White Clover, a Sweet and Nutritious Edible Weed

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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.


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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



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Stinging Nettle, an Interesting Herb with Many Virtues

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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.


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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



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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.

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Rosemary, a Prized Culinary and Medicinal Herb

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Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Illustration
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Illustration
(Photo by: Franz Eugen Kohler/Wikimedia Commons)

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a perennial herb which belongs to the mint family. Most people recognize rosemary as a famous culinary herb. Additionally, it also has some medicinal uses in addition to its various culinary uses. Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean region and some parts of Asia. However, due to its popularity, this herb can be found growing around the globe.

Edibility and culinary use

Rosemary has a strong yet subtle flavor; it’s minty, pine-like, and somewhat bittersweet. It also has a pungent, minty aroma. The leaves can season a wide variety of dishes, both savory and sweet. Rosemary’s unique taste goes well with almost everything, such as cheese, lamb, pork, poultry, fish, steak, grain, mushroom, potatoes, assorted greens, and many more. Rosemary also complements the natural sweetness of fresh fruits and honey really well.

You can also make rosemary-infused oil and butter. Doing this can help preserve the flavor and aroma of this herb. Rosemary oil and butter make for delightful substitutes for the regular oil and butter. You can also boil fresh rosemary sprigs to make a delicious herbal tea. Lastly, you can use this herb to spice up some lemonade. Simply drop a few sprigs in a pitcher of lemonade. Let it sit for a couple of hours to allow the flavor to infuse the lemonade.

Health benefits

This herb is often used to aid digestive problems such as excess flatulence, upset stomach, heartburn, and loss of appetite. It also increases blood flow, boosts red blood cell production, controls blood pressure, and increases overall energy level. Rosemary herbal tea can also help heal coughs, menstrual pain, and headaches as well as relieve stress and anxiety. It can improve liver and kidney health, promote a healthy menstrual cycle, enhance memory and concentration, prevent brain aging, fight off brain damage, as well as prevent tumors and cancer.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Bush
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Bush
(Photo by: Natalie Maynor/Flickr)

Rosemary oil can also be applied topically. This oil promotes hair growth, prevents baldness, treats dandruff, slow hair graying, and moisturizes the scalp. You can also include this oil in your skincare routine. It can improve the appearance of your skin, fight off UV rays, and reduce blemishes. Lastly, it can also heal eczema, muscle pain, joints pain, gingivitis, and even toothaches.

Cultivation

With evergreen, needle-like leaves and tiny yet vibrant flowers, rosemary makes for a great ornamental plant. This lovely herb can grow nicely outdoors as well as indoors. A single pot of rosemary will make your kitchen smell fresh while giving you a steady supply of the culinary and medicinal herb. And you’ll be delighted to find that rosemary works great as a companion plant. Its pungent aroma can help repel pests. It will increase the yields of other plants, such as carrot, cabbage, broccoli, kale, beans, and other leafy greens

For best growth, plant rosemary in loamy and sandy soil that’s rich in nutrients. This evergreen herb also loves the sun, so make sure to place it in a bright and sunny spot. Water this herb regularly to keep the soil moist, but allow the soil to dry between waterings.

Cold winter weather may harm this plant. It’s recommended to plant it in a container so you can bring it inside when winter comes around. You can plant it directly in your garden, but make sure to plant it a protected spot away from the harsh winter wind.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) in Bloom
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) in Bloom
(Photo by: Clinton & Charles Robertson/Wikimedia Commons)

You can easily buy rosemary from a local plant nursery. You should be able to find both matured plants and starter plants. If you buy starter plants, set them out in the spring and place them about 2’ to 3’ apart from each other. Later, you can grow more plants from seeds or cuttings. Plants grown from cuttings are especially good since they mature faster.

Once settled, they can be harvested at any time of the year. This herb can be used fresh or dried for later use. Remember to trim and prune this plant often to keep it in check, particularly in the spring after flowering. If not trimmed, the plants can grow up to 5’, especially in warmer climates.

Cautions

Using rosemary as a culinary herb poses no risk at all. Meanwhile, using it in medicinal amounts is generally safe. However, pregnant women should avoid consuming rosemary in medicinal amounts as it may affect the uterus or induce menstruation. This herb might also increase the risk of bleeding and bruising. So, avoid use if you have bleeding disorders or are about to undergo surgery. Lastly, it might worsen seizure disorders worse, so use cautiously.

Conclusion

There’s a reason why rosemary is very popular. This beautiful aromatic herb possesses numerous uses, culinary and medicinal likewise. Its unique flavor and fragrant are very versatile. Enjoy rosemary as an addition to various recipes or on its own. While you can easily get dried rosemary from the supermarket, nothing beats the taste of a fresh sprig of rosemary. With proper care, you’ll be able to grow rosemary in your own garden and get a constant supply of this amazing herb.


---------------
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



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

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