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Benefits from Weeds

Common weeds are found to be beneficial from a medicinal and nutritional perspective. Yet, we are usually in a hurry to eliminate them. I’m wondering what caused these habits and if it’s worth breaking them. Should we be giving weeds more recognition?

Nutrition & Medicinal Components of Common Weeds:

1. Dandelions. Of course, this has to be my first pick. Everything from the flower down to the root is edible. Tasty raw or cooked and can be harvested anytime. Try them in a salad, stir-fry, or soup. They can be eaten raw, breaded, fried, or even used to make dandelion wine. The root of the dandelion can be used as a coffee substitute, or in any recipe that calls for root vegetables. High in fiber and contains vitamins C, B6, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, iron, potassium, and manganese.

2. Red Clovers. Important food for bumble bees and for you. Try it in a salad or add it to your favorite dish. It can be eaten raw, cooked, or dried for tea. A source of protein and fiber and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc. Vitamins include: vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin E, vitamin D, and vitamin K.

3. Plantain Plants. Not only is it edible, but it is also medicinal. It can be used to soothe burns, stings, rashes, and wounds. This plant can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, or sautéed. The seeds can be cooked like a grain or ground into flour. Plantain contains fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, zinc, and copper, as well as vitamins A, C, and K.

4. Cattails. Boiling the root and stalk or consuming the leaves similar to spinach. Lastly, the flower at the top can be consumed in a similar manner to corn on the cob. Cattails are a good source of vitamins A, B, C phosphorous, and potassium.

So why aren’t we eating them? 
I believe that over time, we have lost touch with the simple concept of gaining nutrients straight from the source (plants). We now rely on convenience, but that’s not all. We have developed new eating habits and addictions to certain foods such as sugar[1][2], dairy(cheese) [2], meat (such as bacon or fried meats) [2], and processed/high-carb/fat foods [2]. Due to the negative health consequences, I believe we should re-introduce plant-based foods to our diet again. However, it is not just a health issue.

For many, successful agriculture and food manufacturing have become about making the most profit possible. That is fine and makes sense, except when it occurs at the expense of our vulnerability and health. Luckily for us, we are now realizing these faults in the company values and are ending our support for this type of lifestyle. It all boils down to the power of our habits. We have been told to do certain things and follow these habits without question because it is simply the way of life. There are other options than following the system of processed foods and pharmaceutical dependency. If you like independence as much as I do, you will find that leaning away from these habits can be quite beneficial.


[1] Avena, Nicole M., Pedro Rada, and Bartley G. Hoebel. “Evidence for Sugar Addiction: Behavioral and Neurochemical Effects of Intermittent, Excessive Sugar Intake.” Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews 32.1 (2008): 20–39. PMC. Web. 2 Oct. 2017.

[2] Schulte, Erica M., Nicole M. Avena, and Ashley N. Gearhardt. “Which Foods May Be Addictive? The Roles of Processing, Fat Content, and Glycemic Load.” Ed. Tiffany L. Weir. PLoS ONE 10.2 (2015): e0117959. PMC. Web. 2 Oct. 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4334652/

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