Edible weeds and wildcrafted herbs are full of nutrients, and many also have medicinal benefits. Wild herbs are packed with vitamins and minerals, often moreso than garden herbs. Wildcrafted herbs have many therapeutic benefits and can be used to make home remedies, healing herb teas and infusions. Edible weeds are essentially free, nutritious food that might even grow right on your doorstep.
Many common garden weeds are highly nutritious. Dandelion, nettle and other “weeds” are rich in many vitamins and minerals:
- dandelion leaves are packed with vitamins A, B, C and D.
- stinging nettles contain iron, magnesium and vitamins C and E. They are a great substitute to spinach.
Wildcrafted herbs also come with medicinal properties:
- Dandelion is a diuretic plant that helps with fluid retention – it is great for a DIY spring detox. Dandelion is used as a liver and kidney tonic in herbal medicine.
- Nettles purify the blood, help circulation in the capillaries and boost metabolism.
- Yarrow is used in herbal medicine to treat women’s health problems such as period pain, as well as to heal infections, to relieve flu symptoms and fever, and to stimulate the digestive system and the liver.
- White clover tea is a home remedy for menstrual problems. Red clover is used as a natural home remedy for respiratory infections and digestive problems.
- Raspberry leaf tea is a uterine tonic, recommended for pregnant women in their last trimester to prepare for labor.
Edible weeds are free, nutritious additions to your diet. They add energy, vitality, vitamins and minerals to any food, and they can be
- added to salads
- made into a wild herb pesto
- dried and ground and turned into spice mixes and herbal powders
- added to soups and stews
- used as a substitute or an addition to garden herbs in cooking
- made into herb teas and infusions
Foraging and wildcrafting your own edible weeds and herbs is also a great way to learn about them – you can even use the occasion to teach your kids about edible plants. Foraging can be fun exercise, and you get some fresh air, too. If you don’t know much about the wild herbs that grow in your area, get a good book or check out this website that has a lot of information about foraging. Always pick only plants that you know to be safe and that you can confidently identify!