Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Eat Your Weeds-Edible and Medicinal Uses for Wild Pansy

I'm going to start a new little thread on the blog here-Eat Your Weeds.  I'll try to post regularly about edible and medicinal plants and herbs that we forage for in our front yard, back yard, and community.  I've discovered something recently.  I've always loved growing culinary herbs, I've been interested in herbal medicine for years and have a cabinet full of tinctures and homeopathics, but I've never paid a great deal of attention to the gold mine of edibles spontaneously growing all around me.  On our nature walks in the past couple months my children and I have been paying close attention to the new life springing up all around us as the mild winter of coastal Carolina has been giving way to the beginnings of spring.  Our neighbors haven't started mowing their lawns yet so we have been able to collect samples of a number of different wild flowers and plants as they have sprung up and begun to bloom.  We have brought samples of these plants home and done our best to identify them, and then press them for the flower field guides/notebooks that we are compiling in the coming months.

This month-March-our focus is on species of clover that are growing locally.  We are searching for different species, learning about their medicinal and food uses, tasting them, brewing them, drying them, etc.  Last week, while out in the front yard searching for clover my children came running to me excitedly proclaiming the discovery of a new flower! "Come look mom!  Come look!"  They tugged on my arm and led me over to a patch of wild pansies.  How exciting!  I've never noticed these growing in our yard before, though I'm sure they have.  These petite little pansies, also known as 'Johnny Jump-Up' or 'Heartsease' are attractive and smell lovely.  They also, we discovered, have a number of health benefits.  We decided to collect flowers and brew pansy tea and I've included instructions and uses below.

Health benefits of wild pansy:

Topically for:
*Cradle Cap

Internally for:
*Respiratory congestion
*Urinary tract health
*Reducing arteriosclerosis
*Is an anti-inflammatory and a diuretic

How to make Wild Pansy Tea:

1. Collect about 1 Tbsp. fresh wild pansy flowers
2. Pour over 8 oz. boiling water
3. Cover and let steep 10 minutes
4. Strain and drink or apply externally with a clean cloth or cotton ball


*The contents of this post are purely educational and not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.  This information is not a substitute for seeing your physician.  Please exercise caution when identifying, harvesting, preparing and using wild, edible herbs and plants.

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