Live Oak Acorn Proving (Quercus Agrifolia Agrifolia)

 

The Acorn, in a nutshell

 California Live Oak acorns (Quercus agrifolia agrifolia). This is the tree we collected our acorns from.

California Live Oak acorns (Quercus agrifolia agrifolia). This is the tree we collected our acorns from.

Nuts and Bolts
Etymology
The English word “acorn” originates from German and when pronounced sounds a bit similar to the Dutch word “eichen” which means “oak.” “Ak” means “oak” and “corn” means “seed”; thus, “acorn” means “oak seed.” The oak is a symbol of strength, loyalty, and renewal.

Botany
Acorns are the nut of any broad-leaved shrub or tree of the genus Quercus, the largest group in the Fagaceae or beech family (which includes includes beeches and chestnuts, along with oaks). Worldwide, there are at least a total of about 600 species of oak. Oaks are spread mainly through temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, with smaller numbers in higher elevations of the Andes Mountains and the mountains of New Guinea in the Southern Hemisphere. North America contains the most species, with approximately 90 that are native to the United States, and 160 that in Mexico. About 100 varieties of oaks are native to China. The British Isles have two native species.

Acorns are made of a nut and a cap, or involucre. The nut develops from the ovary of the female flower. According to the Encyclopedia Americana Vol. 20, 1988: “The young ovary normally has three carpels, each of which bears two or three ovules. Only one of the ovules ripens into a nut; the others abort and remain associated with the integument of the functional ovule. Thus the mature nut is one-celled and one-seeded.” Depending on the species, acorns take between 6 and 24 months to mature.


The California Live Oak or Coast Live Oak (Quercus Agrifolia)
This evergreen oak—from which we took the acorns for this proving—grows in California west of the coast ranges from southern Mendocino County all the way south into northern Baja. The live oak ranges from sea level to 4,000 feet and can grow to a height of 100 feet. It prefers river basins.

 

 

 Oak Woodlands, Santa Rosa, CA

Oak Woodlands, Santa Rosa, CA

Oaks as a Keystone Species
Oaks are a key provider of homes and food for many creatures. Mature oak groves can yield over 6,000 pounds of acorns per acre, which is comparable to yields of cultivated grains. One oak tree can produce between 200 – 300 pounds of acorns. Oak forests offer some of California’s most diverse wildlife habitats, and their acorns are a plentiful and reliable source of food, particularly in winter when other food sources are unavailable. Over 100 species of birds live in oak habitats during breeding season. Thirty-five percent of California’s land mammals depend on oaks. California’s deer herds are particularly dependent on oak habitats. Acorns are eaten by various creatures: insects such as acorn weevils; several species of birds including wild turkeys, ducks, woodpeckers, jays, quail, and crows; small mammals such as raccoons, possums, squirrels, mice, and other rodents also eat acorns; larger mammals including bears, deer, foxes, wild hogs… and even humans…

Humans Eating Acorns? Nutty or NUTritious?
Balanophagy
Acorns are nutritious not only for many species of animals, but also humans. There is actually a word that means “eating acorns”: balanophagy! In the Native American and Korean cultures, acorns are a regular dietary feature. In Japan during World War II, school children collected acorns to help feed the population as food supplies were running out. Studies of human life during the Paleolithic era point to acorns as a primary source of food for hunter-gatherers. Native Americans relied heavily on acorns as a food source. It is relatively easy to collect the nuts: One person can gather up to a few hundred pounds in an hour. Without much trouble, an entire village would be able to collect and store enough acorns to last them through the winter season.

Nutritional benefits
One pound (454 grams) of shelled acorn nuts contain about 1,265 calories in the form of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. As an example, white oak or Quercus alba acorn contains:
50.4% carbohydrates
34.7% water
4.7% fat
4.4.% protein
4.2% fiber
1.6% ash
Minerals: Calcium, phosphorus, potassium, niacin (vitamin B3), and vitamin C.

Toxic Tannins
Acorn poisoning
Most acorns contain bitter, astringent tannins that make them inedible unless they are processed. Not that anyone would eat an acorn before it has been leached of its tannins because unprocessed acorns are very bitter and astringent… However, should someone be poisoned by acorns, they will experience abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation, bloody diarrhea, and/or hemorrhagic colitis.

How acorns are made safe to eat
Tannins must be leached out of the acorns. Commonly, shelled acorns are put through repeated rinsing in water, or boiling and rinsing until the tannins are removed. The tannins themselves have been used as antivirals, anti-tumors, antiseptics, and astringents. The mold that grows on acorns has antibiotic properties.

Once treated, acorns can be eaten raw, roasted, or boiled, and have been used to make mush, flour, soup, coffee, cakes, and oil.

Ecology and Sustainability
Out of a total of more than 500 species worldwide, there are at least 78 types of wild oak that are in danger of extinction. There are many causes for this: Pathogens (sudden oak death, oak wilt), suppression of fire, increasing animal populations, including livestock, that eat acorns, exotic pests, changes in land use, invasion of pines, and climate change. That acorns are such a plentiful and nutritious food source means it may only be a matter of time before full-on harvesting becomes common in the near future, and this could significantly impact the health of oak forest ecosystems.

The Creation of the Live Oak Acorn Remedy:
We collected from a live oak tree in Sonoma County, CA. The tree is growing on Harmony Farm Supply and Nursery’s property. Steve McPhee, an employee from identified the tree for us as Quercus Agrifolia Agrifolia; it is not a hybridized version of live oak. The Helios homeopathic pharmacy in the UK made a remedy from the acorns we sent them.

 

 The Acorns Tamara collected and sent to Helios

The Acorns Tamara collected and sent to Helios

 The Live Oak Tree from which the Acorns were collected.

The Live Oak Tree from which the Acorns were collected.

Proving Themes
The following are themes we noticed in this proving. They showed up in the form of polarities:
Mental clarity vs. Confusion
Calmness/Relaxation vs. Anger
Connection / Self-expression vs Disconnection / Withdrawal / Detachment / Reticence

Mental clarity vs. Confusion:
Mental clarity
Mind, Introspection    
Mind, Introspection, awareness of surroundings, with
Mind, Thoughts, clearness of mind

Confusion
Mind, memory, weakness, loss of; put objects, for where he has
Mind, Concentration, difficult, attempting to, on
Mind, Dullness of
Mind, Irresolution, indecision
Mind, Thoughts, collect, cannot
Mind, Thoughts, disconnected
Mind, Thoughts, distracted
Mind, Thoughts, Dullness; alternating with clearness of mind

#1 More laid back…I am always calm and very patient with kids and everyone.

#2 Mind feeling focused; conscious of everything; "tuned in."

#4 I felt a bit tired, like I was in a fog. I still feel a bit that way. A bit uneasy.

#3 I do have a sense of calm- which is not unusual but it's been some time since it's occurred. After doses one and two, I begin to feel a sense of calm. Almost as if I could manage stressful or bothersome situations and deal with them without overreaction or irritation. I feel as if I'm better able to decipher a problem and solve it without over-emotion. Still maintaining a high threshold for situations that irritate me.

#3 A little mentally fatigued due to lack of sleep from the previous night, but mind still clear.

#4 Dream: Top of building was our home. I think. Wedding plans, I think for my cousin who is getting married next week. My sister in bathroom brushing her long hair. Saw my Aunt in elevator; haven’t seen her for many years. My maternal grandmother later in the elevator; passed several years ago. I also recall from the dream having difficulty seeing. I had my glasses on, but was struggling to focus.

#6 …It actually feels grounding. It’s not even righteous. It’s just simply there and I know it’s a part of me and that feels totally natural. All of this is so new.    

Calmness / Relaxation vs. Anger:
Calmness / Relaxation
Mind, Relaxed feeling, letting go
Mind, Tranquility, serenity, calmness
Mind, Tranquility, serenity, calmness, settled, centered and grounded
Anger
Mind, Anger, family, toward
Mind, Censorious, critical
Mind, Confrontational
Mind, Cursing, driving a car, while
Mind, Intolerance
Mind, Irritability, people, with
Mind, Mood, alternating

#1 Dream: I lost my bag. My phone and house keys were in it. I was not angry. I took it lightly. I got lost myself.

#1 I was feeling angered by people I love around me.

#2 I'm just thankful for lots of daily moments my family, friends, work, life, joy, laughter, happiness this moment. I know we all have "our thing." But life is good I am blessed.

#3 I do have a sense of calm- which is not unusual but it's been some time since it's occurred. After doses one and two, I begin to feel a sense of calm. Almost as if I could manage stressful or bothersome situations and deal with them without overreaction or irritation. I feel as if I'm better able to decipher a problem and solve it without over-emotion. Still maintaining a high threshold for situations that irritate me.

#3 Woke up with a sense of calm. My thoughts were clear about my agenda for today. No indecisiveness.

#5 Car full of young people who honked and flipped me off—the way she shifted between finger up, then beckoning gesture (using her fingers to indicate “come on baby, bring it on”)—I was stunned and shocked that someone would actually pick a fight with me. Was she asking me to pull over so we could actually fight? I imagined the roadside scene for a second, being face to face, screaming at each other. When I had a chance to honk back and scream and flip her off in response, she seemed gratified and excited. I kept thinking how strange it is that someone would deliberately try to incite violence, especially with some old lady in a beat up old Honda.

#6 Maybe it is a proving symptom—my feelings feel intense. I feel very anti-social—the idea of talking to just about anyone right now seems almost unbearable. I feel like this saturation comes over me not uncommonly in my life, but this feels more like active pushing away from the idea of relating with anyone. At night, I can feel very scattered and frightened. This feeling has an angry, irritable edge to it. … Tonight, nothing sounds good to do except maybe to take a walk by myself.

Connection / Self-expression vs. Disconnection / Withdrawal / Detachment / Reticence:
Connection / Self-expression
Mind, Communicative, expansive alternates w/ taciturn
Mind, Connection, desire for
Mind, Connection, feeling of
Mind, Contact, desire for reality and real people
Mind, delusions, imaginations, connected, everything is
Mind, Seen, wants to be
Mind, Activity, desire for, creative
Mind, Direct, open, blunt
Mind, Honest
Mind, Writing, desire for

Disconnection / Withdrawal / Detachment / Reticence
Mind, Alone
Mind, Company, aversion to
Mind, Detached
Mind, Detached, relationships, from emotional
Mind, Disgust
Mind, Escape, desire to
Mind, Irritability, alone, desires to be
Mind, Irritability, company agg
Mind, Quiet, wants to be
Mind, Taciturn, indisposed to talk

#5 I felt more enthusiasm about the ideas themselves and the content I was preparing to teach today, more than I have felt in a long while. I was energized, inexplicably, by the prospect of conveying this info. to students, whereas recently I have felt burdened and tired by the same endeavors, as a general rule. I was enthused and on a roll in a way that I have not been lately, and it felt as though I had taken an anti-depressant.

#6 Last night, I did speak pretty clearly to Mac about some feelings I have been having about one of our old dynamics. It is hard for me to share feelings like that, clearly and nonviolently (from the perspective of how I’m feeling). But last night it felt necessary and respectful to both of us to be honest with him.

#5 I was surprised that a friend was so willing to open up and divulge her true feelings, after she had sort of cut me off and semi-attacked me. It was like a reminder that things are not objective. What seems separate is actually connected. Things don’t happen randomly. As she described what she was feeling, it felt intimately familiar, as if she were describing how I have felt so often lately.

#1 Later that night, I was super quiet and made no conversation at work. I am usually interactive, loud and most of the time silly and laughing for no reason.

#1 I felt annoyed by people around me. I didn't want to be around anyone, my family or friends.

#5 I walked on the cliffs and down to the beach. As I walked and passed people going the opposite direction, I made a greater-than-usual effort to look everyone in the face and smile. When people smiled back and showed some delight at being smiled at, it felt so good—almost euphoric—that we could connect and appreciate each others’ kind politeness. When people would not look at me at all and pass me without smiling or even acknowledging me, I had flashbacks to the woman/driver who flipped me off; I saw a similar phenomenon in them—the city-anger thing—and the contrast was striking, compared to people who responded kindly. HYPERSENITIVITY to other people’s moods and stuckness and inability to relate.
New sensation: Wanting to relate/connect and feeling hurt when people can’t. Not personally hurt, not “oh poor me,” but hurt for the world, that people are so unable to connect in kindness.

#5 Went to a performance dinner event; felt suddenly very tired as I was driving over there. When I arrived, I immediately felt uncomfortable and wanted to flee. I didn’t like the twang of the instruments—its sound was unnerving to me. I didn’t like almost every person I noticed. I was completely shut down and not open to anyone. I was feeling like I didn’t want anything to do with the energy there, the kind of energy all those structures conveyed. All the paint colors, all the teepees—something in me said NO to it all. All the paint colors, all the teepees—something in me said NO to it all. No appreciation, no affinity, no connection, no I wouldn’t do it that way, no I could never live here, no I would grow more food if I had this flat, sunny property, no no no. Even stronger “no” inside the house, gazing at all the paint colors on all the walls. Too gaudy. No.

#1 Some days I was numbed. I just felt the day was passing by me.

#5 I’ve been thinking that I am on an emotional see-saw since taking the remedy. One day I’m uplifted, the next day I hate everything and want to get away from whatever it is.

#5 I feel connected to those who turn toward me and connect with me, when they shine towards me. That feeling of uplift is refreshing and wonderful. I’ve been down so long. By contrast, I felt extremely alienated by those who do not seem to shine. It’s as if I see a sub-surface layer now, and I am repulsed by anything that is not genuine. I also notice extreme attitude reversal (anti-euphoria) when I think hard about an upcoming situation.
I am noticing my craziness more. This all seems to fit the theme of hypersensitivity. But it’s hypersensitivity of a rather spiritual sort. It is really illuminating. I love being forced into awareness of both connections and disconnects, of genuineness.

#6 Maybe it is a proving symptom—my feelings feel intense. I feel very anti-social—the idea of talking to just about anyone right now seems almost unbearable. I feel like this saturation comes over me not uncommonly in my life, but this feels more like active pushing away from the idea of relating with anyone. At night, I can feel very scattered and frightened. This feeling has an angry, irritable edge to it. … Tonight, nothing sounds good to do except maybe to take a walk by myself.

#6 I still feel distant from people and rather cranky this evening.

 

Rubrics

Click here for the full list of Rubrics.

 

 

Bibliography

Acorns: The Inside Story by Green Dean
http://www.eattheweeds.com/acorns-the-inside-story/

Acorns — The California Indian staff of life by Michael K. Lerch
http://www.dorothyramon.org/acornstaff.html
 
Is Reintroducing Acorns into the Human Diet a Nutty Idea? By Dawn Starin
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-reintroducing-acorns-into-the-human-diet-a-nutty-idea/

Acorns and Eat ‘em
http://www.californiaoaks.org/ExtAssets/acorns_and_eatem.pdf

Acorn (Wikipedia)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acorn

Oak (Wiki)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oak

Keystone Species
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keystone_species

Indians 101: Acorns
http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/1055

The Acorn
Encyclopedia Americana Vol. 20, 1988

Acorn poisoning: Introduction
http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/a/acorn_poisoning/intro.htm