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Unveiling the Hidden Treasures: Exploring the Versatility of Everyday Weeds

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

Who knew that those pesky plants in the front yard were so beneficial? Really, would you believe that dandelions were edible? How about that obnoxious weed that looks like a succulent and seems to be everywhere (purslane)? And the list goes on and on! They also are touted to have medicinal properties. I am not a doctor and do not recommend the use of any of these without consultation with an expert herbalist and medical provider! I encourage all readers to do their own research and get to know the benefits and side effects of the plants. Just like medicine, each plant has both pros and cons.

I have been intrigued with the properties of plants since coming up against a superbug many years back and having to take a super-powerful antibiotic. I wondered how people survived before all of the medications that we have today. I found that many plants that I thought were weeds actually had many great qualities that were helpful to our health. Let's take a look at a few of them.

#1 - Dandelion

The whole plant is used in everything from salads, pickled flower buds, tea, coffee substitute, meads, wines, lotions, salves, and soap. This plant is full of vitamins A, B, C, and D along with iron, potassium, and zinc. A couple of great resources include:

#2 - Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)

Purslane is used in salads, soups, or infused in oil. "Its medicinal value is evident from its use for the treatment of burns, headache, and diseases related to the intestine, liver, stomach, cough, shortness of breath, and arthritis." ( It is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, vitamins A B, and C, and bioflavonoids.

#3 - Lamb's Quarters (Chenopodium album)

This weed can be used in salads, sauteed, curried, or added to soups among many other things. It is loaded with Vitamin A, B1, B2, C, and Calcium.

#4 - Plantain (Plantago spp.)

Plantain leaves can be used in supplements, tinctures, teas, and natural skin care products. It is high in calcium, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A.

#5 - Violets (Viola spp.)

Lastly violets! These beautiful flowers are rich in calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Both the leaves and the flowers are edible and can be used in salads, candied flowers, infused oil, infused vinegar, and natural skin care products.

In conclusion, the next time you come across those "pesky" plants in your front yard, think twice before dismissing them as mere weeds. These everyday plants, like dandelions and purslane, have surprising and valuable uses that can benefit both our culinary experiences and our health. From dandelion salads and teas to purslane-infused oils, the possibilities are endless. However, it's important to note that while these plants have been traditionally used for medicinal purposes, it's essential to consult with an expert herbalist or medical provider before incorporating them into your routine. The world of plants holds a wealth of knowledge and natural remedies that have been utilized for centuries, reminding us of the wisdom and resilience of our ancestors. So, the next time you spot a weed, take a moment to consider its potential, and you might just uncover a hidden treasure in your own backyard.

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