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An Easy to Grow and Legal Nootropic Plant

Nootropic is the name for substances which are known as Smart Drugs because they enhance cognition. This one is bacopa monnieri, an aquatic perennial also praised for controlling blood sugar, enhancing mood, increasing attention span, normalizing blood pressure, improving liver function, and many more health benefits in addition to improving memory and reasoning. However, you might not want to try it because it tastes awful and like grapefruit, only possibly more so, it can potentiate the effect of other substances.

Dr. Edward of Global Healing Center is one of several health care professionals who have emphasized that some of the commercially available bacopa has been found to be contaminated by unsafe levels of cadmium and lead, so we should be sure our supply is organic.  The best way I know of to know something is really organic is to grow my own. Fortunately, bacopa monierri is really easy to grow and according to most sources is efficacious when taken fresh. It is also easily available from aquarium supply stores under the names water hyssop or moneywort. It is pretty, especially when in bloom, and doesn’t take much care. When it outgrows the jar I cut the tops off and put them in filtered water in a new jar where they happily take root and do it all over again. Since I am away from my primary home for up to six months at a time, I just put some of it in a ziplock bag in water and take it with me when I am on the road. The rest of the time it sits on a window sill mostly submerged in a jar of water.

I don’t eat enough of it to get high, but I do snip off a few leaves to consume from time to time.  They are extremely bitter, so there is little danger of getting an overdose.

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Written by Ann Hartley

The whiskered cat is a lucet, a mediaeval tool still in use today to hand weave I-cord, which you see coming out of the hole in kitty's head in my profile photo.  I hand carved this lucet a) to see if I could, b) because I needed a lucet, and c) because I didn't see any cute cat lucets for sale online.  I weathered it a bit (is "distressed" the correct term?) because  that seems to be the trend these days, and because it is probably going to get banged up anyway.

I like to camp and as my late husband's motto was "If you have seen one tree, you have seen them all!" and he has been gone ten years now I have gone on a camping frenzy of late.  Love it!  One of my challenges is to find ways to take my interests camping with me.

Cats:  Why do I list cats as an interest but not have one?  Because I am nomadic and even when I am not camping, I have trips to take from my summer residence to the winter one, and then there is spring, and my favorite season fall.  Can't expect cats to put up with all of that moving around.  Not getting up at 5:30 to feed something just because it meows, either.  But I can draw and paint them, carve them in wood, and weave them in tapestry.   That and I am blessed to have friends with cats.  The cats, of course, know I belong to them and those other people are just their caretakers.  Right?

Camping:  I cannot take golf with me camping either, but all of my other interests I can.  I can take a lucet, a small tapestry loom, tools for drawing,  painting, and carving, and live plants if I'm not crossing state lines.  All that and I can still fit in a comfy pillow, fresh sheets, and a double sleeping bag.

This is the first year that I have taken beet kvass and kombucha with me on a camping trip and it worked fine.  My favorite picnic lunch is home-made sprouted grain bread, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, sauerkraut, kvass, and kombucha with nuts and chocolate for dessert.  Of course I take a sub-zero ice chest and when I come out of the forest my first stop is for a double-double cheeseburger with caramelized onions.  Yep.

Plants:  Unlike cats, plants are pretty easy going about the travel.  I just take cuttings, and where legal, of course, transport them with me.  Almost all the plants I like are fast-growing nutritious edibles that come from cuttings or regenerate from scraps, so I am constantly experimenting with and learning about these little green guys.

Fermentation:  Fermentation is not only and age-old and effective way of preserving food for safe consumption, but it adds nutritional value.  So I take diverse kinds of fermented food on trips and it grows along the way and keeps and if it doesn't get eaten right away there will be more of it for later.   I also like to take pictures of and write about different kinds of food that I have fermented, so I won't enumerate them all here.

Weaving and other arts:  There isn't a wholesome art form that I've met that I didn't like, but I have some training in drawing, painting, and fabric arts, and have just recently decided to learn something about woodcarving because I have recently taken an interest in weaving and needed some custom tools, which I've found to be fun and easy to make.  For years I avoided weaving in part because it looked very expensive, but then I discovered repurposed fabric yarn, particularly "tarn" which is twine made from old t-shirts and the like.

Golf:  I read 19th century writer Sarah Cleghorn's prize winning poem "The golf links lie so near the mill / That almost every day / The laboring children can look out / And see the men at play" back when I was a starving college student and resolved never to play golf and ended up living near a luxurious golf course for 30 years without ever playing.  But we grow and change.  When I was a kid the other kids loved to play marbles but I didn't have any, so a 6-year old friend loaned me hers and told me to go play for "keepsies" and win and give hers back and keep the rest.    What if I lose, I asked her.  I was terrified.  She said she was willing to take a chance.  I didn't believe in myself then, but she believed in me.   Pretty soon I had lots of marbles.  The friend who taught me to play golf was in his 90's when I met him and he told me before we even started that if I learned to play I would soon be making money.  He believed in me.  Hey, I don't make a lot, just enough to cover my entry fees, balls, tees,  and a new club every year or two.  But now I love to play golf and as there is a positive correlation between golfing and longevity, I plan to play it for a long time.   I had the best of teachers.

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      • Like limburger cheese? Sage has not done well for me indoors in hydro and I think I said my grapevine is the only thing I have growing in dirt, but actually I do have a few other things that I started as cuttings 7 or 8 years ago and have somehow managed to stay alive in triple digit weather when I am away (and my sprinkler system sometimes goes off) — a huge rosemary bush, a lovely plumbago, a tiny lilac which I did see bloom last year for the first time and bloomed again this year while I was away (would like to see it live as a nice friend who was dying asked me to adopt it from her,, and a volunteer oleander which apparently sprang forth from a seed dropped by a bird. I think my lemongrass has bit the dust.

        • Clary sage is not as bad as Limburger cheese. But K has taken to eating a lot of raw garlic every day now to kill his cold or allergies or whatever he has or thinks he has. I’m getting rather tired of the smell, but I don’t want to keep the windows open in this triple digit heat. Hope we get back down into the 90’s tomorrow as forecast.

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