From curing heartburn, cystitis and coughs to providing free protein, vitamins and minerals, common weeds have some truly amazing benefits. Sadly, most people simply dig them up, mow them down or kill them in various ways. Did you know your garden is hiding all sorts of nutritional and medicinal gems? Here is a list of edible weeds that grow in your backyard with amazing health benefits:
Not just for making daisy chains, the greens and petals of this common garden flower can be eaten either raw or cooked, although some find the flavour a little bitter. Daisies have been brewed into a tea and used in traditional Austrian medicine for gastrointestinal and respiratory tract disorders. They also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Part of the mustard family, this particular plant is considered an invasive species in North America. However, it brings with it a lot of great health benefits – aside from being a good source of vitamin A and C, Garlic Mustard is popular as a diuretic, helps with weight maintenance, improves heart health, lowers cholesterol and strengthens the immune system.
Tea made from common mallow root forms a gelatinous mixture, which is soothing for the digestive and genitourinary tracts. The leaves are better tasting when eaten young and can be cooked in place of other greens. The seed pods are also edible and contain an impressive 21% protein.
Not to be confused with the banana-like Caribbean fruit, this common weed can be used topically to treat burns, stings and other wounds. While the young leaves are tasty either raw or cooked, the older leaves are a bit tough and unpleasant tasting (but there’s nothing to stop you eating them if you wish). 100 grams of plantain contains the same amount of vitamin A as a large carrot, and is very rich in vitamin B1 and riboflavin.
You might have noticed that this pretty pinky-red flower attracts all the bees to your garden. It’s not just a great source of food for them, but also for you! Traditionally used in India for its anti-inflammatory properties, Red Clover has also been used as a folk remedy for cancer. Although there is no evidence to back this claim up, it’s best to enjoy red clover simply as a source of calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C.
Another popular medicinal weed, you’ll require gloves or thick skin when picking this! It’s used for urination problems and kidney stones, joint ailments and as a diuretic. The leaves are also said to help fight allergies and hay fever. Nettles are rich in vitamins A, B2, C, D, and K and have important nutrients like antioxidants, amino acids and chlorophyll. They’re also a good source of calcium, potassium, iodine, manganese, and especially iron.
Hope these weeds make you think twice about adding them to the compost heap!