Spiny Sow Thistle

Here’s another edible and medicinal plant for you.
This is a new plant to me. At first I thought a thistle and a dandelion had cross pollinated. That’s what it looks like! I’ve learned since its actually called a Spiny Sow Thistle. It’s edible and has medicinal properties which make it even better! Here’s some info I’ve gathered, but like always be sure you’ve identified a plant 100% before consuming. I’ll be posting about Caledula next week.

Spiny Sow Thistle-

Identifying the different sow thistle:
The three common ones areSonchus oleraceus, (SON-kus oh-ler-AY-see-us ) Sonchus Asper (SON-kus ASS-pur) and Sonchus arvensis (SON-kus ar-VEN-sis.) They are respectfully the common sow thistle, the spiny sow thistle and the field sow thistle. The Oleraceus has green leaves with a bit of blue, Delta- arrow-shaped end lobes and distinctly pointed lobes where it clasps the stem. The asper has spiny round lobes where it clasps the stem. It also has a lot of spines. It’s the one that can require trimming. The arvensis has more lance shaped leaves, lobes can be irregular, and soft small spines. It is the softest of the three with a tactile feel closer to a wild lettuce.

Best way to eat.
Young sow thistles can just be tossed in the herb pot, where as some older leaves need to be trimmed of the thistles, which is a point of culinary departure. Really old leaves are bitter and not that much fun to eat even if they are edible. When young their flavor resembles lettuce and as they age more like Swiss chard. When old they are just bitter. I try to harvest them between four and 12 inches high. The young stalks peel and cooked are excellent, too. The young root is also edible when cooked but tends to be woody.

Recipes:
BUTTERED SOW-THISTLE

1 or 2 handfuls sow-thistle leaves – young

Butter or oil

Beef stock or water

Ground nutmeg – pinch

1 tsp. flour

Salt and pepper

For this recipe the young 2- to 4-inch leaves of common sow-thistle

Heat some butter or oil in a pan and add the leaves. Stir thoroughly to

coat the leaves. Add a good slug of stock or water, reduce the heat to a

simmer and cover. Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes. Add a pinch of nutmeg,

the flour and some seasoning. Stir everything, then add another knob of

butter and melt into the sow-thistle over a low heat.

Serve.

STIR-FRIED SOW-THISTLE & PORK

½-1 cup pork meat – shredded / sliced

Light soy sauce

Corn flour – pinch

Water

White wine or dry sherry

Sugar – pinch

Salt and pepper

Sows thistles

Begin by slicing the meat into pieces about 2 inches long and 1/10th inch thick. Set aside. Next, make up a marinade from the remainder of the first group of ingredients, using a splash of soy sauce, slugs of water and wine, seasoning and pinches of corn flour and sugar. Mix together well in a bowl and then add the sliced meat. Stir thoroughly so that all the pieces are

coated and leave for 30 minutes. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the ginger for a couple of minutes, stirring to prevent burning, then add the spring onion. Stir for a minute, then add the meat. Stir-fry until the meat begins to cook. Add the sow-thistle leaves and continue frying for another 3 or 4 minutes, stirring to prevent burning and distribute the heat

Medicinal uses:

The plant is emmenagogue and hepatic. An infusion has been used to bring on a tardy menstruation and to treat diarrhoea. The latex in the sap is used in the treatment of warts. It is also said to have anticancer activity. The stem juice is a powerful hydrogogue and cathartic, it should be used with great caution since it can cause colic and tenesmus. The gum has been used as a cure for the opium habit. The leaves are applied as a poultice to inflammatory swellings. An infusion of the leaves and roots is febrifuge and tonic.

Much love & many blessings!

-Jason

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Broadleaf Plantain

This herb is considered by many herbalists to be the best healing herb. Many consider it a weed, but the Plantain has many more uses.

They can be used to heal wounds, cure fevers, and draw out toxins from stings and bites, including snake bites. The older mature leaves are higher in phytochemicals and are better suited for medicinal use. The uses range from mosquito bites and rashes to kidney problems Ann’s gastrointestinal diseases. I’ll include some preparations below.

Broadleaf Plantain is also edible. The young tender leaves can be eaten fresh in a salad, but older leaves should be cooked.

-How to make a poultice-
Take a few leaves and crush them up in your palm or use a rock.

-Plantain tea-
Fresh plantain leaves – 1 cup
Water – 2 cups
Heat-proof bowl with fitting lid

Wash the plantain leaves thoroughly and keep it in a bowl with lid.
Boil the water and pour over the leaves in the bowl, cover with the lid and let them steep until the bowl is cold to touch.
Strain out the tea and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks

-Plantain tincture-

Plantain leaves washed and dried of excess moisture –
1 cup100 proof vodka or brandy –
1 pintGlass jar with tight-fitting lid

Put the leaves into a jar and pour the alcohol over it so that it completely covers the leaves and fills the jar. Use a glass rod to stir the mixture well. Put the lid on and place the jar in a dark place, giving it a good shake every few days. After 6-8 weeks, decant into clean bottles and store in a dark place

The tincture made with plantain leaves and 100% alcohol can last for two to three years without losing its potency.

It is a very potent remedy for cold, respiratory infections and ailments of the stomach. Use 10 drops under the tongue and hold for 30 seconds before swallowing. You can add 10 drops of the tincture into a glass of water and drink slowly. For external use, put a drop on boils and sores

Burns – Apply a poultice immediately and apply a bandage with leaves. Follow it up with a plantain salve.

Cuts and open sores – Stop bleeding from fresh cuts by applying crushed plantain leaves. Wash with plantain tea or diluted tincture (1 tbsp to a glass of water) to prevent infections and promote healing.

Boils and acne – Touch with a drop of tincture or apply salve

For mouth ulcers – Swish 2-3 Tbsp plantain tea in the mouth 3-4 times a day. You can use 1 tbsp of tincture diluted with a cup of water too.

For throat pain/infection – Gargle with plantain tea or diluted tincture. Take 5-10 drops of tincture under the tongue and ingest it slowly.

Dandruff and other scalp problems – Apply plantain tea or oil infusion to the scalp and wash off after an hour.

For poison ivy/sumac/oak – Apply a poultice immediately, and then wash the area with plantain tea. Apply plantain sludge (more details at the end of this article) until the stinging pain is gone

For sunburn – Apply fresh poultice or plantain sludge liberally. Wash the area with the tea and then apply the salve.

To improve liver and kidney function – Drink 1-2 glasses of plantain tea every day.

For relief from gastrointestinal inflammation – Take the tincture under the tongue or drink plantain tea.

For cold, flu, and respiratory infections – Take the tincture under the tongue or drink freshly brewed warm tea with honey

Always be positive your identifying plants properly.

Much love & many blessings!

-Jason