The one thing about the British summer is that the weeds are prevalent, so we might as well utilise them for our needs.
Cutting grass and weeding is a full-time occupation, especially with warm weather and lots of rain, the garden just goes mad!! But what are weeds??Weeds are just plants planted by nature or the birds and not by you in a place you didn’t want them to be! My whole garden is that way and I have to really search out plants I need as I never know where they are going to appear. Weeds can, in fact, be useful tools in the emergency medicine cabinet so here’s what you can do with what plants itself in your garden or what is about in the wild!!
The dandelion is instantly recognisable by it bright yellow flowers. As kids, we called them “pee-the-beds” as it was believed that you would wet the bed if you sniffed a dandelion but it is actually a good duiretic remedy, traditionally used for water retention, cellulite and urinary infections. The leaves are very nutritious and, added to salads or cooked as spinach, give you valuable iron and potassium and vitamins C, B and A!! Drinking dandelion tea can help the body eliminate toxins by stimulating the liver and kidneys so good for gout, arthritis and rheumatism, and the root, which is often roasted and made into coffee substitute, helps with tiredness, headaches and irritability. Another “old wives tale” is about the white juice – apply to warts daily over a few weeks as a natural eliminator…worth a try if you have them for free in the garden!!
Nettles do much the same as dandelions, eliminating toxins from the body, and also helps eliminate uric acid from the body which causes the inflammation of gout and arthritis. An old remedy was “Urtication” – applying stinging nettles to areas of pain – the sting increases the flow of blood to the already inflamed joint, removes fluid and toxins from the area and thus relieves the pain and swelling!! And they call these weeds!!! Huh!!
Magickally, we also use these two prevalent herbs. If you want to send a kiss to a loved one, blow on a dandelion seedhead whilst facing their direction and visualise the message…they should get it! Meanwhile the sting of the nettle is very protective. Nettles sprinkled around a home will send any evil back and carry in a sachet to remove a curse and also send it back to source, and place fresh nettles under a sickbed to help recovery.
We all know that if you get stung by a nettle, you simply find a dock leaf, rub it on the sting and all is well again. But what other uses do our dock leaves have?
Well, you can do the same thing for burns when out and about and can apply them crushed to blisters to provide relief when out walking, so a very handy first aid thing to know!!
The Native Americans used dock leaves crushed to apply to boils, and the tea can be used as a mouthwash for mouth ulcers and gum problems and a gargle for laryngitis and sore throats. It would also soothe inflamed and sore eyes and can be applied to cuts, wounds and infections of the skin – again, handy when out and about.
Dock leaves have a high iron content and a tonic effect on the liver so the tea would be good to revitalise the system whether tired, convalescing or simply irritable. The leaves are also duiretic so a useful remedy for cystitis, gout and water retention and its ability to eliminate toxins help in the war against urinary stones and gravel and also arthritis and rheumatism…a very handy remedy when on the move and not just for nettle stings!!