Tag Archives: medicinal plants

Wild Walk: Monarda

Monardaby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

There is nothing quite as enchanting as a chance encounter with a wild patch of flowering monarda. The electric colors of their shaggy, upright flowers light up the shady places they prefer; dazzling the unprepared eye. Once familiar with the sweet oregano-like scent of this delicately delectable herb one can often smell a colony of monarda long before seeing it. And if the scent doesn’t give it away, the sound of buzzing bees will.

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Granny Women and Biopiracy

Copyright Jill HendersonBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

After a long, cold, snowy winter, spring is finally beginning to take hold here in the Ozarks.  A quick walk through woods or meadows reveals rising sap in the trees and swelling buds of flowers and leaves.  In the garden, Nature’s slow wakening from the Great Sleep is most evident in the growing carpet of chickweed and henbit along the garden edges and the first leaves of dandelion popping out of the barely-green grass.  Many people consider these plants to be pesky weeds, but for wild foragers and herbalists, these “weeds” represent some of nature’s finest edibles and medicinals.

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Weeds That Heal: Chickweed

Chickweed FlowersBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

There was a time, not so long ago, when almost every woman in charge of a household sought out the wild plants that we generally refer to as weeds.  Rich in vitamins and minerals , many of these plants were welcomed to the table as nutritive spring potherbs.   Others would be gathered and made into healing teas, tonics, infusions, poultices and salves that could be used treat many types of injuries or illnesses.  One of the earliest and most versatile weeds that homesteaders and healers gathered in early spring was the lowly and much maligned chickweed.

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American Dittany: The Wild Oregano

American Dittany Copyright Jill HendersonBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Fall in the Ozarks is a treasure trove of wild edibles. As the wild mushrooms spring up from the ground, hickory nuts, black walnuts and persimmons are beginning to fall from the trees.  Indeed, even a short walk through the woods can fill the forager’s basket with little effort.  Among the many wonderful edibles ready to harvest this fall, American Dittany is definitely one of my favorites.  This dainty perennial herb is often overlooked by many wild foragers and herbalists because of its small size.  But don’t let appearances fool you – Dittany is a powerful medicinal herb that doubles as a flavorful seasoning in the kitchen! Continue reading