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Wellness Wednesday: Edible Spring Weeds

 EDIBLE SPRING WEEDS!!

 WAIT! DON’T SPRAY THOSE WEEDS!  EAT THEM!

That’s right, EAT THEM! For this week’s “Wellness Wednesday” we are going to discuss a healthy spring salad made with 4  edible spring weeds.  🙂

1st: Chickweed

 

 

 

Chickweed, that pesky little weed that those with a perfectly manicured yard just hate.  

Kaldari Stellaria media 01” by KaldariOwn work. Licensed under CC0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Chickweed Facts:
Used as food, typically raw, in salads, can also be steeped as a tea for medicinal purposes.
Edible parts: Chickweed leaves are used by adding them raw to salads and sandwiches. They can be tossed into soups and stews as well. When adding to a cooked dish, the stems and flowers can be used also.

Used in traditional folk medicine to treat bronchitis, female troubles, after childbirth, as a laxative (often used in spring salads as a spring “clean out” by old folks), for detox, kidney complaints, as a diuretic, antihistamine, for low milk production in new moms, and in soaps for skin ailments and rashes. 
Chickweed contains Ascorbic-acid, Beta-carotene, Calcium, Coumarins, Genistein, Gamma-linolenic-acid, Flavonoids, Hentriacontanol, Magnesium, Niacin, Oleic-acid, Potassium, Riboflavin, Rutin, Selenium, Triterpenoid saponins, Thiamin, and Zinc. 

 

2nd:  Plantain

Plantain: another pesky yard “weed” hated by perfectionist, loved by children for the joy of popping off the heads.  

"Grote weegbree bloeiwijze Plantago major subsp. major" by Rasbak - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.Grote weegbree bloeiwijze Plantago major subsp. major” by RasbakOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Plantain Facts:
Used as food: You can use the leaves like spinach, young tender leaves go well in salads, however they become tough and bitter as they get bigger.  Bigger leaves can be used in stews, and soups or mixed with other greens and cooked like collards or spinach.  The leaves contain calcium and vitamin A.  100 grams of plantain leaves contain about as much vitamin A as a large carrot.
Used in medicine:  The number one use for plantain leaves in medicine is as a skin soother.  This plant is EXCELLENT for bug bites and bee stings.  My children immediately grab it, chew it and place it on bee stings for instant relief.  It goes well in soaps and salves to heal and sooth the skin.  The leaves slightly blanched in boiling water and then cooled are AMAZINGLY soothing on burns.  Keep some in the freezer, blanch in boiling water then place on a cookie sheet to freeze, remove, seal in a baggie and pull out one at a time as needed for first aid of burns, cuts, scrapes, stings, and infections.  I have use plantain with other herbs in a salve to successfully treat impetigo and staff on the skin.
 

From  Mountain Rose Herbs:
     “Plantain has been used as a panacea in some Native American cultures and with some very good reasons. Many of its active constituents show antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, as well as being anti-inflammatory and antitoxic. The leaves, shredded or chewed, are a traditional treatment for insect and animal bites and the antibacterial action helps prevent infection and the anti-inflammatory helps to relieve pain, burning, and itching. There is some investigation ongoing to study its affects on lowering blood sugar.”

From Bulk Herb Store:
Plantain leaf is a first rate “First Aid” plant that is usually close-at-hand, wherever you may be. A few fresh leaves, crushed or chewed, can be used to quickly stop the pain and inflammation of bites and stings, and relieve the itching from poison ivy. A cup of strong Plantain tea will quell the worst indigestion, and a small wad of chewed leaf placed next to the gum will quiet a painful toothache until it can be attended to. A simple ointment, made with an olive oil extract of fresh Plantain and a little beeswax is a very good general purpose remedy for many skin ailments, and is especially helpful with diaper rash.”

From Wikipedia:
          “Plantain is found all over the world, and is one of the most abundant and accessible medicinal herbs.[15] It contains many bioactive compounds, including allantoin, aucubin, ursolic acid, flavonoids, and asperuloside.[16][17]Scientific studies have shown that plantain extract has a wide range of biological effects, including “wound healing activity, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antioxidant, weak antibiotic, immuno modulating and antiulcerogenic activity”.[10]  For millennia, poultices of plantain leaves have been applied to wounds, sores, and stings to promote healing.[18] The active constituents are the anti-microbial compound aucubin, the cell-growth promoter allantoin, a large amount of soothing mucilage, flavonoids, caffeic acid derivatives, and alcohols in the wax on the leaf surface. The root of plantain was also traditionally used to treat wounds, as well as to treat fever and respiratory infections.[19]  Due to its astringent properties, a tea of plantain leaves can be ingested to treat diarrhea or dysentery. Due to the high vitamin and mineral content, plantain tea simultaneously replenishes the nutrients lost as a result of diarrhea.[20] Adding fresh plantain seeds or flower heads to a tea will act as an effective lubricating and bulking laxative and soothe raw, sore throats.[21]  When ingested, the aucubin in plantain leaves leads to increased uric acid excretion from the kidneys, and may be useful in treating gout.[22]”


3rd: Dandelion

"Taraxacum officinale - Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-135" by Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen - List of Koehler Images. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

 

Dandelion: another pesky yard “weed” hated by perfectionist, loved by bees, one of their first foods of spring.  

Taraxacum officinale – Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-135” by Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen – List of Koehler Images. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

 

"DandelionFlower" by Greg Hume - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

 

 

DandelionFlower” by Greg HumeOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

 

Dandelion Facts:

Used as food: Dandelion leaves, flowers, and roots have been used for thousands of years as food.  Sold in many “whole food/ real food” grocery stores for $4-$6 a bundle, it grows everywhere and could be easily harvested.  Most commonly used are the leaves and flowers in salads.  Roots are used in teas and tinctures.  Picked young the leaves are tender and mild, picked later they are tough and stringy.  The flowers are sweet when picked yellow and fresh.  
Used in medicine:  Traditionally used as part of spring tonics, dandelion has been proven to help heal the liver and as an effective diuretic.
From Wikipedia:
“It has been used in herbal medicine to treat infections, bile and liver problems,[39] and as a diuretic.[39] Dandelion root is a registered drug in Canada, sold principally as a diuretic.[citation needed] A hepatoprotective (liver protective) effect in mice of chemicals extracted from dandelion root has been reported.[40] Dandelion is used in herbal medicine as a mild laxative, for increasing appetite, and for improving digestion.[41] The milky latex has been used as a mosquito repellent[42] and as a folk remedy to treat warts.[43]”

Excerpts from The How to Herb Book 
“The dandelion we are talking about really is that little yellow weed in your lawn. All its parts are used – the leaves, flower and roots. It can be used fresh in green drinks and salads.

  • One of the best blood purifiers and builders available.
  • High in vitamins and minerals, especially calcium.
  • Contains all the nutritive salts for the blood. Dandelion restores and balances the blood so anemia that is caused by deficiencies of these blood salts disappears.
  • Overweight people when losing weight can become over acidic. These acids in the blood are destroyed by dandelion.
  • One of the best liver cleansers. It increases the activity of the liver and the flow of bile into the intestines.
  • Increases activity of the pancreas and the spleen.
  • Good for the female organs.
  • Helps open urinary passages.

Has been used in the following:

Acne
Age spots
Anemia
Appetite
Arthritis
Asthma
Blood purifier
Eczema
Liver cleanser
Yellow jaundice
Low blood pressure
Weight loss

 

4th:  Redbud Blooms

 

 Redbud blooms: those beautiful early spring blooms on Redbud trees.

DandelionFlower” by Greg HumeOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

 

 

 

RedbudOhio02” by Greg HumeOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

 

 

Redbud Bloom Facts:

Used as food:  The blooms of the Eastern Redbud tree appear in early spring.  They are sweet and tangy and make a BEAUTIFUL topping on salads and other spring meals.  They contain vitamin C to  help you recoup from those winter yuckies.  My children LOVE to snack on these while they are outside soaking up sunshine in the early spring.
Used as Medicine: There are no medicinal uses that I am currently aware of. They just taste good and look pretty.

Click HERE for a link to more Redbud information.  This site discusses the use of the seed pods that grow later in the year on Redbud trees.  We haven’t tried them yet, but intend to this year.

 

So there you have it; three wonderful, amazing, edible and medicinal weeds and one bloom.  🙂  Get out there and get to picking some  EDIBLE SPRING WEEDS and QUIT spraying them with toxic chemicals and pesticides.

~~Heather

 


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© Kiser Ridge Farm 2015 © All material in this blog is protected and cannot be used without the written consent of Kiser Ridge Farm. ©

Kiser Ridge Farm can’t provide you with medical advice, dosage information, diagnoses or potential drug/herb reactions. We are not licensed practitioners of any kind, we are not pharmacists or researchers. We are legally restricted from answering your health related questions. Any information given by Kiser Ridge Farm, in person, in writing, on our website, or implied is not presented with the intention of diagnosing any disease or condition nor for prescribing treatment of any disease or illness. Information given has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is offered as information only for use in the maintenance and promotion of good health in cooperation with a licensed medical practitioner. The U.S.F.D.A. does not evaluate or test herbs. All individuals have different constitutions, sensitivities, allergic reaction, and health conditions. Kiser Ridge Farm is not responsible for any misuse or our products or for any misuse of the information provided on our website, store, in person or in writing. Nothing is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Always consult your physician before using any of our products.

33 Comments:

  1. Love all the spring weeds, we have plenty of those right now because we have had such good rain this year. My favorite is the wild chives, they smell so good and I love cooking with them. Great post thanks for sharing!
    Miz Helen

  2. We have only just started to rediscover weeds as a source of food. We had a lovely lady host a workshop and go out picking, introducing the different weeds and plants we could eat. Super fun.

  3. I can’t wait to see them grow! In a few weeks I hope! Great informative post!

    • kiserridgefarm@kiserridgefarm.com

      We are seeing them now here in the south. The redbuds are just starting to put out buds. Very excited for our spring salads.

  4. I am so excited about the redbud blossoms! I love the idea of putting them on a salad!

  5. Very informative! Had no clue you could eat some of this stuff!!

  6. I remember my prom date took me to this restaurant that served Dandelion’s on their salad, I thought it was crazy.. The taste was a bit different, but why not use them they’re everywhere! Thanks for sharing!

  7. This is interesting, I’ll have to keep my eye out this Spring! I’ve just recently started to learn about dandelion, but I never knew about some of the others

  8. Great article! Thank you!

  9. In New York we are still waiting for spring to show up! Did not know all that about weeds. Great information and thanks for sharing!

  10. This is so good. I had no idea, one can actually eat these. Thanks for sharing.

  11. I did not know that you could eat these! Thanks so much for sharing!

  12. That’s pretty exciting to learn. I may have to try some of these in a salad.

  13. I never knew! ..Now I’ll be out on our hikes and on the hunt!

  14. I can’t imagine eating dandelions. I know people do it, I’ve just been wary of trying it! This post made me chuckle a little, because I am a huge fan of Arugula and my husband hates it, saying it tastes like a weed. I should show him all the edible weeds we COULD be eating… 😉

  15. I love this post! I can’t wait to take my kids on a hike and show them the importance of these weeds.

  16. I’m thinking we could live off our front yard for weeks later this spring and in the early summer! I love Redbud trees but had no idea the blooms were edible.

  17. Great info! I’m all for making the best of what we have growing all around us, thanks for sharing 🙂

  18. Wow fascinating post. Thank you so much for sharing. I will have to keep an eye out now to see what we have growing here!

  19. I just learned something new and exciting! Thank you for sharing this information. I see a lot of these weeds grow in my field behind my house, I usually just mow them down. Now I’m going to pay attention to them and try them in a salad or something!

  20. Interesting. I had no idea dandelion roots was registered as a drug here in Canada.

  21. I know nothing about plants… let alone you could eat weeds! Thanks for sharing! Interesting read.

  22. Wow, I had no idea. I have heard of eating dandelions, but not the rest. I would not survive very long in the wild!

  23. nice very informative…i wanna go on a hike with my friends 🙂

  24. I use chives a lot out of the yard. But the dandelion is interesting. I am gonna try it.

  25. wow! lots of great information! thanks for sharing!

  26. This is some great advice, My kids and I go hiking all the time, so it will be cool to use this and actually try those plants.

  27. Pingback: Becoming Crunchy: One Step at a Time - The Crunchy Trail

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