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 Medicinal Uses For Weeds Commonly Found Around Your Home – Part 2, I went over the medicinal properties of four additional beneficial wild plants: thistle, wild violet, hairy bitterness, and prickly lettuce.
Medicinal Uses For Weeds
What all these wild plants have in common is that they can be found around your home. The list doesn’t stop there. Today, I’ll go over the medicinal properties for four more wild plants that can be found around your home: lamb’s quarters, mallow, stinging nettles, and chicory.
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!
1. Lamb’s Quarters (Chenopodium album)
Lamb’s quarters, also known as goosefoot, is an extremely nutritious wild green. The leaves are light green in color and resemble the shape of a goose foot. The under side of the leaves are powdery.
Lamb’s quarters are rich in potassium, protein, phosphorus, and vitamin A. Tea can be made with the leaves and can aid in stomach upset and digestion problems.
The tiny yellowish, greenish blooms become seeds, which are gluten free. The seeds can be used in salads, soups, and can even be a replacement for wheat flour. The seeds are recommended to be soaked for 7-8 hours before use.
There is a toxic look alike called ‘hairy nightshade’ which does not have a powdery under side but instead is hairy or fuzzy. The blooms are much larger than the blooms of lamb’s quarters and are white as opposed to the yellowish or greenish blooms of lamb’s quarters.
2. Mallow (Malva)
Mallow can be found all over the world and is highly nutritious. The entire plant (including the roots) is edible.
This wild plant can be eaten fresh, dried, or powdered. Powered mallow is a great addition to smoothies. This wild plant can also be used as a thickening agent for soups.
The leaves can be made into a tea which is beneficial in digestive health. When the tea cools it turns into a gel like substance which people use to soothe various irritations caused by sore throats, sinus problems, bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, bladder problems, digestive issues, and kidney disorders.
The gel like substance is used to increase milk production when nursing and can also be applied to your skin which will make it extremely soft.
3. Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)
The entire plant is edible. It is recommended that you wear gloves when harvesting this wild plant because of the jagged edges on the leaves. The leaves are in pairs opposite each other on the stem. Also, seeds are in between the layers of leaves. ‘Hairs’ line one side of each leaf and that is reason behind the name ‘stinging nettles’. When eaten raw, our saliva will neutralize any ‘stinging’. To eat raw, it is recommended to roll up the leaves with the hair on the inside. If you experience any ‘stinging’, not to worry. Again, the entire plant is safe.
In addition to eating this plant raw, stinging nettles can also be boiled, dried to make tea, and makes a great addition to soups.
Stinging nettles are rich in vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin K. Stinging nettles are also loaded with minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, and iodine. Nutrients such antioxidants, chlorophyll, and amino acids can also be added to the list as well. It’s no wonder that this plant is called one of nature’s super foods!
This wild plant is used to treat a number of ailments such as urinary tract infections, joint inflammation, kidney stones, allergies, and hay fever. It also strengthens the immune system, lowers blood sugar, and regulates the thyroid.
4. Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
Chicory, sometimes referred to as ‘wild lettuce’, will have tall, straight stems growing upward from leaves that resemble the leaves of the dandelion. The blooms are a purplish blue color and the petals are thin and tipped.
The entire plant is edible. The roots of this wild plant can be roasted and ground and used as a substitute for coffee. The ground roots are a great source of fiber. You can also use the greens, blooms, and buds in a salad. The plant has a slightly bitter taste.
The chicory plant acts as a diuretic, sedative, and a laxative. It is great for heart health, lowers blood sugar, and is used to treat liver conditions. It also acts as an antibacterial and an anti-inflammatory.
What weeds commonly found around your home do you use for medicinal purposes? Tell us in the comment section below.