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WEEDS THAT FEED AND HEAL

Spring! Glorious Spring! Green has returned. But the first green to appear in your garden may not be anything you planted. Before you decide to pull those "weeds", or worse yet, spray them, there is another choice. Use them to feed and heal your family! The three herbs that I use most often in the summer are garden volunteers.

Plantain is easily recognizable with its rosette of round, broad or thinner, blade like leaves. Both varieties have large veins and flattened stems giving it the name "ribwort". In our house we call it "natures bandaid". These leaves take the pain and itch out of bug bites. Last summer my young daughter was foolishly poking a beehive in a hole in our backyard. Suddenly the angry bees swarmed. Before I could pull her away, she was stung several times. Together we picked a plantain leaf, which I chewed into a mash to put on her bites. Within two minutes she was playing happily again. I have used plantain leaves on hives, poison ivy, chicken pox, and cuts.

Mallow grows abundantly in most gardens. The leaves have rounded indentations along the edges (very similar to geraniums) and a thin leaf stalk. It grows upright or trails on the ground. The soft leaves are used to heal abrasions and chapped skin. After a day of gardening, I steep this plant in hot water and soak my cracked, rough hands. The softness of the water feels like lotion! The tea soothes sore mucus membranes, ulcers, and sore throats.

The common dandelion is one our most abundant plants. Not only does this pretty yellow flower brighten the landscape, every part of it can be used for food and medicine. Eat the young greens in salads before the plant blooms, or have sauted greens with oil and vinegar. Soak small pieces of the flower stalk in equal parts of water and vinegar overnight for quick pickles. Add the yellow petals to batters. Dandelion muffins are a favorite at our house. Cut the root into small pieces to dry in baskets or on a screen. Oven roast these dried pieces at 150-200 degrees until brown. Grind, then simmer ten minutes for a tea many liken to coffee. Splash dandelion blossom tea on chapped or wind burned skin, age spots, and wrinkles. Whereas most diuretics leach potassium from the body, the high levels of potassium in dandelion leaf make it a wonderful diuretic tea. Dandelion root is well known for its beneficial effect on the liver. Use it regularly to aid the liver in its tremendous job of filtering the daily toxins and metabolic wastes we all encounter every day. Ironically, this is the best herb to counteract the effects of all the weed killers people use in their yard! Instead of trying to eradicate dandelion , put it to use in the kitchen and medicine chest.

So before you begin to weed the garden this summer, think twice about what you may be throwing away. These helpful volunteers surely deserve our respect and admiration for all the nutrition and simple healing benefits they have to give!

DANDELION MUFFINS
Mix in bowl:2C. flour2 tsp. baking powder½ tsp. salt½ C. clipped dandelion petals

Mix in another bowl:ĵ C. oil4 Tbl. honey1 ½ C. milk

Mix the dandelion petals and flour thoroughly with your hands. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Stir to moisten. Spoon into oiled muffin tins or a bread pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Written by: Kathryn Cox, Motherlove Herbal Company

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intendedto diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and is for educational purposes only. If you are taking any medication or areunder treatment for any disease, please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possiblecomplications before taking any of these products. If you are pregnant or lactating, please consult with your health careprofessional before taking any medication or dietary supplements.


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