Herbal Walks and Wild Edibles

Philadelphia is an amazing city with plenty of resources for eating fresh locally grown foods, but how about so fresh that you can literally pick the food yourself straight from the ground. Every week a man by the name of El Ha Gahn, herbalist, naturalist, healer, nutritionist, and ecotourism specialist teaches these workshops held throughout the area.

For those of you unfamiliar with the benefits of wild edibles, they are more nutritious than any greens you will ever find at your grocery store. Wild edibles are undomesticated and therefore extremely vital and full of vitamins and minerals . Someone new to eating them may be turned off by the strong acrid taste and that is why I suggest at first to try eating them by blending it into a fruit smoothie or modestly mixing into a salad. Eating them raw without heating allows us to get the maximum health benefits out of the wild edibles. Due to the tough cellulose fiber of greens, the blender is an ideal way to consume them because it acts as our teeth and masticates them to a small enough consistency that we can actually absorb the nutrients.

Many of you with gardens probably have a few of these so called weeds already growing in your backyard. The most common ones you've likely heard of are dandelion, nettles, lamb's quarters, and purslane. Others include burdock, mustard greens, and chickweed to name a few.

Dandelions contain inulin, which can help to lower blood sugar levels in diabetics. They are especially good this time of year because of their cleansing properties for the liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, and stomach. They are pungent so if making a salad you can add a fat like an avocado to cut the bitterness. Nettles are usually known as stinging nettles because if not picked carefully they can literally sting you and leave your skin feeling irritated. Nettles have been known to increase circulation and are very high in protein. It's also known to purify the blood and act as an anti-inflammatory. Purslane tastes great in salads and has been used as a natural remedy internally for things like inflammation and constipation and externally for insect bites, eczema, and sunburn. It has more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy green and the stems and leaves are chock full of vitamins and minerals.

If this has sparked an interest in you and you're wondering how to learn about which wild edibles are safe to eat in your area, you can learn more about El Ha Gahn and his upcoming seminars and workshops by visiting his website. He also teaches classes on reflexology, arthritis prevention, healing plants, colon cleansing, keeping your children healthy, and many more. I can't wait to take one of his workshops and learn about the medicine cabinet growing in my own backyard.

For more information: Herbal Walks, Philadelphia, P.a.

Photo credit: Morgana

Have you ever been on an herbal walk and if so, how did you like it, what did you learn?

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