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Foraging for Health

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Jeframpton
(@jeframpton)
Posts: 28
Eminent Member
Topic starter
 

Hey THC community,
Anyone here collecting wild edibles in your local area?
Learning about Nature’s gifts helped me get through some tough times recently. I loved the recent Clive episode because it highlighted my own health issues and how they relate to stress and deficiency.
I rent a home off a noisy road with basically an abandoned yard. The grass is spotty up front and ‘weeds’ have taken over the backyard many years ago.
I realize the conditions are unfavorable. I have no idea if herbicides have been sprayed here recently, the busy road right behind the property puts off plenty of pollution but I think I’ll take my chances.
The closest mountain range is owned by corporate mining so I’m 30 miles from truly escaping the toxic valley.
I imagine most of the plants I’m gathering are in some form or another in your area. I’d be interested in learning about any Spring foraging ya’ll are doing.

 
Posted : April 14, 2021 11:39 PM
TesserAches
(@tesseraches)
Posts: 40
Trusted Member
 

Not sure what part of the country you are in, (guessing West coast?)but last year I'd picked up a book listing native plants in my area (midwest), and my girlfriend and I started to see what we could find. In the chaos of last year, we didn't make a profound habit of it, but what little we did was still quite rewarding. We found stands of mullein growing along a local walking path. Tried to find local pawpaw but didn't quite get there. It turns out invasive honeysuckle has medicinal flowers, if you want to spend a day collecting and drying those. Dandelion of course is super nutritious and has culinary as well as medicinal uses. Common lamb's quarters pops up in spring, and is one of the many wild greens that are more nutritive in the spring than in the fall, as they build up oxalic acid, which gradually builds up in the plant over the course of the year. This is true of many wild greens, so be sure to do your research! Many of them are fine to eat raw as young shoots, but must be cooked if eaten later in the year (or avoided altogether).

I especially am fond of a little weed called plantain. You can never "unsee" plantain once you recognize the parallel ridges of its leaves. Known by the Indians as "white man's footprint", it is invasive to North America. It is a powerful adaptogen. Good dried as a tea. I'm guessing it would do fine as a salad green. But it is a powerful healing poultice if you chew on a leaf to apply to a wound. It helps draw out toxins. Last year I had the misfortune of getting badly bitten by a stray cat I was trying to rescue. I went out to the yard and immediately chewed up some plantain and put it on. Changed it every few hours for a couple days, and inside of 48 hours, I barely even needed a bandage, and did not get an infection. Wonderful stuff.

As far as pollutants and soil quality, see if you can find a certified soil testing laboratory in your area. Ours is a local university. Samples cost $20 each, and can cover pollutants, heavy metals, and the like. It's not a bad idea to get one of these tests done if you are foraging in a questionable area. Even if there are some bad things, that may only nuance what you can take. For example, some plants don't really uptake heavy metals, and some uptake so much that they can be used to cleanse the soil. So in certain soils, there may be plants you can still eat, and some you should definitely avoid.

 
Posted : April 15, 2021 12:17 AM
Jeframpton
(@jeframpton)
Posts: 28
Eminent Member
Topic starter
 

tesseraches wrote:
Not sure what part of the country you are in, (guessing West coast?)but last year I'd picked up a book listing native plants in my area (midwest), and my girlfriend and I started to see what we could find. In the chaos of last year, we didn't make a profound habit of it, but what little we did was still quite rewarding. We found stands of mullein growing along a local walking path. Tried to find local pawpaw but didn't quite get there. It turns out invasive honeysuckle has medicinal flowers, if you want to spend a day collecting and drying those. Dandelion of course is super nutritious and has culinary as well as medicinal uses. Common lamb's quarters pops up in spring, and is one of the many wild greens that are more nutritive in the spring than in the fall, as they build up oxalic acid, which gradually builds up in the plant over the course of the year. This is true of many wild greens, so be sure to do your research! Many of them are fine to eat raw as young shoots, but must be cooked if eaten later in the year (or avoided altogether).

I especially am fond of a little weed called plantain. You can never "unsee" plantain once you recognize the parallel ridges of its leaves. Known by the Indians as "white man's footprint", it is invasive to North America. It is a powerful adaptogen. Good dried as a tea. I'm guessing it would do fine as a salad green. But it is a powerful healing poultice if you chew on a leaf to apply to a wound. It helps draw out toxins. Last year I had the misfortune of getting badly bitten by a stray cat I was trying to rescue. I went out to the yard and immediately chewed up some plantain and put it on. Changed it every few hours for a couple days, and inside of 48 hours, I barely even needed a bandage, and did not get an infection. Wonderful stuff.

As far as pollutants and soil quality, see if you can find a certified soil testing laboratory in your area. Ours is a local university. Samples cost $20 each, and can cover pollutants, heavy metals, and the like. It's not a bad idea to get one of these tests done if you are foraging in a questionable area. Even if there are some bad things, that may only nuance what you can take. For example, some plants don't really uptake heavy metals, and some uptake so much that they can be used to cleanse the soil. So in certain soils, there may be plants you can still eat, and some you should definitely avoid.

Thanks for all that! I’ll have to see about getting a sample done or just avoid what’s more questionable. Definitely would be nice to have more time to collect/learn the medicine and traditions. I’m in Utah so probably pretty similar. A lot of varied landscapes here.
Any books or sources you recommend? I know that it’s all pretty broad and region based but doesn’t hurt to ask.

 
Posted : April 15, 2021 1:28 AM
TesserAches
(@tesseraches)
Posts: 40
Trusted Member
 

The hard part can be getting a list of what to look for in your area. I got a book that focuses on the Midwest that has been a good place to start. Once you know what you're looking up, the rest is a cinch!

ediblewildfood.com is a pretty good resource. Though it's best to check multiple sources and educate yourself as much as possible. Not just to avoid potential dangers but also just having a deeper relationship with the plant and your environment. Also check out the website Useful Temperate Plants. And I like plugging plants in curious about into youtube. There are a lot of great herbalist youtubers, and seeing someone in the field demonstrating the plant in context and showing collection and preparation techniques can be way more clear than it comes across in a book. Homegrown Herbalist, Herbal Jedi, and Mountain Gardens are some of my favorites.

 
Posted : April 15, 2021 4:55 PM
samtran72
(@samtran72)
Posts: 17
Eminent Member
 

It's very satisfying to eat or make something from a plant that's growing where it wants to be. I recently moved back to my home town, close to a park planted over a landfill site. I've done quite a bit of foraging there. Lots of apples and hawthorn but not one fungus. THEY are not happy with the plastic filled soil. There are so many plants that want to help us though. Nettles are very enthusiastic here and nutritious, delicious and friendly. Comfrey has really helped my back pain from a running injury. Go for it. Get an plant ID book for your place and just rule out anything poisonous. In the meantime, have a listen to the 'Plant Cunning' podcast, it's really good

 
Posted : April 17, 2021 7:57 PM
Jeframpton
(@jeframpton)
Posts: 28
Eminent Member
Topic starter
 

samtran72 wrote:
It's very satisfying to eat or make something from a plant that's growing where it wants to be. I recently moved back to my home town, close to a park planted over a landfill site. I've done quite a bit of foraging there. Lots of apples and hawthorn but not one fungus. THEY are not happy with the plastic filled soil. There are so many plants that want to help us though. Nettles are very enthusiastic here and nutritious, delicious and friendly. Comfrey has really helped my back pain from a running injury. Go for it. Get an plant ID book for your place and just rule out anything poisonous. In the meantime, have a listen to the 'Plant Cunning' podcast, it's really good

tesseraches wrote:
The hard part can be getting a list of what to look for in your area. I got a book that focuses on the Midwest that has been a good place to start. Once you know what you're looking up, the rest is a cinch!

ediblewildfood.com is a pretty good resource. Though it's best to check multiple sources and educate yourself as much as possible. Not just to avoid potential dangers but also just having a deeper relationship with the plant and your environment. Also check out the website Useful Temperate Plants. And I like plugging plants in curious about into youtube. There are a lot of great herbalist youtubers, and seeing someone in the field demonstrating the plant in context and showing collection and preparation techniques can be way more clear than it comes across in a book. Homegrown Herbalist, Herbal Jedi, and Mountain Gardens are some of my favorites.

Thank you guys for your input..
I shouldn’t be surprised about the quality responses I seem to get from THC..
I took my oldest to the nearest ‘wild land’ this last weekend. It was a blast to see the spring growth and to show her what I could spot out. I’ll be sure to check both your references and keep sponging this up. There’s always comfort in knowing that Nature has a constant supply of nutrition and medicine.

 
Posted : April 22, 2021 11:48 PM
Brewdarling
(@brewdarling)
Posts: 0
New Member
 

I started with dandelion. Very easy to identify, just be sure the lawn hasn't been recently treated with anything. The entire plant can be used. Especially beneficial to dry out the root and then grind it up and brew it for detox. I think I heard that dandelions were intentionally brought to NA from European immigrants, which is a cool thought.

You can usually spot native leeks, garlic, and chives pretty easily in the spring as they're some of the first patches of green to pop up and a simple smell test tells you they're good to harvest.

No clue if any of the above are in Utah, but I bet you can find sage bushes. Highly medicinal. Happy hunting!

 
Posted : April 23, 2021 4:57 PM
IndianaJo
(@indianajo)
Posts: 6
Active Member
 

tesseraches wrote:
Not sure what part of the country you are in, (guessing West coast?)but last year I'd picked up a book listing native plants in my area (midwest), and my girlfriend and I started to see what we could find. In the chaos of last year, we didn't make a profound habit of it, but what little we did was still quite rewarding. We found stands of mullein growing along a local walking path. Tried to find local pawpaw but didn't quite get there. It turns out invasive honeysuckle has medicinal flowers, if you want to spend a day collecting and drying those. Dandelion of course is super nutritious and has culinary as well as medicinal uses. Common lamb's quarters pops up in spring, and is one of the many wild greens that are more nutritive in the spring than in the fall, as they build up oxalic acid, which gradually builds up in the plant over the course of the year. This is true of many wild greens, so be sure to do your research! Many of them are fine to eat raw as young shoots, but must be cooked if eaten later in the year (or avoided altogether).

I especially am fond of a little weed called plantain. You can never "unsee" plantain once you recognize the parallel ridges of its leaves. Known by the Indians as "white man's footprint", it is invasive to North America. It is a powerful adaptogen. Good dried as a tea. I'm guessing it would do fine as a salad green. But it is a powerful healing poultice if you chew on a leaf to apply to a wound. It helps draw out toxins. Last year I had the misfortune of getting badly bitten by a stray cat I was trying to rescue. I went out to the yard and immediately chewed up some plantain and put it on. Changed it every few hours for a couple days, and inside of 48 hours, I barely even needed a bandage, and did not get an infection. Wonderful stuff.

As far as pollutants and soil quality, see if you can find a certified soil testing laboratory in your area. Ours is a local university. Samples cost $20 each, and can cover pollutants, heavy metals, and the like. It's not a bad idea to get one of these tests done if you are foraging in a questionable area. Even if there are some bad things, that may only nuance what you can take. For example, some plants don't really uptake heavy metals, and some uptake so much that they can be used to cleanse the soil. So in certain soils, there may be plants you can still eat, and some you should definitely avoid.

What book did you all get? I’m also in the Midwest.

 
Posted : April 24, 2021 6:42 PM
TesserAches
(@tesseraches)
Posts: 40
Trusted Member
 

indianajo wrote:
What book did you all get? I’m also in the Midwest.

"Midwest Foraging" by Lisa M. Rose!

 
Posted : April 24, 2021 7:15 PM
IndianaJo
(@indianajo)
Posts: 6
Active Member
 

tesseraches wrote:
"Midwest Foraging" by Lisa M. Rose!

Awesome! Ty

 
Posted : April 24, 2021 9:43 PM
rani
 rani
(@rani)
Posts: 318
Reputable Member
 

If you are planning on moving - learn how to sprout your own seeds https://sproutpeople.org/seeds/
its the freshest food you're ever going to get, and frankly, delicious (a little oil and vinegar or lemon juice - yum!)

if you are going to stay, put some seed in the ground - borage, comfrey and sage are essential and basically take care of themselves. they will pop up year after year.

foraging, nettles are amazing and grow everywhere, dandelion root, look out for sorrel, shephards purse, amaranth, chickweed. st johns wort is a favourite of mine. a a natural anti depressant. pick the flowers in spring, and roots in autumn.

always ask the plant for permission, always leave enough for it to flourish for next years harvest.

 
Posted : April 26, 2021 5:14 AM
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