Finally, it’s time for spring! One of the things we love about spring is the green lawns and garden and how they fill up with mineral-packed and nutritious plants. You can harvest plenty of herbs and plants to create herbal vinegar, pasta filling, or even herbal medicine.
The wild plants and herbs in your garden are not meant for just sitting around. Consider these wild herbs to be a gift from mother nature to bless our health. What’s more, growing these different species of wild herbs, leaves and flowers is pretty straightforward.
Let’s discover the ten best wild herbs for you to forage this springtime. You’ll be surprised that your yard could be the free powerhouse of fresh green healing wild herbs and plants. Let’s get going!
Benefits Of Foraging Wild Herbs
Today, growing wild herbs in a personal garden have become a necessity around the world. Why? It is because these herbs and flowers have healing properties and health advantages. To guide you better, here’s a comprehensive list of the benefit of wild herbs:
- You can save a fortune by eating feeding on your garden greens. Instead of spending bucks on farmer’s market, forage leaves and free fresh food in your garden.
- Depending on where you live, it could be challenging to find fresh foods and plants at a reasonable price. The goods news is that you can consume almost free fresh and healthy harvest at half the price. You only have to work on foraging and harvesting the wild herbs in your yard.
- Addiitonally, many of these delicious and healthy wild herbal plants and flowers might not be available in your vicinity. Foraging them in your yard will give you access to them.
- Many wild herbs have incredible medicinal and health effects. Herbs like lemon balm, violets, and wood sorrel are sources of nutrition.
- Some flowers like calendula and lavender have therapeutic effects on the skin. We highly recommend foraging such flowers in the upcoming spring season.
- Many allium spp like garlic offer exceptional digestive benefits.
10 Best Wild Herbs That Are Edible And Medicinal
The list of beneficial wild herbs and flowers is endless. These wild herbs do not only have excellent health benefits but are also edible and delicious. You can check out the list below:
1. Chickweed – Stellaria Media
Chickweed is a wild herb that is considered to be weeds because it generally grows in disturbed areas. Typically, this weed is more prominent in North America. However, this usually adds up to its value as a medicine plant. Chickweed has exceptional anti-inflammatory properties.
You’ll notice that the chickweed plants lay low, have hairy stems, and produce white flowers.
It augments the healing of tissues. You can consider adding these mineral-rich greens to your salads. Many herbologists believe that this weed has weight-loss properties. This plant can also help you heal wounds faster.
The violet plants are sweet-smelling nutritional powerhouses. The violet leaves are rich in vitamin C and A. You can choose to add a cup of violet flower to your smoothies and salads to amp up the nutrition quotient.
You can also prepare delicious tea by stepping some chopped petals and leaves in eight-ounce of water. When the spring season is nearing its end, you can store the violet flower petals in the form of ice cubes.
There are several health benefits of violet flowers. They aid in digestion, reduce blood pressure, reduces fever, relieve cough, and many more. Most importantly, appropriate identification of violets is essential as some parts might be toxic.
3. Yellow Wood Sorrel
This spring season doesn’t forget to harvest some yellow wood sorrel in your backyard. Yellow sorrels are a category of weed that has healing properties. This spring season, you should grow yellow sorrels in your backyard to diversify your homegrown pharmacy.
This magical weed has a cooling effect on your stomach. These plants are diuretic and help treat mouth sores, sore throat, nausea, urinary tract infections, etc. Some experts believe that these herbs can aid cancer treatment.
4. German Chamomile
German Chamomile plants are cute-as-a-button flowering herbs that make an excellent tea ingredient. It also has diuretic relief and anti-anxiety properties. Chamomile can easily thrive in your backyard. Besides, this herb also attracts beneficial insects and pollinators.
You’ll also be content to hear that this plant supports and heals the surrounding plants. You can grow it under your fruit trees. You can also inhale German Chamomile to reduce irritation and apparent inflammation during colds.
German chamomile is also present in cosmetics, foods, and beverages. You can use the chamomile flower to extract oil and use it for various purposes.
The next most potent spring herb on our list is chicory. This wild herb is an incredible alternative to coffee. You’ll often notice the beautiful purple chicory flowers lining the roadside. To make the maximum out of your garden, try to include chicory in your spring list.
Chicory has a long list of healing benefits for humans. You can use the chicory roots to make delicious teas. This tea will help in detoxification and digestion.
This herb has a hazelnut-like taste. Chicory is also a popular ingredient for augmenting weight loss.
6. Stinging Nettle
These days, stinging nettle has become one of the favorites of gardeners. Growing the stinging nettle can be a boost for your homegrown pharmacy. It is the most nutrient-packed herb on the list. You must know that they are high in vitamin C.
You can use the nettle flower or leaves to makes tinctures, teas, and tonics. Nettles are also famous for relieving joint pain. Don’t forget to wear rose pruning gloves while you harvest this herb. You can consume the leaves of the stinging nettle like spinach.
You should also know that nettle helps enhance soil ecology and allow the soil to heal.
7. Broadleaf Plantain
One of the other exciting names for broadleaf plantain is “white man’s foot.” Plantain received this nickname during colonial times. Plantain is famous for its anti-inflammatory and wound healing abilities. The fibrous stems of plantain break and enrich compact soils.
It helps in the survival of soil. You’ll be surprised to see plantain as an effective supplement and cosmetic ingredient. Plantains are also good additions to salads. A poultice of plantain leaves is also helpful in treating pain, wounds, and stings.
They are high in vitamin K, A, C and also rich in calcium.
8. Dandelion Leaves & Roots
Dandelion plants are one of the most versatile harvests in your garden. Undeniably dandelion flowers are beautiful. What you don’t know about dandelion plants is their myriad health benefits. These stubborn weeds can help you fight acne, cancer, digestive disorders, and liver diseases.
The leaves of the plant have vitamin E, C, K, and A. What’s more, they also have a high content of magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, and several minerals. What we love about dandelions is that they’re rich in antioxidants.
Try to include a course of dandelion tea between your meals.
Purslane is a typical garden weed that most gardeners avoid growing. However, before you give it a heave-ho, you might want to reconsider. Some claim that the purslane is as nutritious as spinach. You can cook purslane like spinach.
Some crushed purslane can help you get relief from stings and insect bites. If you don’t like to cook them like spinach, you can also add them to your salads. Many people prefer making a pesto out of purslane leaves.
10. Lemon Balm
Growing lemon balm is like having a free mini pharmacy in your backyard. If you are looking for effective stress busters, you should try soothing lemon balm tea. The lemon balm is a useful wild herb that reduces stress and anxiety.
This herb is native to North Africa, West Asia, and Europe. One of the known benefits of lemon balm is improving cognitive function. Including a course of lemon balm tea can also ease insomnia. If you have been suffering from indigestion, this might just be the right solution.
Identification Of Edible Wild Herbs
You have to take the Universal Edibility Test to determine if the wild plant is safe for consumption or not. Identification of edible plants will be easy with the following steps:
The first step is to fast for 8 hours. Before eight hours of testing any unknown plant or herb, you shouldn’t consume any food.
You have to cut the plant into different parts because some of it might be poisonous. Cut the plant into other pieces such as:
Rub different parts of the plant on your skin. Doing this will allow you to identify any potential reaction. Make sure to crush the roots and stalks to get the juices out. If there is no reaction after eight hours, you can continue to the next step.
Some plants are toxic when they’re raw. However, when cooking its leaves and roots, they’re safe for consumption. Besides, it is better to consume the weeds and greens cooked because they are easy to digest.
Try putting a small portion of the cooked herb on your lips. If the cooked herb doesn’t trigger any reaction, you can continue with the process.
Next, put a small portion of the cooked herb in your mouth. You don’t have to eat or gulp it. You need to hold the herb for at least 15 minutes in your mouth.
In step seven, you can chew the pant, but don’t swallow them. We take the edible testing procedure step-by-step so that you do not face any severe reaction.
Finally, in step eight, you can swallow the plant or herb. Wait for 8 hours after consuming the cooked herb. A span of 8 hours for the identification of any toxic or poisonous element.
If you do not face any severe reactions after eating the plant, you can try eating 1/4 cup of the herb. Make sure you consume it in the same way as you did in step 8.
In the last step, you have to wait for another eight hours. If the plant does not trigger any bad reaction, you can label it as safe. If you get a rash or feel sick, wait for another 8 hours to test a new herb.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s natural for you to have hundreds of questions about any wild herbal plant. In this section, we’ve taken the time to answer some of the most frequently asked questions. Hopefully, this will help you to understand everything about wild herb harvest.
1. What are the herbal plants approved by DOH?
These are some of the herbal plants that DOH approves:
- Ringworm Bush
- Chinese Honey Suckle
- Wild Tea
- Blumea Camphora
- Bitter Gourd
2. Do herbs lose their potency?
The straightforward answer to this question is yes. Once you pick these herbs, they’ll start losing their potency. Even if they have their delicious flavor or aroma, it doesn’t need to be still effective. Get rid of wild herbs and leaves that have been lying for more than a year.
3. Can I consume Burdock leaves?
Herbalists claim that Burdock roots are one of the most potent medicine. They have an array of medicinal uses. Besides, they are downright tasty if you know to cook the root and stem well. Again, you can also use the leaf of this plant to wrap foods while cooking in campfires.
4. Is growing your herbs cheaper than buying?
Compared to the store-bought herbs, harvesting homegrown ones costs half the fortune. Cost-effectiveness is one of my favorite reasons to harvest these wild herbs in my backyard. Moreover, finding these wild medicinal herbs isn’t easy.
The Bottom Line
Foraging these early spring wild herbs in your garden, and you’ll be able to welcome a host of delicious foods and health benefits. Even professional herbalists recommend foraging some of these wild weeds and plant species in the garden.
What’s more, you can turn these wild herbal plants into lip-smacking salads and delicious foods. Make sure that you make the most of this spring season and forage these plants.
These herbs and garden weeds are great for diuretic and first aid purposes. You can also take the help of a professional to identify more edible and medicinal wild herbs. Who knew that their backyards could be a rich source of superfoods and therapeutic benefits!
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.