I’ve mentioned in previous posts (albeit briefly) that I’m becoming increasingly interested in herbalism.  Moreover, it is quite exciting to walk around and feel as though the surrounding plants are friends, or acquaintances at the very least.

Plantain, a common weed to most that grows in impacted soil pretty much everywhere, is particularly useful for cleaning out cuts and helping to remove splinters and such.  I have a clump of it taped to my foot right now in hopes that it will pull out the splinter/stone that lodged itself in my heel on Sunday.

Dandelion!  Previously thought to be even more of a pest than plantain, this plant is almost magical in its food and medicinal abilities.  The root can be roasted and ground up as a coffee substitute (I have not yet tried this because I’m somewhat particular about my coffee- dark or French roast made in a french press is my brew of choice), the leaves are edible and incredibly healthy, the flowers can be made into an oil, and I have been told and am presently testing the validity of the white sap-like substance that comes from the stem being used to get rid of warts.

And last of my new yet common friends is STINGING NETTLE (in all capitals because I decided at this moment that it should be a metal band name as well).  I’m planning to walk down by Minnehaha Creek later today to collect some nettle tops- the larger part of the plant has gotten woody by now- to steam with brown rice, tofu, and mushrooms for lunch/dinner.  Nettles have an amazing amount of protein, minerals, and all around goodness.  Plus most people unfortunately despise them for their sting, so you might be doing humanity a favor by picking them.

Apparently I shouldn’t be surprised by my recent dedication to herbalism as a calling.  Upon reading my college-era Livejournal I discovered this little tidbit, dated January 12, 2006:
“Today I spent the whole of 8th period sitting in my same spot in the Naperville North library (hiding behind one of the bookshelves) reading about herbal medicine. It is so exciting to learn about these things because I am a firm believer in using herbs as medicine rather than chemicals that have been formulated in a laboratory. Granted many of our conventional medicines come from plants initially but nothing will ever be the same as tea and poultices. So I am going to do further research and begin compiling a list. Susan and I have decided that it will be quite grand when we have our own places to live, and my most recent excitement regarding this will be my ability to grow plants in a window box. There is no light for that in my dorm and it makes me miss growing green things. Until then I will drink my peppermint tea, delight in the tingle it leaves in my throat, and gain knowledge about possibilities.”

Everything I am and everything I love has always been there, I think, some of it just takes its time to blossom.

2 thoughts on “Plant friends and a surprising precursor.

  1. Wow your dinner sounds delicious! STINGING NETTLE absolutely cracked me up. I can just see it now… I appreciate these intriguing facts. I see dandelion leaves sold in my local market grocery store and have been interested in trying them out. I think the next time I see them I will! Let me know how the other two work out for you.
    Have you ever considered higher education in this sort of field?

    1. I have thought about higher education about herbalism specifically and for education’s sake in general, and right now I’m feeling like it’s not quite the right path for me. Ben and I want to get a house sometime in the next year or year and a half, so our financial priority is there, and I feel like there is so much to learn for free from my friends and colleagues that why pay for education at this point! But who knows what the future may bring…I do have a hankering to write papers once in a while 🙂

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