This month at Grow Sustainab-LEE, our class on herbs is being presented and it is a topic near and dear to my heart. I love herbs for so many reasons. They smell wonderful, usually taste nice, and often can do a lot to help heal minor issues without turning to harsh pharmaceuticals.
In fact, some of my favorite medicinal herbs are considered weeds by some! For example, dandelions, purple deadnettle, and plantain all have medicinal uses and yet many people go out of their way to eradicate these precious resources from their lawns. However, with a little education, maybe these flowers can find a more favorable position in the minds of those who have weeds growing in their lawns. Please allow me to tell you more about what I mean.
Dandelions are full of vitamins A, B, C, and D, as well as minerals, such as iron, potassium, and zinc. Their leaves are used to add flavor to salads, sandwiches, and teas, and the roots are used in coffee substitutes, and the flowers to make wines among other foodstuffs. Not to mention, Dandelions have a whole host of traditional medicinal uses, which are too numerous to list here. Purple dead nettle has astringent, laxative, and diuretic properties. It’s also anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial. Fresh leaves can be applied to wounds as a poultice. You can also enjoy fresh or dry leaves as a tea. Finally, plantain is so easy to use, you can simply chew up a leaf and put the poultice material directly on an insect sting to help draw the poison out.
The previous examples are but a small sampling of the traditional medicinal uses of plants and “weeds” we covered in our presentation this month. For more information, feel free to check out the “Grow Sustainab-LEE” tab on our webpage located at https://www.tinyurl.com/LeeMasterGardeners.
This month wraps things up for our first year, of hopefully many, as a Grow Appalachia partner site. We have learned a lot and had a lot of fun growing organic gardens. In total, we had 15 participants in Grow Sustainab-LEE and we grew around 3,500 pounds of Organic produce, with more last minute reports still coming in. This year was definitely a learning experience and we have learned as much about what-not-to-do as we have learned what to do in order to have a successful garden. But in gardening, a mistake is not a mistake, but simply a learning experience. We look forward to many other successful learning experiences in our future at Grow Sustainab-LEE.