What “Weeds” Do You Have In Your Back Yard?

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The other day, in Do The Next Thing, I touched on using local “weeds” for medicinal purposes. I found a great article about  Creeping Charlie written by Connie Korstens that goes into detail on that very subject!

Many people hate the sight of Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea) will do anything to try to eradicate it. It is often considered an invasive weed that runs amok. But when I see this low growing plant with kidney-shaped leaves and beautiful, funnel-shaped, bluish-violet flowers in the spring, it makes me think of all the amazing medicinal uses it has.

European settlers intentionally brought Creeping Charlie to America for its culinary and medicinal uses. A member of the mint family, the herb forms long trailing stems that create a dense mat over the ground. Another common name for this plant is Ground Ivy.

Historically, it has a rich background and was even used in beer making as a clarifying agent to improve flavor before hops were used. It was also used by painters as a remedy for lead colic. Mostly, it was used as a tonic. Since Creeping Charlie is extremely rich in vitamin C, it was often made into a tea and used to prevent scurvy.

Parts used: Flowers, stems, leaves.

Medicinal Uses: Both Internal and external.

*Soothes inflamed mucous membranes

*Sinusitis

*used for inner and middle ear remedy

*tinnitus (ringing in the ears

*kidney and lung disorder

*head colds, especially with congestion in ear tubes

*bronchitis and viral pneumonia

*cough remedy

*bladder infections

*indigestion

*may be useful for heavy metal detoxification (lead, mercury, aluminum)

*traditional cancer remedy

*Externally used as a wash or poultice for sores, cuts, bruises and ear or nasal infections

*Systems Supported: Kidney, bladder, respiratory, lymphatic, and digestive.

*Plant Preparations: Infusion (tea), tincture, poultice.

*Minerals/Vitamins: Iron, copper, iodine, phosphorus, potassium. Rich in Vitamin C.

*Herbal Actions: Anti-catarrhal – Anti-inflammatory – Antiviral – Astringent – Diaphoretic – Diuretic – Expectorant

RECIPE: Creeping Charlie Tea.

Because this plant runs so rampant, one way to embrace and use Creeping Charlie is to make an herbal infusion. It has a pleasantly subtle mint-like flavor.

Infusions are a great way to build health. Just think of them as a gentle tonic for the body. Tonic herbs are beneficial to the body and they can either increase or decrease the activity of a system, as needed. Some tonic herbs have an overall affect on several bodily systems, while others address a narrow range of processes. Herbal teas are easy to prepare and nurturing to sip.

How To Make It…

Pick enough plant material to loosely fill a quart jar. Thoroughly wash the Creeping Charlie. Place the plant material in a quart jar. Fill to top with boiling water. Cover jar and steep for one hour. Remove plant material and drink either hot or cold. Optional: Add lemon or lime slices with a sprig of fresh mint

Reading this article re energizes me to gain some more knowledge on my back yard “weeds”! When our older children were younger, I often dug up dandy lion roots or clipped other leaves and flowers for medicinal teas. It is all right there, free for the taking! I went out side this morning and collected some of this lovely plant, and I am making this tea as I type!!

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What “weeds” do you have in your back yard? Identify them on the internet, or buy a book on the subject. I am right here, learning along, and becoming holistically healthier with you:-)

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