August 6

Five Medicinal Weeds Growing In Your Garden

Did you know that there are medicinal weeds growing in your garden? In this blogpost, you're going to learn the purpose of weeds. 

Then you will find out five medicinal weeds that you should eat to improve your health and fight cancer.

More...

Legal Notice

The information is presented for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, prescribe treat or cure cancer.This information is not intended as medical advice, please refer to a qualified healthcare professional.

The Purpose Of Weeds

Weeds have a terrible reputation. These plants produce abundant quantities of seeds and spread quickly and can survive harsh conditions.

Weeds can take space, nutrients, light, and water from your cultivated plants. Other weeds produce chemical substances that are toxic to your crop plants. Weeds also make your garden look untidy.

Weeds are misunderstood plants. They perform some vital biological functions. Weeds can prevent erosion, break up compacted soil, and mine minerals. 

garden with weeds

Weeds can make your garden look untidy and steal nutrients from your other plants

Certain weeds attract essential pollinators like butterflies. By allowing some of these weeds to grow in your garden, you encourage butterflies to lay eggs there. 

The butterflies can later help you fertilize your garden. By letting certain weeds in your lawn grow, you can repel harmful insects from your plants. Birds often use the fibers and bark from weeds to build their nests. 

Weeds are often the most resilient plants in an area. They will survive long after the other plants die due to a drought. Weeds can hold down the topsoil until the ground has enough moisture for your other plants to return. 

Some weeds also have exceptional healing abilities. Let's explore five medicinal weeds you should consume.

1. Dandelion

Many people classify Dandelions as weeds. They have yellow flowers with many small pointed petals. You can find them throughout the United States and most other countries around the world.

Dandelion gets its common name from the French words for "lion's tooth." These teeth point forward, out and away from the center of the  plant. 

Dandelions spread quickly across any lawn if left unchecked. They form seeds attached to puffy white bits of fluff. 

white dandelion flower medicinal weeds

Dandelion seeds detach from the flower head, then the wind catches the fluff and carries it away, picture by Greg Hume

When the seeds detach from the flower head, the wind catches the fluff and carries it away. The seed is then able to begin life in a new location, sometimes over great distances.

The formation of a fertile seed requires both male and female reproductive organs. Dandelions have two different ways they can go about this. 

The insects may carry the pollen from one flower to another. However, dandelions have both male and female organs on the same flower.

The flowers can pollinate themselves. Thus it only takes one dandelion to reproduce itself and spread over a lawn. Dandelions also have many health benefits.

Dandelion Is A Nutritious Powerhouse

Dandelion is one of many medicinal weeds which contains a lot of nutrients such as:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Iron
  • Magnesium,
  • Sodium
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin K
  • Calcium
  • Potassium

Dandelion extracts are high in antioxidants such as vitamin C and luteolin. They reduce free radicals in the body and the cancer risk.

Antioxidants like vitamin C and luteolin, in dandelions, may improve the liver function. These nutrients protect it from toxins and help treat hemorrhaging in the liver. Dandelions aid the flow of bile and stimulate the liver and promote digestion. 

Dandelion root may also treat: 

  • Muscle aches
  • An upset stomach
  • Gallstones
  • Eczema
  • Loss of appetite
  • Intestinal gas
  • Joint pain
  • Bruises

It also increases urine production and bowel movements. Some people use dandelion to treat infections and even cancer. Dandelion can help people with diabetes by stimulating the production of insulin.

The milky white substance, when you break a dandelion stem, is excellent for your skin! You can eat the entire dandelion plant, such as the roots, stems, leaves, and flowers.

yellow dandelion flower medicinal weeds

You can eat the entire dandelion plant, such as the roots, stems, leaves, and flowers, picture by Greg Hume

Avoid picking them if they are close to a road or industrial site. Or if they have pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. 

Consume dandelions raw or cooked to minimize their somewhat bitter flavor. One of the best ways to experience all of the dandelion benefits is by making dandelion tea.

You can make tea with the roots or flowers. 

Follow these simple directions to make a tea:

Dandelion Tea 

Ingredients:

Stems, flowers, or leaves from Dandelion -1 Cup(2.37 dl)

Water - 2 Cups(4.73 dl)


Directions for making Dandelion Tea:


1. Put one cup of the stems or flowers in a teapot.


2. Add the water and bring it to a boil.


3. Turn off the stove after a couple of minutes and let it sit for five minutes.


4. Strain the roots and flowers and drink the tea.

You can also buy organic dandelion tea bags at most health food stores. 

Dandelion is only one of many medicinal weeds. Another weed you should eat more of is stinging nettle.

2. Nettles

Stinging nettle is a plant used medicinally for ages, dating back as far as Ancient Greece. Today, you can find them worldwide, but its origins are in the colder regions of Europe and Asia.

Its scientific name, Urtica dioica, comes from the Latin word uro, which means "to burn." Nettles usually grow between two to four feet high and blooms from June to September. 

nettle flowers and leaves medicinal weeds

Stinging nettle is a plant used medicinally for ages, dating back as far as Ancient Greece

They grow best in nitrogen-rich soil and have heart-shaped leaves. This plant is best known for the burning on your skin caused by the fine stinging hairs. 

Stinging nettle has many valuable health benefits. Ancient Egyptians used stinging nettle to treat arthritis and lower back pain. Roman troops rubbed it on themselves to help stay warm.

Stinging nettles’ leaves and root provide a wide variety of nutrients, including:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin K
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Essential Amino Acids
  • Vitam C
  • Several B Vitamins
  • Iron
  • Phosphorus
  • Sodium

Stinging nettle may reduce inflammation. It also reduces enlarged prostate glands. Stinging nettle may treat hay fever and high blood pressure.

The roots, stems, and leaves of stinging nettle are edible. You can use dried stinging nettle leaves and flowers to make a tea. 

Here is how to make nettle tea:

Nettle Tea 

Ingredients:

Nettle leaves - 1 cup(2.37 dl)

Water - 2 cups(4.73 dl)


Directions for making Nettle tea:


1. Put the leaves in a teapot.


2. Add two cups of water for every cup of leaves


3. Bring the water to a boil


4. Turn off the stove after a couple of minutes and let it sit for five minutes.


5. Pour the mixture through a small strainer.


6. Add a bit of cinnamon, or stevia, if you like.

Start by only having one cup of nettle tea to make sure you don't react to it.

Most people use the leaves to make stinging nettle tea. You can also make nettle soup or add them to stews. Or steam the leaves and cook it, much like spinach. Nettles can also be puréed and used in recipes like polenta, green smoothies, salads, and pesto.  

Learn the best time and way to pick nettles next.

How To Pick Nettles

It's best to use young leaves in the spring. They become more bitter after they flower and age. Don't eat the leaves raw because they will sting you until they are dried or cooked.

Always harvest stinging nettle with thick gardening gloves to avoid being stung. When cooked, the nettle has a flavor similar to spinach mixed with cucumber. 

young nettle plant medicinal weeds

It's best to pick young nettle leaves in the spring

Some may get an upset stomach, diarrhea, or other mild reactions when they first eat it. Therefore start with a small dosage.

Speak to your doctor before consuming stinging nettle if you're taking:

Speak to your doctor before consuming stinging nettle if you're taking:

  • Blood thinners
  • Diuretics (water pills)
  • Lithium
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Diabetes medication

Another gem in the weed category is lamb's quarters.

3. Lamb's Quarters

Lamb's quarters are one of the most common weeds in gardens and backyards. These plants are edible greens, packed with vital nutrients, and edible seeds. 

Lamb's quarters go by lots of different names such as:

  • White goosefoot
  • Dungweed
  • Wild spinach

  • Pigweed
  • Bacon weed
  • Fat hen

One of its names, "fat hen," comes from its supposed ability to fatten chickens. The name "lamb's quarters" first appeared in American print in 1804.

The name comes from an ancient English festival called "Lammas quarter." It was the first harvest festival of the year, held in August. One lamb's quarter plant can produce between 75 000 and 100 000 seeds.

lamb's quarters medicinal weeds

Lamb's quarters are part of the expansive amaranth family, picture by Wendell Smith

The plant also provides many ecological services. Its long roots extend deep into the soil, drawing water and nutrients closer to the surface. That allows more shallow-rooted plants access as well. 

Lamb's quarters are part of the expansive amaranth family. Some members include beets, chard, quinoa, and spinach. This weed is also healthy.

Lamb's Quarters Are Loaded With Vitamins And Minerals

Lamb's quarter is incredibly nutritious. It is high in fiber, protein, and loaded with both vitamins A and C. The plant is also high in manganese, calcium, copper and has a bit of iron. 

It also has a good amount of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Like spinach and other greens, it does contain quite a bit of oxalic acid. It can be a stomach irritant and can impede the absorption of calcium. 

lamb's quarters

Lamb's quarter is incredibly nutritious, picture by 6th Happiness

Cooking lamb's quarter eliminates most oxalic acid. Like quinoa, the seeds and leaves contain saponin, which can also be a stomach irritant. You can eat the greens raw, steamed, or sautéed or added to soups and stews. 

Lamb's quarters is also said to have medicinal properties. It may ease achy or swollen joints. 

The next weed that you should keep an eye on is purslane.

4. Purslane

Purslane is a common annual plant that thrives in warm, dry climates. Other names for purslane plants include verdolaga, pursley, or red root. The purslane plants’ edible leaves are oval-shaped and can grow up to over an inch long (2.5 cm). 

Purslane is full of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Although many see it as a weed, this plant has many health benefits. Eating purslane leaves can help to improve digestion and strengthen your immune system. 

It may also promote good heart health. You can use purslane as a topical remedy for irritated skin and help wounds heal faster. Use it to treat cuts, brushes, sunburn, or damaged skin. 

purslane plan medicinal weeds

Purslane is full of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, picture by John Comeau

You can do this by crushing up some purslane leaves or make purslane leaf juice, through a juicer. Apply to the sore, red skin, and loosely cover with a bandage. Change the purslane bandage twice a day and continue applying until the wound heals.

Purslane contains many phytochemicals and antioxidants that have potential use in treating cancer. The plant has lots of vitamin C and contains vitamin A and B-group vitamins.

Purslane has calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus, which promote healthy bones. One of the health benefits of purslane is that it is a good source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. 

When you pick purslane, look out for hairy-stemmed spurge. It is a poisonous plant that looks like purslane.

Don't Confuse Purslane With Hairy-Stemmed Spurge

Purslane looks a lot like hairy-stemmed spurge, a poisonous plant.

Here are some tips on how to identify purslane from hairy-stemmed spurge:

table showing differencebetween purslane and hairy-stemmed spurge

There are many ways to consume purslane to benefit from all its nutrients. You can use purslane leaves raw in salads or cooked them in soups, stews, or other dishes. Or use its leaves in smoothies.

Some people say that purslane plant leaves taste similar to spinach or watercress. One of the precautions with eating a lot of purslanes is its oxalate content. Boiling purslane leaves can reduce oxalate levels by up to 87%.

The final plant of the five medicinal weeds in this blog post is sheep sorrel.

5. Sheep Sorrel

Sheep sorrel grows wild throughout the U.S. Its leaves have a lemony, tangy flavor that can add a sour taste to fresh salads. Natural compounds in sheep sorrel may have significant health benefits.

Sheep sorrel provides several vitamins and minerals. It contains vitamin C, A, and several B vitamins. The herb also has calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and some zinc. Sheep sorrel contains several natural phytochemicals, including several flavonoids such as quercetin. 

sheep sorrel plant in the wild medicinal weeds

Sheep sorrel has great anti-cancer abilities

You can use all sheep sorrel parts such as leaves, flowers, roots, and stems medicinally. Herbalists recommend sheep sorrel for treating:

  • Mouth/throat ulcers
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Fevers
  • Infections
  • Digestive disorders
  • Loss of appetite
  • Scurvy

Sorrel leaves can be used as a mild diuretic to increase urine production by the kidneys. Tea brewed from sheep sorrel may treat fever and generalized inflammation. The tea may also improve menstrual problems.

Sheep sorrel contains antioxidants that remove damaging free radicals from your body. The chlorophyll in sheep sorrel also seems to purify the liver. 

Sheep sorrel may decrease swelling of the pancreas, and strengthen cell walls. It is also high in oxalates. Therefore it can cause abdominal cramping, stomach pain, or diarrhea in excess. 

You can apply sheep sorrel for skin problems such as herpes, eczema, and itchy rashes. Sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella) is one of the medicinal weeds in Essiac tea.

Sheep Sorrel Is The Anti-Cancer Component Of Essiac Tea

Essiac tea is a herbal tea that the Canadian nurse Rene Caisse used to treat cancer patients. Sheep sorrel is the herb that destroys cancer in this blend. 

herbs in Essiac tea medicinal weeds

Sheep sorrel is the herb that destroys cancer in Essiac tea

But you need to use the entire plant. That includes the roots, flowers, and leaves. Sheep sorrel may also cleanse the blood, and increase resistance to x-rays. Some people have also used it to treat the side effects of chemotherapy.  

Harvest the leaves and stems in the spring or summer before the flowers form. Pick the roots in the fall. Use sheep sorrel in salads or boiled as a green vegetable. Sheep sorrel is also available in tincture or tea form. 

Summary

Weeds perform some vital biological functions. They can prevent erosion, break up compacted soil, mine minerals, and attract pollinators.

Dandelion gets its common name from the French words for "lion's tooth."

Dandelions spread quickly across any lawn if left unchecked.

Dandelion has lots of vitamin and minerals and may improve the liver function.

Nettle's scientific name, Urtica dioica, comes from the Latin word uro, which means "to burn."

Stinging nettle may reduce inflammation. It also reduces enlarged prostate glands.

Stinging nettle may treat hay fever and high blood pressure.

The name lamb's quarters comes from an ancient English festival called "Lammas quarter."

Lamb's quarter is incredibly nutritious. It is high in fiber, protein, and loaded with both vitamins A and C. The plant is also high in manganese, calcium, copper and has a bit of iron.

Purslane is full of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Eating purslane leaves can help to improve digestion and strengthen your immune system.

When you pick purslane, look out for the toxic look-alike, hairy-stemmed spurge.

Sheep sorrel provides several vitamins and minerals. It contains vitamin C, A, and several B vitamins. The herb also has calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and some zinc.

Sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella) is one of the herbs in Essiac tea, an anti-cancer tea.


How To Use Medicinal Weeds

1. Pick one of five medicinal weeds

2. Use medicinal weeds in salads or cook them

3. Make herbal teas

Action Steps

In this blog post, you learned about five medicinal weeds growing in your garden, or close to you.

Instead of fighting weeds, why not eat them? Pick one of the medicinal weeds I mentioned in this blog post and make a salad. Or try to cook or steam them. Search for recipes on the net to learn creative ways to use them.

Or try to make dandelion, nettle, or sheep sorrel tea, and drink it.

Read The Ultimate Cancer Diet And Nutrition Guide For Free

If you want to learn more about nutrition, read The Ultimate Cancer Diet And Nutrition Guide for free


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