Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Eating my lawn: Wild Herbs for Health

I had the most amazing experience last night! Our local herb shop offered a class called Wild Herbs for Health. It was part wild foods class and part herbal medicine class. I was the only student who showed up so I had my own private tutorial! It was taught by the owner of the shop; a simply amazing woman with so much knowledge and very interesting perspective on the state of our current affairs.

Because of her deep connection to the earth she is noticing some changes in the timing of when certain plants are blooming. For instance she has noticed yarrow is starting to bloom a full month before it should. She attributes this to the swing in temperatures that we have had this spring. The plant is under stress and so it blooms early. She also commented on the more political/economic turmoil we are going through now. At the same time she is finding more wild foods and herbs around her home; as if the earth were assuring her that there will be food.

As for that food it is abundant! She showed me 45 plants that grow in our area that can be eaten. There are many more but since her concentration was on the herbal uses of the plants she chose plants that can suit a dual purpose. Some of the plants I knew; dandelion, burdock, yarrow, clover, strawberry, raspberry, plantain, staghorn sumac, jewel weed, milkweed, mullien. But there were many others that I did not know. There were quite a few that I recognized but did not know their name or uses. Many I recognized were right on my own property; Horsetail, bunch berry, trillium, purslane.

Many of these plants can be eaten as a salad or tea. Some of these plants seeds can be ground into a flour. We discussed making tinctures and salves from some of the plants. Some of the plants can be applied directly as a poultice.

It is easy to think that as times grow harder for folks that we will have to do without. After the age of peak oil it is easy to wonder what happens if there are no more antibiotics. But Staghorn sumac has antibiotic properties. Burdock roots are high in insulin...up to 50%. For myself I wonder what would happen if I could not get steroids for MS. There are many herbs with anti-inflammatory properties. There is still much more to learn to feel confident in the uses of some of the herbs.

But in the end there is great wealth in the learning.


4 comments:

multifariousraymonds said...

Trillium is edible?! My in-laws have a massive amount of that around their house. Is it a salad green or a tea green?

Fleecenik Farm said...

Multifarious, you can eat the leaves. It is also called Birthroot and aids in childbirth. So you might want to wait a few months before you start eating it. but you could save the leaves now and make a tea of them for later;)

Wendy said...

Sounds like an awesome experience! I need to find someone like that down here ;).

LindaM said...

I've been meaning to tell you how much I love your new header photo!
You are very lucky to have had a private session with such a knowledgable teacher. Once we settle in, I'm bringing an expert from the local herb group out to help me identify things. I know we have alot but I'm not confident in my identification skills yet.