edible weeds

Discussion in 'Gardening Discussion - Other gardening systems.' started by bushboy, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. bushboy

    bushboy New Member

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    one of my interests is what weeds are edible

    here's the first in several offerings:

    Portulaca oleracea - Purslane or Munyeroo or Pigweed

    This “weed†occurs in our yard over summer/autumn and of which we add a few leaves/stems
    into our salads.

    It is a flat plant with triangular fleshy leaves on fleshy stems and has tiny yellow flowers.
    There are cultivated varieties that have larger leaves and flowers however.
    The aborigines apparently harvested this plant for the tiny seeds that were ground into a flour and baked as well as eating the leaves and stems.

    Ref Tim Low – Wild Food Plants of Australia

    Nutritionally it contains more omega 3 fatty acids than any other leafy plant along with
    vitamins A and C ,other potent anti-oxidants and minerals such as Mg, Ca, K and Fe.
    It was widely used historically in many cultures with evidence of use from about the 7th century BC.

    Ref : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portulaca_oleracea

    Now some science from Pubmed --there were 147 citations. Here are some that I found interesting:

    1. In a rat model of Diabetes an extract of Purslane significantly reduced fasting blood
    sugar, total cholesterol , total triglycerides and increased the level of HDL ( the good cholesterol). There were no adverse effects found.

    2. Another fascinating study investigated anti-aging effects of purslane. In a mouse model
    Purslane treated mice showed signicantly improved learning and memory compared to controls. At autopsy the Purslane treated mice had some really interesting findings, such as
    increased telomere length and upregulated telomerase activity.

    3. Apparently Purlane has been used in Iran for many years for abnormal uterine bleeding.
    Sure enough, a trial did show significant benefit in 80% of women using it for this purpose.

    4. Purslane has at least 3 novel anti-oxidants that are stronger than Vitamin C

    5 The Iranians have also used Purslane for asthma historically and a trial did demonstrate
    improved lung function similar to Theopylline but not as good as Salbutamol (Ventolin)

    6 Other studies indicate it has analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects topically but not
    orally. It may also have a beneficial effect on wound healing .


    Ref : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez - type in Purslane


    I did not find any reports of problems using this plant in my research. It seems like a worth while addition to the salad!

    Attached Files:

  2. dufflight

    dufflight Member

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    Stinging nettle is used in cooking and tea's. Can also be added to compost.
  3. Tsaphah

    Tsaphah Member

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    Have you tried feeding this to your Jades? I have it in our yard, growing right next to my FT in fact!
  4. bushboy

    bushboy New Member

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    in a tank as we speak - I'll check later this pm - bet they eat it though
  5. bushboy

    bushboy New Member

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    Yes - the pigweed/purslane was completely destroyed by the Jades


    Next Weed is Gotu Kola or Pennywort : Centella asiatica


    I'll post some photos of this weed tomorrow as it is dark now

    The plant is a perennial creeping ground cover with kidney shaped leaves about 2-4cm with a v shaped slot. The margins are finely serrated. Further description:

    http://www.herbsarespecial.com.au/free- ... -kola.html


    Traditionally (Chinese,Indian and Asian) it has been used for a multitude of medical ailments including: healing of wounds and ulcers , to improve brain function
    (we all need that!), to treat infections, to reduce lower limb oedema (swelling) and as an anti-arthritic agent.

    http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/69242.cfm

    The ingredients of the plant leaf are various terpenoids, glycosides, flavones including quercetin and other compounds including amino acids, alkaloids and volatile oils.. It really is a complex cocktail of chemicals. At least one ingredient has an anti-inflammatory effect and another has an effect on collagen regrowth.

    http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/69242.cfm

    Now to the scientific literature - Pubmed has 230 citations for Gotu Kola – here are some of the interesting ones:

    1. In an in vitro arthritis experiment using bovine cartilage, a triterpenoid fraction of Gotu Kola inhibited cartilage degradation.

    2.Using rats with arthritis caused by the injection with foreign collagen, a similar ingredient (madecassoside) significantly suppressed arthritis and tissue pathology with reduced levels of several inflammatory chemical in the blood and joint tissues

    3 Using a 5% Vitamin C and 0.1% madacassoside cream on sun damaged skin for 6 months, there was a significant improvement in skin suppleness and firmness and reduction in wrinkles associated with an increase in the elastic fibre network in the skin. I'm not sure if Vit C alone would do the same thing though. This was a randomised double blind trial -my favourite type of trial!!

    4 In 28 elderly patients given Gotu Kola extract for 6 months, there was an improvement in cognitive function and mood . The mechanism for this effect is unknown. Another study found GK extract had an anxiolytic effect in rats and also reduced the plaques associated with alzheimers disease.

    5.In a study of wound healing in rats collagenase was found to be superior to GK extact, but another study found GK extract helped burns to heal.

    6 Finally a warning : there is a report of 3 womens developing jaudice and hepatitis from taking Gotu Kola after only relatively short periods- they recovered ok after a hospital stay and ceasing to take GK – one woman tried it again and redeveloped jaudice/liver damage. I suspect some other factors where at play here as some people do seem to get liver problems from drugs whereas most others have no problem.

    Refs for above 6 points - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez -search for articles on Gotu Kola

    Conclusion – what an interesting herb to research – it may be worth a try for chronic arthritis – the Internet suggests 2 leaves/day in a salad or tucked into a date or similar dried fruit. I would suggest at least 2 days a week without it and a blood test after using it for 2-4 weeks to see if it is affecting your liver.
  6. doug e

    doug e New Member

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    Bushboy says "Traditionally (Chinese,Indian and Asian) it has been used for a multitude of medical ailments including: healing of wounds and ulcers , to improve brain function
    (we all need that!), to treat infections, to reduce lower limb oedema (swelling) and as an anti-arthritic agent."
    Some time ago my old border collie developed arthitis ....Mrs Doug starts cutting up 2 royal pennywort leaves and places in her dinner each night......I scoffed at her attempts to improve the dogs condition.........but after "about" 6 months the old dog appeared "spritely" with no arthritic symptoms!!!
    I personally do not suffer any form of arthritis........but if I did......it would be royal pennywort for me.
    cheers
    Doug
  7. Tsaphah

    Tsaphah Member

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    Maybe Mrs Doug is already cutting up 2 royal pennywort leaves and places in your dinner each night, thats why you dont suffer any form of arthritis! :lol:
  8. doug e

    doug e New Member

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    Some time after the old dog died from old age......I sprayed the pennywort with roundup by mistake. I was told to get some more. When I went to a local nursery I asked "do you have any royal pennywort?".......nursery lady said "do you mean the arthritis plant?"
  9. bushboy

    bushboy New Member

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    picture of gotu kola

    more soon on another weed

    Attached Files:

  10. bushboy

    bushboy New Member

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    Commelina diffusa - Wandering Jew or Scurvy weed or Creeping Christian


    A common “weed†on my property is Commelina diffusa – it is a native to south east Queensland
    and needs to be differentiated from the introduced Tradescantia flumenensis .and Commelina benghalensis. Trad flumenensis has a white flower and is thus readily identified. Commelina benghalensis is also called Hairy Commelina -it has brown hairs on the stem and larger leaves than
    the native species. Commelina diffusa is a weak trailing perennial herb that tends to die back in the cooler months on my property

    http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/documents/Bio ... d-PP97.pdf

    http://www.moretonbay.qld.gov.au/upload ... rstory.pdf

    It occurs where the forest canopy is disturbed and declines when the bush canopy becomes mature.
    It recently “took off†on a portion of my property when I removed some Casaurina

    The main interest for me is the fact that it is another of the edible “weeds†that we can add to our salads. The leaves and flowers are edible - we pick some terminal growth to mix in our salads
    along with several other weeds from our property such as purslane, cobbler's peg (bidens pilosa) and as previously written gotu kolu (centella asiatica). The nutritional components are vitamins c niacin and riboflavin in modest quantities and a few kilojoules of energy. The early settlers apparently used it for the prevention and treatment of scurvy and Captain Cook supposedly gave it to his crew. No doubt it has other chemicals and anti-oxidants but my internet search did not yield further details on this.
    Taste wise it is unremarkable when mixed with other salad items but the blue flowers do add a touch of colour.

    http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/monitor ... D=15A10087

    As a ground cover it provides shelter for small lizards, frogs, and native bees are attracted to the
    flowers.

    http://users.bigpond.net.au/folcnp/Snip ... rFauna.htm

    Previously, I had not appreciated Commelina diffusa but now look upon it as a worthwhile
    plant to have around – it is probably impossible to get rid of anyway!!

    Attached Files:

  11. bushboy

    bushboy New Member

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    Here's another one - on a roll

    only doing one more after this though as I need to do catch up on
    some other stuff


    Solanum nigrum -black nightshade or poisonberry

    This weed occurs on our property throughout most of the year
    -we originally thought it was “deadly nightshade†but Atropa belladonna
    is uncommon in Australia

    It is a brittle-stemmed weed that grows up to a metre tall. It has ovate leaves, tiny white star shaped flowers, and small round black berries that are green when unripe

    The ripe berries are quite sweet to eat

    Now to some science from Pubmed

    1 In a study with rats and mice an aqueous extract of Solanum Nigrum leaves
    exhibited anti -inflamatory, anti-pain and anti-pyretic (fever) activity
    that was concentration dependent
    2 A crude polysaccharide extract exhibited a potent anti-tumour activity
    in a cervical cancer mouse model probably by immunmodulation
    This was confirmed in another study using a human cervical cancer cell line
    3 Traditionally the leaves are claimed to help prevent epilepsy and indeed
    in another study it did reduce seizures in rats,chickens and mice
    4 Finally, a South African study compared the nutritional value of the leaves
    of Solanum nigrum and 2 other plants with the more traditional spinach,lettuce and cabbage. They found they had good nutritional values of protein,fibre and
    various minerals such as Ca,K, PO4 , Zn and Fe and comparatively low levels
    of antinutritional phytates,alkaloids and saponins.

    ref http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez - search term Solanum nigrum

    One word of warning - this plant is a bio-accumulator of heavy metals
    (cadmium)- I would avoid eating any of it from possibly contaminated areas

    I have eaten the fruit but we have not tried the leaves in a salad thus far

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  12. Julia

    Julia New Member

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    Thanks for all the info on the edible weeds, Doug. They all are found on our property and it's great to know what they are and what they can be used for!
  13. bushboy

    bushboy New Member

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    you're welcome Julia - I have learnt heaps from other people here

    next post is on Bidens Pilosa = cobbler's peg tomorrow

    I hate this weed so it is good to know you can eat it!!

    Tom
  14. burnt

    burnt New Member

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    Hopefully onion weed and oxalis are edible!! :)
  15. bushboy

    bushboy New Member

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    Bidens pilosa

    Bidens pilosa = Cobbler's pegs, or farmer's friend

    This is a very common weed on my property – I have spent many a minute picking
    off the seeds stuck onto my clothing. It is an untidy plant about 05-1m tall with
    serrated leaves in groups of 3-5.There are small yellow marigold type flowers and
    the distinctive black seeds readily catch on clothing due to 2-3 fine barbs. The leaves are
    cooked and eaten overseas but it does not have a pleasant flavour. We sometimes add
    a few uncooked young leaves into a salad. All parts of the plant are widely used in Africa and South America as a decotion/infusion for internal use or as a poultice in various ways for
    a multitude of ailments

    Pubmed search

    There was about 200 entries for BP - here some interesting ones:

    1.In a study of extracts of BP there was significant anti-cancer and anti-pyretic effects.
    Another study revealed anti-malarial activity.
    2. A water extract of BP had a greater activity against E Coli and Staphlococcus compared with Gentamycin (this is one of conventional medicine's most powerful antibiotics)
    3. In common with most of the herbs/weeds I have researched BP lowers blood glucose and thus has an antidiabetic effect.
    4. It may have an anti- inflammatory effect – another study has shown it inhibits
    Cox-2 – a pathway involved in arthritis but I could not find any further reports on this aspect.

    Attached Files:

  16. bushboy

    bushboy New Member

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    oxalis

    oxalis is edible - I haven't tried it though

    ref Tim Low - wild herbs of Australia and NZ
    (out of print regrettably)

    onion weed - not sure - probably is though
    -there doesn't seem to be much around that is really poisonous
    in weeds - I would avoid trying anything from polluted sites though
    as they seem to accumulate heavy metals

    They seem to have a generic effect on us - viz lower blood glucose
    lower cholesterol and have anti-oxidant effects - may even help
    brain function

    It is a shame our foods have been determined by the supermarket's
    need for shelf life, presentation and profit
  17. Julia

    Julia New Member

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    Gotu kola

    Hi BushBoy,

    Does this plant look like Gotu kola to you?

    Attached Files:

  18. doug e

    doug e New Member

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    Thats it Julia.....cheers Doug
  19. Julia

    Julia New Member

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    Thanks for that Doug - good to know, since it grows happily around here. I tried googling gotu kola tea and got all sort of conflicting information about how much to use and whether or not it can be harmful. Do you know of a reliable source of information?
  20. doug e

    doug e New Member

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    "Do you know of a reliable source of information?"
    no.......Mrs D gave the 25kg border collie 2 leaves per night......If I ever develop arthritis I would prob start with 4 leaves per night...........but thats pure guesswork. cheers Doug

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