Beet, Beta vulgaris rubra
The red table beet was not always the red table beet as we know it. It was first the sea beet, with a creamy white root. Back in the dark Ages, it grew in the marshes and swamps of the south Atlantic coasts of Europe, where many still grow today. It had a beautiful top of big shiny green leaves but most of the roots were white and skinny. Some roots were used medicinally for the liver. The beet leaves were gathered from the wild and used like spinach.
The original white-rooted beet was not edible for man, but cattle liked it very much. This was because it contained a goodly amount of sugar. This variety of beet was later developed into the sugar beet. The early pioneers brought the seeds from England. They imported machinery from England and Wales to refine the sugar from this beet in the intermountain West.
When I was a boy going to School in Sault Lake Country, we used to have a few days off in the spring to thin the beets and a few days in the fall to harvest the beets. One high school was known as the Beet Diggers and the other was known as the Farmers.
The red beet was taken from the swamp and planted in a flower garden. It became a decorative plant because it was variegated or had a tinge of red on the stem and the leaf. Through cultivation, the beet developed tender leaves and a red bulbous root. The whole plant was very edible. As the beet grew to be a part of the vegetable garden, the less it was thought of as a medicinal herb.
In an herb class I attended, a lady told about her brother who some years ago had a liver condition. He had a pain on his right side up under his rib. He felt sluggish and out –of-sorts. His digestion was off and he didn’t care much about food, which was very different for him
He went to the doctor a few times but things didn’t change much. Then he didn’t go to work anymore. He just laid around the house. The mother really started to worry and she said, “I’ll bet that boy has a liver problem. It’s time to do some old time doctor’n.” She said her mother gave him a good physic to clean him out. Then she made him up a mess of beet greens and dandelions. Then the mother chopped up a couple of beets really fine and put a lot of lemon juice on them. She said her brother didn’t feel good enough to argue so he just ate them.
About the midnight the mother was moan’n and groan’n and he had a fever. The mother said, “ I think I over-doctored him.” They gave him some hot peppermint tea andkept him covered good so he would sweat. By the next day he felt pretty good and two days later he went back to work feeling fine. Red beets are very good for the liver. Some companies make powdered beets and powdered beet juice to clean out the liver, the spleen and the pancreas. Remember, don’t overdo!
In Hungary, a Dr. Ferenczi has had a lot of success in treating cancers and tumors with raw red beets. Beets and especially beet juices are very cleansing to the body. Because it is so cleansing it sometimes loosens or breaks up toxins faster than the liver can handle them and the problem gets worse. Beets are very nutritious. Hey contain a lot of iron, potassium, calcium, chloride, phosphorus, silicon, sodium and sulfur. They also have vitamins A, B, C, and G. The red beet, like the sugar beet, contains beet sugar.
Eat the beet greens, they are good for you, and they are delicious. I have a simple salad dressing that makes them taste great. One part apple cider vinegar, one part soy sauce and three parts olive oil. Try it. Borscht is a Russian cold beet soup that is made in many ways. It is very good and good for you. Make some, you’ll like it.