes each piece of the puzzle and analyzes it individually. Primitive accounts for the whole plant as a single "piece" and it has been proven that some plants with toxic ingredients are not toxic at all when not isolated.
    Even mustard greens and peas have toxic chemicals when they are isolated from the whole plant, but used as a whole, are delicious and bring no ill effects. I use this example because they are two "modern" foods I eat 5 or 6 times a week usually... That's right, there are no warning signs at the grocery store telling you that your turnips and horseradish contain cyanide, are there??

  2. #22


    Quote Originally Posted by crashdive123 View Post
    I have read and heard that about Sassafrass. I think back the the many times in the Scouts, drinking Sassafrass tea and iced tea. I guess I need to do a little research and check sources.
    Try "Ranking Possible Carcinogenic Hazards" by BRUCE N. AMES,* RENAE MAGAW, Lois SWIRSKY GOLD. SCIENCE, VOL. 236, April 17, 1987, pp 271-280. You can find that at for a fee.

    My personal take from the article, and please note I am not a medical or biological professional in any way, is that the level of carcinogens in sassafrass is quite small relative to other things I'm exposed to. So, I drink it every once in a while (couple of times a year) and don't worry too much.

  3. #23


    Quote Originally Posted by your_comforting_company View Post
    That's right, there are no warning signs at the grocery store telling you that your turnips and horseradish contain cyanide, are there??
    my local grocery store started selling rhubarb with the leaves cut off because they were worried (so says the guy in the produce dept) that people wouldn't know to eat the stalks instead of the greens.

    On the beautyberry, I'd be interested in hearing first hand experiences with the plant. A hunting lease I used to be in on (not anymore) had a lot of it but I never tried it.

  4. #24
    Otaku/ survivalist wannab ravenscar's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    East texas


    ive been eating it for a while,, sorta gritty and tart, but good otherwise. dont taste as good after being frozen though. right now its blackberry season so im not so worryed bout a later harvest.
    It bothers me how someone with new shoes can come up to me asking for money.

  5. #25


    The ripe berries are slightly astringent, but they have a mild, apple-pear-like flavor and are not bad. Avoid the teeny-tiny berries that don't seem mature. The smell of a juice made from them is enticing and quite enjoyable. They also make a nice addition to smoothies because they add some texture and a little tartness. I also use them to make jam, which is very smooth and delicious, sort of like a berry-and-apple jam. The wine is good, but requires a lot of berries--mild sort of apple-grape taste, but good. The leaves can be used like grape leaves as well, or made into an infusion. This is a tasty berry in many forms, and should not be considered poisonous. I eat them every year from spring to fall and they are nothing but nourishing.

  6. #26


    I have eaten the berries quite often since I started this thread. Like many wild foods it is not strong flavored at all. I have tried the jelly and it is as good as any other jelly. But, like other jellies it has a lot of sugar added.

    I have not tried the leaves.


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