Weeds are the plant which grows in the wrong place and can be beneficial for health by easing the digestive system, fighting flu, treating rashes, and making the meal tasty. Many weeds are full of vitamins, minerals, and surprising healing abilities.
8 Weeds That Benefit Health
Also scientifically known as taraxacum officinale, dandelion is a nutritional and medicinal powerhouse. It offers a compelling profile of bioactive components with potential anti-diabetic properties (1).
Its saw-toothed leaves are a delicious addition to the spring salad and can also be cooked as a vegetable. These leaves are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, and calcium. The flowers of dandelion are also edible.
If dandelions are allowed to grow, it can end up with large root which can be used as a medicinal supplement. It is used in various detox formulas, diuretic, and as kidney and liver cleanser.
Chickweed is a great source of vitamin A, D, B, and C complex. It has a corn silk-like flavor when eaten raw and when cooked tastes like spinach.
It can also be used as an external application to soothe the irritated skin. It can be finely chopped for application.
Yarrow is tall and stately and bears fuzzy fern-like foliage. It is a type of bouquet of tiny white and yellow flower. Having the scientific name as Achillea Millefolium it is known by various other names such as Nose Bleed, Staunchweed, and Bloodwort. These names reveal one of its most prized ability to slow down blood flow.
Its medicinal powers are not just restricted to wound healing but it also helps to increase appetite, ease digestion and fights cold and flu (2).
The fresh leaves of yarrow can be used as a compress with a little warm water and can even be chewed and applied to the wounds. Add a teaspoon of dried leaves to a cup of boiling water and allow it to steep for 10 minutes. This helps reduce fever and clear up the sinus.
Stinging nettle or Urtica dioica is a weed which cannot be touched with bare hands as their leaves contain piercing sting with tiny needles, infused with severe painful chemicals.
Once it is cooked, soaked in water or dried these fibers get disarmed and the plant can be used for medicinal and eating purpose.
It helps in treating anemia, internal bleeding, eczema, bladder infections, prostate enlargement, and bronchitis in dried, tincture and dried form.
Many people also apply the raw nettle leaves to the arthritis joints to relieve pain. It is known to possess potent anti-inflammatory properties (3)
Apart from the health benefits stinging nettle can also be used as an effective fertilizer for the gardens.
Jewelweed grows in the same area as poison ivy and can act as its antidote. It has a component known as lawsone which can bind with urushiol oil present in poison ivy (causing irritation), preventing it from binding with the proteins in the skin.
You can also boil stems of jewelweed till the liquid turns orange and freeze it into ice cubes to provide quick soothing relief.
A study also shows the effectiveness of jewelweed in preventing the development of dermatitis following poison ivy contact (4).
Peppergrass or Lepidium virginicum comes in the mustard family and has a flavor similar to arugula.
It can be eaten in salads or can be used to season soups and stews. It should be added at last as the peppery flavor vanishes on cooking.
Mullein has a resemblance with an ornamental plant known as lamb’s ear. It has soft fuzzy leaves which grow in a rosette pattern and yellow and white tall stalks of the flower.
The leaves of this weed acts as an expectorant and stimulates cough to clear the congestion in the lungs. Its dried leaves can be added to tea and help in treating respiratory illness including asthma (5).
Mullein oil is used as a remedy for ear infection.
Plantain grows in the sidewalk or the edge of the garden bed. It has antibacterial properties and treats cold and flu.
Add a tablespoon of dry plantain seed heads and leaves to a cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 10 minutes and then strain. You can drink it several times a day.