When you notice weeds on your lawn or in your garden, you want them gone asap! Unattended, they can spread quickly. Once a weed is spotted, you then research for different solutions to get rid of them and are successful for the time being. You enjoy your weed free lawn or garden for about 2 weeks and then you see them reappear, possibly in a different spot. It is a somewhat of a back and forth act all season long. I know many of you reading this can relate.
Medicinal Uses For Weeds That Grow Around Your Home
However, what if I told you that some of those pesky weeds are edible and actually possess medicinal properties? There are literally hundreds of wild plants across the globe that possess medicinal properties. It would be impossible to list them all here. I did, however, compile a list of the most common weeds found in lawns and gardens that are edible and possess many medicinal properties.
Word of Caution…
Before I begin, 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!
Commonly Found Weeds And Their Medicinal Properties
Purslane (Portulaca Oleracea)
This a ground cover weed and thrives most in direct sunlight. The stems and leaves are edible. Here, in the United States, it is considered a weed. In other countries, however, it is a popular salad vegetable and has a rich, lemony flavor.
It is rich in vitamin C, omega 3 and 6, and omega 9 (fatty acids). This plant also contains dopa and noradrenaline making it quite useful for growth hormone production, allergies, the entire endocrine system (all glands), and is great for heart health.
This plant can be eaten raw, steamed, or dehydrated.
The look alike (non-edible) plant to watch out for is called Spurge. The difference is that spurge has white sap inside of its stem – not red like purslane stems.
Ground Ivy (Glechoma Hederacea)
This wild plant belongs to the mint family and is another ground cover weed. Its main features are purplish flowers, square stems, and scalloped shaped leaves. It is important to note that the leaves of ground ivy are opposite of each other along its stems. Another telltale sign of ground ivy leaves is that they smell like mint when crushed. The leaves make great additions to salads. The flowers are also edible. The leaves and flowers can be juiced or made into a tea as well.
This wild plant has a long list of medicinal benefits which include:
The oil of this wild plant relieves congestion and sinus inflammation associated with colds, flu, and sinusitis.
- Possesses antibacterial properties
- Possesses anti-inflammatory properties
- Acts as an antioxidant
- Acts as an antiseptic
- Acts as an immuno-stimulant
- Acts as a sedative
Tea made out of the leaves aid in symptoms of various lung problems such as asthma. Tea also aids in the symptoms associated with ulcers, diarrhea, ear infections, fever, gas, and hay fever.
The tea also helps to purify your blood.
The tea can be given to children, ages 12 and up. It is important to test very small amounts of this plant before consumption.
There are look-alikes but, the best way to test ground ivy is to crush the leaves. If they smell similar to mint, it is ground ivy. Also, as I mentioned before, the leaves of ground ivy are opposite of one another along its stems.
Chickweed (Stellaria Media)
As another ground cover weed, this wild plant can be found almost anywhere year round, even under snow. Most people are unaware that it’s not only edible with medicinal benefits but, it has a great flavor.
The entire plant is edible but, there are certain parts of the plant that are rather fibrous and tough which is usually below the top two inches of the plant. You can harvest the tips of the young leafy stems, buds, and flowers. You can make tea out of the leaves and stems. The leaves and whitish flowers are great additions to salads.
Chickweed is rich in:
- Vitamin C
- B complex
- Ascorbic acid
This beautiful wild plant has many medicinal properties which include:
- Possesses anti-inflammatory properties which will reduce inflammation in your lungs, bowels, and stomach
- Laxative properties
- Acts as an antioxidant
- Acts as an antihistamine which will aid in the symptoms of sinus congestion, circulatory problems, and bronchitis.
Tea made from this plant acts as an antiseptic, removes plaque from arteries, helps in the building of nerve tissue, heals ulcers, regulate thyroid levels, helps dissolve cysts and tumors, helps to cleanse the colon, aids in kidney issues, aids in the symptoms of rheumatism, neutralizes toxins within the body, and can aid in the alkalization of your blood.
This wild plant IS NOT recommended for women who are pregnant or nursing.
The look-alike plant, which is toxic, is called scarlet pimpernel. It is often spotted growing with chickweed. It has orange or reddish flowers. The stems of this toxic plant have smooth stems whereas chickweed has slightly fuzzy stems. The flowers of the scarlet pimpernel plant have five petals. The flowers of the chickweed plant have tiny white petals.
Watch this video by johnny mars showing medicinal weeds in your backyard:
Do you know of any weeds commonly found around your home that are not mentioned above with medicinal uses? Let us know in the comments section below.
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