Life on the farm is always a learning experience. It has been especially so for me in my capacity as an Herbalist. Every foray into the yard has the potential to reveal a new medicinal plant that I didn’t realize was there. My computer is stuffed full of photos taken with the hope of identifying some new treasure. Therein lies the frustration also. There are some plants that I stumble across and think, “I know that is something, but I just can’t quite remember what it is…”. There are some plants that I stumble across and think, That should be something,” but it turns out to be nothing more than an interesting weed that has no medicinal value, but it has abundant aesthetic appeal. Either way, I usually end up digging a piece of it up to bring home and plant in my ‘special place’. So, it occurred to me that maybe I wasn’t the only one having this problem. Therefore, I am going to make a great effort to share with you, my loyal, devoted readers, my finds. Hopefully, I can save you a few hours of frustration when you are attempting to identify plants for yourself. To keep things interesting, I am also going to post pictures of the things that I cannot positively identify. Be the first one to identify it and you will win a special gift, so make sure you leave me a link to your e-mail. If I can’t contact you, I can’t send you your gift! Plantain
Plantain is a natural source of potassium and calcium.
It is a diuretic that can help with the kidneys, liver, spleen and bladder by flushing out impurities that contribute to infections in the urinary tract.
It is helpful in any type of female complaints.
It may help control cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
It is a very mild laxative.
It soothes the mucus membranes and helps loosen and expel phlegm from the lungs and respiratory system.
It soothes the stomach and helps ease indigestion and heartburn, as well as any other inflammation or irritation of the intestinal tract. It is believed to help absorb toxins in the bowels, allowing them to be released from the body.
It contains salicylic acid, which is the predecessor of synthetically-made aspirin, which accounts for its effectiveness at relieving all types of pain. Plantain is a great field first-aid herb. Ever been strolling through the grass barefoot and stepped on a bee? A piece of broken glass? A stick? Pick a couple of leaves, chew them up really good and cover the sting or wound. This will help stop pain and bleeding, reduce swelling, slow the spread of poison, and protect the wound until you can obtain proper medical treatment. Because plantain grows in all but the very coldest of weather here in Missouri there is little need to harvest and dry it, and it is much more effective when gathered fresh. However, the years that I haven’t dried any, I’ve inevitably found myself in need of it during the cold snow and ice of February. I have found the best way to dry it is on the lowest setting of my dehydrator, as it is prone to mildew if not dried quickly. Ideally, it should be dried in a single layer, maintaining a temperature of 85-95 F in a dark place that gets plenty of air circulation. When it is crisp but not crumbly, it can be stored in a paper sack or a glass jar. Like most herbs, this one can double as a filler in your salad, too. A few leaves chopped up and added to your plate of greens will add just a hint of bitterness that will help stir up those digestive juices and give a little kick to your taste buds, too! Red Clover
Purifies the blood
Cleanses the liver
Improves circulation and cardiovascular health by increasing the amount of high-density lipoprotein, or “good” cholesterol, in the bloodstream.
Encourages bone growth, slows bone loss and boosts bone density
Adds strength and flexibility to arteries
One of the premium sources of phytoestrogens which help increase the levels of estrogen in our bodies, thereby reducing menopausal symptoms
Contains vitamins and minerals including calcium, magnesium, niacin, potassium, and Vitamin C. For those of you who have never wandered through the feel and picked a clover blossom to chew on, you are totally missing out. The blooms are sweet and somewhat moist, making them perfect for adding to spring or fall salads, especially if you are looking for a vitamin and mineral boost that doesn’t come in the form of a pill!