I have been doing some reading on natural plants of the northwestern U.S. that are good for your health. Most of my information has come from other internet users and health forums. In Idaho, the mountain region, we have wild berries, like rasberries, huckleberries, service berries, buffalo berries, elderberries, and more. For plants, we have mullen weed, horsetail, cure-all, sego lily bulbs, balsam arrowleaf, and so many others. We have wild mushrooms, and young pine needle shoots. I would like to post some information and pictures of these plants, how I use them, and how they are suppose to help your health.
The first plant I would like to talk about is Mullen Weed. I heard about this edible plant at a field trip in Farragut State Park on edible plants of the forest.
When the park employee discussed this plant, she said the leaves were used in medicines that helped relieve joint pain. The leaves can be boiled in water to make a tea. It has a mild flavor. Some people strain the tea to remove the little hairs on the leaves that might irritate the throat. I didn’t, and thought the tea tasted pretty good with honey. I didn’t have any irritation.
An article I found online about Mullen Weed, said it offered hope to asthma patients. It also said the stalks could be bound together and used for a torch that would burn brightly for an extended time because it contained oils. The flowers are also used in herbal remedies. During the Roman times, it was used as a remedy for coughs and colds. It is also has diuretic effects. Here is a link to the article.
This picture was taken on the sunny side of a field at our house. It grows well in sunny locations, and along roadsides. The leaves are soft and velvety. It grows tall and dies after the second year.
I have had knee joint pain in the past, and have noticed that it has gotten much better, but I have also given up eating pork in my diet, which I heard can contribute to joint pain and problems. I have not had a lot of Mullen tea, and so I don’t think I would contribute having less pain to this plant, but I did feel good after drinking the hot tea, and it does have a calming effect.
This isn’t the best picture of horsetail, but that is what it is. It grows near water sources. It looks sort of like a young pine tree, with its needle like leaves, but it has a tubular stem, that is divided noticeably into little sections.
The claims are that it is good to build enamel on teeth because it contains silica in the stems. It has been claimed to have other great qualities too. Everything above ground is edible, but it is very chewy. I wouldn’t eat it raw. It is best picked, then boiled in water to make a tea. Then just let it sit a while to release all the nutrients. It tastes really mild, and very good when boiled.
When this plant is dried, it is used as an abrasive. That is another reason I wouldn’t eat it raw. You can scour the pan you used to boil the tea when you are done.
I have not noticed the enamel building qualities, but I did notice it is a diuretic. It helps get rid of water extremely well.
Self Heal or Cures-All:
This plant is related to peppermint, and is very hardy. You can find it in your lawn in sunny locations if you live in the Northwestern U.S.
I guess in China, it has been known to help with arthritis, and some suggest it should be eaten regularly. If there are infectious diseases around you, it is highly recommended to ingest the leaves and flowers of this plant according to this website. You can find much better information and pictures there as well. The website is Bud’s medicinal plants of Vancouver, B.C.
I have eaten the young tender leaves of this plant, and they are better tasting than many salad leaves. I really liked the taste, and if it does what it says, that is an added benefit.
I have used this plant for several things, and it really does help. It has antiseptic qualities. It grows in sunny locations in the Northwestern U.S., and if you rub the leaves, and smell them, the plant smells like mosquito repellent. That is one of the things it is really used for. All you do is rub the leaves to release the odor, and rub it all over.
The root is used as a numbing agent for sore gums and mouth problems. Be careful, it really does numb the gums, and does so very well.
If you taste some of the leaves, it will remind you of Listerine mouthwash. I guess you can put it on small abrasions, as an antibacterial.
Black Cap Raspberries,
These grew wild in our field too. They are very good tasting, and even the leaves that are tender and new can be eaten. Supposedly, the leaves help with female problems, and mouth problems, like painful gums.
I just like to eat the berries plain, and in the spring, I have munched on the leaves. I guess the leaves can be made into tea. You might want to search the web for more information.
The berries are pretty seedy, and they are sweet when they are fully ripe. The branches have lots of thorns that are sharp, so that makes harvesting a little difficult.