There are so many weeds growing in our grass that can be quite useful and healthy. Two of my favorites are mullein & dandelion.
The first time I was introduced to mullein was when I quit smoking two years ago. My sister made me a cup of mullein tea from some mullein leaves in her yard and it was gently effective at clearing out my overburdened lungs. Since then I’ve used it whenever I’ve gotten a cold and I love it! A few weeks ago I was discussing herbs with Ann Marie and she recommended the book Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons. While reading it I have found a medicine chest of spring remedies living amongst the very grasses that cause some of the worst seasonal afflictions.
Mullein is a weed that you can find in many yards though you may have passed it by many times without noticing it. It starts out as a frosty green rosette in the spring. The leaves have a fuzzy velvety texture. In the summer a stalk grows out of the center of the plant which produces yellow blossoms. Mullein is reputed to be a pain reliever, a decongestant and a sleep aid. According to Prescription for Nutritional Healing it is useful for asthma, bronchitis, difficulty breathing and even hay fever. It does not have a strong taste so it is good to add honey & lemon which will be helpful as well if you are suffering.
The dandelion is the multivitamin of weeds. According to Mr. Gibbons, thousands of people died each winter & early spring from diseases now known to have been caused by vitamin deficiencies. Ancient herb doctors used to give patients the roots and the young dandelion leaves which would save their lives. Dandelions have a long list of vitamins in their nutrient content including many B vitamins, vitamin A, C, E and zinc. You can have the leaves as a tea or a salad. My brother makes a delicious light fruity dandelion wine from the flowers.
I had to step over a slight cultural hesitation in order to try these herbs straight from the ground to my teacup, but how could they be any fresher & healthier? Of course I wouldn’t try them from any place that may have been sprayed with pesticides.
This is just the tip of the iceberg! If you add red clover blossoms to the mullein it makes a great tea for coughs. You can explore our stacks (check out the 581s, the 615s and the 635s in nonfiction) and your back yard for more gentle remedies which hold nature’s secret ingredients.
Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons is a fun and enlightening read.
Prescription for Nutritional Healing by James F. Balch, MD & Phyllis A. Balch, CNC is an encyclopedia of herbal and alternative medicine. It’s very easy to use with different sections for herbs, disorders and other naturopathic remedies.
Plant Medicine and Folklore by Mildred Fielder is a great resource for herb folklore but written in modern English.
Link to the drug & herb finder at the Health & Wellness Center from ICONN:
Jesse Lee Harmon is the bookkeeper/library assistant at the Oliver Wolcott Library and loves playing guitar & singing her songs, riding her scooter & cooking, especially with fresh herbs and lots of chopping.