Every year I find myself in this same space: longing for the wild foods of spring. Above I am digging leeks on 4/16/13 and the field of leeks and box of leeks pictures are from 2014. I am anxiously waiting for the leeks to pop their 'lil green heads up again this year.
The return of the leeks means many things to me:
- spring IS here,
- summer will follow sooner than the wait from winter to spring (so grateful for this!),
- more wild foods and flowers will be popping out of the ground daily, and
- my body is in sync with nature!
Wild leeks are nature's medicine. (Who am I kidding? All wild plants are nature's medicine!) They have similar healing qualities of garlic: immune boosting, good for blood pressure, a blood and spring tonic, cold and flu remedy, and the leaf and bulb juice is good for ear aches and infections.
Wild foods are the gifts that our bodies need after a long cold winter. They provide green food, vitamin C (and so many more vitamins and minerals), stimulation of the liver to open and cleanse the heaviness of winter out of our digestive tract and ultimately our body cells, and vital life force energy to up our internal level of vibrancy.
Soon to look for:
Violets are rich in vitamin C, a much needed vitamin after a long winter. Vitamin C helps in the spring detox and the upward movement of life force energy. Violets are rich in enzymes, chlorophyll, vitamin A, carotenes, rutin (helps maintain blood vessel strength and integrity), and many more nutrients.
Nettles are, by far, my favorite plant (and I love all the plants!). It is one herb I would add to every herbal healing blend for its nutritive properties. Nettles nourishes each and every body cell, helps to build strong bones, nourishes the glandular system, aid the reproductive tract (pms, migraines, prostate, libido builder), great for allergies and asthma, and just about any and every ailment I can think of. This is because of nettles high nutritional value; when the body is nourished the body heals!
Um, Um Yum... dandelion greens and think liver. Dandelion is a bitter tonic for the liver helping with digestion and helping with the spring cleanse out of winter heaviness in our cells and life force energy. Dandelion is very high in nutrients (again, good for cellular health and build bones), is a mild laxative, and is good for skin conditions to name but a few of dandelion's virtues. Spring brings us this flower and the leaves to eat at just the time our body needs it. Nature is so wise!
Sorrels are from the genus Oxalis. Oxalis means "sour" and is named due to its high oxalic acid content. Oxalic acid is considered "toxic" when consumed in large quantities because oxalic inhibits the absorption of calcium. Oxalic acid is not considered a problem when consumed moderately and with a varied diet. Many domesticated vegetables, including spinach and broccoli, also contain oxalic. People who are challenged by gout, rheumatism, and gallbladder and kidney stones should avoid it.
Sorrel is rich in vitamin C (the sour and vitamin C again contributes to the spring cleanse of winter's stagnation in the body). Traditionally it has been used to treat scurvy, fevers, urinary infections, mouth sores, nausea, and sore throats.
If you have never been one to grass your front lawn or the fields and woods near your home... I encourage you to find a good guide book with pictures, descriptions, and healing information and get foraging.
Remember the forager's ethical principle: take only what you need and make certain to leave plenty of plants so they can reproduce and repopulate the area you are wild harvesting from. If you take all the plants you are creating a micro-extinction in that area.