Easy Herbal Remedies

Useful Weeds

Grey Field Speedwell (Veronica polita)

This is an amazing little herb that is part of the plantain family. It can be used for rheumatism, coughs, and as an expectorant. Its good for skin conditions and can combine freely with plantain in wound/rash healing.  It is rich in vitamins, tannins and the glycoside aucubin which has anti-inflammatory, diuretic and liver protective actions.

Grey Field Speedwell is full of vitamins and tannins. The speedwell (Veronica) species are used as a diuretic, for wound healing, rheumatism, diaphoretic (sweat inducing), diuretic, antioxidant, antimicrobial.

Modern studies are delving into the vast properties of the over 200 species of the Veronica plants – particularly for more glycoside properties as well as antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, also for use in food preservation and pharmacological industries.

It has a somewhat sweet flavor and can be eaten raw, tossed in salads and cooked with other greens.

Harvest and dry for teas after the growing season or infuse in oil with plantain for a skin healing salve.

Use the young leaves and stems in salads or with other greens.

Another great find in my yard – Yellow Wood Sorrell (Oxalis stricta). Also known as Yellow Wood Sorrell or Creeping Yellow Sorrell, or Sour Grass

Yellow Wood Sorrell, photo by Kathy McCabe
Yellow Wood Sorrell, photo by Kathy McCabe

This is another weed that is edible and good for you. Yellow wood sorrel has a slightly sour-lemony taste that promotes saliva production which can be good for the gums and good for your digestive tract. The sour taste promotes bile production which is necessary for healthy functioning digestion.  It is a mild fever reducer and an awesome thirst quencher. Every aerial part is edible, leaves, flowers, and pods – which resemble tiny okra!

It is rich in Vitamin C and was used historically to treat scurvy, fevers, mouth sores, nausea, sore throats, and urinary infections. Its actions include febrifuge, diuretic, astringent, catalytic.

It’s a cheerful plant (in my opinion) and plays well with other useful weeds such as purple dead nettle and chickweed.

You can add yellow wood sorrel to soups, sauces, eat it raw in salads, or dry it and use it as a slightly lemon tasting seasoning.  Cooled or chilled yellow wood sorrel tea sweetened with honey is a delight.

Yellow Wood sorrell, photo by Kathy McCabe
Yellow Wood Sorrell Patch, Photo by Kathy McCabe

One caution: Yellow Wood Sorrel produces Oxalic acid which can cause problems when taken in large quantities as it inhibits calcium absorption, and if taken in moderate amounts it shouldn’t cause problems for people suffering from gout, rheumatism, or kidney stones.

Those little pods also perform a spectacular show by ejecting the seeds when ripe in what is called explosive dehiscence (made me laugh!).

Watch seed dispersal in action!

Harvest by simply pulling it out by the roots, then cut off the roots, wash and enjoy.

Wood sorrel tea

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon fresh wood sorrel leaves, flowers, and/or seed pods
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

Boil water, pour over fresh wood sorrel, and let steep for up to a half-hour. Strain, sweeten to taste, and enjoy! Recipe by https://www.wildedible.com/wild-food-guide/wood-sorrel#wood-sorrel-tea

Chickweed is a creeping weed that features a ten-pointed white star-like flower and deep green small leaves in clusters. It’s low to the ground and enjoys hanging with purple dead nettle and yellow wood sorrel.

A close up of a flower

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Chickweed Blossom, Image by Digiman on Pixabay

Chickweed may be considered a weed, but it is especially useful and edible with many benefits.  It is a wonder for skin conditions, eases itching considerably, you can use it as a poultice directly on the skin or in an infusion and wrap the affected area with a compress soaked in the infusion.  Create an infused oil by steeping chickweed (all aerial parts) in olive oil – I prefer grapeseed oil for its neutral odor – for a few hours in the oven on the lowest setting or a couple of weeks in a mason jar in your sunniest window. Strain and use as an oil or go a step further and create a salve with beeswax. Apply as needed.  It can be particularly useful for psoriasis, lesions, acne, eczema, insect bites, and rashes.

As good as chickweed is for your skin – its also good for the inside of our bodies. Its rich in Vitamins A, D, B complex and C. Its packed with potassium, copper, iron, zinc, and calcium.  Medicinally, chickweed is an anti-inflammatory when applied topically, a mild laxative (when taken in larger amounts) and is soothing to the digestive track when taken internally.

A close up of some bushes

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Chickweed (stellaria media) Image by Wikimediaimages on Pixabay

A great source of vitamins and minerals in salads, or even a pesto made from the herb with garlic and olive oil.

I prefer using dried herbs in tinctures, but alcohol really brings out the properties of fresh chickweed. If you want to tincture or create a salve, allow the chickweed to wilt for a couple days to bring out much of the moisture content to prevent spoilage.

So the next time you come across chickweed don’t throw it away – – Bring it to me!!! 😊

Chickweed Pesto

Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh chickweed (washed and roots removed)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • juice from 1 lime
  • lime zest (if desired)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (toasted)

Instructions

  1. Place everything for this chickweed pesto recipe (except the olive oil) into a blender or food processor. Blend until it turns into a puree, but on the chunky side.
  2. Slowly add the olive oil.
  3. Taste and adjust salt if necessary.
  4. Serve on crackers or crostini.

Notes

This chickweed pesto recipe will keep overnight but may separate a bit. Stir well before serving. Recipe from https://www.diynatural.com/chickweed-pesto/#wprm-recipe-container-27504

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