Wild Sarsaparilla, a Native Source of Energy and Health

eattheplanet.org is an affiliate marketer. We may earn commission from links to products and services on this page.

our facebook page for additional articles and updates.

Follow us on Twitter @EatThePlanetOrg


Wild Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis)
Wild Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis)
(Photo by: Jomegat/Wikimedia Commons)

Despite their similar name, wild sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis) is not related to the true sarsaparilla at all. Unlike true sarsaparilla which belongs to the Greenbrier family, wild sarsaparilla belongs to the Ginseng family. Wild sarsaparilla is a perennial flowering plant that comes from northern and eastern North America. This plant can easily be found growing on creeping underground stems in the woods.

This plant has had a long history with Native Americans. It’s considered a very filling food source as well as a wonderful herbal remedy. Also, much like its name suggests, the roots of this plant is often used as a substitute for true sarsaparilla roots in making root beer.

Edibility and culinary use

Wild sarsaparilla has a sweet spicy taste and a nice aromatic fragrant. The leaves, fruits, and roots of this plant are edible, but the roots are by far the most commonly used one. They’re used as a substitute for sarsaparilla, to make root beer, to make syrup, as well as to flavor other foods and beverages. Native Americans also used to eat wild sarsaparilla roots as emergency food, especially during wartime. This is because these roots are a wonderful source of energy.

Other than that, you can brew wild sarsaparilla leaves along with the roots to make a refreshing herbal tea. Young shoots are often cooked as a potherb as well. They can be stir-fried, blanched, or added into soups and stews. Lastly, ripe wild sarsaparilla fruits can be used to make wine and jelly.

Health benefits

Wild Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis) Leaves
Wild Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis) Leaves
(Photo by: Homer Edward Price/Flickr)

Much like its similarly named friend, sarsaparilla, wild sarsaparilla is an amazing medicinal herb. In fact, Native Americans have been using the roots of both plants interchangeably for making traditional herbal remedies. The roots can be made into a tincture, tonic, and herbal tea for internal use or used as a poultice for external use.

This herb has diaphoretic, diuretic, pectoral and stimulant properties. Aside from that, it’s also a great detoxifier as it encourages the body to sweat all the toxins out. Wild sarsaparilla can treat a lot of ailments. Internally, it’s used to treat cough, asthma, pulmonary diseases, rheumatism, and digestive problems. It can also help alleviate toothache and stomachache. Then, a poultice made from this herb can be used externally to treat sore muscles, joint pain, ulcers, burns, minor cuts, rash, insect bites, and other skin diseases such as eczema.

Cultivation

Wild sarsaparilla can easily be found growing in woodlands, especially if you live in northern and eastern US. But if you don’t want to go into the woods each time you want to use this herb, you can grow it in your own garden. This perennial herb isn’t hard to grow and it requires very little maintenance, especially if it has matured. Plant wild sarsaparilla on rich, loamy soil in a shady and protected area.

Wild sarsaparilla can be propagated from root cuttings. You can do this by digging up the roots when the plant is dormant in late fall. Cut the roots into 4” segments and lay them in a planting bed. Bury the root segments under 2” of soil and a layer of bark mulch. They can be transferred to their permanent position outside in their second spring.

Wild Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis) Flowers
Wild Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis) Flowers
(Photo by: Halpaugh/Wikimedia Commons)

Alternatively, you can also grow this plant from seeds. You can gather the seeds from ripe, unblemished fruits at the end of summer. If you can’t find any plants in the wild, simply buy the seeds online or from a nursery. It’s best to sow these seeds in the fall. They will germinate within 1 to 3 months. Once the seedlings are large enough to handle, place them in individual pots and let them grow in a greenhouse. Transfer them outside in late spring or early summer, be sure to give approximately 10” space for each plant.

Cautions

Wild sarsaparilla has no known hazard, but it’s always wise to consult your doctor or other medical providers before starting to consume this herb.

Be careful when foraging this herb in the wild. Wild sarsaparilla and poison ivy can look similar, especially in the spring when young plants just start to emerge. Young wild sarsaparilla plants will have three sets of 3 young leaves on its branches, just like poison ivy. A way to tell the difference between both plants is to check for the base of the plants and their leaf shapes. Wild sarsaparilla doesn’t have a woody base while its leaves have finely serrated edges.

It’s easier to tell them apart when the plants have matured. Mature wild sarsaparilla will have three sets of 5 leaves branching out from a common point on the stem along with little white or green flower clusters hanging below the leaves.

Conclusion

Wild sarsaparilla is truly a wonderful medicinal herb. It has had an extensive history as a herbal remedy. In fact, Native Americans tribes see this plant as a panacea and a valuable food source. With its uniquely distinct taste and potent medicinal properties, wild sarsaparilla will be a great addition to your daily diet. So, try taking a walk in the woods and see if you can find any wild sarsaparilla. Once you find it, why not try to cultivate it in your own garden? Its lovely green foliage will look amazing in any garden.


---------------
Writen by Cornelia Tjandra
Cornelia is a freelance writer with a passion for bringing words to life and sharing useful information with the world. Her educational background in natural science and social issues has given her a broad base to approach various topics with ease. Learn more about her writing services on Upwork.com or contact her directly by email at cornelia.tjandra@gmail.com



Featured Videos - eattheplanet.org


Many of our readers find that subscribing to Eat The Planet is the best way to make sure they don't miss any of our valuable information about wild edibles.

Subscribe to our mailing list

our facebook page for additional articles and updates.

Follow us on Twitter @EatThePlanetOrg



Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)
Motherwort, Calming and Relieving the Anxious Mind
Read more.
Marsh Mallow (Althaea officinalis)
Marsh Mallow, the Sweet Edible that Inspired the Candy
Read more.
Marjoram (Origanum majorana)
Marjoram, an Aromatic Herb with Many Medicinal Uses
Read more.
Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), also known as American black elderberry or common elderberry, is a shrub that can easily be found throughout North America. It’s known for its delicious, dark purple berries and lacy white flowers. Elderberries and elderflowers are famous for their culinary and medicinal uses. Edibility and culinary use Almost all parts of this plant are poisonous, except for its flowers and ripe berries. Elderflowers are delicate and fragrant with a slightly tart flavor. These cream-colored flowers are typically used as an edible garnish or to flavor desserts and beverages. Elderflowers can also be made into jelly or deep-fried to make fritters. Dried elderflowers can also be brewed to make medicinal herbal tea. Much like elderflowers, elderberries taste tangy and tart, although stronger. These dark purple berries should never be eaten raw as it might cause stomach aches. Elderberries are usually made into jam, marmalade, pastry filling, juice, wine, tincture, and syrup. Elderberry tincture and syrup are often used for medicinal remedy. Health benefits Elderberry is packed with important nutrients. Both the berries and flowers are rich in vitamin A, B, and C. The tiny berries even contain more vitamin C than oranges. They’re high in dietary fiber which can promote a healthy digestive system. Elderberries and elderflowers also contain a lot of antioxidants like anthocyanins, flavonols, and phenolic acids. This means they’re great for reducing oxidative stress in the body, preventing cancer, and reducing inflammations. Elderflowers and elderberries are often used to treat and prevent cold. They’re also great for alleviating cold symptoms, such as cough, nasal congestion, and fever. Elderberry is also said to be good for treating allergy and asthma symptoms. Its anti-inflammatory property also makes it great for alleviating pain, treating mouth and gum inflammation, reducing toothache, and treating digestive problems. Lastly, consuming elderberry can improve cardiovascular health as it helps lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels. Cultivation Elderberry is not very hard to cultivate. With some work and patience, you’ll be able to grow some elderberry shrubs in your own garden. While it loves moist, fertile, and well-drained soil, this plant can tolerate almost every type of soil. But, it can’t tolerate drought at all. So, be sure to water the plant regularly. Plant elderberry in a location with full sun for a better harvest. Before planting, prepare the soil by incorporating manure or compost. Plant elderberry bushes in the spring, after the last frost date has passed. Plant each plant 6” to 10” apart, make sure the roots are well-covered. Water them once or twice a week to ensure they don’t dry out. Get rid of surrounding weed regularly, especially when the shrubs are young. Let the shrubs grow wild for the first two years. Don’t prune them or harvest the flowers and berries. This way, they’ll grow nicely and produce a lot of berries. Then, starting from the third year, prune the shrubs each spring and remove all the dead areas. The berries will start to appear at the end of summer and they will ripen around mid-August to mid-September. Make sure to pick them before the birds finish them off. Cautions Common elderberry leaves, stems, and roots are poisonous. Ripe elderberries are generally safe, but unripe elderberries contain toxins that can only be destroyed through cooking. Eating unripe or uncooked elderberries may result in nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Elderberry may cause the immune system to be more active, so people with autoimmune disorders should avoid consuming elderberry. Also, be careful not to confuse elderberry shrubs with the toxic water hemlock. These plants look somewhat similar, moreover, they typically grow in the same area. Elderberry has opposing leaves while water hemlock has alternating leaves.  Water hemlock doesn’t grow berries, but they do grow flowers. Water hemlock flowers look similar to elderflowers, but they have a firecracker-like formation. Do not touch or ingest water hemlock flowers at all. Conclusion Elderberry can be a valuable source of food and herbal remedy if you know how to prepare it. This plant’s tiny berries and dainty flowers definitely pack a punch when it comes to flavor. They’re versatile and can be used in a lot of delicious recipes. And their health benefits are undoubtedly amazing as well. It’s not a surprise to find that Native Americans have been using elderberries and elderflowers to make traditional herbal medicine.
Elderberry, Tasty and Packed with Nutrients
Read more.
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) Flowering Meadow
Echinacea, the Gorgeous and Useful Purple Coneflowers
Read more.
Blue Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
Blue Skullcap, a Small Medicinal Herb that Packs a Punch
Read more.
American witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
American Witch Hazel, an Underrated Herbal Remedy
Read more.
Musk Mallow (Malva Moschata) Flowers
Musk Mallow, Dainty and Elegant Yet Very Nutritious
Read more.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon Balm, the Refreshing and Fragrant Herb
Read more.
Corn Salad (Valerianella locusta) Leaves and Flowers
Corn Salad, a Tasty and Nutritious Wild Edible
Read more.

White Clover, a Sweet and Nutritious Edible Weed

eattheplanet.org is an affiliate marketer. We may earn commission from links to products and services on this page.

our facebook page for additional articles and updates.

Follow us on Twitter @EatThePlanetOrg


White clover (Trifolium repens)  Meadow
White clover (Trifolium repens) Meadow
(Photo by: Hideyuki Kamon/Wikimedia Commons)

White clover (Trifolium repens) is a low-growing perennial plant that’s native to Europe and Central Asia. It has been naturalized all over the world as a yard crop. Its most distinguishable features are its smooth, trifoliolate leaves and white flowers. Despite its inconspicuous appearance, apparently, this plant possesses some great culinary and medicinal uses.

Edibility and culinary use

All aerial parts of this plant are edible, including the stems, leaves, flowers, and seed pods. The leaves and flowers have a delicate, sweet taste. They can be used fresh right after harvesting or dried for later use. The most common way to consume the leaves and flowers is to brew them to make a sweet and relaxing tisane.

Then, fresh leaves also taste great in a salad, soup, and vegetable stir-fry while dried leaves can add a vanilla-like flavor to baked goods. Likewise, dried clover flowers are also great for adding flavor to baked goods as well as jelly and cool beverages. Fresh while clover flowers can also be used as an edible garnish in various dishes.

Additionally, you can use white clover as a substitute for red clover. While both plants don’t exactly have the same flavor, they’re similar enough to be used interchangeably. For example, dried white clover flowers and seed pods can be ground to make gluten-free flour, just like with red clover flowers.

Health benefits

White clover (Trifolium repens) with Four Leaflets
White clover (Trifolium repens) with Four Leaflets
(Photo by: Joe Papp/Wikimedia Commons)

Compared to its cousin, the red clover, white clover is less popular in the herbal medicine realm. It also has fewer health benefits. But, that doesn’t mean white clover is useless as a herbal remedy. To begin with, it contains a lot of essential vitamin and minerals, including vitamins A, B2, B3, C, and E as well as magnesium, potassium, chromium, and calcium. Due to its nutritional content, this herb is often used as a natural remedy in various communities around the world, including Turkish, Indian, and Native Americans.

A white clover infusion can be used to treat fever, coughs, and colds. It’s also good for treating common cold symptoms, such as upset stomachs, nausea, and dizziness. White clover herbal tea can treat rheumatic aches and arthritis. It can also be used as an eyewash to cure minor eye infections or applied on the skin to heal wounds, burns, ulcers, and sores.

Cultivation

White clover is becoming more and more popular among gardeners. It looks great as a grass alternative. It’s an excellent creeping ground cover; it’s easy to maintain, moderately drought-resistant, and requires no fertilizer. Then, as a nitrogen fixator, this plant can improve your garden’s soil fertility. It also helps other plants in your garden by attracting pollinators such as butterflies and bees. And of course, you get the added bonus of having a reliable and convenient source of food and medicinal herb.

White clover (Trifolium repens) with Blooming Flowers
White clover (Trifolium repens) with Blooming Flowers
(Photo by: Forest & Kim Starr/Wikimedia Commons)

You should be able to get white clover seeds online or from a local plant nursery. Choose a sunny location with moist, rich soil. Aerate the soil, water the area daily to moisten the soil, and remove any weeds that might hinder the clover’s growth. It’s recommended to starting sowing the seeds in spring or summer.

Sow the seeds evenly over the area and bury them under ¼” layer of soil. The seeds should start germinating in 10 to 15 days. Water the area daily to ensure optimum growth until the plants are well established. Do not fertilize these plants as doing so will kill them.

Cautions

White clover is generally safe to consume in moderation. However, due to its blood-thinning effect, it might increase the risk of bleeding. So, it’s best to stop consuming this herb at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery. This blood-thinning property might also interact with hypertension medications. Consult your doctor before including this herb in your diet.

Conclusion

Despite its humble appearance, there’s no denying that white clover is a very useful plant to have around. It’s not only good for your garden, but it’s also great for your health. Moreover, its lush green foliage will stay gorgeous all throughout the summer and sometimes, even winter as well. With white clover, you’ll have a beautiful garden all year round.


---------------
Writen by Cornelia Tjandra
Cornelia is a freelance writer with a passion for bringing words to life and sharing useful information with the world. Her educational background in natural science and social issues has given her a broad base to approach various topics with ease. Learn more about her writing services on Upwork.com or contact her directly by email at cornelia.tjandra@gmail.com



Featured Videos - eattheplanet.org


Many of our readers find that subscribing to Eat The Planet is the best way to make sure they don't miss any of our valuable information about wild edibles.

Subscribe to our mailing list

our facebook page for additional articles and updates.

Follow us on Twitter @EatThePlanetOrg



Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)
Motherwort, Calming and Relieving the Anxious Mind
Read more.
Marsh Mallow (Althaea officinalis)
Marsh Mallow, the Sweet Edible that Inspired the Candy
Read more.
Marjoram (Origanum majorana)
Marjoram, an Aromatic Herb with Many Medicinal Uses
Read more.
Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), also known as American black elderberry or common elderberry, is a shrub that can easily be found throughout North America. It’s known for its delicious, dark purple berries and lacy white flowers. Elderberries and elderflowers are famous for their culinary and medicinal uses. Edibility and culinary use Almost all parts of this plant are poisonous, except for its flowers and ripe berries. Elderflowers are delicate and fragrant with a slightly tart flavor. These cream-colored flowers are typically used as an edible garnish or to flavor desserts and beverages. Elderflowers can also be made into jelly or deep-fried to make fritters. Dried elderflowers can also be brewed to make medicinal herbal tea. Much like elderflowers, elderberries taste tangy and tart, although stronger. These dark purple berries should never be eaten raw as it might cause stomach aches. Elderberries are usually made into jam, marmalade, pastry filling, juice, wine, tincture, and syrup. Elderberry tincture and syrup are often used for medicinal remedy. Health benefits Elderberry is packed with important nutrients. Both the berries and flowers are rich in vitamin A, B, and C. The tiny berries even contain more vitamin C than oranges. They’re high in dietary fiber which can promote a healthy digestive system. Elderberries and elderflowers also contain a lot of antioxidants like anthocyanins, flavonols, and phenolic acids. This means they’re great for reducing oxidative stress in the body, preventing cancer, and reducing inflammations. Elderflowers and elderberries are often used to treat and prevent cold. They’re also great for alleviating cold symptoms, such as cough, nasal congestion, and fever. Elderberry is also said to be good for treating allergy and asthma symptoms. Its anti-inflammatory property also makes it great for alleviating pain, treating mouth and gum inflammation, reducing toothache, and treating digestive problems. Lastly, consuming elderberry can improve cardiovascular health as it helps lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels. Cultivation Elderberry is not very hard to cultivate. With some work and patience, you’ll be able to grow some elderberry shrubs in your own garden. While it loves moist, fertile, and well-drained soil, this plant can tolerate almost every type of soil. But, it can’t tolerate drought at all. So, be sure to water the plant regularly. Plant elderberry in a location with full sun for a better harvest. Before planting, prepare the soil by incorporating manure or compost. Plant elderberry bushes in the spring, after the last frost date has passed. Plant each plant 6” to 10” apart, make sure the roots are well-covered. Water them once or twice a week to ensure they don’t dry out. Get rid of surrounding weed regularly, especially when the shrubs are young. Let the shrubs grow wild for the first two years. Don’t prune them or harvest the flowers and berries. This way, they’ll grow nicely and produce a lot of berries. Then, starting from the third year, prune the shrubs each spring and remove all the dead areas. The berries will start to appear at the end of summer and they will ripen around mid-August to mid-September. Make sure to pick them before the birds finish them off. Cautions Common elderberry leaves, stems, and roots are poisonous. Ripe elderberries are generally safe, but unripe elderberries contain toxins that can only be destroyed through cooking. Eating unripe or uncooked elderberries may result in nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Elderberry may cause the immune system to be more active, so people with autoimmune disorders should avoid consuming elderberry. Also, be careful not to confuse elderberry shrubs with the toxic water hemlock. These plants look somewhat similar, moreover, they typically grow in the same area. Elderberry has opposing leaves while water hemlock has alternating leaves.  Water hemlock doesn’t grow berries, but they do grow flowers. Water hemlock flowers look similar to elderflowers, but they have a firecracker-like formation. Do not touch or ingest water hemlock flowers at all. Conclusion Elderberry can be a valuable source of food and herbal remedy if you know how to prepare it. This plant’s tiny berries and dainty flowers definitely pack a punch when it comes to flavor. They’re versatile and can be used in a lot of delicious recipes. And their health benefits are undoubtedly amazing as well. It’s not a surprise to find that Native Americans have been using elderberries and elderflowers to make traditional herbal medicine.
Elderberry, Tasty and Packed with Nutrients
Read more.
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) Flowering Meadow
Echinacea, the Gorgeous and Useful Purple Coneflowers
Read more.
Blue Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
Blue Skullcap, a Small Medicinal Herb that Packs a Punch
Read more.
American witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
American Witch Hazel, an Underrated Herbal Remedy
Read more.
Musk Mallow (Malva Moschata) Flowers
Musk Mallow, Dainty and Elegant Yet Very Nutritious
Read more.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon Balm, the Refreshing and Fragrant Herb
Read more.
Corn Salad (Valerianella locusta) Leaves and Flowers
Corn Salad, a Tasty and Nutritious Wild Edible
Read more.

Stinging Nettle, an Interesting Herb with Many Virtues

eattheplanet.org is an affiliate marketer. We may earn commission from links to products and services on this page.

our facebook page for additional articles and updates.

Follow us on Twitter @EatThePlanetOrg


Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) Illustration
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) Illustration
(Photo by: Otto Wilhelm Thomé/Wikimedia Commons)

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is usually dismissed as a harmful weed due to its stinging hair. But in reality, this plant is actually one of the most beneficial and nutritious wild edibles out there. In some cultures, stinging nettle has even been used as a traditional medicine and food source since ancient times. This vitamin-rich herb has been used for hundreds of years to treat various ailments, such as eczema, arthritis, gout, and anemia.

Stinging nettle was originally from Europe and West Asia, but now it can be found growing all over the world. This perennial herb is included in the Urticaceae family due to their stinging hair (trichome). While these stinging hairs can irritate the skin, they can actually be useful with proper preparation. They contain natural histamine which can actually help alleviate allergy symptoms.

Edibility and culinary use

Stinging nettle leaves, stems, and roots are all edible. It’s recommended to use young leaves for cooking and remember that stinging nettle must never be eaten raw. Cooking this herb will eliminate its pesky stinging properties, making them a delicious addition to your daily diet. The easiest way to consume stinging nettle is to brew it to make herbal tea or to infuse it in your drinking water. Stinging nettle tea has a pleasant, earthy flavor that goes great with lemon and honey.

Stinging nettle leaves make an excellent spinach substitute. These leaves can be sauteed, added to bread or pasta dough, or even made into pesto. They can also be added to green salads, just make sure to blanch them first to remove their stinging properties. The water from blanching them can be consumed as a tea. Nettle leaves and young shoots can also be a wonderful addition in soups and stews. Lastly, if you love brewing your own beer, try making a delicious nettle beer by brewing young nettle shoots.

Health benefits

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) Close Up
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) Close Up
(Photo by: Michael Gasperl/Wikimedia Commons)

Despite its reputation as a pain-causing weed, stinging nettle offers an excellent nutritional value. It’s rich in vitamin A, B complex, C, D, and K as well as iron, calcium, potassium, and silica. It’s also easy to use nettle as a medicinal supplement. You can add it to your daily diet by brewing the young leaves and roots to make herbal tea or tincture. You can also make nettle-infused water to drink each day. The infusion goes great with other herbs, such as clover, lemon balm, and raspberry leaf. Alternatively, you can apply it topically to help heal eczema and improve the appearance of your skin.

Traditionally, stinging nettle is used as a diuretic and body detoxifier. It has also been known to prevent and aid kidney stones. The histamine content has also been shown to prevent and treat hay fever as well as other mild allergies. Stinging nettle’s high vitamin C and iron content also make it great for improving circulation, controlling high blood pressure,  stimulating red blood cell production, and relieving anemia. This herb can also relieve inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatic arthritis, gout, and chronic muscle pain. It has also been shown to improve prostate health and treat enlarged prostate gland. Lastly, nettle is great for feminine health as it can relieve PMS symptoms, relieve cramps and bloating, as well as controlling hormone levels.

Cultivation

While they can be found easily in the wild, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t grow stinging nettles in your own garden. This perennial herb is very easy to grow and don’t require much maintenance. You can gather the seeds from wild stinging nettle plants or buy some from a plant nursery.

To start, sow the tiny seeds indoors around 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date. Once they’re big enough to handle, transplant them to your garden in early spring. Make sure to plant them in rich soil with full or partial sun exposure. Give approximately 10” space in between each plant. Water the plant regularly to keep the soil damp and moist.

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) Bush
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) Bush
(Photo by: H. Zell/Wikimedia Commons)

You should be able to start harvesting nettle leaves 90 days after sowing the seeds. It’s best to harvest them in early spring when the leaves are young and tender. But, you can harvest them all the way to early summer, right before the flowers blossom. Pick the top two or three pairs of leaves from the top and cut them with a pair of scissors. Don’t forget to wear protective clothes and gloves so you don’t get stung. If you do get stung, apply over-the-counter topical ointment immediately. They can be used immediately, but you can also dry or freeze them to store the leaves for future use.

Cautions

When handling stinging nettle, it’s recommended to wear gloves. The stinging hair which covers the leaves and stems can irritate the skin. When used appropriately, cooked stinging nettle is safe to consume. However, only young leaves should be used as older nettle leaves may irritate the kidneys when consumed.

Stinging nettle can induce menstruation and uterine contraction, so avoid consumption during pregnancy. This herb can also lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels. If you’re prone to either hypotension or hypoglycemia, consult your doctor before starting to use stinging nettle. Lastly, this herb may interact with some medications, such as blood thinning drugs, diuretics, and blood pressure drugs.

Conclusion

Despite its annoying spiky exterior, stinging nettle is an amazing wild edible. With all of its nutritional contents and medicinal benefits, adding stinging nettle to your daily diet will definitely keep you healthy and energized. Several studies have even backed up the benefits of using stinging nettle as a herbal remedy. Curious? Try cultivating this herb in your garden or if you don’t want to deal with the stinging leaves, you can easily find stinging nettle capsules and extract online.


---------------
Writen by Cornelia Tjandra
Cornelia is a freelance writer with a passion for bringing words to life and sharing useful information with the world. Her educational background in natural science and social issues has given her a broad base to approach various topics with ease. Learn more about her writing services on Upwork.com or contact her directly by email at cornelia.tjandra@gmail.com



Featured Videos - eattheplanet.org


Many of our readers find that subscribing to Eat The Planet is the best way to make sure they don't miss any of our valuable information about wild edibles.

Subscribe to our mailing list

our facebook page for additional articles and updates.

Follow us on Twitter @EatThePlanetOrg



Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)
Motherwort, Calming and Relieving the Anxious Mind
Read more.
Marsh Mallow (Althaea officinalis)
Marsh Mallow, the Sweet Edible that Inspired the Candy
Read more.
Marjoram (Origanum majorana)
Marjoram, an Aromatic Herb with Many Medicinal Uses
Read more.
Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), also known as American black elderberry or common elderberry, is a shrub that can easily be found throughout North America. It’s known for its delicious, dark purple berries and lacy white flowers. Elderberries and elderflowers are famous for their culinary and medicinal uses. Edibility and culinary use Almost all parts of this plant are poisonous, except for its flowers and ripe berries. Elderflowers are delicate and fragrant with a slightly tart flavor. These cream-colored flowers are typically used as an edible garnish or to flavor desserts and beverages. Elderflowers can also be made into jelly or deep-fried to make fritters. Dried elderflowers can also be brewed to make medicinal herbal tea. Much like elderflowers, elderberries taste tangy and tart, although stronger. These dark purple berries should never be eaten raw as it might cause stomach aches. Elderberries are usually made into jam, marmalade, pastry filling, juice, wine, tincture, and syrup. Elderberry tincture and syrup are often used for medicinal remedy. Health benefits Elderberry is packed with important nutrients. Both the berries and flowers are rich in vitamin A, B, and C. The tiny berries even contain more vitamin C than oranges. They’re high in dietary fiber which can promote a healthy digestive system. Elderberries and elderflowers also contain a lot of antioxidants like anthocyanins, flavonols, and phenolic acids. This means they’re great for reducing oxidative stress in the body, preventing cancer, and reducing inflammations. Elderflowers and elderberries are often used to treat and prevent cold. They’re also great for alleviating cold symptoms, such as cough, nasal congestion, and fever. Elderberry is also said to be good for treating allergy and asthma symptoms. Its anti-inflammatory property also makes it great for alleviating pain, treating mouth and gum inflammation, reducing toothache, and treating digestive problems. Lastly, consuming elderberry can improve cardiovascular health as it helps lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels. Cultivation Elderberry is not very hard to cultivate. With some work and patience, you’ll be able to grow some elderberry shrubs in your own garden. While it loves moist, fertile, and well-drained soil, this plant can tolerate almost every type of soil. But, it can’t tolerate drought at all. So, be sure to water the plant regularly. Plant elderberry in a location with full sun for a better harvest. Before planting, prepare the soil by incorporating manure or compost. Plant elderberry bushes in the spring, after the last frost date has passed. Plant each plant 6” to 10” apart, make sure the roots are well-covered. Water them once or twice a week to ensure they don’t dry out. Get rid of surrounding weed regularly, especially when the shrubs are young. Let the shrubs grow wild for the first two years. Don’t prune them or harvest the flowers and berries. This way, they’ll grow nicely and produce a lot of berries. Then, starting from the third year, prune the shrubs each spring and remove all the dead areas. The berries will start to appear at the end of summer and they will ripen around mid-August to mid-September. Make sure to pick them before the birds finish them off. Cautions Common elderberry leaves, stems, and roots are poisonous. Ripe elderberries are generally safe, but unripe elderberries contain toxins that can only be destroyed through cooking. Eating unripe or uncooked elderberries may result in nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Elderberry may cause the immune system to be more active, so people with autoimmune disorders should avoid consuming elderberry. Also, be careful not to confuse elderberry shrubs with the toxic water hemlock. These plants look somewhat similar, moreover, they typically grow in the same area. Elderberry has opposing leaves while water hemlock has alternating leaves.  Water hemlock doesn’t grow berries, but they do grow flowers. Water hemlock flowers look similar to elderflowers, but they have a firecracker-like formation. Do not touch or ingest water hemlock flowers at all. Conclusion Elderberry can be a valuable source of food and herbal remedy if you know how to prepare it. This plant’s tiny berries and dainty flowers definitely pack a punch when it comes to flavor. They’re versatile and can be used in a lot of delicious recipes. And their health benefits are undoubtedly amazing as well. It’s not a surprise to find that Native Americans have been using elderberries and elderflowers to make traditional herbal medicine.
Elderberry, Tasty and Packed with Nutrients
Read more.
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) Flowering Meadow
Echinacea, the Gorgeous and Useful Purple Coneflowers
Read more.
Blue Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
Blue Skullcap, a Small Medicinal Herb that Packs a Punch
Read more.
American witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
American Witch Hazel, an Underrated Herbal Remedy
Read more.
Musk Mallow (Malva Moschata) Flowers
Musk Mallow, Dainty and Elegant Yet Very Nutritious
Read more.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon Balm, the Refreshing and Fragrant Herb
Read more.
Corn Salad (Valerianella locusta) Leaves and Flowers
Corn Salad, a Tasty and Nutritious Wild Edible
Read more.