June 2018
The Herb Lady

Memories of Sour Grass

I began to write this story several days ago. Its creation was interrupted by the death of a very dear cousin. Yesterday, two of my three sons and I journeyed from Mobile to Troy for her funeral. The sons talked and I listened.

I was also constantly aware of various wild flowers and other plants along the way. I believe there was a constant growth of sour grass every foot of the way.

Actually, this was a trip down memory lane. We ate lunch at The Chicken Shack in Luverne. From there, we traveled through Glenwood and on to Henderson. As we passed Charles Henderson Grammar School (the building is long gone, but I saw it in my mind’s eye), I imagined young Nadine there during recess eating sour grass; then on past Hopewell Cemetery (plenty of sour grass there) and past the house I grew up in. (The house is gone but again it was there in my mind’s eye.) And then on to Troy.

Sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella) is better known as sour grass. As I write this, unplowed fields along the roadsides are adorned with the red flowering of this very beneficial herb. Each year, as this happens, I am carried back in memory to my grade-school years.

My school days began in September 1936. I attended Charles Henderson Grammar School, located in the Henderson community of Pike County. There are many memories of this long-gone but not-forgotten place where I learned my ABCs and read about Dick and Jane.

Each spring, around Easter time, the school yard produced a crop of the wonderful plant called "sour grass." Each recess, we children enjoyed eating it. Did we wash it first? Of course not. And no one worried about germs. Today’s society would be all bent out of shape if their child ate something without washing it first. However, no one thought about it during my childhood days.

Years later, I became an herbalist. Soon I began to hear about a product called Essiac Tea. Thanks to a nurse named Rene Caisse (that is Essiac spelled backwards), many cancer victims were treated and benefitted by taking a mixture containing sour grass. This mixture is now available in a capsule form and simply named "E-Tea."

The story goes that Rene Cassie was given the tea in 1922 by an Indian medicine man who claimed it would purify and balance her body. She recovered from breast cancer and lived to age 90. She also treated many others with this tea and had outstanding results.

In 2000, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Its growth was discovered at a very early stage and was surgically removed. Before I was diagnosed, I began to take one capsule of E-Tea daily. I continue to take this as a precautionary measure. I have had no further indications of cancer.

E-Tea capsules contain burdock root, sheep sorrel herb, turkey rhubarb root and slippery elm bark.

Consult with your doctor before taking alternatives.



Nadine Johnson can be reached at PO Box 7425, Spanish Fort, AL 36577, by calling 251-644-5473, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


November 2018