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Weeds Can Be Good Medicine!<br>Plants we need tend to grow nearby.

Weeds Can Be Good Medicine!
Plants we need tend to grow nearby.

By Steven Horne, RH (AHG)  
Sometimes the answers to your health problems are growing in your own backyard.

When people lose their health, they are usually willing to pay a very high price to recover it. But often, the remedies that could cure them are inexpensive and readily available, such as the weeds growing in their own backyard. What are weeds? According to the famous American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, weeds are the plants whose virtues have not yet been discovered. So, maybe it's time to discover some o the virtues of these common, readily available herbs.
Native Americans and other indigenous peoples believed that the plants we need tend to grow nearby so perhaps these difficult-to-eradicate plants are there because they're actually there to help us. Many of us return the favor by trying to poison them, dig them out or otherwise eradicate them, while paying for expensive medicines and therapies to try to resolve the very health problems weeds are there to help us solve.

In this issue of Sunshine Sharing, we're going to celebrate the virtues of many of the plants most people call weeds. The list is not comprehensive but does cover most of the common useful weeds, and all of them are available as singles and/or in various formulas from Nature's Sunshine Products. Lets get started.


 Alfalfa is high in vitamins and minerals, especially trace minerals. It contains vitamins A, D, E, B6 and K; folic acid, niacin, carotene, flavonoids, calcium, magnesium, chlorophyll, phosphorus, iron, potassium, trace minerals, mucilage, several digestive enzymes and other beneficial compounds.
In Western herbalism, alfalfa is used to both cleanse and rebuild the blood, improve digestion, promote lactation and as an aid for the glandular system. It also contains phytoestrogens that can help protect the body from the harmful xenoestrogens that contribute to estrogen-dependent cancers.
Alfalfa can be very helpful for healing bones and joints, due to its high mineral content. It can be purchased as a single and is also found in formulas like Herbal Trace Minerals and Herbal CA for supplying minerals to the body.


Chances are pretty good that you have run into burdock if you have done any hiking. The plant grows in waste places (abandoned lots, fields, pastures and along roadsides) through out the United States and produces seeds with small, hooked burrs that cling to anything that touches them, including socks, pants, shoelaces and animal fur. Its sticky seeds were the inspiration for the development of Velcro.
Burdock root is edible and was used as food by Native Americans and is still used in Oriental cuisine.
Like many wild foods, we powder it and take it in capsules as a medicine instead of eating it.

As a medicine, burdock root is primarily used as a blood purifier, that is, an herb that helps to detoxify the body and clean up morbid conditions, including skin eruptions, cysts and cancer.
Burdock helps the body metabolize fats better, aiding bile production and fat metabolism in the liver. It is very good for helping to clear up skin conditions like acne, boils, eczema and psoriasis. Burdock also helps to stabilize mast cells, which can reduce allergic reactions. It is a typical ingredient in most Western herbal formulas for cancer.

Besides being available as a single herb, burdock is a key ingredient in many blood purifying formulas such as BP-X. It is also found in the anti-cancer formula E-Tea (based on the famous Essiac Tea). 


Found in moist places near woods and areas that have previously been cultivated, chickweed is a common weed that happens to be tasty and high in vitamins and minerals.
It is soothing to the urinary system, promotes lymphatic drainage and has been applied topically to sooth dry. red and itchy skin.

It is a mild diuretic for reducing fluid retention and helps to shrink swollen lymph nodes. It helps the body metabolize fats and can even help to decongest a fatty liver and break up fatty cysts.

It is also believed to aid in weight loss. Chickweed is available as a single herb and as an ingredient is SF, a weight loss formula, and Cellular Detox, a general detoxifying formula.


Like many weeds, dandelion is not indigenous to North America, but was brought here by European settlers. It spread rapidly, following the migrations of the white man, so that it can now be found throughout North America.
Like other weeds we've discussed thus far, dandelions are both edible and medicinal. The leaves have been eaten as salad greens, nut only the young leaves are palatable. The older leaves are too bitter to eat. The leaves are rich sources of lutein and zeaxanthin two nutrients important for healthy eyesight and carotenoids and vitamin K. The mature leaves are a great source of potassium and a nourishing diuretic for water retention.

Dandelion roots have been roasted and ground as a coffee substitute, but are more commonly used as medicine for improving digestive, liver and gallbladder function.
Dandelion root improves the health of the GI tract and helps the liver detoxify from chemical exposure (such as the herbicides people use to kill dandelions).
Dandelion root is available as a single remedy and as an ingredient in many formulas. These include MilkThistle Combination for protecting the liver, VS-C for herpes and other viral infections and Cellular Energy, a general detoxifying formula.


Various species of mallows have been used as emergency food during times of famine and as soothing medicines for irritated tissues.
Marshmallow (Althea) is the species most commonly used as medicine, but the common or garden mallow (Malva) can be used in a similar fashion. The leaves and green seed pods are edible and quite tasty, while the root is a valuable mucilaginous remedy. The mucilage in mallows is soothing to the membranes of the digestive tract and lungs, making marshmallow one of the best remedies for inflammatory bowel disorders and dry, irritated coughs.
Marshmallow is also soothing to the urinary membranes, easing painful and burning urination.

In addition to being available as a single herb, marshmallow is also an ingredient in many herbal formulas. It is a key herb in Intestinal Soothe and Build, used for soothing inflamed intestinal tissues, and in Small Intestine Detox, a formula for cleansing and soothing the small intestines.
Marshmallow and Fenugreek is a blend used for dry, irritated coughs and respiratory congestion.


Although it is grown in gardens and considered a wildflower, yarrow often makes its way into lawns where it's considered a weed. Yarrow isn't edible, but it is an extremely valuable medicinal plant.
The leaves can be used to help stop both internal and external bleeding. The leaves are a wonderful remedy for excessive menstrual bleeding taken internally and a styptic to stop bleeding wounds applied topically. Yarrow flowers are a traditional remedy for fevers. They work best when taken as a hot tea (usually mixed with peppermint to improve the flavor).
Available as a single, yarrow is a key ingredient in Menstrual Reg a formula for heavy menstrual bleeding.
It is also a good herb for improving lymph flow, so it's a part of Lymphomax. its ability to fight colds and flu is why it is also found in CC-A, a traditional formula for colds.
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