Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Weeds or Useful Plants?

Seeing Cheryl's gorgeous photo of hypericum on My Wildlife Sanctuary had me thinking about all the beautiful plants that nurture us by providing us with foods for the body and soul, as well as giving us valuable medicines.

Hypericum is one such plant. The scrappy looking wild form found around the ACT and other parts of Australia, Hypericum perforatum, is also called St John's Wort. It is considered a noxious weed because of its ability to invade pastures and it causes photosensitisation (sensitivity to sunlight) in stock who eat it. However, Hypericum perforatum is also a valuable healing herb that can be used for many modern diseases.

Many of the plants that grow wild around us are, in fact, plants that can be used to heal all sorts of maladies. They can give us a clue as to what is wrong with us. For example, if you have heaps of dandelions growing in your garden, it may be that someone in the house, someone living nearby or someone who regularly visits needs a liver tonic (read cleanse!) or a diuretic. The dandelion is there for a reason!

My father used to leave strips of "weeds" around his farm "for the bugs". The "bugs" did go to the strips of "weeds" and they did largely leave his organically grown crops alone.

So next time you see a "weed" consider its purpose. Is it telling you anything about your health or the health of those around you? Is it diverting the hungry insects from your vegetable patch or fruit trees? Studying our weeds can help us connect back to nature and understand her in many ways.

love and light


Anonymous said...

Hey NW, I'm going to try the stips of weeds here and there, see how it goes, thanks for the idea, it makes perfect sense when thought about. The only exceptions will have to be the doublegee and that bloody caltrop....nasty pair those LOL


Sage said...

I have a patch of my garden as wilderness, it gets cut only a couple of times a year and that is only to keep it under some sort of control.

Nice idea, everything has a purpose and a time to be useful.

Cheryl said...

Hi Naturewitch...love this post, you have just brought something back to me that happened a long time ago. I had a dog that had a chronic heart condition......she used to roll in the herb garden, particularly on the thyme....it was a huge clump and she would do this every day......I wondered then if it was hleping with other ailments that came with her condition.

Nettles grow here in abundance...it is a continuous struggle to keep them down. I keep a large area for the butterflies, you now have me asking myself do I need it.....

A thought provoking post...I like it.

naturewitch said...

Hey Molly
Had a look at those weeds on the web and they defintely look NASTY. Checked in my book of medicinal plants and no surprise they aren't there. Wonder what their use is? Can't believe the Goddess would have put something on the planet for no reason, although snails do challenge this notion of mine!

Hi Sage
Welcome to my blog. Great to see another traveller on the path of life

Hello Cheryl
Aren't you the lucky one! Nettles! They are an indicator of beautiful rich fertile soil. Wish I could grow them - maybe a project for spring?
Nettles are highly nutritive, being rich in iron. They are a tonic for the arteries, but shouldn't be overused as they may cause a rise in blood pressure. They are great for low blood pressure, though.
Nettle ointment is good for insect bites. If you have dock growing, it can be used to antidote any nettle stings and it often grows near the nettles.
Nettles can also be used as a diuretic and may be helpful in arthritis.
If you have any of these complaints, you may find the occasional cup of nettle tea beneficial. You may also like to consult a professional herbalist for more advice.

love and light

Sage said...

You mentioned nettle ointment... how do you make it I have lots of nettles as I am allergic to their sting.. not badly but enough to make me wary I wonder if the ointment would help me.


Cheryl said...

Hi naturewitch......thank you for all that wonderful information. There are a few things there that could be relevent. I am grateful to you. I have a friend who is a homeopathe, I will have a chat with her.

The land around here is very fertile...trouble is everything grows so big, good in some ways, not in others......

naturewitch said...

Hi Sage

If you are allergic to nettles, I would avoid the ointment. You can use the fresh juice of dock (Rumex crispus) leaves to soothe the rash caused by nettles.

I'll put up a post about making ointments one of these days . ..