Sunday, April 24, 2011
After long cold winters our ancestors looked forward to the greens that sprouted up in the spring. Certain types of greens were selected for their nutritious cleansing properties. Many of these plants are still available to us today but instead of cherishing them, we poison them with herbicides. We have been conditioned to think that these helpful friends are horrid nasty blemishes in our perfect outside carpets. What a twisted nonsensical mindset. I am not blaming the average person though…it's what we've been taught. However, has our "perfect lawn" education been for our benefit or more for the profits of lawn maintenance companies, commercial agriculture and the drug companies?
For several years now I have been eating my lawn. It all began when I read the book Healing Wise (Wise Woman Herbal Series) This is one of my favorite books on foraging. It focuses on burdock,chickweed, dandelion, nettle, oatstraw, seaweeds and violets. The author Susun Weed shares her knowledge of these plants in both a whimsical and scientific manner. The book is a delight to read and I refer back to it often. She tells how to use the plants medicinally and in the kitchen. In a minute I will give brief descriptions of these plants gleaned from Healing Wise but first I want to share a few thoughts on eating wild foods.
I want to boost everyone's enthusiasm for natural foods….and I mean REALLY natural! When I think of the foods we eat from our grocery stores and even from our gardens, I realize how manmade they really are. Have you ever seen broccoli, stringbeans, tomatoes, pepper plants, pumpkins, eggplant, etc, growing wild in the woods or fields near you? Maybe I'm strange but I think about that often. I'm not saying that these foods…especially when home grown….are not full of vitamins and minerals but maybe the foods that grow wild in our native habitats (even in city parks: Check out Wildman Steve Brill http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/ )have a something extra special and in the right proportions tailored to our specific needs.These plants, trees and fungi pick, grow and thrive in certain areas to compliment the particular ecosystem and we are part of that ecosytem.
You can eat your lawn. You can eat certain flowers and don't forget the free healthy and medicinal foods found in the woods.Of course if you are going to eat anything from your lawn or fields, you want to be sure pesticides and herbicides have not been used there.The most common response I get when I speak of finding our food in nature is…."Gee…what if a dog or cat urinated on the plants in the lawn? I say…."that's easy, you wash the plants off". And then I remind them what most plants grow in…dirt and manure.We are composed… to a large extent…of bacteria. We require bacteria to live. Basically it's the terrain of our body which determines whether or not we become sick and whether or not germs become pathogenic in our bodies. So…I guess one of the main messages here is not to be afraid of natural substances that our food requires to grow…. but to be very wary and concerned about pesticides and herbicides. We seem to have it all backwards!
Violet leaves and flowers, dandelion blossoms and leaves and chickweed are the main forage I personally have used in salads. I have made infusions with nettles and have added them to soups. Sometimes I cook up the young nettle tops like spinach. Very tasty…… http://tinyurl.com/y5j6eq8
First we will describe the properties of Violets which are pictured at the top. They're blossoming now in the northeast. Go outside and take a look!
VIOLETS : they gently alter the function of the respiratory system, the nervous system, reproductive system and the immune system. They are very nourishing and Susun Weed feels they are very helpful for problems of the breast , such as fibrocystic disease and cancer. They contain vitamin C, vitamin A and important minerals.
DANDELION: All parts of the dandelion can be used. It is especially known for cleansing the liver after a long winter of meat and starchy root vegetables. Dandelion leaves are a bitter and help the digestion. Dandelions are also extremely nutritious. I have used roasted dandelion roots as an excellent healing coffee substitute.
NETTLES : Nettle leaves are a superb nourisher. They help strengthen the adrenal glands and as a result help with allergies. Nettle infusions are gentle enough be used on a regular basis. They reduce fatigue and stabilize blood sugar. Nettles are helpful for the kidneys. You can find them in the wild or start your own nettle patch http://tinyurl.com/y5j6eq8
CHICKWEED: Where I am in the northeast, chickweed comes a bit later….so I don't have a photo. It can be found in gardens and lawns. If you keep clipping the tops for salads, you can keep the chickweed from getting too spindly or stemmy. Here is a quote from Healing Wise (Wise Woman Herbal Series) "Chickweed saponins increase the absorption of nutrients, especially minerals,from the digestive mucosa. Her saponins also gently dissolve thickened lung and throat membranes, emulsify and thus neutralize toxins, and weaken bacterial cell walls, maling them vulnerable to disruption of their activities."
EAT YOUR FLOWERS
Let's stop the insanity, try to eliminate the use of herbicides and pesticides and enjoy nature's healthy gifts