Yesterday I discussed my fears of the Apiaceae family, Sumac has been another of my fears. Anyone who has ever ventured out into the wilderness has heard of the agony inspiring triad of poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. But, I’ve been researching my finds and am confident that this stuff with its fruity red spike is not the poisonous variety. The poisonous stuff has white berries.
This one here is Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) and its fruity spikes are known as drupes. The fruit is high in vitamin C and therefore tastes lemony. It is common to make a lemonade substitute from the Sumac berries, because if you’re in the Northeast like me, this stuff grows all around you and lemons come from far away.
Sumac is also sold as a spice made from the dried, seeded and ground fruit. It is commonly found in Middle Eastern markets and is in the spice mix za’atar. Read more about making your own sumac spice here.
Prior to this endeavor of mine, I knew almost nothing other than the berries tasted like lemon and that sumac was also a spice. It is not commonly used as a modern botanical medicine, but I found an excellent article from an Iowa herbalist discussing sumac’s many benefits from various parts of the plant. Check it out here: http://deernationherbs.com/tag/rhus-typhina/
Jen Williamson, ND is a native of Buffalo, New York who earned her Bachelor of Science at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania and a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona. While in medical school, she became very involved in the student community, most notably as the President of the Student Government Association. For her service, upon graduation she was given the Outstanding Leadership Award.
In the spirit of Docere, the Naturopathic principle of the doctor’s role as teacher, Dr. Williamson was an adjunct professor in the Complementary and Alternative Therapies program at Daemen College. She has had articles in a variety of publications, includingNaturopathic Doctor News and Review, SheKnows.com, local Buffalo magazines and papers, as well as her own newsletter, blog and website. While practicing in Buffalo, she also offered over 30 different classes to the public at various events and locations.
In 2012, Dr. Williamson moved to Vermont to expand her practice of Naturopathic Medicine as well as provide an atmosphere that resonates with her medicine for her son, Victor, and husband, David. As a Primary Care Physician at Avalon Natural Medicine, Dr. Williamson focuses on mental/emotional, gastrointestinal, and endocrine disorders. Most of her treatment plans include a combination of nutritional, herbal and homeopathic remedies, but she has also received additional training in Hair Trace Mineral Analysis and Bowel Nosodes.