The Little Known Power of Weeds
Why would we want to eat weeds? Usually farmers and gardeners are spending time and money trying to get rid of them. But that’s short-sighted. Weeds are often full of vitality and incredibly health-giving. Unfortunately, weeds are often completely overlooked as a food source, which is a loss to both our health and our medicine cupboards.
Recently on our garden-farm, we had a visit from our friend and chinese herbalist expert: Wanda. Wanda introduced us to a few of her favourite “weeds”, all of which are easily found in Hong Kong. A word of caution, however: if you are not sure what something is, do not eat it. Also, avoid harvesting from any place you suspect pollution — such as from vehicle exhaust, any pesticide or doggy business.
But if you can be sure that you know your weeds and that they are from a reliable, organic source… you’re in for a treat! Below are just four very common weeds in Hong Kong, that are easy to find and full of nutrients! The best type of shopping is free.. 🙂
Wild Wood Sorrel
Wood sorrel leaves are a great source of vitamin C. The flowers are also edible and very pretty! It is great in salads and tastes very tangy.
You’ll find wood sorrel in all parts of the world; it looks a little like clover but the leaves are actually very different. Humans have used wood sorrel for food and medicine for centuries. The Kiowa Indians chewed on wood sorrel to alleviate thirst, and the Cherokee ate the plant to cure mouth sores. The roots of the wood sorrel can also be boiled and taste a bit like a potato.
Plantain is very high in vitamin A and calcium. It also provides a bit of vitamin C.
Found in all parts of the world, the plantain plant (not the same as the banana-like plantain) has also been used for millennia by humans as a food and herbal remedy. The oval, basketball-ribbed leaves tend to be close to the ground. The leaves are better when they’re young as, like most plants, they tend to get bitter tasting as they mature.
Chinese Yellowcress & Dragon’s Tongue
On this day I also took home some “Chinese Yellow Cress “and “Dragon’s tongue”, as I have recently been experiencing a sore throat and excess phlegm – no doubt due, in some part, to the pollution in Hong Kong. Wanda recommended adding an apple and some brown sugar and boiling all of these together for 45 mintues to make a tea. Thank you Wanda – it was delicious!
Dragon’s tongue helps detox the lungs and stops hyperactive coughing due to colds, asthma and irritability. It nurses sort throats as well.
Thanks to Wanda again for coming down to the farm and teaching us about these hidden treasures. It was a welcome education and these four leafy friends will never be overlooked again!
Note: We cannot stress enough, be sure to identify the weed correctly before eating any of them.