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Medicines And Foods From The Wild

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Over the Lawn and Across the Field

Every so often I will take a walk along my path through the woods and add plants that I see along the way. I will break the path up into sections of the woods. I will start with what's just outside my door, and end deep in the woods.

As I walk out my door, onto the lawn and head to the woods, the first plant I spot is the Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), this "weed" has many uses from good eating, medicinal, to the famous wine. The younger leaves are best for eating. Although its not from this area originally, it has certainly made itself at home here.
As I get a little closer to the woods, the grass is a bit higher here because I'm now in a uncut wild field, I spot another of natures wonders. Here's the plant that started it all for me, the common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). This is a wonderful, but dangerous plant. Eaten as you see it in the field, it carries within a number of cardiac glycosides, in other words it has poisons that can stop your heart. But treated right it can be a wonderful addition to a meal. If you catch it when it first comes up in the spring, the shoot boiled in two waters tastes delicious! But later in the summer, you can eat the seed pods. Try to get them when they are no more than two inches in length. You have to boil them in two waters in order to remove the poisons. But once they have been given that treatment they are safe.
Let's see what else we can find to use around the lawn. If you have chemicals sprayed on your lawn, don't eat any plants off it. If you look over here, closer to the edge of the lawn you can find many more plants to use.
The Common Plantain (Plantago major) is one of them. You should pick the leaves when they are young, because when the get older, the veins get really stringy. The leaves can be cooked or eaten raw.
Here's Chickweed (Stelaria media), that's another plant you use, eat the leaves raw or cooked. Chickweed is also reported to have some medicinal value too. I've heard that it helps reduce weight, although I'm not sure how, or if it works. I've read that Chickweed can be crushed and put on skin irritations to help sooth them. Mostly though, Chickweed is just good to eat.
Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is a weed you find growing in gardens (as a weed), and along driveway (I wouldn't eat anything close to the driveway). I think this is one better raw than cooked, it get a bit mushy when it's cooked. This plant is reported to have been used by Native Americans for stomachaches, and also to crush up and put on skin irritations.
If you come over here next to the flower garden, and over here in the more shaded areas of the lawn you find Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea). I've read that this makes a good tea for colds, soothing. I've also read that the tea is good for a stomachache. I think it looks good mixed in with the lawn


Now its off to the edge of the woods.......

The Edge of the Woods...

Dandelion

Click on the pictures to get a better view.

Common Milkweed