Three Helpful Plants Waiting to Meet You.
The beauty of the plants is we can begin our herbal and wild foraging study by right now, going outside to our front, side and back yards. Take the children out to said yard (as long as you don’t chemically spray) and gather one or two small (3 inches or so) dandelion leaves per person as soon as you can find them before they’ve flowered. Add the leaves to a salad or steamed greens. Why one or two instead of a big plate of them? Our palate is not used to the bitter flavor, so we are starting slowly to acquire the taste again. Our great grandparents did this every day, all spring, until dandelion flowered, nourishing and supporting their livers.
Next, grab some scissors and head to a partially shaded, even by other bigger plants, patch of your yard or garden. In these cooler places you will find a tiny star of any salad, chickweed. Gardeners continually “weed” this nutritious and medicinal herb out of their more domesticated plants. She is packed full of nutrients and is great for any skin condition needing cooling or painful joints.
While you were out and about did a bee sting you? Did you get a sliver? No problem! Nature’s remedy is right there on your lawn, plantain. Again, as long as you don’t chemically spray, this little leaf can be picked and chewed and placed on the insect sting, sliver, anything you want to draw out. Best to put a Band-Aid over the green spitty glob to keep it in place for a few hours. This plant held such sacredness the Europeans traveling here early on carried it in pots. It can be eaten as well and thus is termed a “pot herb” in older herbal citing’s. Notice the bitter taste again? If you want to start eating plantain, add one or two chopped leaves with your steamed greens and your liver will thank you.
If you don’t already know these plants, some good resources to begin with: Peterson’s Wild Edibles and Peterson’s Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants. If you want a more in-depth discussion of fewer plants, both volumes of Samuel Thayer’s Edible Wild Plants are fantastic!