In Medicinal Uses For Weeds Commonly Found Around Your Home – Part 1, I went over the medicinal properties of three extremely beneficial wild plants: purslane, ground ivy, and chickweed. In Part 2, I went over the medicinal properties of four additional beneficial wild plants: thistle, wild violet, hairy bitterness, and prickly lettuce. Part 3 covered the medicinal properties of four more additional beneficial wild plants: lamb’s quarters, mallow, stinging nettle, and chicory.
All of these plants have one thing in common – they can usually be found close to or around your home. Today, I’ll go over the medicinal uses for four more wild plants that can be found close to or around your home: henbit, curly dock, garlic mustard, and amaranth.
Word of caution…
As I did in part one and two, I would like to share with you two articles which include information on safety precautions you need to be aware of when foraging for wild, edible, plants. In my article, Foraging Tips for the 7 Most Common Edible Plants, I share great tips on things to consider and to look out for when you forage for any and all wild, edible plants. Another great article, “Need To Know” Rules When Picking Edible & Medicinal Plants, is written by Mykel Hawke, star of Discovery’s “Man, Woman, Wild”. He also talks about considerations and safety precautions to take when foraging in the wild. I sincerely encourage you to read these articles if you have never foraged for wild and edible plants. Foraging can be a great experience but, safety precautions are a must!
Let’s get started!
Medicinal Uses For Weeds Commonly Found
Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule)
As a child, this was one of my favorite wild flowers to pick. I just loved the small purplish blooms on the top! I remember bringing in a little bouquet of henbit every time I would pick them. My Mom would put them in a small glass of water and they usually sat in the window sill above the kitchen sink. Little did I know then that I was picking a medicinal plant!
Henbit belongs to the mint family but, does not have a minty scent. This plant is covered in very fine hairs pointing downward. The stems are green but can turn a purplish color as it ages. The tiny purplish blooms of henbit are on the top and closely resemble the shape of an orchid bloom when their tiny blooms open. The leaves have scalloped like edges and are arranged opposite of each other in pairs. Henbit can grow between 10-30 cm high.
This edible and medicinal plant is high in iron, various vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. It possesses anti-rheumatic, diaphoretic, laxative, and stimulant properties.
The edible parts of this plant are the stems, leaves, and flowers. Henbit can be eaten raw and cooked. Some use dried henbit as a tea. You can add raw henbit to salads, soups, and green smoothies. Some say the taste of henbit resembles the taste of kale.
Curly Dock (Rumex Crispus)
Also known as yellow dock, the flowers are green, sometimes with a touch of red. The flowers do not have petals and grow in clusters. Each flower contains a seed which will eventually turn brown
Curly dock is rich in protein, magnesium, iron, vitamins A and C, and bioflavonoids. All parts of this plant are useful but, the roots of this plant possess the strongest medicinal properties.
The edible parts and medicinal value of curly dock:
- Leaves in very small quantities are edible (until flower spikes appear). The leaves can be cooked as long as they are green. The leaves can also be added to stews, soups, and salads.
- The inner portions of the stems are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked. To get to the inner portion of the stem just peel the outer layer of the stem.
- The seeds of curly dock can be eaten raw or cooked but, only once they turn brown. Seeds can also be a substitute for coffee.
- The roots of curly dock possess the most medicinal properties. The roots are best boiled to make a tea. The tea acts as a detoxifier for your liver, is great for skin ailments, and possesses laxative properties which helps to cleanse toxins from the digestive system.
- Used as first aid, the powder of dried curly dock roots can be made into a poultice and applied directly to your skin to heal wounds, itching, inflammations, and eczema.
Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)
The leaves of this beautiful plant are green and shiny. The leaves also have a slight ‘mustardy’ type scent. The flowers are tiny white blooms
The whole plant is edible and can be eaten raw or you can dry the plant and make it into a powder which makes a great spice to use for cooking.
Garlic mustard possesses antibacterial and antiseptic properties. It is also loaded with vitamin A and C. Consumption of garlic mustard treats a number of ailments such as asthma, bronchitis, ulcers, gangrene, and eczema.
This edible and medicinal plant has greenish (sometimes purplish) colored flowers with a red stem.
The amaranth is high in protein and 2 essential amino acids.
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The whole plant is edible. It can be eaten raw or steamed. The seeds of the amaranth plant can be used to make flour or even added to smoothies. Seeds are better when they are soaked overnight. The roots can be boiled or roasted. Boiled amaranth roots are a great potato alternative.
Do not consume if you are pregnant or nursing.
This plant has been used to treat symptoms of the stomach flu including diarrhea. It has also been used to treat symptoms of gastroenteritis.
This plant has a TOXIC look alike called hairy nightstand. The leaves of the hairy nightstand plant look the same but, the stem is hairy and the blooms are white.
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What weeds commonly found around your home do you use for medicinal purposes? Tell us in the comment section below.
Check out these other great articles on other medicinal wild plants: