Before studying naturopathy I had absolutely no idea as to how many backyard plants, be they weed, decorative or food, actually have wonderful medicinal uses too. Here is a snap shot, just a spot on the radar of the incredible resources available to us unbeknown and how they can be used at home.
Dandelion – Often seen as a weed, this plant has slightly bitter leaves, great for reducing excess fluid, helping stimulate digestion and a nice addition to salads. The root is also wonderfully medicinal, helping the liver improve detoxification.
Stinging Nettle – Painful and sometimes very unwelcome in the garden, stinging nettle is a richly nourishing plant, high in iron and many other beneficial minerals. It helps to cleanse and nourish our blood and the root has a wonderful affinity for the prostate.
Ribwort – Another weed, this reputable and edible plant is a wonderful lung tonic and can be crushed and used on bites and stings to help bring some relief. The seed heads can be mixed with water and used to reduce diarrhoea and improve bowel movements.
Chickweed – This little guy is yummy in salads and found growing in moist and shady places, is great for summer sun burn helping to cool and soothe burnt skin.
Peppermint – A wonderfully tasty backyard herb, Peppermint has a great affinity for the digestion helping reduce indigestion, flatulence and digestive pain. It can also make a lovely cooling summer tea.
Other great medicinal plants include Elder, Farmers Friends, Couch Grass, Chamomile, Fennel, Dill…the list goes on!
Please, before using any of these plants, be sure that they have been identified correctly . If in doubt, don’t! Avoid harvesting herbs from roadsides or areas where sprays or other toxic substances may have been used. Most importantly, enjoy the amazing discovery of what is available on our back doorsteps (and in our incredible community gardens)!
Article by Damian Harrison, Naturopath from Chamomile Naturopathy , Bellingen.