One thing as I’ve learned along my herbalism journey is that there are a multitude of plants that are considered weeds but are very useful. Seen as “pests” and are, in my opinion, highly undervalued. I will touch on two of my favourites, Lamium Purpureum (red dead-nettle, purple dead-nettle, purple archangel.) and Taraxacum Officinale (common dandelion). It wasn’t until I started learning about these things I’ve noticed how truly abundant they are all over the place!
Lamium Purpureum. It is a beautiful plant! It has some really nice looking purple flowers that I personally find very pleasing to the eye. Not only that, but, they are capable of a wide variety of uses. They have edible tops and leaves, which I find to be quite nice in a salad as a spring vegetable. I use a sweeter dressing as they are some what bitter. I find that they have a really prominent taste that not everyone will like. I sure do, though. I also make my own tea out of them, amongst other things. As I continue my mission to learn the art and science of herbalism, the course I’m taking has led me down all kinds of rabbit holes when it comes to harnessing the power of plants. Purple dead-nettle is a very good pick, literally. Highly abundant in nature. Quite easy to wild forage, as long as yo don’t get it from places where they use pesticides and all of that type of thing. Very nutritious and also has medicinal qualities as well. An astringent, diuretic, diaphoretic and purgative. Also, it is an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal plant. One thing that I think should be studied more is, they have been shown to reduce the symptoms of allergies. For anyone who hates “that season” might find this plant to be of some help! One thing I love and have seen first hand out in my yard is that bees love them! They spread “like a weed”, as they are considered. And they are a very good source of pollen for bees as they can be extremely plentiful if you let them, yet they are easy enough to get rid of if you like. I have my own growing and I use them in all kinds of ways. You just have to be careful to not over do it as they have been known to have a laxative effect in high doses. Which is good to know, just in case that’s the desired result. My main uses are tea and salad for this little guy. I use romaine lettuce, purple dead-nettle leaves and dandelion greens as my own little super salad mix. They are high in iron so it can help with anemia. I urge you to go forth and do some reading on this plant, I personally think it is incredible! I won’t be able to cover every benefit in this one area but I believe I have given enough information for you to take a deeper look. The more you look, the more you’ll find! I definitely believe in this plant as a huge part of my overall wellness regimen. The more I learn about the variety of uses for plants, the more I love them.
Handy dandy Dandelions. Another plant considered a weed that people are extremely quick to get rid of. Free food is my favourite food, especially with today’s cost of living. The abundance of this plant is amazing. Another one that makes a great tea, amongst my other selected plants. And as I stated above, it is part of my favourite home made salad mix. I love it paired with purple dead-nettle leaves and romaine lettuce. I usually use Caesar dressing and some lemon and lime squeezed in there. Or a nice Raspberry Vinaigrette. What makes dandelion greens so good is, they’re highly nutritious and they grow basically everywhere. High in various vitamins and minerals, they are definitely a healthy choice. Both the dandelion and the purple dead-nettle are a great source of iron. So, for people with an iron deficiency can benefit from this plant. Also, if you don’t like milk like some people I know, dandelions are high in calcium. They have so many applications. A few are dandelion wine, roots as a coffee substitute, jam, honey substitute and the whole plant can be eaten raw or cooked. One thing I’ve stumbled across is this; batter the flower tops in tempura batter and fry them. They are so good and mostly healthy. I mean, fried things always have their unhealthy aspect to them but I love it all so! So many uses and benefits from one simple and highly abundant plant. Another one I urge everyone to have a look at, and one I use very regularly!
I could sit and write for hours on the topic of these two plants, I just love them! I hope I’ve given enough information that might intrigue more people to look into them. I stand by my belief in their practical use as super plants. Two that I will be specializing in as I get farther into my herbalism journey. There really is an art to the practical use of plants and I believe my creativity will play a major role in how I use all of the knowledge I have accumulated and will continue to accumulate. With all of the strain on the healthcare system these days, I believe in preventative wellness. And plants as an overall wellness booster. It’s 2020, there’s so much information out there that is right at our fingertips, you just have to look! I hope I’ve given you some “superfood” for thought! If you enjoy my thoughts, remember to follow along for more of my useful tidbits! Thanks for reading!