[NAFEX] Uses for weeds

Kieran &/or Donna holycow at frontiernet.net
Thu Jun 11 11:06:44 EDT 2009

Plantain is analgesic and contains proteolytic enzymes.  It's about the only thing that will stop the pain of caterpillar stings.  Because it's edible, though a bit astringent, you can simply chew it up to make a quick poultice for anything you want to stop hurting.  It's also recommended for boils.  That's something my family isn't prone to, but my son had one coming up, and with a plantain poultice it simply went away.  We usually use the wide leaved plantain because we have more of it, but they both work well.  
    Also look through your "weed collection" for the smartweed with the larger leaves and the reddish spot on each leaf.  (the smaller kind won't work)  This species is well worth having, because Japanese beetles would rather eat it than anything else.  It makes a terrific trap crop to at least reduce the attack on your plums and green beans.  This year, not only are the beetles mysteriously late (the cool wet spring) but my smartweed has been hit with a borer.  Yes, there really is a borer for EVERYTHING.  Looks a lot like a pickleworm, now that's a scary thought.  But the cukes look fine.  Probably just related to pickleworms.    Donna 

P.S.  One more use for smartweed.  My mom always taught Sunday school, and one year she went out and picked the tops of blossoming smartweed, with their tiny pinkish orbs, and rubbed a little blue food color on them.  Then she made a teeny tiny arbor and used them to illustrate the story of the sons who were asked to work in their father's vineyard.  Now and then when the smartweed is in bloom I find myself thinking of those tiny "grapes" in fond amusement.  It was a terrific illusion.  
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