Gotcha! I had you going for a minute there right? This article is (of course) about weeds that grow in your lawn or garden, and how they may be used in many super helpful ways. That’s right folks, weeds aren’t all bad after all, they are just misunderstood. Kind of like how Doctor Octopus just wanted to be loved, or how Magneto just wanted to be loved, or how Lex Luthor just wanted to be President of the United States. A wise woman once said ‘’weeds’’ is commonly used as a loose term for unwanted plants. That wise woman may or may not have been me. After my friend Michi asked me about what weeds could be used for, and their health benefits, I decided to do a bit of research. Quite frankly, I had little-to-no idea. On that note, this one goes out to you, Michi!
Dock is that random weed that can grow in the middle of your lawn or the corner of your garden, that has large big leaves and yellowy stalks. It almost looks like spinach on steroids. Dock looks edible because it is, but it’s not for everyone… Or the faint hearted. The leaves of this plant are best eaten while they are young as they are quite sour and get more sour with age. The leaves are high in oxalic acid so it best not to eat too many of them, most of the recipes I saw were about using a small amount in a salad. If you have a history of oxalate kidney stones then Dock is a no-go for you. You can put a bit of dock in your quiche, your frittata – I also saw a super cool recipe for stuffed dock that looked like those stuffed vine leaves you can buy in the deli at New World. Dock has many supposed medicinal purposes. Apparently, dock is good reducing swelling due to irritation, particularly stinging nettle and cold sores. Pretty exciting. Most importantly, there are many different types of dock and many of them have “gentle” laxative effects. So before you brew yourself a big old pot of dock tea (which you can do FYI) it would be a good idea to double check which type of dock you are sporting. Unless you are constipated. In which case dock ’n’ roll (lolzies).
These little flowers can grow throughout your lawn or occasionally grow tall in your garden patch if you have let it go. They are white or red (which means purple, really) and are a flower made up of many small heads. I’m sure you know the one I’m talking about, they are pretty common. These little beauties are all good to eat with their lovely flowers being the best bit to use. You can use them in salads, soups or in tea. You can brew their leaves for tea, too. For such a little flower they are actually pretty awesome according to my research. Using them in tea is good for coughs and colds, they apparently are good at purifying your blood. If you are pregnant or you are nursing a baby, firstly: you go girl. Secondly: hold off on indulging in clover. Clover is rich in isoflavones which act like estrogens and can make things unbalanced for you. For the rest of the ladies, clover is choice for PMS, hot flushes and even breast health. It lowers cholesterol, improves circulation of blood, reduces possibility of blood clots and is filled with vitamin C, potassium and calcium amongst other things. Give clover a Google, it looks like a freakin’ treat!
I’m sure I don’t have to describe what a dandelion looks like to you so I’m not going to. These dudes are all over your lawn and are otherwise bright yellow flowers, or they are going to seed with those big dome heads. I’ve dissed dandelions in the past, but in fairness to myself they really can strangle your strawberry plants and leave you missing out on your crop. I still think they suck for doing that. They do, however, seem to be legit in other ways. You can eat dandelions at any stage of their growth, including when they are going to seed and it will be fine. Different ages vary the level of bitterness. As long as you know the history of your dandelion plant in regards to making sure it isn’t exposed to toxins or pesticides then you can eat all of this plant, right down to the roots (if you can get them out of the ground, because those suckers burrow deep). You can cook dandelion or eat it raw, the leaves can replace lettuce in salads, especially young leaves which are sweeter and they are full of all the good stuff. Calcium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, quite honestly I couldn’t believe the stuff this plant could do for your health. Most famously, dandelion leaves are a good source of fibre which can help with weight loss and can help stabilise blood sugar, making them good for diabetics. Who knew, huh? You can also make dandelion wine! Cute!
Many people probably wouldn’t consider pansies a weed because they are by far the prettiest of the plants mentioned, but they qualify. Pansies recently went through a food revival and have made their way into salads, as a garnish and on top of cakes and cupcakes. Martha Stewart even has a recipe for candied pansies which I have tried and can confirm is totally cool. I’m not sure if pansies literally covered in sugar makes them very healthy, but the original plant has some worthwhile stuff for us. You can make a tea of them or make ointments from them, too. Pansies have antioxidant and anti-microbial properties which means they can help with skin ailments or itching, they can help with respiratory problems. They have been used to cure bladder infections and can help to reduce blood pressure. The list actually goes on! If you are looking at maybe using pansies to help with one of the above things, do your research. There seems to be many different ways in which it can be used and different things you can do to the plant, so for arguments sake I would encourage you to extend your research beyond my babbling.
So, there you go. A little bit of stuff I learnt. I know there is a lot of “go ask Uncle Google” in here but I’m just skimming the surface and I don’t want you to take my words for gospel and get the serious runs. You know what I mean. On a brighter note, next time someone makes you feel stink for not doing your weeding, you can inform them that actually you are growing them on purpose. Yas! Win.
Speaking of yas winning, you may have noticed that Leo got an Oscar and Sly didn’t, which is exactly what I was hoping for and mentioned two posts ago. If someone feels I deserve a beer or a dandelion wine for that call, you know where to find me.
E Cus x
images via wikipedia.org, header image via wewalkandroll.com