DIY







Seasonal Gardening: A Plant Cures AIDS, Used Tea Bags and Saltwater Tomatoes

The Seasons of the Garden column shares seasonal gardening news briefs on a plant that may cure AIDS, using your used tea bags helps stimulate plant-growth and growing better tomatoes by watering with diluted seawater.

| September/October 1988

The Seasons of the Garden column shares seasonal gardening information and tips with MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers. 

Seasonal Gardening: A Plant Cures AIDS, Used Tea Bags and Saltwater Tomatoes

THE ONGOING SEARCH FOR AN anti-AIDS drug leads scientists down some bizarre trails. One current path of research involves an Australian rain forest tree, the Moreton Bay chestnut. Laboratory tests at the National Cancer Institute show that castanospermine, a chemical extracted from the tree's seeds, prevents the AIDS virus from killing healthy cells.

At the same time, Dr. James A. Duke, a botanist with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service, is trying to raise the exotic chestnut (it's actually a legume) as an ornamental houseplant. "The plant looks somewhat like the popular Benjamin fig except the leaves are slightly larger and glossier," Duke says. It does well under fluorescent lights, needs little maintenance and will grow about six feet high in a container. (It can tower over 100 feet in its native environment.)

Assuming that both the NCI anti-AIDS testing and Dr. Duke's container-training efforts continue to go well, will home gardeners start raising AIDS remedies on their windowsills? Will there be a rush for Moreton Bay seeds, similar to the peach pit collecting craze back when Laetrile was touted as a cancer cure? Not likely, according to Duke. "The seed should not be chewed because it contains toxins in its natural state. The castanospermine is extracted by water and purified with chromatography."



Oh, well. Still, you have to admit that having the source of a possible anti-AIDS drug posing graciously in your home would be a great conversation piece!

Seasonal Gardening Research Briefs

Try tea and see. Don't throw out used tea bags-tear them open and spread the contents around garden plants! Tea leaves contain triacontanol and, according to Indian chemists, very tiny amounts of this potent plant-growth stimulator in the soil can produce significant increases in crop yields.






mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: September 14-16, 2018
Seven Springs, PA

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE









Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard