A lot of wild foods, especially wild greens are starting to poke their heads up, conveniently at a time when most of last years stored havest has been consumed and this years crops are either yet to be sown or yet to produce. Of course there are still delights in the ground such as my yummy home grown parsnips but early spring is when nature starts to provide us with a few cleansing bitter herbs. These bitter herbs, or wild greens can help improve digestive function, basically kick start a sluggish system overloaded by all the fatty and carb rich comfort foods of the winter season.
There are so many plants I want to profile, so I think I will make this into a mini series over the next few weeks rather than overwhelm with a mega blog right now. perhaps I will just start with a quick mention of an old favourite – dandelion.
It is a good time of year to harvest dandelion leaves as they are less bitter in winter when still small. I recommend gathering half a dozen small leaves and adding them to any salad you eat, or chopping finely and sprinkling over cooked food. The leaves are high in vitamins and minerals and have an antibacterial, anti-inflammtory, antiviral, blood cleansing, and powerfully diuretic effect! Eating them also prompts the body to produce more bile which supports the digestion; easing heartburn, flatulence, dyspepsia and constipation. I always also recommend bringing dandelion into the diet when suffering from skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne as they can be caused by a congested digestive system. There is so much more to dandelion, but I just wanted to give you a taster (or perhaps for you to pop outside and get yourself one 😉 ). Never forget that plants are to be respected as powerful medicines so please do not use dandelion in medicinal quantities if your bile ducts are blocked, or if you are pregnant, or breast feeding.
If you are interested in finding out more about wild food, wild medicine, the cross over; and you live in the UK you may be interested in my three part workshop “Herbal Wisdom through the Sacred Medicine Path“, which begins in early May. If you live further afield my book “The Medicine Garden” is full of useful information on wild medicine…