Backyard Medicine

Some people call them weeds, I call them medicine, and my yard is full of medicine!

Many of our common weeds did not start out as the nuisance plants that so many homeowners these days spend big bucks and harsh chemicals trying to get rid of.

Our ancestors brought many of these plants to the U.S. in the form of seeds because they were nutritious and medicinal. These were planted in the early gardens and escaped into the prairies. For instance, Plantain, which can be found in almost anybody’s lawn, has the nickname White Man’s Foot, because it made its way from New York to California following the settlers.

In the old days, you might be days of travel away from any doctors, so homesteaders needed to know how to treat illnesses with the plants that were easily accessible to them. Some of these herbs were referred to as pot herbs and were grown in a pottager garden. This means that they grew these to eat and were thrown in the cook pot along with the other vegetables that grew in the pottager garden. Other herbs were made into teas, plasters, poultices and salves. Today you too can harness the medicine of these great weeds that grow right in your own backyard.