Sitting on the beach in Milina, Greece I was drawn to a beautiful tree, known by fellow greeks as the Almiriki or Tamarisk, salt cedar.
Swaying by the shore catching all of the salt water on its tasty leaves, I couldn’t help but wonder the extent of its power and supreme virtues for our world.
The dust bowl in the Great Plains was considered a “Black Blizzard”. Coming in three waves 1934, 1936, and 1939–1940 it devastated the Great plains area of the United States with uprooted soil that had built up and formed black clouds extended as far as NYC. The dust clouds were so severe that in the Great Plains it was impossible too see anything farther than a meter away. (2)
Why did this occur?
Ignorance and arrogance. The ecology of the great plains required a very strict preservation of native, deep rooted grasses. These deep rooted grasses would trap moisture and soil so effectively that the strongest of winds and drought would be unable to unearth the soil (2). Mans, avarice and ignorance uprooted these ancient built in systems and converted them to cultivated cropland.
Nature hit us back, because as we unearthed this soil we caused an environmental disaster.
Under President Roosevelt’s orders a massive conservation effort began where 200 million Tamarisk trees with inherent deep root systems were planted throughout the Great Plain’s. By 1938 sixty five percent of the blowing soil was reduced. (2)
Without a doubt, we thank the Tamarisk, but perhaps let us also learn the moral lesson which is to study our terrain with humility and follow mother earth’s needs before we plow and desecrate to feed our avarice.
The Tamarisk also is heralded as a medicinal let us not forget.
Nicholas Culpeper a renowned herbalist wrote about the medicinal qualities of the Tamarisk “Government and virtues. A gallant Saturnine herb it is. The root, leaves, young branches, or bark boiled in wine, and drank, stays the bleeding of the hæmorrhodical veins, the spitting of blood, the too abounding of women's courses, the jaundice, the cholic, and the biting of all venomous serpents, except the asp; and outwardly applied, is very powerful against the hardness of the spleen, and the tooth-ache, pains in the ears, red and watering eyes. The decoction, with some honey put thereto, is good to stay gangrenes and fretting ulcers, and to wash those that are subject to nits and lice. Alpinus and Veslingius affirm, that the Egyptians do with good success use the wood of it to cure the French disease, as others do with lignum vitæ or *guaiacum; and give it also to those who have the leprosy, scabs, ulcers, or the like. Its ashes doth quickly heal blisters raised by burnings or scaldings. It helps the dropsy, arising from the hardness of the spleen, and therefore to drink out of cups made of the wood is good for splenetic persons. It is also helpful for melancholy, and the black jaundice that arise thereof. The ancients believed that swine which fed out of a trough made of this wood, would have no milk. The bark is sometimes used for the rickets in children.” (1)
These are but a few uses of the Tamarisk tree. With this I would like to impart two lessons: The first is that every plant has a supreme virtue. The second is if we neglect to acknowledge our terrain with our avarice and arrogance mother earth will fight back.
1) THE TAMARISK TREE: HEALTH BENEFITS AND USES OF TWO TAMARISKS Monday, June 11, 2012 https://herbs-treatandtaste.blogspot.com/2012/06/tamarisk-tree-health-benefits-and-uses.html?m=1
2) Dust Bowl https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust_Bowl