The last posted letter correctly pointed out that Japanese Knotweed can be very invasive, although as a local farmer showed me, regular lawn mowing from the beginning of the season will keep it corralled within its allotted plot.
It’s too invasive to just plant as a miscellaneous vegetable; its real value lies in a post-TEOTWAWKI world where powerful mediations are hard to come by. Knotweed is the actual source of reversatrol, the natural phenol in red wine that adds years to your life despite lousy eating habits, keeps brain function sharp, and prevents all the nasty, chronic degenerative diseases of old age that we can no longer expect to have treatment for. Pick up a bottle of reversatrol at the health food store and look at the main ingredient: its Knotweed.
This stuff really works. There was a strain of skinny, healthy brown mice, who had plump blonde siblings separated by only a single different gene. The plump blondes died young of degenerative diseases similar to those of elderly humans: cancer, stroke, etc. Scientists then give both groups reversatrol, added to their mouse chow.
The fat, unhealthy blonde mice stayed as plump as ever, but now lived just as long and healthy lives as their skinny siblings.
Frenchmen from the Bordeaux region of France, famous for its black-red wines have the highest percentage of 100 year olds in Europe. They drink reversatrol every day.
So yes, planting Japanese knotweed is vital for long term survival in a grid-down situation. However, as others have aptly said, THINK FIRST! I’m planting mine near a water drainage swale along a driveway. They have their beloved sun and water, but have no place to go from there. The driveway blocks two sides, the forest blocks a third (too dark, they need at least partial sun), and a granite cliff blocks off the fourth side.
The medicinal part is in the roots, which are dug up and dried in the spring and the fall. The dose is one ounce of pulverized dried root boiled into a tea.
So make sure you grow them in an area you can access. I’ve got another perfect spot: a sunny, well watered pocket surrounded by deep forest and a road. But it’s too steep, and grubbing out roots on a steep hillside is my idea of how to get hurt. Roadsides with forest behind are the best, since they have nowhere to spread. In a TEOTWAWKI situation, you don’t have to worry much about car pollutants.
I believe that God allowed Japanese knotweed to spread all over the world as quickly as it has against the day our government medical systems fail us, to give us the medical care we need. Some herbs are taken to cure disease, others are to prevent disease and give you a long, healthy life.
To explore this yourself, read up on reversatrol.
May God lead each of you to those people and things He knows you and your family will need. – Johan D.
JWR Replies: Because Japanese Knotweed roots are so invasive, I would only feel safe growing the plant in a stout planting container such as a concrete or steel stock tank.