On the first day at my new office space as I walked from the car to the back of the building I was happy to see some familiar faces. Many of them we have been talking about in our series about Weed Medicine. I promised to keep this series simple so I won't go too in depth but these were all found within 30 steps of my parking spot.
Let's take a little virtual tour.
Plantain is a very common herb that you can find growing many places. It is shiny and a bit tough. It is good to find a little patch near you to keep in mind when a little bug bite or sting gets you. It is simple medicine to use. If trying to draw out the pain of a sting or a splinter take a leaf and chew it a bit and then apply to the injury. It is called a spit poultice and is quickly effective.
Many kids like this kind of medicine and how empowered it makes them feel so when you get a chance point it out to them. Dried or tinctured plantain can soothe a dry cough or it can be made into a skin healing salve among other things.
Another common friend with its bright, cheery face is Dandelion.
Dandelion leaves can simply be eaten raw or cooked as you might cook spinach. It is supportive to healthy digestion and kidneys. The flower can be eaten as well as the root. The root can be washed, dried, and chopped and used as a daily tea. The root is a good digestive bitter and supports the liver and gall bladder.
How nice of Mother Nature to give it to us in the Spring; the season of the liver.
Dandelion is persistent in its desire to help us if we let it.
This plant is a bit harder to recognize in this picture and is one that I haven't yet introduced in my Herb of the Month Club.
On the right side along the fence you can see some Wild lettuce leaves, next to it you can see a dandelion head about to open, and a bit of wild strawberry in the rocks but the best place to see this plant is over on the left margin of the picture. It is the tall narrow plant with a white flower head.
The way to distinguish this plant and where it gets its name from is the little heart shaped pods that are on the upper part of the plant. This is called Shepherd's purse and was carried to stop bleeding in particular after birth.
This is a look-a-like plant that many might mistake for Shepherd's purse. Rather than hearts it has circular seed pods and is a sturdier plant. It has a nice peppery flavor and can be eaten and is thus called Poor Man's Pepper or Pepper grass.
You can read more about it here. http://www.ediblewildfood.com/peppergrass.aspx
And you can compare the hearts on Shepherd's purse here. http://www.ediblewildfood.com/shepherds-purse.aspx
Here is an old and stately friend of ours Mullein back from when we learned about Nebraska Prairie Herbs. It has a soft, downy leaf texture and the leaves stay in a rosette like this until it sends up its flower stalk which is often 4-6 feet tall.
Mullein leaf when dried is good in a tea to soothe a dry cough. It needs to be strained well as the little hairs can be irritating.
Mullein flowers are specific to ear pain and you will commonly find it in ear drops for ear infections along with Garlic and St. John's wort infused oil.
Wild lettuce is another herb that we have talked about in our Weed Medicine series.
It can be a bit hard to recognize as many plants have the same serrated edges like dandelion but one way to distinguish it is that the leaves continue up the stem and have sharp prickles along the central leaf vein on the back.
Wild lettuce is a mild anti-spasmodic that can be used for coughs or muscle spasms and a mild sedative helpful for anxiety and other stressful situations..
And the final plant on our virtual tour is Cleavers. Cleavers is another herb that has not yet appeared as an Herb of the Month but it is commonly used for soothing genito-urinary conditions.
Once you experience Cleavers you will never forget it. It has a squarish stem and is prickly and will not only stick to socks and pants but even to your hand. Interesting paradox that it soothes prickly pain in the urinary tract. It tends to sprawl up fences as seen here or on top of other plants.
Good Health to You,