Lady Danni’s Urban Foraging 101
These are just a few examples of some of the plants you can readily find in even in the cracks of the pavement.
These are plants you’ve seen; plants you know. These are plants you’ve considered weeds, but once you begin to see their value as food and medicine, I’m hoping you’ll have a new appreciation and respect for them.
First foraged plants
Plantain: Plantago major/Plantago lanceolata
Edible and medicinal: Leaf, seed and root
Parts used: leaves and flower spike
Properties: anti-inflammatory diuretic, expectorant, decongestant, stomachic.
Leaves and flower spike can be eaten raw but older leaves should be cooked. Can be crushed, or chewed and then used as a spit poultice for cuts, scrapes, bruises, stings.
Can be taken as a tea for coughing, to relieve water retention, as a decongestant or for IBS and stomach issues.
Edible and medicinal: Flower leaves, root
Parts used: Flower, leaves, root
Properties: Diuretic, mild laxative bitter, which stimulates digestion, anti-inflammatory
Young leaves can be eaten. Root can be roasted and used as coffee substitute. Tea can be made from dried leaves, flower petals when removed from sepals (the green part) are sweet and can be used to flavor honey or made into syrup. remove excess fluid to help cleanse liver and skin but contains potassium so is a balanced cleanser. Diuretic properties are responsible for its name in French Pis en lit, or “pee the bed”. Root contains inulin, a prebiotic for gut health.
Dandelion: Taraxacum officinale
Edible and Medicinal: All aerial parts
Parts used: All aerial parts
Properties: Diuretic, astringent, refrigerant
Can be brewed into a tea that can cool skin when used topically or made into a faux lemonade, which is high in Vitamin C, can lower fever, help with inflammation of swollen gums or poulticed for skin inflammation. Seeds can be pickled like capers. Oxalic acid provides its sour taste and is an antinutrient that can block calcium absorption so do not use in moderation, or possibly not at all if you have gout, kidney issues or rheumatoid arthritis. When the whole plant is boiled it yields a natural yellow orange dye.
Red clover: Trifolium pratense
Edible and Medicinal: Flowers and leaves
Parts used: Flowers and leaves
Properties: Respiratory, chronic skin conditions, soothing, cooling, hormone balancer. Buds can be boiled and eaten. Drunk as a tea as a blood cleanser. Can be taken as a tea for whooping cough, and gout. Contains isoflavones that act like estrogen in the body so has been traditionally taken by women with hormonal issues from regulating menstrual cycles to helping those with issues of fertility or menopause.
White clover: Trifolium repens
Edible: Flower and leaves
Parts used: Flower and leaves
Properties: Flowers are edible but can have a tough core. Can remove flowers and use in salads or grains. Can dry and mill flower into flour and replace up to ¼ of other flour. Adds sweet spongy texture and some protein. Also makes a calming tea.
English Ivy: Hedera helix
Parts used: Leaves
Properties: Primarily a remedy for respiratory congestion. Anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. Used as a tincture or a syrup can help expel mucus and reduce airway constriction and soothe wet coughs. Can also work as an anti-inflammatory either as syrup or tincture or make a tea of leaves (you can also add mugwort) and use as a compress on achy joints.