Dandelion, nettle, plantain, borage… All the virtues of weeds

Let’s open our eyes! We are surrounded by benefactor plants when we walk in the countryside, and even in the city, in the gardens. To enjoy their virtues, you have to know how to recognize and use them. Follow the guide…

Dandelion gives a boost

We no longer present this plant whose yellow flowers brighten the meadows in spring. But we often ignore that its leaves can help us regain energy. They contain more than ten minerals, including magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, and selenium, as well as vitamins A, B, C, E, and K. This invigorating cocktail helps to put an end to his physical and intellectual fatigue. A powerful diuretic, dandelion also helps to “cleanse” the body.

The right use? In juice. Pick a handful of dandelion leaves. Wash them thoroughly. Cut two branches of celery, two apples, and a cucumber. Pass everything to the juicer. Enjoy your drink without delay, preferably in the morning to enjoy its fitness benefits. In the cure of at least 8 days.

Nettle relieves rheumatism

It doesn’t just sting! His secret? Its richness in silica, a derivative of silicon, a mineral that stimulates collagen production and has anti-inflammatory properties. A sovereign action to soothe the pains of arthritis, osteoarthritis … That’s not all! Nettle leaves are also a good source of iron and vitamin C, which help fight fatigue. Tip for picking: rather after a shower, because then the nettle stings less.

The right use? In smoothie. In the sweet version, mix in a blender 50 g of fresh nettles with a banana, 250 ml of almond milk, and some red fruits; in the salted version, mix the nettle with the equivalent weight of watercress and spinach, and an avocado. To be consumed during “crises”. Don’t worry! Nettle loses its spiciness when finely chopped.

Plantain helps to heal

You do not always have a soothing product on you when, while walking, you endure insect bites or scratches. The solution? Plantain, recognizable by its thick leaves and large floral stem, calms itching and promotes healing. It often grows near nettles. Thanks to their tannins, their leaves are astringent and tighten the tissues. They also contain softening mucilage and phenolic acids with antibacterial properties.

The right use? In poultice. Just pick a few leaves and crush them to ooze the juice. Pose on the sting or wound. The ideal is to maintain contact with the skin for a quarter of an hour.

Purple activates transit

Grandma's remedy for healing a wound

The petals and leaves of this pretty purple flower contain mucilages that form a viscous material in contact with water in the colon. This increases the volume of stool and promotes its expulsion. This is a true natural laxative… and soft: purple does not irritate the intestines and does not cause abdominal pain.

The right use? In herbal tea. Let it infuse 2 cuil. coffee of fresh or dried leaves and flowers in 200 ml of very hot water. As a preventive measure, drink this preparation twice a day, about three days before a trip, for example, to avoid constipation. As a cure, take 4 to 6 cups a day. The taste may seem bland, so you can add lemon juice, mint leaves, or cinnamon.

Milk thistle stimulates digestion

Was that one piece of cake too many? To help your digestive system, consider milk thistle. This long-stemmed plant, topped by a pink flower surrounded by thorns, contains silymarin, a substance that stimulates the gallbladder. Careful! take gloves at the time of picking because the leaves and stems are extremely pungent.

The right use? In infusion. Pour 1 liter of boiling water over a handful of green leaves. Let it infuse for 10 min and filter to remove small irritating hairs. A cup of 200 ml taken before the meal allows approaching serenely the games. And, consumed after meals (between one and three cups), this herbal tea overcomes our excesses.

The matricaria facilitates falling asleep

It is better known as German chamomile. If it is less pretty than its cousin the Roman chamomile, its large flower heads, which smell very good when crumpled, contain precious flavonoids with antispasmodic and anxiolytic properties. Thus, apigenin would act as a natural benzodiazepine (a sedative). The Matricaria is particularly suitable for nervous people, whose stress results in stomach aches and digestive disorders.

The right use? In decoction. Pour 1 handful of dry flowers into 1 liter of water. Boil 5 min then let infuse for 10 min. For a calming effect, drink 3 or 4 cups a day, including one 30 minutes before bedtime.

“Welcome to the “weeds” in the garden!”

Thanks to this book, you will appreciate the plants that invade your garden without being invited! Its author, François Coupland, is an ethnobotanist and makes us discover the thousand and one ways to exploit these weeds that have good. Even the dog! Did you know that you can boil your root to get a diuretic and depurative herbal tea? The lion, on the other hand, proves to be an effective laxative when prepared in herbal tea. And yarrow, which can form real grass, relieves painful periods or manifestations of premenstrual syndrome (in herbal tea too). Finally, do not completely eliminate celandine from your plantations. The juice of its stem is a formidable verruca.

Borage soothes the respiratory tract

Its pretty star-shaped flowers are easily distinguished on the edge of the country paths. We can make a beautiful bouquet! They are packed with leaves that, covered with hair, can sting – it is better to put on gloves as prevention. The whole plant contains mucilages with softening virtues, and the oil of the seeds is concentrated in linoleic acid, known for its cosmetic uses and its anti-inflammatory power. Borage is indicated in case of bronchitis and wet cough. But it does not replace antibiotics if there is a bacterial infection. Be careful also if you are sensitive liver because it is hepatotoxic in high doses.

The right use? In salad. You can put the flowers, which have a flavor surprisingly close to that of the oyster, and the whole young leaves. Older, the leaves become tougher and deserve to be finely cut. Borage can be eaten on its own, but the idea is to add it (for half) to your usual salad. Consume it for lunch and dinner as long as you suffer from wet cough. You can also prepare an herbal tea with the dried flowers and leaves (1 tablespoon shaved per cup). Do not take more than 4 or 5 days without medical advice.

Thanks to Sylvie Hampikian, a pharmacologist specialized in herbal medicine, author of Medicinal walk through the seasons, Living Earth.


Pollutants are avoided. We do not pick near a busy road, a factory, livestock buildings, intensive crops, vineyards, or non-organic orchards. Microbial contamination is avoided. Beware of public gardens and places for dog walking. If there is a risk of animal soiling, soak your crop for a few minutes in cold vinegar water (a glass for a basin). Wring out thoroughly, then dab with a cloth. Confusion is avoided. Go to an herbalist or a specialized pharmacist to examine your pickup. This will ensure that you have not accidentally picked up a plant that is dangerous to your health before consuming it.

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