Stinging Nettle, an Interesting Herb with Many Virtues

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) Close Up

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 […]

Rosemary, a Prized Culinary and Medicinal Herb

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) in Bloom

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 […]

Red Clover, a Powerful Herb with Great Healing Powers

Red clover (Trifolium pratense)

Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is a wild edible that has distinctly beautiful red round flowers. It’s a herbaceous perennial plant that’s native to Europe, western Asia, and northwestern Africa. But, due to its beauty as well as culinary and medicinal uses, this plant has been naturalized in almost every region of the world. As mentioned […]

Indian Cucumber, Tasty Edible Roots with Many Virtues

Indian Cucumber (Medeola virginiana) Plant with Berries

Much like may other plants in the Lily (Liliaceae), Indian cucumber (Medeola virginiana) is a good wild edible. Indian cucumber is a perennial plant that’s native to eastern North America. This plant got its name from the fact that it tastes and smells almost exactly like cucumber. Aside from its culinary uses, this plant also […]

Hops, an Essential Beer Ingredient with Health Benefits

Hops (Humulus lupulus)

Beer enthusiasts must be familiar with this plant. Hops (Humulus lupulus) is commonly used in the beer-brewing industry. The name “hops” itself can refer to the plant as well as the female flowers from that plant. These flowers are essential for flavoring, preserving, and stabilizing beer. Hops plant is a perennial twining vine that belongs […]

Bearberry, Loved by Bears and Humans Alike

Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)

Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) is a dwarf, evergreen shrub that can be found growing in North America, Europe, and northern Asia. This plant can be recognized in the wild from its small, shiny red berries. These bright fruits are a favorite among woodland creatures, especially bears. They are also edible to humans and since ancient times, […]

American Ginseng, a Truly Wonderful Panacea

American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) Harvested Roots

Most people associate ginseng with Asia and Asian medicine. However, did you know that there are several different types of ginseng growing in different parts of the world? One particular species is native to North America and apparently, Native Americans have been using this herb as medicine for thousands of years. American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) […]

Yarrow, a Delicious and Nutritious Panacea

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) White Variant

Known for its lovely flat blooms and classic beauty, yarrow (Achillea millefollium) is a common garden perennial. Aside from that, it’s also popular for its amazing medicinal qualities. Some herbalists have even dubbed yarrow as a herbal panacea. This plant is commonly found in the temperate climate of the Northern hemisphere. It’s native to Asia, […]

Wood Betony, a Fascinating Herb with Many Benefits

Wood Betony (Stachys officinalis) Blooms

Wood betony (Stachys officinalis) is a perennial grassland herb that’s native to Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. At first glance, people might dismiss wood betony merely as a pretty ornamental plant. However, this plant actually has a strong reputation of being a panacea since ancient times. People claim that this herb can cure anything, […]

St. John’s Wort, a Vibrant Edible Great for Depression

St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) Flowers

St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a flowering perennial plant that’s native to Europe. This plant can be distinguished by its yellow, star-shaped flowers which were said to first appear on St. John the Baptist’s birthday. For centuries, this plant has been used as a herbal remedy, mainly for skin problems, depression, and other mental […]

Motherwort, Calming and Relieving the Anxious Mind

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) is an herbaceous perennial plant that belongs to the mint family. This herb is native to Eurasia, but it can be found cultivated all around the world as an herbal remedy. Motherwort is most commonly used to treat heart diseases and women’s disorders. In the wild, they can be found easily in […]

Marsh Mallow, the Sweet Edible that Inspired the Candy

Marsh Mallow (Althaea officinalis)

When you hear the word “marshmallow”, you will definitely think of a puffy, white candy. And while you wouldn’t be wrong, did you know that there’s a marsh-mallow plant (Althea officinalis)? This plant inspired the texture of the modern sweet treat. Ancient Egyptians used to make the dessert by mixing honey and nuts with the […]

Marjoram, an Aromatic Herb with Many Medicinal Uses

Marjoram (Origanum majorana)

Often confused for oregano, its cousin, marjoram (Origanum majorana) is a wonderful aromatic herb on its own. Marjoram is a perennial herb that’s native to Western Asia and the Mediterranean region. It’s cultivated all around the world for its culinary and medicinal benefits. Edibility and culinary use Marjoram is often used as a substitute for […]

Elderberry, Tasty and Packed with Nutrients

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 (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 […]

Echinacea, the Gorgeous and Useful Purple Coneflowers

Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) Flowering Meadow

Purple coneflowers or echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) boomed into popularity in the 1990s and early 2000s. This North American herb gained attention due to its medicinal benefits. At the height of its popularity, this herb can be found easily in pharmacies in the form of herbal supplements and as a part of various medications. Now echinacea […]

Blue Skullcap, a Small Medicinal Herb that Packs a Punch

Blue Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)

Hearing the word skullcap, people might immediately think of helmets or even skeletons. However, the blue skullcap plant (Scutellaria lateriflora) is none of those things. Blue skullcap is a hardy perennial plant that belongs to the mint family. It’s native to North America and it has been cultivated for its medicinal properties. This plant got […]

American Witch Hazel, an Underrated Herbal Remedy

American witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Despite being useful, the American witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is a very underrated plant. This flowering plant can be found growing across North America. Additionally, it’s been used to make a homeopathic remedy for skin problems and inflammations for centuries. Various Uses Witch hazel leaves, bark, and twigs are boiled and distilled to make medicine. […]

Musk Mallow, Dainty and Elegant Yet Very Nutritious

Musk Mallow (Malva Moschata) Flowers

With delicate pink flowers, you might not have guessed it, but the beautiful musk mallow plant (Malva moschata) is edible. In fact, all parts of this plant are edible and good for your health. This includes its roots, leaves, flowers, and seeds. This elegant perennial plant is native to the British Isles, mainland Europe, and […]

Lemon Balm, the Refreshing and Fragrant Herb

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a perennial herb from the mint family. It’s native to the Mediterranean region and Central Asia, but it has been also naturalized in Europe, Asia, and America. The most distinctive feature of lemon balm is its refreshing fragrance that’s a mixture of citronella and mint. This plant typically grows up […]

Corn Salad, a Tasty and Nutritious Wild Edible

Corn Salad (Valerianella locusta) Leaves and Flowers

The inconspicuous corn salad plant (Valerianella locusta) was once considered a weed. It’s native to Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia where they can be found growing freely in grain fields. In fact, the name corn salad came from the fact that this plant usually grows as a weed in corn fields. But in the […]