10 Medicinal Weeds That May Grow In Your Backyard
by Jeff Roberts
For thousands of years, man has looked to nature to cure disease. In the last decade particularly, medicinal plants have been catapulted into mainstream culture, with the popularity of plant medicines such as ayahuasca, ibogaine and cannabis making headlines for their powerful healing abilities against some of today’s most prominent illnesses. However, these plant medicines come with illicit conditions in most countries.
The good news is, some of the most common weeds in our backyard yield amazing healing abilities, and they are all legal! Here are ten weeds which possess interesting medicinal properties. (Note: Consult with your doctor before self-medicating with these plants)
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Chicory (Cichorium intybus), the light blue flower frequently seen along roads, provides the main commercial source of the compound inulin. Patients take inulin to fight high blood fats, including cholesterol and triglycerides, according to WebMD. Research published in Diabetes & Metabolism Journal suggests that inulin intake benefits women with type-2 diabetes by reducing the rate of blood sugar increase after eating. Inulin promotes the growth of certain bacteria in the intestines. While some believe this can help digestion, others suffer serious flatulence when the inulin-fed bacteria build up. Some people add the dried and roasted root to coffee. Chickory coffee is especially popular in New Orleans.
Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) has a 2,000-year history as a liver medicine. Modern research has looked at thistle extracts as a treatment for alcohol-induced liver damage. Substances in milk thistle, particularly the chemical silymarin, may protect the liver from damage after a person takes an overdose of other medications, including acetaminophen (Tylenol). Milk thistle may also be an antidote to poison from the deathcap mushroom (Amanita phalloides). Animal studies found that milk thistle completely counteracted the poison if given within 10 minutes of poisoning, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Dandelion – In the past, Europeans used remedies made from dandelion (Taraxacum sp.) roots, leaves and flowers to treat fever, boils, eye problems, diabetes and diarrhea, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine take dandelions for stomach ailments and breast problems, such as inflammation or lack of milk flow. Dandelions have a bitter taste and contain vitamins A, B, C and D, along with iron, potassium and zinc.
Purslane – Like many of the medicinal weeds in this list, purslane (Portulaca oleracea) also makes a healthy snack. The plant contains a high content of omega-3 fatty acids. I ate some that grew in my yard and found it was somewhat sour. A little bit was good, but too much would be overpowering in a salad. In traditional Chinese medicine, purslane treats genito-urinary tract infections. Research published in Phytomedicine found that the plant reduced problems with cognition in older mice.
So there you have it! Try looking in your own backyard to see if any of these wild medicinal weeds are at your disposal!
Jeff Roberts writes for Collective Evolution, where this first appeared. Another soul searcher like you my friends, trying to make sense
out of our human experience. I’ve been with CE for over a year now and
it’s been an awesome ride so far. Simply put, I love to write, whether
it’s fiction or non-fiction 😀 If you have a question or wanna chat you
can contact me at [email protected] 🙂