The knowledge of medicinal plants possessed by our ancestors could provide valuable insights into treating various illnesses, including cancer. However, relying solely on personal experiences passed down through generations may not suffice in today’s world. The scientific community demands empirical evidence, but funding is often limited and dependent on corporate sponsorships as plants from nature cannot be patented, so there’s less corporate interest here.
Occasionally, unexpected sources can offer proof of a plant’s medicinal value. One such instance involves a traditional recipe and plant that gained recognition through a high school Native American student’s efforts at the International Science Fair in Los Angeles. According to Indian Country Today, Destany “Sky” Pete, a member of the Shoshone and Paiute Tribes from the Duck Valley Indian Reservation in Idaho and Nevada, discovered that the tribe’s current health issues stemmed from a lack of traditional foods, including the forgotten recipe for toishabui or chokecherry pudding.
After discovering the potential health benefits of chokecherry pudding, including its cancer-killing properties, Sky decided to conduct an experiment to verify these claims. She enlisted the help of biochemistry professor Dr. Ken Cornell at Boise State University, who specializes in cancer cell research.
Dr. Cornell tested four types of chokecherry specimens on uterine sarcoma cancer cells, and only one sample – the traditional chokecherry pudding – successfully inhibited cancer cell growth. Within just 24 hours, the cancer cells began to die. Sky noted that the success of the pudding was due to the inclusion of the crushed chokecherry pits, which were a critical component of the recipe.
The community celebrated this breakthrough, as it proved the efficacy of another herb in treating cancer. Sky’s experiment earned the First Grand Prize at the 2017 Elko County Science Fair in Nevada, surpassing over 440 other projects. She plans to continue her research by testing other types of cancer cells for a longer period.
Sky expressed her belief that our ancestors were healthier because of the foods they consumed, and that modern-day health issues, such as diabetes, stem from a lack of traditional foods in our diets.
“It was the traditional preparation of toishabui with the crushed seeds that had the results,” Sky said.
“I feel like our ancestors were really healthy. Nowadays, we’re prone to diabetes and other diseases. But back then, it was our food that made us healthy,” Sky said.
Chokeberry – The Cancer Killing Fruit
Chokecherry is a North American tree that produces small, antioxidant-rich fruits that ripen in late summer. The tiny pits of these fruits have been shown to have cancer-fighting properties. Unfortunately, the pits have been largely forgotten, and the most popular recipe for chokecherry, chokecherry jam, requires the pits to be discarded. To revive the traditional medicinal use of the chokecherry, it is important to use the whole fruit, including the pits. One traditional recipe is chokecherry pudding, which includes crushed up seeds. While chokecherry seeds contain a small amount of a cyanide-like substance, it is safe to eat in small amounts, and cooking the pudding eliminates the risk. Other ways to enjoy chokecherries include making fruit leather, jam, or juice.
Chokeberry Pudding Recipe
Although the recipe for chokecherry pudding may have variations among different tribes, the key factor is to use the entire chokecherry fruit, along with the pits. It is essential to note that chokecherry is distinct from black cherry and other types of cherries, and attempting the recipe with a different fruit may result in different health benefits and possible risks.
According to Sky, the conventional approach to making chokecherry pudding involves crushing the seed of the chokecherry. However, in modern times, some individuals extract the seeds while juicing the berry. Sky believes that the seed may have medicinal properties that contribute to overall well-being.
Here is a recipe from Idaho State University’s website:
- Select fresh chokeberries from the tree.
- Rinse the berries and put them on a hard cutting surface, preferably stone (a stone mortar may be useful, and some people utilize a meat grinder to grind the pits).
- Crush the pits and berries together.
- Put the crushed mixture into a small pot of boiling water and boil until the water’s color changes.
- Add flour to the pot until the mixture reaches the consistency of a runny pudding.
- Add sugar according to taste and stir.
- Remove from heat, allow it to cool, and enjoy.
What About the Cyanide in Chokecherry Pudding?
As with any medicinal material, it’s important to remember that “the dose makes the poison.” Chokecherry seeds do contain a small amount of a cyanide-like substance, but it’s safe to eat them in small amounts. In fact, like apple seeds, they may even have medicinal properties. However, ingesting too many could become a health risk, so it’s always best to consult a naturopathic doctor if you have any concerns.
Fortunately, there’s no need to worry about cyanide in chokecherry pudding. The crushed chokecherry pits become completely safe as the pudding boils, so you can enjoy the medicinal benefits of the fruit without any risk. And if you’re just looking to enjoy the taste, you can always make fruit leather, jam, or juice, or buy chokecherry jelly online.
Get Chokeberry powder on amazon here. Get Chokeberry extract on amazon here.
Please note: Chokeberry is also known as aroniaberry. This article is not meant to treat or cure any diesease.
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