Certified Herbalist Ellen Zimmermann from The Austin School of Herbal Studies joins Trisha to show off a few weeds that can be good for you!
Though we usually think of weeds as a pest, many different types of weeds exist that we can actually use and that are edible and nutritious.
Cleavers (Galium aperine) is a plant that goes by many names, including bedstraw, catchweed, and Sticky Willy. Cleavers’ stickiness was the inspiration for Velcro. The plant is medicinal and helps clean out the blood as well as acts as an astringent for the kidneys.
Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus) is a bright yellow root, and it is a very cleansing herb. Yellow Dock is commonly used during cancer treatment. Eating it can also encourage better digestion and help the body assimilate iron. Yellow dock is also a useful plant for skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema.
Tasty lambsquarters (Chenopodium album) related plant orach (Atriplex hortensis) can be prolific. High in protein and iron, cook them like any greens. Also, lambsquarters help reduce swelling and alleviate arthritis.
Dandelions (Taraxucum officinale) are not weeds; rather, they are classified as an official medicinal plant by the United States Pharmacopeia. They improve digestion and can be used to treat liver problems. Dandelions are very cleansing and can also help stimulate the gallbladder to prevent gallstones. The leaves are a great diuretic, too. Young leaves are delicious in salads and smoothies. They’re often confused with sow thistle (on the left).
Chickweed (Stellaria media) has a high nutritional value and is used medicinally as a urinary demulcent and a diuretic. It can be used externally for skin irritations and rashes. Chickweed is also used as an anti-inflammatory and reduces the swelling from sprains and arthritis.
NOTE: Do not ingest any plants that have been sprayed with pesticides, herbicides or other chemicals.