I was looking for a way to learn more about herbs when I stumbled upon an Herbalist, Trilby. I was invited to attend one of her "Herb Walks" South of Des Moines. I knew this was something my son, Elijah, and I have really been in to lately so we decided to go. It was amazing. I am constantly amazed that we are surrounded by so many things that go unnoticed.
I am the lady that will take 2 shirts on their way to Goodwill and make a dress out of them instead. I love frugality and conservation. When I started really wondering about plants my curiosity took me in a whole new direction.
Common things that we over look that are great sources of nourishment, medicine, and free are:
1) Dandelions! Yes, that pesky weed that pops up in the yard that no matter the amount of chemicals you spray on it comes back. STOP! This plan has been used world wide for all of its parts.
The leaves: when young are tender and nutritious. They are in the store blends in the salad section. When harvesting make sure that you are eating one's that have NOT been sprayed!
The flower: When it is not quite open you can saute like a mushroom and add to salads. When the flower opens pinch the top off really close so there's no "milk" on it and throw it into salad for a nutritional, colorful addition to salad.
The root: Can be roasted or not and used in teas. This is very nourishing and is a great (when roasted) coffee substitute.
The milk: That's the yucky tasting part of the plant but I recently heard that it's great on wounds...I'll check that out.
2)Plantain: This is the little weed that is used as a a tea, poultice and salad green. Again, the younger they are the tastier. These are also great lightly steamed and sauteed.
3) Red raspberry: Aside from producing wonderful berries the leaves are a great women's tonic when used as a tea. First, they are dried and they steeped. It's so yummy and is widely purchased and used.
4) Red Clover: This plant makes a wonderful tea and is known for it's high anti-oxidants (anti-cancer) properties. Red clover grows freely along the highway. I suggest not harvesting plants that are close than 10-15 feet from the road.
These are just some of the plants that we have FREELY at our disposal. It's was fun when I started looking at my world through Elijah's eyes. The enthusiasm is contagious. We explored, Nettles, milk weed, Queen Anne's lace, creeping charlie , cup plant, and many more on this herb walk. What a fun thing to know!!!!!
A little side note: You may want to be selective with who you tell about your new weed eating lifestyle. This is a suggestion from "the lady who eats weeds".
Assignment: Walk around your home and learn what plants, weeds, and flowers you have, what their properties are and how to use them. For example: Marigolds are wonderful in salads, easy to grow, beautiful, and have lots of medicinal uses. It's also good to know if you have something poisonous or toxic. Being present and aware in our lives and spaces can enrich our lives and our spirits.
Quote: "We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses." Abraham Lincoln