Ever thought about picking weeds out of your very garden and eating them? In todays society it more common to buy food from the store than collect it from nature. However there are many benefits to adding some wild plants into your diet, weeds contain high amounts of vitamins and minerals, they also add diversification to our diet. Our not to distant ancestors ate a much larger variety of food giving them access to many nutrients. Take my word when I say that people who eat wild plants get something from them, whether this is a different set of nutrients, or something more intangible and soulful. Eating wild foods nourishes us, it connects to the land, therefore making us more aware of how we must care for it.
Here are three of the most common and easily identifiable edible weeds that are beaming with medicinal properties:
This common weed grows in abundance. It is part of the mustard green family and has a similar peppery taste to watercress. The leaves are a fantastic for blood and lymphatic system purification. The leaves are also known for stimulating appetite.
The beautiful, round, bright green leaves can be included in pestos and soups for a hot zing of flavour and nutrients, the vibrant red, orange and yellow flowers are also edible and can be used to garnish salads and cakes!
Dandelion is also an extremely abundant herb that is probably in your backyard as you read this. Before mowing the lawn, gather up the dandelion leaves and flowers as they are ultra medicinal.
The leaves are bitter which stimulates salvia release to create enzymes to help with digestion. They are also known to be blood purifiers and are an excellent contribution to pestos, salads and smoothies for a touch of wilderness.
There are few weeds that look similar to dandelion so always be sure that it has a hollow stem and that the leaves are hairless!
This resilient little weed grows like crazy. It is known to be beneficial for respiratory conditions such a bronchitis and coughs. It is high in vitamins C, E and K as well as being high in plant protein and iron. I love this in soups, as a salad garnish or steeping a handful of leaves in hot water with liquorice root and fennel for a medicinal tea to ease winter ailments.
*When foraging for your edible weeds always make sure the area has not been sprayed. Choose not to pick from sides of roads or public areas as we never know the state of the soil and it is likely dogs have been doing their business- your back lawn, community gardens or the untouched forest is best! Always be certain that is the indeed the correct edible weed you are about to pick, if in doubt do not eat, ask a wise old soul or do some research!
Tori Abrahams- Townsend