Useful Weeds

Many so-called weeds can have useful medicinal effects - here are a few names and their uses.


  • CULINARY: Leaves in salad, root as coffee substitute, flowers in wine.
  • MEDICINAL: High in iron, potassium, vitamin A, phosphorus, manganese. Digestive tonic for constipation and sluggish liver (root), diuretic.
  • OTHER: Compost mineral rich. 


  • MEDICINAL: "Nature's Bandaid" use leaves for cuts, stings, insect bites. Psyllium seeds (fall) used as bulk laxative (as in Metamucil) 


  • CULINARY: Use in salad and lightly boiled as vegetable.
  • MEDICINAL: Poultices for skin irritation, inflammation, boils, abscesses, itching. 


  • CULINARY: Root as vegetable, early spring stalks edible.
  • MEDICINAL: Skin disorders, boils, acne, eczema, psoriasis (root). Tonic to digestive system. Wound healer.
  • OTHER: Dandruff preventative. Compost restores minerals to soil. 


  • CULINARY: Soups, stews, tea (leaves). Excellent source of minerals, vitamins.
  • MEDICINAL: Rich in iron, phosphorous, potassium, B complex, vitamin A. Gout, arthritis (eliminates uric acid) roots. Stops bleeding, nose bleeds, haemorrhoids. Eczema.
  • OTHER: Dandruff control. Compost incredible soil enricher. Can make rope from the fibres of the stalk. One of the first fibres for making cloth. 


  • MEDICINAL: Respiratory, skin disorders (flowers), coughs, bronchitis, aids expectoration. Skin conditions, eczema, general tonic to the body. 


  • CULINARY: Candied flowers, violet syrup. Leaves rich in vitamin C and A.
  • MEDICINAL: Wound healer. Flower syrup soothes throat. 


  • MEDICINAL: Cough syrup (flowers) 

Karen Runnels


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