Best CBD Capsules & Pills - Buyer's Guide (Update for 2021)
By Annamarie Meli
It's no wonder that CBD is quickly becoming one of the most popular products on the market for self-care, managing stress, and helping improve your overall health and wellbeing. Its reputed benefits range from helping you get a better night's sleep to help prevent and shorten epileptic seizures. But, despite the many benefits, not everyone likes using CBD oils. CBD can have rather a strong flavor after all, and eating oils mixed into your food can slow absorption.
One of the best and most popular alternatives to CBD oils are CBD capsules and pills. Small, swallowable, and flavor-free. They give you a lot of dosage control and can often be an easier and more pleasant option. CBD capsules and pills can also be used in situations where a cream or lotion isn't suitable or can't offer a high enough dose.
Like all CBD products, though, quality is key. That's why we've put together this updated list of the best CBD capsules and pills, and even matched which type is best for each use case. That way you can buy with confidence that you're getting a high-quality product that's well suited to your needs. Let's take a closer look.
Top CBD Capsules & Pills
Here are the five best capsules and pills you can choose from. Each has its own benefits. In this section, we'll go through some of the benefits of each option, then we'll go into more details in our full review of each product. Here's our quick list of the best CBD capsules and pills:
How Did We Make This List?
It's apparent that not all online resources are credible and transparent. That is why we set out on our mission to help consumers make better decisions. Our formula to maintain independence and credibility is simple. We analyze as much data about every product as we possibly can, including reviews from aggregators and industry experts. We then present it in a straightforward and easy to understand fashion.
Our evaluation doesn't just stop at reviews. We also carefully investigate the integrity, history, reputation and practices to get a total picture of each brand. We are here to change the way consumers select their CBD products.
Best CBD Capsules & Pills of 2021
Now that you know what we're looking for and have a little more information about CBD, let's dig into some more of the details about each of these products.
CBDfx - Top Pick & Best Capsules
CBDfx is one of the best options if you're looking for relatively fast-acting and potent gel capsules. Their capsules are full spectrum, vegan-friendly as well as taste-free.
CBDfx also offers the choice of ordering 30 or 60 capsules at a time, which gives you a 1-2-month supply if you're taking CBD every day.
These capsules firmly secured our top rating for a lot of reasons. With a healthy range of options, including morning and night capsules, it's no doubt that nearly every reviewer we've read has given it 5/5 stars.
The capsules are created using CBD that's been extracted with supercritical CO2 extraction techniques. Supercritical CO2 extraction is important because it captures a high percentage of the CBD in hemp, resulting in higher concentrations, but without leaving solvents or unwanted chemicals behind in the finished extract. Every batch of these CBD capsules is also potency tested, ensuring that they have consistent potency.
These capsules are made 100% in the United States. That helps ensure higher quality, and also means that your CBD capsules are fresher when you get them because none of the components have had to ship internationally during the manufacturing process. Every capsule contains 25 mg of full-spectrum CBD. You can order 30 or 60 capsule bottles. You also get a 30-day satisfaction guarantee when you purchase.
- Verified Potency: Know that you're getting the potency you pay for thanks to their third part potency testing and confirmation schedule.
- Animal Product and Cruelty-Free: Vegan friendly and cruelty-free, these CBD products are not tested on animals and do not contain any animal-derived ingredients.
- Full Spectrum CBD: Full spectrum CBD gives you access to all the terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids that are naturally occurring in the plant, which can boost results and give you different benefits along with the CBD.
- Made from Organically Grown Hemp: Organically grown in Kentucky, this hemp meets the highest quality standards throughout its growth. Controlling the growth also gives this company a lot more control over the consistency of the project.
- Grown here in the United States
- Organically grown means no traditional pesticides or residues
- Potent 25 mg pills
- 30-day satisfaction guarantee
- Only one pill potency offered
- No Isolate version available
Customers report loving the morning and evening CBD for providing great energy and quality of life benefits that make life easier. The pills are easy to swallow, and generally return great reviews thanks to their high level of consistency.
Diamond CBD - Best Variety
Diamond CBD offers a huge variety of CBD pills and capsules and is a great option for people who are looking for a very specific kind of CBD product, or who want to know what their options are before buying.
They have a range including full-spectrum and isolate CBD capsules and pills, in addition to some capsules and pills that include other ingredients like turmeric, collagen, and melatonin.
That way you can customize the type, potency, and any additional benefits of your CBD capsules to meet your exact needs.
Diamond CBD comes with 50 capsules per jar of high-quality, third-party tested, 18.38mg capsules. That means that you get 1250mg of CBD per jar. That's significantly more than most other companies. Additionally, a single jar is also much more affordable from Diamond than from many other brands. Ultimately the low cost, along with the high amount of CBD per dose is what earned Diamond the second spot on our top list.
Diamond CBD also provides extensive documentation and instructions for their CBD, so you know exactly how to take every formulation and different kind of CBD. They also provide a lot of helpful information online about the different kinds of CBD, travel recommendations, and other limitations with CBD in general.
- Plain CBD and Supplement Combined Pills Available: You can get a wider variety of pills from Diamond CBD than almost any other provider, including plain CBD as well as CBD pills boosted with other ingredients and supplements.
- Different Potencies: Pills are usually a less potent variable than other kinds of CBD, but with Diamond CBD you can choose between a wider range of dosage to find the right amount for you.
- Available as a Subscription: Save time and never have to worry about running out of your CBD by subscribing for regular deliveries of your favorite CBD pills and capsules.
- Ongoing Product Research: Diamond CBD cares about making sure they have all the information they need to provide their customers with the best possible experience.
- More choice of dosage
- Wide variety of options for treating different symptoms
- Both Isolate and Full Spectrum options available
- Residue-free extraction methods lead to a purer product
- Can be hard to find the right pill for you
- Individual CBD brands offer limited dose choice
Diamond CBD works hard to make sure they only sell the best CBD pills and capsules, which means that they get consistently good reviews despite having a wide selection of CBD products from multiple manufacturers.
Their quality control is consistent so you can rely on getting the same kind of product order after order as long as you're ordering the same thing.
Customers also note the Diamond CBD seem genuinely committed to teaching about their products and being CBD ambassadors and they do a great job of making sure their customers know everything they need to take CBD safely and effectively.
cbdMD - Best Potency
cbdMD is one of the best sources of high-potency CBD, but they also offer more moderate concentrations so that you can choose the best product according to your needs. Their CBD concentrations range from 15mg per capsule to 50mg per capsule. The middle potency is usually around 25-30mg, but there is some variation depending on the exact CBD capsule you choose. You can also purchase these capsules in 30 count bottles or 60 count bottles, depending on the kind of supply you want to keep around.
This manufacturer is also a good option if you want to set up automatic shipments of your chosen CBD because they allow you to auto-ship on a predetermined schedule. These capsules are also a good option if you have a gluten sensitivity because they are gluten-free and safe.
cbdMD also designs their pills to contain three key cannabinoids, not just CBD. So while these capsules are a little more limited in cannabinoid content than some of the other full-spectrum and broad-spectrum options we've selected, they also have more predictable concentrations and more cannabinoid content than CBD isolates.
- Broad Spectrum CBD Capsules: These capsules are designed to have high concentrations of three different cannabinoids, including CBD, none of which are psychoactive but which all have a range of health benefits that can make these pills a good option for many users.
- Lots of Dose Options: This is great for CBD users who are looking for more potent CBD capsules because you can get a higher dose in a single pill. But they also offer moderate and lower potency pills for the full range of people who benefit from CBD.
- Sourced from USA Hemp: Local sourcing means that this brand gets more control over the quality and components of their hemp, resulting in more consistent products.
- Some Benefits Information Included: cbdMD does a good job of including some of the specific benefits of their CBD on their website and packaging so that you have a better idea of what you're getting and why you might want a specific kind of CBD.
- Lots of dose sizes
- Available in 30 and 60 count bottles
- Auto-shipping subscriptions come with a discount
- Good storage instructions for better long-term potency
- Non-GMO and vegan ingredients
- Dose varies between different kinds of pills
- Only available as a broad spectrum extract
cbdMD customers consistently note that these CBD Capsules are a fantastic option if you're looking for something that's a little more natural, non-GMO, and environmentally friendly. They also note that it's a good middle ground between full-spectrum and isolate with controlled broad spectrum that still offers the consistency of isolate CBD pills.
Joy Organics - Best for Sleep
Joy Organics is another brand that offers their CBD capsules combined with other ingredients to provide different benefits, while still maintaining their high-quality standards for CBD extraction and other ingredients.
They have three basic CBD capsules, their everyday formula which is plain CBD in an oil capsule. They also have a curcumin CBD capsule, which contains both ingredients for added benefit. Lastly, their melatonin CBD pills are the formula that won our Best for Sleep rating because of their high quality, potency, and effectiveness.
Their plain CBD pills are available in both 10mg and 25mg concentrations. The curcumin and melatonin formulas are both available only in 25mg concentration per pill.
These soft gels are also a little different from the other preparations of CBD pills. They are designed to be water-soluble which greatly increases the bioavailability of the CBD. Water-soluble CBD also absorbs faster than CBD oil, helping you feel the effects faster.
When it comes to the melatonin pills, that means less time before you feel results and less insomnia in the meantime.
- Added Supplements: This brand does a great job of picking additional supplements (curcumin and melatonin) that synergize with the natural effects of CBD for a more potent supplement.
- Easy to Swallow: designed to be easier to swallow, which makes these pills more elder and youth-friendly, as well as just being more pleasant to take when you're first getting in the habit.
- High Bioavailability: Bioavailability determines how much of the CBD and other ingredients you are able to absorb, which means that you get more of the benefits from each dose because your body has better access to the ingredients.
- Transparent Lab Reports: This company gives you good access to their lab reports so you can see how individual batches perform and can make sure you're getting consistent products.
- More benefit per pill thanks to bioavailability
- Comfortable to swallow for more people
- Two dose options for plain pills (only one for the supplement enhanced pills)
- Overview videos help customers learn more about the product before buying
- Added supplements significantly increase the cost per pill
- Only three softgel and pill options
Customers notice that Joy Organics CBD really helps improve mental focus and clarity. Their melatonin supplement works well for customers who are looking to improve sleep quality, while the curcumin supplement works to generate more energy while also enhancing concentration. Customers are incredibly pleased with the consistency of these pills, as well as the easier to swallow size and shape.
Nuleaf Naturals - Best Organic
Nuleaf Naturals is a good general option if you're looking for lower concentration CBD to supplement other CBD products, don't want to take a higher concentration to start, or only want to take CBD occasionally. Their high-quality pills might not have the higher concentrations or specializations of some of the other pills on this list, but that doesn't mean that they are any less useful or effective.
Nuleaf Naturals pills are designed to provide a synergistic combination of cannabinoids and terpenes, which boost the effectiveness of these capsules.
The plant-based capsules also have limited ingredients, which makes them a good choice for individuals with food allergies and sensitivities, since they are less likely to cause a reaction.
The precisely measured amounts of CBD also help make sure you get consistent results with each capsule. They also closely monitor and test each batch to help improve consistency, which can be one of the main benefits of CBD pills and capsules over CBD oils and other products.
- Full Spectrum Formula: These CBD pills offer the full spectrum of flavonoids and terpenes.
- Plant-Based Softgel: These softgels are a little easier to swallow than more traditional pill styles, but are also vegetarian and vegan safe.
- Organic Hemp: All of their CBD products are made from organic hemp, which means that pesticides and other contaminants aren't present in your extract.
- CO2 Extraction: CO2 extraction eliminates the solvents and residues that can persist after extraction with other methods.
- Available in Many Sizes and Potencies: There is a ton of variability with NuLeaf sizes and potencies which means that you can order the exact amount of each product that you need.
- Captures all the cannabinoids in hemp for more benefit
- Tested completely free of herbicides, pesticides, and other residues and contaminants
- Can buy in a single, double, or six-pack of bottles
- Potent 30 mg pills
- Three bottle sizes for larger and smaller supplies
- Only available as a full-spectrum product
- Only one kind of pill available
Despite having somewhat more limited options than some of the other CBD pills on this list, customers consistently report that they consider Nuleaf Naturals one of the best full spectrum options out there. Their pills are effective and easy to use, and Nuleaf Naturals gives their customers a fair amount of information about the products for greater ease of use.
Factors That Influenced Our Selection
Now that you know a little more about the CBD products that we've selected, we want to take a minute to cover the criteria we used to pick the best CBD capsules and pills for this list.
CBD products are made from hemp plants instead of cannabis plants, and the two are closely related, but hemp plants produce little to no THC, which makes them the better option for CBD manufacturers. CBD is required to have no THC, and the legal limit is less than 1%.
But, while all hemp is low THC, that doesn't mean that all hemp is created equal when it comes to the other cannabinoids produced by the plant, including CBD.
Great hemp that produces a good spectrum of cannabinoids, in high enough concentrations to be beneficial, is key to creating a great CBD product. We carefully looked at what kinds of hemp each manufacturer uses to create their CBD and chose only the brands that use the best varieties of hemp.
Extraction is the process of removing the CBD and other cannabinoids from hemp plants and isolating those compounds for use in oils, capsules, and other CBD products. There are several different techniques for extraction, and the extraction method your CBD manufacturer uses can have a huge impact on the quality of the product you receive.
Here are the main extraction methods:
- Carrier Oil Extraction
- Alcohol Extraction
- CO2 Extraction
- The Rick Simpson Extraction Method (full extraction method)
The extraction method your manufacturer uses has two major impacts on the resulting CBD extract. Some extraction methods allow you to concentrate the extracted CBD, while others cannot be concentrated and have a natural limit on how much CBD can be contained in your chosen solvent (usually a natural oil or refined alcohol).
We looked for manufacturers that use extraction methods that create the purest and most potent CBD possible while avoiding extraction methods that can leave unwanted chemicals and solvents residual in the finished product.
These manufacturers generally have higher potency CBD pills and capsules, or a wider range of potency, while also offering contaminant-free products.
Quality and Manufacturing Standards
Even great extraction methods can lead to a low-quality product if the manufacturing facility behind the CBD doesn't follow careful guidelines and procedures to maintain the quality of their product.
We've looked for manufacturers that maintain high-quality standards throughout the manufacturing process from handling their hemp to bottling the finished pills and capsules. That way you know you're getting only what you paid for, and at the highest possible quality.
Brand reputation is also important when it comes to CBD. Some brands sell CBD products made from poor quality hemp, or who use cheaper ingredients and even fillers to create more of their products.
Those kinds of shortcuts almost always show up in brand reputation sooner or later.
We look for manufacturers that provide high-quality products that meet our other standards, but we also look for manufacturers that provide a high-quality experience for their customers, great CBD products, and have a good reputation with other manufacturers.
When you combine those three aspects of a brand's reputation you can quickly find the best CBD manufacturers out there.
Type of Product
There are three basic kinds of CBD extracts, which can then be used to create pills and capsules like the products on this list, or lotions and creams, and even just plain CBD oils. All three have different benefits, so we looked for manufacturers that either offered multiple options or have a particularly good formula within their CBD type.
The types of CBD extracts are:
- Full Spectrum CBD
- Broad Spectrum CBD
- Isolate CBD
Basically, full-spectrum CBD contains all of the cannabinoids that were originally in the hemp the CBD was extracted from. Broad-spectrum CBD contains most of the cannabinoids in hemp, but have had any residual THC removed and may be missing a few of the other cannabinoids and terpenes (another chemical group) that were originally in the hemp.
Isolate is the purest of the three, it's simply CBD (cannabidiol, one of the cannabinoids) and the solvent, and nothing else. Some CBD products that also use supplements and other ingredients will use CBD isolate to start, though the finished product does contain more than just the CBD and solvent, it will still be called isolate.
Additional ingredients are common in CBD pills and capsules, especially the ones that are looking to help with specific problems and to provide specific benefits. But the source of those ingredients is just as important as the source of the CBD itself.
Flavors, for instance, can be natural or artificial, but natural flavoring options are usually better for you than artificial flavor combinations.
Regardless of why any additional ingredients are included in the CBD products we selected, we looked for natural ingredients from premium sources to make sure the quality of the extras is just as high as the quality of the other ingredients in your capsules.
Potency and Quality of CBD
Quality is what these checks are all about, but we also looked for CBD that tends to perform well both on laboratory tests and based on the reviews of real users. After all, you can get more benefits for a smaller dose of high-quality CBD than a larger dose of low quality.
While potency is secondary to quality, we also looked for manufacturers that provide higher concentrations of CBD, or a range of concentrations from low to high, to make sure you're getting the most benefit.
Knowing how to take your CBD and what rules and patterns you should follow is important. We've looked for brands that provide good instructions that clearly explain how you should take your CBD, how often you should take it, and any other precautions you need to take because of the CBD or any other supplements and ingredients included in your capsules.
CBD companies have a lot of leeway to be transparent or hide their laboratory testing, hemp sources, and other information about the quality and consistency of their products.
When a CBD company feels like they need to hide and doesn't release their lab reports and other information about the manufacturing process that's a huge red flag. We looked for companies that are very transparent about their process, their reporting, and don't hide behind a screen of corporate secrets.
We've mentioned looking at real user reviews several times now, but it's important to note that having good user reviews is one of the best signs of a good CBD manufacturer. However, it's also relatively easy for manufacturers to manipulate their user reviews to make them look better than they are.
So, while we look for good user reviews, we also look for user reviews that seem sincere and that offer details that match the rest of the information we have about each product. That way we can be confident in the performance and quality of all of our top CBD pills and capsules.
CBD Benefits and How Does it Work
CBD is one of the many cannabinoids produced naturally by hemp and cannabis and other related plants. It's important to know where CBD comes from to know how it works because those cannabinoids interact with your natural endocannabinoid system in your brain to produce a broad range of benefits and effects.
While there is still a lot of research ongoing into CBD's full range of benefits, and exploring the exact mechanisms it uses to help, here are a few of the benefits that are well established by current science:
- CBD can reduce inflammation
- CBD promotes stress management and can help reduce anxiety
- CBD increases pain tolerance and/or helps treat chronic pain
- CBD can help prevent seizures and manage seizure disorders
- CBD can help manage cancer symptoms
- CBD helps reduce insomnia and promote better sleep
There are other uses being explored now, and more science may come out that changes our current understanding of the benefits of CBD, but these are just a selection of the many benefits of high-quality CBD.
CBD Dosage and How to Use
CBD dosage depends a lot on the person taking the CBD. Your body weight, metabolism, activity levels, and the reasons you're taking CBD can all impact how you take your dose and how often you should take it.
If you're taking CBD on a doctor's recommendation, it's a good idea to ask them how you should be taking CBD. For instance, many people who are taking CBD for anxiety and depression take it preventively, while users who rely on CBD for insomnia relief usually only take their CBD before bed.
As a general rule, it's a good idea to start with a relatively small but consistent dose of CBD when you're starting. That way you can see how it feels, and whether that small dose is doing what you want it to.
Taking a smaller dose to start also makes it much easier to increase your dose and see if that is more effective. If you're taking a low-dose capsule, for instance, it's simple enough to wait an hour and take a second capsule if you haven't gotten the results you were looking for.
How Do I Choose My CBD Concentration?
CBD isn't a psychoactive substance, which means that you won't get high. In fact, while CBD can help reduce pain, lower anxiety, fight insomnia and has several other potential benefits, it's largely invisible when it's working.
That can make it challenging to choose the right concentration for you.
The key is paying attention to your body and whether you notice any difference between a smaller and larger dose. You want to take as little CBD as possible to get your desired effects, but you may need to increase your dose slightly over time.
Capsules are a common first choice for new CBD users because they offer consistent dosing and are incredibly easy to use. However, if you're having a hard time finding the right CBD dose for you, you may want to consider switching to oils because you have more direct control over your dose and can choose and track exactly how much you want to take.
CBD has a huge range of possible effects and benefits, and the more we study those benefits the more we discover CBD can do for users. Having easy access to CBD pills and capsules makes it incredibly easy to add CBD to your life and see if it's benefits can help you.
There are lots of benefits to full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate CBD, so it's worth experimenting a little bit and see which type of CBD is most effective for you.
You may even find that you want to keep a variety of different kinds of CBD products around so that you can help manage different symptoms with different kinds of CBD.
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By Gwen Ranniger
In the midst of a pandemic, sales of cleaning products have skyrocketed, and many feel a need to clean more often. Knowing what to look for when purchasing cleaning supplies can help prevent unwanted and dangerous toxics from entering your home.
1. Fragrance – Avoid It<p>One of the fastest ways to narrow down your product options is immediately eliminating any product that promotes a fragrance, or parfum. That scent of "fresh breeze" or lemon might initially smell good, but the fragrance does not last. What does last? The concoction of various undisclosed and unregulated chemicals that created that fragrance.</p><p>Many fragrances contain phthalates, which are linked to many health risks including reproductive problems and cancer.</p>
2. With Bleach? Do Without<p>Going scent-free should have narrowed down your options substantially – now, check the front of the remaining packaging. Any that include ammonia or chlorine bleach ought to go, as these substances are irritating and corrosive to your body. While bleach is commonly known as a powerful disinfectant, there are safer alternatives that you can use in your home, such as sodium borate or hydrogen peroxide.</p><p>While you're at it, check if there are any warnings on the label – "flammable," "use in ventilated area," etc. – if the product is hazardous, that's a red flag and should be avoided.</p>
3. Check the Back Label<p>Flip to the back of the remaining contenders and check out that ingredient list. Less is more, here. Opt for a shorter ingredient list with words you recognize and/or can pronounce.</p><p>You may notice many products do not have ingredient lists – while this doesn't necessarily mean they contain toxic ingredients, transparency is key. Feel free to look up a list online, or stick to products that are open about their ingredients.</p>
4. Ingredients to Avoid<p>We already mentioned that cleaners containing fragrance or parfum, and bleach or ammonia should be avoided, but there are other ingredients to look out for as well.</p><ul><li>Quaternary ammonium "quats" – lung irritants that contribute to asthma and other breathing problems. Also linger on surfaces long after they've been cleaned.</li><li>Parabens – Known hormone disruptor; can contribute to ailments such as cancer</li><li>Triclosan – triclosan and other antibacterial chemicals are registered with the EPA as pesticides. Triclosan is a known hormone disruptor and can also impact your immune system.</li><li>Formaldehyde – Causes irritation of eyes, nose, and throat; studies suggest formaldehyde exposure is linked with certain varieties of cancer. Can be found in products or become a byproduct of chemical reactions in the air.</li></ul>
Cleaning Products and Toxics: The Bottom Line<p>Do your research. There are many cleaning products available, but taking these steps will drastically reduce your options and help keep your home toxic-free. Protecting your home from bacteria and viruses is important, but make sure you do so in a way that doesn't introduce other health risks into the home.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.ehn.org/how-to-shop-for-cleaning-products-while-avoiding-toxics-2648130273.html" target="_blank">Environmental Health News</a>. </em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649054624#/" target="_self"></a></p>
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
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Twenty-five years ago, a food called Tofurky made its debut on grocery store shelves. Since then, the tofu-based roast has become a beloved part of many vegetarians' holiday feasts.
By Jessica Corbett
A leading environmental advocacy group marked Native American Heritage Month on Wednesday by urging President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Kamala Harris, and the entire incoming administration "to honor Indigenous sovereignty and immediately halt the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and Line 3 pipelines."
- Climate Crisis: What We Can Learn From Indigenous Traditions ... ›
- 10 Organizations Honoring Native People on Thanksgiving ... ›
- Biden Vows to Ax Keystone XL if Elected - EcoWatch ›
Returning the ‘Three Sisters’ – Corn, Beans and Squash – to Native American Farms Nourishes People, Land and Cultures
By Christina Gish Hill
Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.
Abundant Harvests<p>Historically, Native people throughout the Americas bred indigenous plant varieties specific to the growing conditions of their homelands. They selected seeds for many different traits, such as <a href="https://emergencemagazine.org/story/corn-tastes-better/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">flavor, texture and color</a>.</p><p>Native growers knew that planting corn, beans, squash and sunflowers together produced mutual benefits. Corn stalks created a trellis for beans to climb, and beans' twining vines secured the corn in high winds. They also certainly observed that corn and bean plants growing together tended to be healthier than when raised separately. Today we know the reason: Bacteria living on bean plant roots pull nitrogen – an essential plant nutrient – from the air and <a href="http://www.tilthalliance.org/learn/resources-1/almanac/october/octobermngg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">convert it to a form that both beans and corn can use</a>.</p><p>Squash plants contributed by shading the ground with their broad leaves, preventing weeds from growing and retaining water in the soil. Heritage squash varieties also had spines that discouraged deer and raccoons from visiting the garden for a snack. And sunflowers planted around the edges of the garden created a natural fence, protecting other plants from wind and animals and attracting pollinators.</p><p>Interplanting these agricultural sisters produced bountiful harvests that sustained large Native communities and <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/eam.2015.0016" target="_blank">spurred fruitful trade economies</a>. The first Europeans who reached the Americas were shocked at the abundant food crops they found. My research is exploring how, 200 years ago, Native American agriculturalists around the Great Lakes and along the Missouri and Red rivers fed fur traders with their diverse vegetable products.</p>
Displaced From the Land<p>As Euro-Americans settled permanently on the most fertile North American lands and acquired seeds that Native growers had carefully bred, they imposed policies that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/ahr/87.2.550" target="_blank">made Native farming practices impossible</a>. In 1830 President Andrew Jackson signed the <a href="https://guides.loc.gov/indian-removal-act" target="_blank">Indian Removal Act</a>, which made it official U.S. policy to force Native peoples from their home locations, pushing them onto subpar lands.</p><p>On reservations, U.S. government officials discouraged Native women from cultivating anything larger than small garden plots and pressured Native men to practice Euro-American style monoculture. Allotment policies assigned small plots to nuclear families, further limiting Native Americans' access to land and preventing them from using communal farming practices.</p><p>Native children were forced to attend boarding schools, where they had no opportunity to <a href="https://doi.org/10.5749/jamerindieduc.57.1.0145" target="_blank">learn Native agriculture techniques or preservation and preparation of Indigenous foods</a>. Instead they were forced to eat Western foods, turning their palates away from their traditional preferences. Taken together, these policies <a href="https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-0802-7.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">almost entirely eradicated three sisters agriculture</a> from Native communities in the Midwest by the 1930s.</p>
Reviving Native Agriculture<p>Today Native people all over the U.S. are working diligently to <a href="https://www.oupress.com/books/15107980/indigenous-food-sovereignty-in-the-united-sta" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reclaim Indigenous varieties of corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and other crops</a>. This effort is important for many reasons.</p><p>Improving Native people's access to healthy, culturally appropriate foods will help lower rates of <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aian-diabetes/index.html" target="_blank">diabetes</a> and <a href="https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/native-american/obesity" target="_blank">obesity</a>, which affect Native Americans at disproportionately high rates. Sharing traditional knowledge about agriculture is a way for elders to pass cultural information along to younger generations. Indigenous growing techniques also protect the lands that Native nations now inhabit, and can potentially benefit the wider ecosystems around them.</p>
By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.