The Power of Perennials

A true super-food blend, I am particularly proud of our Perennial Greens Powder because, as the head gardener at Dr. Cowan’s Garden, it has been my task during the past year to plant and nurture these plants (except for the moringa leaves).  Our tree collards are heading into their third year, and after making peace with the gophers, we now have healthy, robust, vibrant plants that should be with us for many years.  
What else is in our Perennial Greens Powder?
The moringa tree, also called the Drumstick tree, is native to India.In Ayurvedic medicine, moringa leaves are reputed to cure more than 300 diseases.The Leaf for Life project features moringa leaf powder as the most likely candidate to reverse malnutrition.
The reason is that moringa leaf is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on earth. It is one of the very few plants to contain all eight essential amino acids, and it is loaded with calcium, magnesium, carotenoids, iron and other essential nutrients.Studies have shown that the daily consumption of moringa leaf powder lowers fasting blood sugar, reduces inflammation/CRP levels, reduces allergic symptoms and is rich in anti-oxidants.To top it off, moringa trees are known to be effective water purifiers, reducing pathogens and toxins in the surrounding water.The moringa leaf in our Perennial Greens blend comes from our friend Kyle, who harvests it from the Sonoran Desert.
Tree collards are a perennial brassicas (the family of kale, cabbage, collard greens, etc) native to the African continent.  Somehow, the tree collard plant has essentially forgotten how to go to seed, so it continues to grow into a woody, bushy “tree” for about 12 to 20 years.   During its entire life span, it puts out nutritious, flavorful, leaves on its many side shoots.  The soil around the bushes is where we bury our valuable eggshells, as tree collards are a voracious consumer of calcium.
The leaves of the tree collard develop a purplish hue, which is a primary characteristic of plants that are rich in the healthiest phytonutrients.   Like other brassicas, tree collard leaves are rich in sulforophanes, the chemical thought to be responsible for their cancer-prevention effect.   Like many perennial vegetables, tree collards are rich in minerals, which they mine with their deep roots.
All of the tree collards in our Perennial Greens blend come directly from our Napa garden.  They are one of my favorite plants, a wonderful food, and beneficial for the entire garden organism, as they stands like a sentinel over the surrounding beds. 
Gynura procumbens is another perennial green, this one native to the islands of Japan.   Its other names, “Okinawan spinach” and “longevity spinach,” give a picture of its many health benefits.  Grown as one of the main greens on the island of Okinawa, a people renowned for their health and longevity, gynura grows like a vine. Unlike most vines, however, the stems are brittle and don’t twine well.   As a result, they are best pruned when they are the size of a small bush, which is nice because it’s the time the leaves are the most nutritious.
Gynura perhaps gains its super-food status because of its ability to counteract diabetes and reduce elevated blood sugar.   Shown to be as effective as the front-line diabetic drug metformin (with none of the side effects), gynura also lowers blood pressure and LDL cholesterol.
All of the gynura in our Perennial Greens blend was grown in our Napa garden.  We start with cuttings, add mineral-rich compost, fish meal and azomite to the soil, and give it some extra water from time to time.
The final ingredient in our Perennial Greens Powder is malabar, or Ceylon, spinach.   As the name suggests, malabar is native to the Indian subcontinent and is actually not a true spinach.  What it is, though, is a perennial, robust, twining vine that loves the heat.   When all the other greens have gone to seed in the heat of the summer, Malabar starts to take off.  It produces abundant fleshy leaves with a sweet, succulent flavor.   The plant is so vigorous that if we are away for three days in the summer, it will have grown about three to four feet upon our return.   The vines get up to about 20 to 30 feet high in a summer, die back with the frost and return with the heat of the following summer.
Like okra, malabar spinach is rich in soluble fibers, which have a soothing, healing effect on the GI tract.  Anyone with any kind of bowel challenge will find that consuming malabar leaves is a valuable addition to their diet.   All of the malabar leaves in our powder come from either our Napa Garden or Ben’s farm, a certified organic farmer in Vacaville that we work with.
 This is a unique product, grown, tended, harvested and processed with care and love. We hope you love it as much as we do.

In health,
Tom Cowan, M.D.

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