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Flora of Covington

Flora of Covington: Mexican Primrose-Willow

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Mexican Primrose-willow growing wild along the Trace behind Lola’s Restaurant, Covington, LA

You may have spotted this plant growing wild along ditches and woodlines, its bright yellow flowers standing out against dark green narrow leaves, with crimson highlights along its branches and stems. Blooming this time of year, its flowers resemble those of the buttercup, or the closely related evening primrose.

Bob Peterson; Jupiter Ridge Natural Area, Jupiter, FL

The Mexican primrose-willow (Ludwigia octovalvis) is an adaptable wildflower found in Central America, Australia, South-East Asia, the Middle East, and the Central-West African regions. It is considered invasive in some Pacific Islands. Here in the US it is prolific in the southeastern region. It is a perennial deciduous shrub in the evening primrose family (Onagraceae), growing 3 – 6 feet tall.

A water-lover, the Mexican primrose-willow can be found along muddy embankments or floating in adjacent or shallow waters. For this reason it is cultivated as an aquatic plant. It is also called a narrow-leaf water primrose.

Mexican Primrose-willow or Water Primrose growing in a shallow pond by John Robert McPherson, 7th Brigade Park, Australia

Ludwigia octovalvis – a Drink to Longevity?

Mexican Primrose-willow has long been toted for its medicinal uses in indigenous cultures, specifically for its purported anti-aging effects. A study done on fruit flies and lab mice showed significant promise to this effect, noting the plants’ “high levels of polyphenols and flavonoids, which possess strong DPPH radical scavenging activity”. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Other studies indicate that the digestive enzyme inhibitors from Ludwigia octovalvis can be beneficial in treatments for obesity and diabetes. The Mexican primrose-willow is also known for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties, as well as its use as a gastrointestinal aid and as a diuretic, of which many studies have been done.

General Healthy Living

The World of Living Foods & Beverages: Our Place Studio’s Share the Health Series

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Kombucha, Kefir Water, Shrub & Bitters are all available from Kombucha Girl Living Beverages at the Covington Farmers Market

Kombucha, Kefir Water, Shrub & Bitters are all available from Kombucha Girl Living Beverages at the Covington Farmers Market

by Susan Tarasova and Nanette Schoenewe

A living beverage is one that has been produced in such a way that the healthy enzymatic activity and microbial life of the particular beverage is retained and even enhanced. Living beverages include cultured and fermented beverages such as yoghurt, kefir, kvass, jun, and Kombucha. Raw or “live” foods are foods that are either a) raw or b) have been minimally “cooked” at such a low temperature as to insure that their essential nutrients and enzymes are not compromised.
Fermentation, which is part of the living beverage process, is the oldest method of food preservation, and when executed properly can yield products with an actual increase in nutrients, bioavailability of vitamins and minerals, and probiotic life. These probiotic microbes help aid in proper digestion, protect our systems from pathogens, help detoxify harmful compounds, produce vitamins and nutrients, and are essential in maintaining a healthy immune system. When pathogens (harmful micro organisms) out number probiotics (life-supporting micro organisms) we become more prone to disease. The main causes of microbial imbalances include stress, antibiotics, and as recent research is proving, pesticides found in our (non-organic) food and environment. Needless to say, we can all benefit from some form of probiotic supplementation.
Raw foods (all vegan – i.e., plants, nuts, and seeds only) can be combined in countless combinations of flavors, even made into sauces and dough, dehydrated or simply mixed and enjoyed, and are more easily digested by the body, retain their nutrients, vitamins and full fiber content. Nanette Schoenewe of Nourished by Nanette, a raw food catering service, recommends a reasonable goal of 70% raw in our diet. Remember everyone…salads are raw! Just watch what you put on them for extra flavor – think herbs, lemon juice, even vinegars and avoid highly processed food products.
Kombucha Girl Living Beverages produces three main probiotic-rich brews: kombucha, water kefir, and kvass.
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Water Kefir – High-mineral water kefir can serve as an excellent broad-spectrum probiotic supplement. It contains approximately 30 different strains of probiotics. In addition to probiotics, the beneficial components also include B-vitamins (especially B-12 and folic acid), enzymes, and minerals.
Kvass is traditionally made from rye bread, but there are variations using fruits and vegetables. Kvass is probiotic-rich and the nutrients found in whatever fruit or vegetable is being fermented become more bioavailable as a result of the fermentation process.
Susan Tarasova, owner and kombucha girl of Kombucha Girl Living Beverages, sells her products every Saturday at the Covington Farmers Market. In addition to these probiotic beverages, KGLB also offers hand-crafted shrub and bitters. Check out the weekly Kombucha Girl Living Beverage newsletter on their Facebook page every Wednesday for the complete Living Beverage Menu and other information regarding their products. Nanette Schoenewe of Nourished by Nanette also sells her delicious raw food wraps, dips, “pastas” (made with veggies!) salads and other raw treats at the Wednesday and Saturday markets.