The Herbal Medicine Growing Next Door

Wild Violets - Tiny and Annoying to Lawn Lovers

These dewey wild violets can be very calming if picked and prepared correctly.
These dewey wild violets can be very calming if picked and prepared correctly. | Source

Looking at gardens with medicine in Mind

This ‘herbal medicine’ doesn’t mean the highly controversial, often illegal medicinal herb that everyone‘s talking about (Cannabis Sativa), but more the legal, decorative, and tasty type. It’s really nice to have herbs handy for cooking flavors or for a quick - and minor - medicinal treatment.

What most people don’t realize, is that many of the flowers they grow in their gardens and flower beds are exactly the ones that herbalists use in healing cocktails, teas, and rubs. If someone were to pay particular attention to what’s growing in the neighborhood yards and pots, that person would see that herbal medicine and food grows nearby, almost everywhere. Only use them if you can be certain that no chemicals or pesticides have been used in growing the plant.

Across the US there are millions of homes with roses in the yard. Roses are medicinal as well as beautiful, and they date back a long ways. The petals can be eaten in salads or on sandwiches, crushed for lotions, cosmetics, or ink, and when dried the colorful hips can make a highly-vitamin C fortified, pink-tinged tea that’s really good with a drizzle of honey in it. Its taste is almost fruity.

Make Colorful Summer Salads or Stuff a Sandwich With Locally Grown Goodies

A popular plant grown in the same climate is the Nasturtium, or the Tropaeolem Majus, which is both delicious and good for us. The leaves taste like a dusting of fresh cracked peppercorns sprinkled on leaf lettuce, or as some compare it to, watercress. As a medicine it can make a cold stop quickly used as a tincture, and a crushed leaf lain upon a cut or wound draws out infections.

One that you shouldn’t mess with is the Foxglove plant, or Digitalis Purpurea. The tall spikes of blossoms that each look like it could cover a fox’s paw grow up to six feet tall in some climes, but it is far from gentle when any part of it is injested. It will stop the heart in minutes, so not even the flowers can be eaten. Digitalis is used in today’s advanced medicines as a heart medication, but is a cruel and ugly death if eaten.

Watch this Foxglove Open, by Neil Bromhall

Stop Bleeding With Weeds and Flowers From Your Yard

There’s a couple of good plants that grow in lawns across the western US; one of them is the miniature wild violet. Once only purchased in seeds or starters, the wind and birds have done a good job of naturalizing them. They pop up in forests and lawns everywhere, and if there’s one plant, there are plenty more. Just look around.

Most lawn owners don’t enjoy seeing the little violets and many pay for companies or chemicals to kill everything but the lawn itself. Little do they know, these tiny monkey-faced flowers are a powerful sedative. Only the flower petals themselves can be used; dry them and steep them in hot water with a drizzle of honey, and have pleasant dreams later.

Heal All, Self Heal, Heal Weed, Wound Wort, Bloodstop, and many other names are called of Prunella Vulgaris, a small plant that grows anywhere grass likes to grow - even in the grass itself. It's invasive if let go, but it's so good, nobody would want to rid their lawns of it unless they're big lawn fans. It's tiny purple flowers add nice color to the dried and chopped herb. The entire plant and root is edible, but it's tea is a light, golden tea with an almost nutty flavor. It's delicious even without honey, and it's the best styptic material around.

Stopping bleeding so effectively earned some of the names it is called. One simply sprinkles the powdered herb onto a skin wound, covering it. Wait a bit for it to dry and it's like a cast holding the wound closed and will last, even through showers, for several days. Depending on where it's purchased, the dried herb goes for anywhere between $21 and $68 per pound. That's a lot of tea, but at those prices it's a smart idea to harvest it from the lawn before mowing.

Learn What's Not 'Just Pretty' in Herbal Healing

An ancient, well-known plant is Shepherd’s Purse; the flower stalk gets easy to recognize from the heart-shaped leaf-pods that contain seeds after the tiny white flower dies. It loves hard-packed soil like roadsides and parking flats and it only grows a few inches high.

Most people wouldn’t pay attention to it, but Shepherd's Purse makes a tasty tea that’s a good tonic drink and when dried, crumbled, and sprinkled on a wound, it’s great to stop bleeding. When fresh and mashed, apply it to the skin where a bug has bitten. Some claim that when made into a tea, Shepherd’s Purse adjusts blood pressure and eases and regulates menses, but take your physician’s word over this.

Common flat-leaf Parsley, or Petroselinum Hortense, is a really pretty and herbaceous plant that has a mild flavor. Often Parsley is used as a garnish and meant to be eaten after a meal to prevent indigestion and make the breath smell better. What people don’t know, is that it’s packed with six times the vitamin C of an orange and is a good source of iron, as well.

There are so many edible flowers that have helpful properties that make it good to have around, not to mention that they make the air cleaner and brighten any room or yard with their mere presence. Take a walk, any time of year, and check out what the neighbors and people on the other blocks are growing.

Plants Make Friends Out of Unknown Neighbors

If you recognize something in a neighbor's yard and you could use some of it, knock on the door and introduce yourself. What a great way to get to know our neighbors while getting some refreshing peppermint, lemon balm or lavender for medicine, tea, or to sprinkle on our dinner meat.

Here's a secret: Cut off a branch or two of the Lavender plant - every variety will do, flowering or not. When almost done barbecuing meat of any kind, toss the Lavender branch on the coals or right on the rack with the food, and shut the lid. The pleasant smell will attract neighbor's attention, and relax you and increase your appetite, too.

The light, smoky taste in the meat is delectably priceless, and people will ask what you did to the meat. You can also mince the leaves (no stems) and add them to baked potato toppings, sauces and casseroles. It's delicious and adds some color to a dish!

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What are Your Neighbors Legally Growing? 12 comments

SandyMcCollum profile image

SandyMcCollum 4 years ago Author

You're welcome. :) Thanks for reading.

sismabud 4 years ago

thanks so much for this info...

SandyMcCollum profile image

SandyMcCollum 4 years ago Author

And some of them make right tasty food additives and flavorings, too. Thanks for reading Jojosi! :)

Jojosi profile image

Jojosi 4 years ago from Complicated

I totaly agree with you that there are hundrends of herbal plants growing in our gardens like marigold, mint,lemon grass and the rest of them, which when properly used can alleviate some minor complaints.

SandyMcCollum profile image

SandyMcCollum 4 years ago Author

Thank you for reading my work! Yes, there is medicine growing everywhere, people just don't know it. If you need any advice, please feel free to email me or leave me a note. Namaste Anglnwu!

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 4 years ago

Very interesting. I'm always fascinated with herbal medicine. My mother is quite good at it. I've heard that you can use Nasturtium for salads (like you said) but have yet to try it. Thanks for showing us how to use herbs. I'm going to try the lavender tip. Thanks and rated up.

SandyMcCollum profile image

SandyMcCollum 4 years ago Author

Yes, I've heard that, but it seems like you'd have to have access to a lot of spider webs for that. Maybe I live in the wrong area? Hmm..

Rusti Mccollum profile image

Rusti Mccollum 4 years ago from Lake Oswego, Oregon

Great hub. Did you know that spider webs are placed on a cut it will help it heal. My aunt did it when part of my skooter,the old metal kind.

Anywas I didn't realize you can do so much with what grows in your yard!

SandyMcCollum profile image

SandyMcCollum 4 years ago Author

Thanks for the compliments. I lived in Alaska and know all the plants that grow there, but we moved to Oregon and I've had to learn new species to me. I love herbs, too, and would rather cook with fresh than dried any day! :)

chspublish profile image

chspublish 4 years ago from Ireland

A very enjoyable hub as you write about my favorite plants - herbs. A garden wouldn't be the same without them or their wild varieties growing everywhere. I particularly like your idea of knocking on the neighbor's door to ask for a cutting etc. Nice idea.

Lilleyth profile image

Lilleyth 4 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

Interesting hub. The violet is one of my personal favorites which I've allowed to spread everywhere. Right now, on April 1st, they are unfurling their carpets to my delight.

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Medicinal plants growing in our neighborhoods is always an intriguing topic and your info is interesting. We just must be careful that the plants are not growing in ground that has been chemically treated for bugs or weeds, as you mention. Nice perspective on our friendly plants! :)

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