The Beautiful Yucca Blossoms Of The Desert
The Yucca Plant is the official State Flower of New Mexico. This beautiful succulent is a member of the Lily family with what seems an endless supply of white or purple flowers on very long stems. The leaves are very stiff and pointed with a tip like a sharp needle. In some cultures, this tip has been made into sewing needles for the busy homemaker. Extracts from the root of the Yucca are used by alternative practitioners. Its sap is used as a soap for skin conditions,and a shampoo for troubled hair that is balding or has other medical conditions. Some use it as a dietary supplement.
The Yucca Plant For Cleanliness
The root of this native plant of the Southwest has so many uses in an emergency. In any emergency, cleanliness is always an issue. When cleanliness is lacking, disease will flourish. So how do you use use the Yucca plant as soap? Join us in the adventure of desert soap making.
First you need to locate a small to medium Yucca growing on a hill, if possible. This makes it easier to miss the sharp needle ends. Then you dig up the root and peel back the bark until about an inch from the top. Cut off the top here and replant, much like you would a pineapple fruit. With the other end, you get a flat rock and pound the end till it flares out and it is ready. Wet your hands and rub with the root. Soon you will see soap suds in your hands. Wet the area you are washing and then apply the pounded root. Then rinse off well. Amazingly, you have now taken a bath with the help of the Yucca.
To make shampoo, you let the root dry out and pound to a powder. Then you wet your hair and apply some of the powder. Your hair will be clean, silky, and you will have used no chemicals. You also did not need to go buy Organic Shampoo without chemicals. This is yet another gift from the desert. What a beautiful answer to life's simple needs.
The Yucca Plant For Food
The beautiful bell shaped flowers mature in three parts that turn brown in the late summer. If you find yourself stranded in the desert, these small fruits are tasty and full of nourishment. They are often added to soups, as all parts of the Yucca must be cooked for safety.
The root of the Yucca, like potatoes, must be cooked. It is usually boiled until about half done and then drained, rinsed, and cooled. When cool enough to handle, slice like you would potatoes and fry. They are served as a side dish. They are usually only used as food in the Spanish countries and some isolated desert tribes. Since they are toxic when raw, most Americans avoid them. Just like potatoes, Yuccas can cause reactions in some people. Those who choose to eat them, say like potatoes, they are quite a tasty side dish on the table when cooked correctly.
Other Uses For The Yucca Plant
After the beautiful flowers are gone and the fruits have been eaten, there is a long stalk left on the plant. You can use the second year stalks that are not dry to start fires. just rub between your hands and they work quite well. The dry or dead stalks can be used like kindling to get the fire going strong.
Native American living in the desert also used the leaves for making belts and sandals. It can also be woven into cloth, used to make baskets, and even used in making ropes and belts. There seems to be no part that is not used by someone somewhere. What an amazing native desert plant.
This beautiful State Flower Of New Mexico is a wondrous sight blooming in the desert. But as you enjoy the beauty of this native desert succulent, think about all the other ways that this plant is used. No part is wasted in cultures that choose to use it's every part.
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