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  • Survivalist Scoop

Gardening for Food, Medicine, and Self-Care

In this article, I will introduce to you a plant that can be grown in most areas of the United States and could prove to be helpful in a multitude of ways. Before we became dependent on pharmaceuticals for relieving pain or on the grocery store for food, our ancestors used the plants available to them for nutrition and as medicinal aids.

In my mind, the plant we should all have growing in our garden is one that, oddly enough, is often pulled out as an undesirable weed. A plant called lambsquarter is a valuable source of both food and medicine. This a nutrient-dense plant. When eaten raw, one serving provides 73 percent of vitamin A and 96 percent of vitamin C recommended by the USDA for daily consumption. Lambsquarter is also an excellent source of the vitamin B complex, providing the consumer with thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin.

The leaves of the lambsquarter plant can be used just as you might use kale or spinach. They can be eaten raw or cooked in any recipe that calls for greens. Depending on the species of the plant (there are several species of lambsquarter) and the soil in which they are grown, the taste of the leaves differs, although all are edible. In general, it is best to use leaves when they are younger and more tender.

The seeds of the lambsquarter plant are also edible and highly nutritious, providing an excellent source of energy. The seeds can be coarsely ground and used as cereal or finely ground and used as flour. The seeds can also be sprouted. The sprouts are particularly nutrient-dense and can be added to most recipes.

As a medicinal aid, lambsquarter has a multitude of uses. The leaves can be chewed until a paste is achieved, and the paste acts as an effective poultice for minor scrapes, sunburn, insect bites, and inflammation. This poultice is also helpful in relieving arthritis pain.

The leaves can be used to make a tea. The tea is beneficial for stomachaches and diarrhea. The tea can also be used by pouring it over skin irritations or soaking cotton balls or bandages in the liquid and applying it to the affected skin.

Not only are the leaves and seeds of the lambsquarter plant useful, the roots themselves can also be beneficial. The roots can be mashed, which creates a soapy quality that can be used in place of store-bought soap. The roots can also be used to make tea for a natural laxative.

It’s time the lowly lambsquarter be recognized for the amazing plant it really is. It is possible to purchase seeds online (one site refers to it as wild spinach). Make room in your garden this spring for a truly remarkable “weed.”


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