5 EDIBLE AND MEDICINAL WEEDS
Contrary to popular belief, weeds don’t have to go straight to the garbage bin. While they’re the type of unwanted plants all owners wouldn’t want to have, there’s actually some use for them if cultivated correctly. For those looking to harness the potential of weeds, here are five different types to get you started along with the benefits they have.
1. Yellow Dock/Burdock
Normally, these leaves are used for salads. However, you don’t have to throw the roots away for burdock has quite a lot to offer. For medicinal purposes, you can use burdock to treat inflammation (whether in the nasal passage or skin area) and rashes. Surprisingly, it can also be used as a form of toothpaste! When eaten, its flavor is similar to an artichoke. Burdock is a good source of fibers and various minerals such as calcium and potassium
2. Lamb’s quarters (also known as goosefoot)
Unfortunately, this plant’s names are a misnomer as it neither tastes like lamb nor goose. Much like the burdock, the leaves of lamb’s quarters can be added as part of salads, and they work well as a replacement for spinach. In addition, they can also be included as part of juices. However, one should be careful with its seeds as its saponins are considered toxic. Lamb’s quarters may not taste like animal (even if you call it goosefoot), but it makes for a great complement for a meal.
3. Amaranth (also known as pigweed)
Amaranth is a type of plant that’s greatly beneficial to the body, whether consuming its leaves or weeds. One can cook amaranth’s leaves, while its root makes for a great vegetable to serve alongside tomatoes or tamarind gravy. Above all else, amaranths are a great source of vitamins such as A, C, K and calcium. Even its seeds are a great source of protein, making the amaranth an all-around healthy plant for anyone!
To the untrained tastebuds, purslane is quite salty and sour. This might make it undesirable to consume for some. However, within the unsavory taste lies edible parts that have great health benefits – from the stems all the way to the flower buds. Similar to spinach, purslane can be used as a salad or cooked as a whole. It can even be used for soups or stews. If you can get over its taste, you’ll find no shortage of purslane as it’s grown in all 50 states!
5. Dollarweed (also known as pennywort)
Quite a weird couple of names for this particular plant, but the dollarweed can be just as memorable for its health benefits. These pesky plants are ones that are normally found on lawns, with lawn owners usually seeking ways on how to get rid of them, but not many know that dollarweed can either be used in a salad or as part of a potherb, proving there’s some worth even to the weeds we find no use for.