Most people agree that weeds can cause great damage in gardens, but what if they mistake some of nature’s best healing herbs for weeds? For example, weeds like sorghum and cogon grass expand very fast and stop the growth of the rest of the short plants. Parasitic weeds that depend on a host for subsistence, like dodder and the enchanter’s nightshade, are even more destructive.
Then, of course, there are harmful weeds like poison ivy or the devil’s weed. They do have a pleasant aspect and are appreciated among landscape designers, but are quite dangerous because of their toxicity. These are the plants that deserve to be called ‘’weeds’’.
Still, a lot of medicinal plants that are called weeds don’t deserve that name. Some of them, such as goosefoots, have strong, deepening roots, which bring nitrogen and trace elements from the deep soil to the surface. Other plants, such as the ones listed below, have considerable medical properties – a lot more than any pharmaceutical product.
Think twice before throwing away the last dandelion that’s growing in your garden. This plant has been used as a natural healer for centuries. It has beautiful yellow-orange flowers that are naturally rich in beta-carotene. In the human body, this converts to vitamin A – an essential antioxidant. Dandelion flowers are also abundant in protein, minerals, vitamins, and essential fatty acids.
Every part of the dandelion – from the root to the flower – is edible, and long-term consumption was linked to a better cardiovascular and hepatic functioning. Dandelion is one of nature’s most potent healing herbs and it has multiple digestive benefits. Thanks to its diuretic properties, it also helps clean the kidneys, not to mention that it is great for constipation.
Dandelion’s polyphenols may be effective in reducing inflammation. The Chicoric and chlorogenic acids may help reduce blood sugar and other of its compounds may help lower cholesterol.
Choose those dandelion yarns that are not too young, but not too old either, with their flower a bright yellow.
Anyone who has been touched by the nettle’s stinging hairs can easily understand why these plants have built a reputation as weeds. Actually, the nettle plant is packed with energy from a nutritional point of view. Its roots and leaves are rich in iron, calcium, and vitamins A and K. People have used this perennial for centuries in Europe to treat intestinal weakness, malnutrition, diarrhea, and countless skin disorders.
Furthermore, it is a proven fact that a spoonful of fresh nettle juice a few times a day eliminates uric acid. This is an unwanted by-product of digesting protein. It accumulates in tissues and joints, leading to inflammatory disorders like gout. Also, the above-ground parts of the plant are used for treating the unlikable symptoms of hay fever and diminish allergies.
Take five minutes per day and prepare this quick nettle tea recipe: Add 1 cup of fresh stinging nettle leaves to 2-3 cups of boiling water. Allow to infuse for 10 minutes. Drink the magic potion.
This somewhat irritating plant that clings its spikes to our clothes to spread its seeds is another weed with a golden heart. Actually, burdock – including all its subspecies – is full of phytochemicals that have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant proprieties.
As a result, burdock is good for treating skin disorders – especially acne, eczema and psoriasis – cardiac problems and degenerative conditions like arthritis or cancer. Like dandelion, burdock is one of the healing herbs that help with digestion by stimulating digestive secretions. Chinese herbal medicine uses burdock for its liver strengthening properties and detoxifying effects.
Although people in the Middle East consider amaranth to be a plague, other countries think of it as a vital plant and a leafy vegetable. Just like quinoa and buckwheat, the amaranth seeds are gluten-free and a complete protein. Amaranth is also a great source of fibers, fatty acids, and numerous trace elements. Therefore, you can include it in your diet and benefit from its healthy compounds.
Frequent intake of healing herbs from the amaranth species helps to reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Amaranth amplifies the immune system’s functioning rate and it helps to treat a lot of serious diseases, including cancer. Amaranth leaves are 90% digestible when boiled or steamed. They have health benefits similar to other leafy greens, such as kale, spinach and, broccoli.
The Amaranth Essential Oil is rich in polyunsaturated fats that turn it into a great home remedy for problematic skin. It will successfully take care of your rashes, irritations, and dryness. It’s also renowned in the beauty industry due to the squalene lipid. It can slow down the aging process by oxygenating the cells. As a daily routine, wash your face and then apply about 3 drops of oil onto your face.
5. Common Purslane
This annual succulent plant, also known as little hogweed, is another medicinal plant that is a popular source of nutrition in the third world, mostly because it can thrive in poor soils. According to the scientists from the San-Antonio, Texas University, the leaves of common purslane contain more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other edible plant. These leaves also make for an excellent vegetable salad.
This makes common purslane a powerful ally for improving both the brain’s and the cardiovascular system’s functioning. Scientists have also discovered that common purslane contains 10 to 20 times more melatonin than any other fruit or vegetable. This is a powerful cancer-inhibiting antioxidant. It contains zinc, helpful in improving the immune system function and it’s a rich calcium natural resource.
Oftentimes, healing herbs come disguised as common or even harmful weeds. This is the reason why many people simply destroy them. It might prove beneficial to ask someone who knows his/her Botanics whether a certain plant is harmful or medicinal. So, next time, think twice before cleaning your garden of certain ’’weeds’’.