You Are What You Eat – Blog5

(261 Words)

Delicious and nutritious…and poisonous. Photo: Bonnie McBride

In keeping with the Monarch Butterfly pattern here, this week we’re looking at another solid source. MILKWEED: Medicine of Monarchs and Humans by Lindsay Stafford Mader.

The article gives a light overview on some history behind milkweed, human uses, monarch uses and a look at the effects and cause of milkweed decline. Rather than solely focusing on the Monarch’s need for milkweed as a food source, Stafford Mader also explores the connection between the cardenolides in milkweed and monarch butterflies. The cardenolides are responsible for the medicinal and toxic properties of milkweed. The same compound the makes milkweed lucrative to herbalists, is the reason monarchs exclusively lay their eggs on milkweed. The more cardenolides monarchs consume, the better their protection against predators.

Reliable Sources Beget Reliable Information

I can exclusively use these peer reviewed sources thanks to my abuse of the Fleming College Library’s research directory. Since we’re dealing with mainly the importance of milkweed as a food source for Monarch butterflies, our 2014 publication date is of little note. After a little snooping, I found that our Author du jour is ‘only’ a freelance writer. However if its good enough for Fleming’s peer reviewed directory, then I can only say: what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

The source here provides a novel look at milkweed and monarchs butterflies I haven’t seen yet. Kind of an “Eat the poison, become the poison” strategy.

I know the idea behind researching for school projects is to learn things, but I’m nevertheless surprised when I find myself learning something interesting.

And heres my name to say so.

D.A. Mills


Stafford Mader, L. (2014). MILKWEED: Medicine of Monarchs and Humans. HerbalGram, (101), 38–47. Retrieved from