Save Your Weeds: Edible And Medicinal

With every step I take in my yard, barefoot and camera in hand, I am anxious to get out in the crisp fresh air. In the mornings of early spring there is an alluring scent that can be described as “a fresh and blissful place that is calming for the mind”. Standing outside in the stillness of early morning life, taking a long very much needed deep breath, provides a pleasant mental state.

“Spring morning air, so wispy and fresh, releases the daily worry and stress.
Close your eyes, take a breath, open your mind and feel at rest.
Blooms and buds everywhere, life is nature’s greatest care.
We get another chance, anew,  life’s interpretive dance”.      Faye
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Corn Speedwell

As soon as we see the first blooming weed we know that spring is soon arriving. Living in the country we are happily overwhelmed with all types of them: dandelions, clover, crabgrass, pigweed and many others. For the most part each type has its very important purpose, after all, they are where so many of our medicines came from.
Some see the natural happy providers as much an invasive intruder and can not wait to spray, kick, pluck or stab them. While they provide green alternatives to some prescription drugs, some which can cause extreme dependency and harm. I am not trying to insist that pharm meds are bad but simply that there are wonderful medicinal helpers out in your very own yard or local park, AND not to mention free. Not all medicines can be replaced by natural remedies, although some are in our healthier interest to at least try: such as honeysuckle with inflammation and asthma (mild), and dandelion with immune system and cholesterol, or chickweed with dermatitis and rheumatism. Across the world, ancient remedies are still used today. From Elecampane healing of respiratory ailments in Great Britain to Garlic aiding in heart disease in India and to Slippery Elm in treating ulcers among our Native Americans. And one really good remedy is not from a weed but from the Willow tree that I use for my family in case of poison oak. All you need is about a foot of Willow limb and about 1 cup of water, break up the limb in pieces around 2 inches long in a sauce pan with the water, bring to boil slowly over low-medium heat and let cool. Then rub onto the infected area. Apply 2-3 times each day. The poison dries up in a couple of days. In extreme cases, please just go on to local medical facility.
On another note, adding the dandelion to your salad or sandwich adds vitamins A, C, E, B complex, and have protein. There are various edible plants and weeds that provide vitamins and minerals to our daily diet naturally. Although, be of good knowledge when picking and harvesting because there are harmful weeds and plants as well. So carefully eat ’em up.
“… everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease  an herb to cure it, and every person a  mission. This is the Indian theory of existence.

— Mourning Dove, Salish, 1888-1936

In the beginning God created weeds, pretty much. Not only for our health and some NOT for our health but also for the birds and the bees (called POLLINATION). Our opportunistic environment jumps for joy at the thought and chance of weeds being in our yards and gardens. Good bugs, bad bugs and ladybugs can be somewhat controlled by types of WEEDS that thrive in our areas.
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Dandelion & Henbit

The clover and pigweed act like a perfect foam mattress for the feet, so relax, give yourself a break and search for the much sought after lucky four leaf clovers. Nature, outside, fresh air, pollen polluted… however you want to refer it, is one of the best ways to de-stress and unwind. Grab a quilt, picnic snacks and a make it a date. Throw down the weed killer, (except for designated areas because we all have them) kick off the shoes, watch for bees, and just play.
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