Why Eat Wild Herbs and Edible Plants?
The Benefits of Wild Edible Plants
For hundreds of years people took advantage of the medicine cabinet at their doorstep. Before the advent of processed foods and modern convenience stores, wild plants were a common dietary supplement. They were the ultimate natural multivitamin!
Often the plants we call weeds have therapeutic value. Our pharmaceutical industry bases many new medicines on the healing factors in herbs.
Why eat wild herbs?
- They are power packed with phyto-nutrients, hundreds of times the vitamin and mineral density of a supermarket lettuce. Remember our common lettuce started out in the wild. Due to thousands of years of agriculture it has become rather meek and mild, compared to its ancestors.
- They are free; great value nutrition.
- You only need a little to reap the nutritional benefits.
- Nutrient dense wild plants support all levels of health,
starting at a cellular level.
What if you live in the city?
Not everyone lives in the countryside these days, with healthy spray free wild herbs at their doorstep. How can you get the benefits of wild plants without turning into a forager?
- Drink herbal teas made from wild herbs, like nettle .
- Eat darker leafy green vegetables whenever possible. Shop at a farmers market for the older varieties and more unusual green vegetables. These vegetables are most likely less hybridised and therefore intrinsically more powerful health wise.
- Take a green powder like barley grass or Vitamineral green . Vitamineral green contains wild plants in its nutrient dense ingredient profile.
If you do live rurally, how do you spot the good ones?
People ask us, "how do you avoid the poisonous ones?” Good question! Ask around and learn one edible variety at a time. Often community gardens have people in the know. Gather this precious knowledge slowly. Read books. You will feel more connected to your local environment and
What to do with wild herbs and dark leafy greens?
Wild herbs can be juiced (the forerunner to wheat grass juice!) with carrots and apples, made into dressings or pesto, and chopped finely into salads.
What are some of our favourite wild herbs?
Remember - the best way to identify these plants is with an excellent reference book, or better still, with someone who knows. Ask around. Consult herbalists and herbal books as to how to prepare these herbs.
The uses of the herbs written below are based on my own small and still growing knowledge. They all have many more valuable indications.
Nettle - see the article on nettles -makes a nice quiche!
Mallow - excellent for soothing the intestinal tract
Dandelion - Ideal liver tonic... great to detox the body in springtime - good in salads
Cleaver - helpful for drawing excess mucus out of the body - lovely juiced with apples
Chickweed - One of my most beloved weeds. Soothing for the body both internally and externally. Cooling. Good for skin conditions and inflamed digestive system. Mkae yummy pesto.
Lemon balm - gorgeous digestive tea
What are your favourites? Contact us and let us know...
We received the folowing valuable information about finding the good wild weeds in NZ:
I was looking at your many subjects to choose from your website and reading through the article titled Why Eat Wild Herbs and Edible Plants I came down to If You Do Live Rurally and wondered if you might like to update that part with letting the public know that there are 16 Herb groups in the North Island and 8 in the South Island which they can join to learn so much about herbs including growing, cooking, medicinal, craft, cosmetic etc. A list of groups can be found on the website www.herbs.org.nz