The Best Plants For A Pollinator Garden

Creating a pollinator garden not only can help provide food and other resources to pollinators, such as bees and monarchs but can also help increase your garden crop yield!

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Pollinator gardens provide food and host plants for many of our pollinating species. The best-known pollinizers are honey bees and butterflies but there are so many different insects and even animals that need pollen and can help pollinate plants. There are many different types of bees, moths, butterflies, and wasps that pollinate plants. Other species include ants, flies, beetles, bats, birds, and even rodents and lizards!

There may be many different types of pollinators but you won’t necessarily attract all of them to your garden but don’t freak out if you find ants or pollen wasps in the garden. Attracting insects to a garden is very important and it is expected when you are creating a mini ecosystem in your yard. Some insects and animals will only be attracted to the garden if their host plant is available. Monarch butterflies need milkweed, spicebush swallowtail needs the spicebush, and the zebra swallowtail needs the pawpaw tree. Not every species needs a specific plant but some might be very picky! Keep this in mind when choosing plants to attract pollinators.

Most of these plants can be planted in zones 4-8 but double check if these are compatible in your region. Also, make sure that none of these plants are invasive, weedy, or banned in your area. Planting natives is always a great option but there are some nonnatives that are great for pollinators as well.

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

Everyone knows that Monarchs need milkweed but why? Monarchs lay their eggs on the milkweed plant and then the little baby caterpillars eat the leaves. They also utilize the pollen from milkweed but also collect pollen from other plants. Milkweed also attracts other butterflies and bees. This is a great plant to include in your pollinator garden as it is deer resistant and can tolerate poor soil. Other species to consider are A. incarnata or A. speciosa.

Perennial
Native Range:
 Eastern North America
Zone: 3-9
Sun: Full Sun
Water: Dry-Medium

Get seeds here

Beebalm (Monarda hybrida)

There are different types of beebalm available but many hybrid species are more tolerant to powdery mildew and poor soil. This plant is great for a rain garden and attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Go with a hybrid species or find some that are native to your regions.

Perennial
Zone: 5-9
Sun: Full Sun-Part Shade
Water: Medium-Wet

Get seeds here

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

This flower is a relatively short plant that is actually a type of milkweed. Like the other milkweeds, it is tolerant of poor soil and resistant to deer. It can take awhile for this plant to establish itself which means it could take 2-3 years before they begin to flower. They attract butterflies and monarch caterpillars will eat the foliage.

Perennial
Native Range:
 Eastern & Southern United States
Zone: 3-9
Sun: Full Sun
Water: Dry-Medium

Get seeds here

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

This fragrant flower is a great attractant for both butterflies and bees. It is not native to North America so it can be tricky to grow. In some places, it is treated as an annual due to harsh winters. They do not like to get their feet wet and are relatively drought tolerant once they become established. There are different types of lavender and varieties so pick one that will grow best in your region.

Perennial
Native Range:
Mediterranean
Zone: 5-8
Sun: Full Sun
Water: Dry-Medium

Get seeds here

Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Also called marigolds, calendula is a short spring blooming flower that attracts butterflies and bees. It can tolerate rabbits and likes average soil. However, it can suffer from powdery mildew so keep an eye out for that. Deadhead flowers to promote flowering throughout the season.

Annual
Zone: 2-11
Sun: Full Sun-Part Shade
Water: Medium

Get seeds here

Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

Catnip does a great job of making cats go crazy but bees and butterflies love them too! This herb can be used in the kitchen as well as providing nectar for pollinators. It is tolerant of poor soil, air pollution, and deer. Deadheading the flowers will promote more flowers to grow but watch this plant as it self-seeds and can spread if not taken care of.

Perennial
Native Range:
 Europe & parts of Asia
Zone: 3-7
Sun: Full Sun-Part Shade
Water: Dry-Medium

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

Did you know that chives produce a bushy round purple flower? Chives are a great plant to consider adding to your vegetable garden. Chives are tasty to eat but their flowers also attract bees.

Perennial
Native Range:
Balkans, Siberia, Asia Minor
Zone: 4-8
Sun: Full Sun-Part Shade
Water: Medium

Get seeds here

Dandelions (Taraxacum spp.)

Yes, you read that right, dandelions. Though they may be a lawn weed you should really consider letting these guys grow throughout the spring. They are some of the first flowers that come up that provide food for bees and butterflies. You can also grow some gourmet dandelions for their leaves if you like to eat dandelions in your salad.

Perennial
Native Range:
Greece, naturalized throughout the world
Zone: 3-10
Sun: Full Sun
Water: Medium

Get seeds here

These are not the only plants that you can plant for pollinators. There are hundreds of different plants available and it changes depending on the region you are in. If you live in the U.S. there are butterfly seed collections for the eastern, midwestern, and western parts of the U.S. that help attract butterflies and bees. If you plant your garden right you could also have it registered as a natural wildlife garden.

What are you planting this year to attract pollinators?


Sources

Create Habitat for Monarchs
Missouri Botanical Garden

History, Identification, & Uses of Valerian

Valerian has been used since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans and they gave this plant the name “Phu” because of its unpleasant smell. Today it is a common remedy for insomnia and anxiety but if you’re hoping for a nice, calming cup of tea you will be sadly disappointed by its bitter taste and “old sock” smell.

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Valerian is such a fascinating plant with a long history in medicine and can be found in many tales. It is one of my favorite herbs, granted a smelly one, but it sure does work.

One of the first know medicinal uses of valerian root dates back to the time of Hippocrates in ancient Greece. During the same time in Greece, it was also believed that if you hung valerian root in your home it would help repel evil spirits.

In Nordic mythology, it is said that the goddess Hertha used a whip made from valerian to make the stag she rode to run faster. The Celts also hung bags of valerian root in their homes but not to ward off evil spirits, but lightning.

The root does have its place in magic, being used in love potions, sleep pillows, to bring protection, stop couples from fighting, and to tame wild beasts! This herb was even mentioned in the Harry Potter series as an ingredient in tea to help aid in sleep.

Pied Piper

One of the best-known tales involving valerian root is that of Pied Piper of Hamelin. The German tail says that one day the town of Hamelin wanted to get rid of their rat problem. Pied Piper, a flute player, and an accomplished herbalist was contracted to help lure the rats away. In one version, he played his flute and drew the rats away and when he returned the town refused to pay him. Since they refused to pay him for ridding the town of rats he played his flute once again and lured all of the children in the town away to never be seen again. In another version, he lured both the rats and the children away the first time. In this version, he used not only his music but valerian root to lure the rats and children away.

In most tales, there is some truth to the legend. Valerian root actually can attract rats and cats! The root does contain a chemical similar to that in catnip. If you plant valerian in your garden you could potentially end up with some furry friends…some wanted and some unwanted.

Insomnia

Valerian root has been used for hundreds of years for sleeping troubles. Today we have some evidence that it might indeed be a good treatment for insomnia. One study found that valerian does indeed contain sedative properties. However, a review of 18 studies done on the use of valerian for insomnia treatment shows some promise that it is effective in humans but more research is needed. Other studies have found that valerian reduces the time it takes to get asleep, improves the quality of sleep, and participants experienced little side effects compared to common insomnia medications such as Xanax or Valium. The German Commission E approves of valerian for sleep problems and the root can be found in over 100 over the counter medication in Germany.

More research is needed but many people benefit from using valerian root for insomnia and other health issues and disorders. One of the biggest problems with its efficiency is that the quality of the herb changes based on where it is grown and other environmental conditions. Not every plant is equal. Scientists aren’t even 100% sure how valerian works. It is believed that it may increase GABA in the brain which helps regulate nerve cells and can calm anxiety. This could be why it works as a treatment for both anxiety and insomnia.

Profile

Common Name: Valerian
Scientific NameValeriana officinalis
Identification:
Perennial
Leaves- dark green, opposite, simple, pinnately lobed, 7-10 leaflets, hairy underneath, lower leaves are toothed
Flower- tiny, 5-lobed, pale pink-white, tight clusters, sweet smelling
Stem- hollow, grooved
Root- light grayish-brown when fresh, little smell when fresh
Height- 2-5 feet
Harvest Time: Spring or Fall
Parts Edible: Root
Found: Native to Europe & Asia, found throughout much of North America; found in fields and woodlands, likes full sun and average soil

Historic Uses

-Was once used as an antidote to the plague
-The ancient Greeks and Romans would prescribe valerian as a diuretic, poison antidote, pain reliever, decongestant, and sleep aid
-Early Europeans considered the plant an “all-healing” plant and used it for just about anything
-Native Americans would make a poultice from the root to treat wounds
-Was used to treat shell-shock (PTSD) during WWI
-Has been used to treat painful menstruation, cramps, hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia, anxiety, nervousness, stomach cramps, chest congestion, convulsions, bruises, coughs, heart palpitations, epilepsy, and aggression
-Used today to treat nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, and intestinal cramps
-Has been added to perfumes as an “earthy” or “mossy” scent
-Roots were placed in closets and dresser to scent clothing
-Was once a common condiment and added to soups in the middle ages
-Leaves were once eaten in early spring

Vitamins, Minerals, & More

Root

Contains:

  • Calcium
  • Selenium
  • Tin
  • Aluminum
  • Chromium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Flavonoids

Active ingredient: valepotriates

Properties: antibacterial, antidiuretic, antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic, hypnotic, nervine, sedative, stimulant

Preparations

-Root tea is available but does not have a pleasant smell or taste to most
-A tincture or glycerite is often available or can be made
-The root can be powdered and put into capsules
-The root can be found or added to bath and feet soaks

Precautions

-Do not take if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
-Do not give to children under 14 years of age
-Can interact with St. John’s Wort and medications changed by the liver
-Do not take valerian if you are on sedatives, anticonvulsants, barbiturates, or antidepressants
-Side effects may include: headaches, excitability, uneasiness, dizziness, stomach problems, drowsiness, and paradoxical reactions (anxiety, restlessness, insomnia)
-Do not take valerian with alcohol and do not operate large machinery after taking valerian
-Do not take for more than 1-2 months at a time
-Could cause withdraw symptoms from long-term use
-Stop taking valerian at least two weeks before surgery

Harvest

-Harvest in either spring or autumn after the first frost and before the shoots come
-Harvest plants that are two years old
-Be careful cleaning the roots and avoid damaging them
-If growing them yourself, deadhead the flowers in the summer to increase root growth

Where to Purchase

Valerian Root
Valerian Root Extract

Recipes

Valerian Mint Cordial
Valerian Root Tincture

Practicing Sustainable Wild Harvesting

  1. Only harvest plants you know are safe and can identify
  2. Only harvest plants in safe areas that are not contaminated or polluted
  3. Do not harvest on private property without permission
  4. Harvest no more than 10% or use the method: take 1 leave 2
  5. Know how to handle and prepare the plants you are harvesting
  6. Always check the legal status of the plant you want to harvest (is it endangered?)


Sources

PFAF Valerian Root
Web MD Valerian Root
University of Maryland Medical Center Valerian
Valerian Root
Mayo Clinic Valerian
Getting to Know the Valerian Plant
Sheltering with Valerian

Disclaimer: All information on Not Your Typical Hippie is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor, veterinarian, dietician, or health expert. If you wish to have advice on a medical problem, please consult a doctor. I cannot guarantee that any information provided will work for every person. Please consult a doctor before making any health changes. I am not liable for any choices you make based on the information provided on this website. (Learn more here)

Herbal Lozenges & Their Beneficial Herbs

Have you ever heard of a lozenge? It may be a strange word but I guarantee almost everyone has had one while they were sick. They are available over the counter or can be made at home and are commonly called cough drops.

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Lozenges have been around for quite some time but can be used for more than calming a cough. They are used to slowly administer a medication or an herb through the mouth. Common drugs that may be administered this way include analgesics, anesthetics, antiseptics, antimicrobials, antitussives, anti-nauseants, and decongestants. They are usually solid and hard and traditionally many lozenges contained phenol, sodium phenolate, benzocaine, cetylpyridinium chloride, and even chloroform!

Over the counter, cough drops are available but finding herbal based lozenges can sometimes be difficult. Honey is a very common ingredient in cough drops and there’s a great reason why. Below are some herbs that are great to look for in a coughdrop or to add to a homemade cough drops/lozenges.

Honey– antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory

Licorice Root– anti-inflammatory, demulcent, emollient, expectorant, laxative, pectoral, soothing

Marshmallow Root– antidiarrhoeal, antitussive, demulcent, diuretic, laxative

Ginger– anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-viral, circulation-stimulating, detoxifying, diaphoretic, digestive

Slippery Elm– demulcent, diuretic, expectorant

Elderberry– antioxidant, diaphoretic, diuretic, laxative, immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory

Cinnamon– anti-bacterial, antifungal, anti-infective, anti-oxidant, anti-parasitic, antiseptic, astringent, stomachic, diaphoretic

Horehound– antidiarrhoeal, antiseptic, antispasmodic, cholagogue, diaphoretic,
digestive, diuretic, expectorant

I love to combination of honey, elderberries, ginger, and licorice root. This combination helps boost your immune system, soothe your throat, helps with coughing, and is tasty! Any of these herbs and more are great to add to a homemade herbal lozenge or to have in tea.

Always double check the herbs you are using and that they are safe for you and won’t interact with any medications. Some herbs are not safe to have while pregnant, breastfeeding, or with some health conditions. Always talk to your doctor before making any life changes.

What’s your favorite herb to use in a homemade cough drop?


Sources

Lozenges and Medication Sticks
PFAF Slippery Elm
PFAF Marshmallow Root
PFAF Horehound
Herbal Wisdom

Disclaimer: All information on Not Your Typical Hippie is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor, veterinarian, dietician, or health expert. If you wish to have advice on a medical problem, please consult a doctor. I cannot guarantee that any information provided will work for every person. Please consult a doctor before making any health changes. I am not liable for any choices you make based on the information provided on this website. (Learn more here)

History, Identification, & Uses of Queen Anne’s Lace

This beautiful flower is promoted as a wild edible but it has a long history, deadly look-a-likes, and is even the mother of modern-day carrots!

his beautiful flower is promoted as a wild edible but it has a long history, deadly look-a-likes, and is even the mother of modern-day carrots!
his beautiful flower is promoted as a wild edible but it has a long history, deadly look-a-likes, and is even the mother of modern-day carrots!

It is believed that Queen Anne’s Lace, also known as Wild Carrot, originated in Afghanistan and is now native to Europe. It is naturalized in North America but it is not a native and is considered a weed in many places. One awesome thing about this plant is that it is the ancestor of the modern day carrot. If we take a look at the scientific name for the cultivated carrot it is Daucus carota var. sativus. What differs the wild carrot from the cultivated carrot is that the cultivated carrot is a variety (var.) of Daucus carota that was bred to be larger, sweeter, and different colors. This means that the root of Queen Anne’s Lace is definitely edible!

This plant has a lot of names but Queen Anne’s Lace is one of the best-known names for this wild carrot. One legend says that the flower was named after King James I’s wife, Anne, who absolutely loved this plant. She held a contest to see who could produce a piece of lace that best represented the flower. She, of course, won the contest but while making the lace she pricked her finger. The blood from her finger fell in the center of the lace pattern and became the reddish purple floret in the center of the white flower. It is also believed that the flower is named after St. Anne, patron saint of lacemakers who was also the mother of the Virgin Mary.

Queen Anne’s Lace has a couple of medicinal uses but it isn’t a very popular herb anymore. It is best known for its edible root and its seed’s abortion properties. The seed has been used for centuries as a “morning after” contraceptive. Today it is mostly used as a culinary food, eating the root and frying the flower.

🕱 Poison Hemlock 🕱

Queen Anne’s Lace actually has quite a few look-a-likes. A lot of plants in the parsley/carrot family (Apiaceae or Umbelliferae) have very similar flowers so it can be a bit confusing. The one plant you absolutely have to know the difference between is poison hemlock (Conium maculatum). This plant is poisonous and can be fatal. It killed Socrates and was once used in Greece as a method of execution. You can often find poison hemlock growing alongside Queen Anne’s Lace which means it is extremely vital that you can identify both plants before harvesting. Do not harvest the plant or eat any part of it if you are not sure!

Poison hemlock has a smooth stem (QAL is hairy), as well as being hallow and has purple spotting (QAL is all green). It can grow to be 2-9 feet tall and when the leaves are bruised it emits a bad smell. It is often confused with Queen Anne’s Lace and wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa).

Believe it or not, poison hemlock has been used as a medicine before. However, it is recommended that you do not consume any part of the plant. Side effects and toxicities include: increased saliva, burning of the digestive tract, drowsiness, muscle pain, rapid swelling and stiffening of muscles, kidney damage, rapid breakdown of muscle tissue and release of muscle tissue byproducts into the blood, rapid heart rate followed by a decreased heart rate, loss of speech, paralysis, unconsciousness, heart, lung, and kidney failure, and death.

 

flower-18351_1920
Queen Anne’s Lace

 

Profile

Common Name: Queen Anne’s Lace, Wild Carrot
Scientific NameDaucus carota
Identification:
Biennial
Leaves- alternate, up to 4″ long, pinnate-pinnatifid, light-med green top & smooth, underside light green & smooth-slightly hairy
Stem- light green, sometimes has a red tint, vertically veined, hallow, smooth-hairy
Flower- umbel, flat clusters, white, 1 small deep purple floret in the center, 3 forked bracts beneath
Height- 2-4 feet
Harvest Time: June-September
Parts Edible: Roots, Seeds, Flowers
Found: Native to Europe & SW Asia, found throughout North America; waste places, roadsides, full sun

Historic Uses

-Root use traditionally to get rid of urinary stones and worms
-Seeds were a folk remedy once used as a “morning after” contraceptive
-It was once believed that eating the purple flower in the center of the flower could cure epileptic seizures
-An infusion of the leaves was used to treat cystitis and kidney stone formation
-Flower tea has been used to treat diabetes
-The root has been used to delay menstruation
-An infusion made from the seeds has been used to treat edema, flatulent indigestion, and menstrual problems

white-flowers-2307654_1920

Vitamins, Minerals, & More

Properties of the entire plant: anthelmintic, carminative, deobstruent, diuretic, galactagogue, ophthalmic, stimulant

Leaves

Contain: porphyrins

Roots

Properties: anthelmintic, diuretic, emmenagogue, antioxidant, bactericidal

Seeds

Properties: abortifacient, diuretic, carminative, contraceptive, emmenagogue, anthelmintic

Preparations

-Are parts of the plant can be eaten and have been fried and added to soups
-Dried roots can be used as a coffee substitute
-Essential oil from seed has been used in perfumery and as a food flavoring
-Leaves, roots, and flowers used in making tea

Precautions

-Do not take any part of Queen Anne’s Lace/ Wild Carrot while pregnant. The seeds, especially, can cause menstruation and abortions.
-Avoid all parts of the plant while breastfeeding as not much information is available as to how safe it might be.
-Could cause an allergic reaction in those allergic to birch, mugwort, spices, and celery
-Could cause dermatitis and blisters
-Queen Anne’s Lace/ Wild Carrot could interact with the following medications:

  • Estrogens
  • Lithium
  • High blood pressure medications
  • Medications that increase sensitivity to sunlight

-Queen Anne’s Lace/ Wild Carrot could make worsen kidney issues and could increase the risk of sunburns
-Stop using two weeks before surgery

queen-annes-lace-bud-opening-2513565_1920

Harvest

-Harvest roots in spring for best tasting roots, first-year roots are also better tasting
-Harvest flowers throughout the summer
-Seeds can be harvested in the autumn

Recipes

Queen Anne’s Lace Flower Jelly
Fried Queen Anne’s Lace Flowers
Wild Carrot Cake Herbal Recipe
Wild Carrot Seed Ale

Practicing Sustainable Wild Harvesting

  1. Only harvest plants you know are safe and can identify
  2. Only harvest plants in safe areas that are not contaminated or polluted
  3. Do not harvest on private property without permission
  4. Harvest no more than 10% or use the method: take 1 leave 2
  5. Know how to handle and prepare the plants you are harvesting
  6. Always check the legal status of the plant you want to harvest (is it endangered?)

Sources

Wild Carrot Identification
Original Wild Carrot – Queen Anne’s Lace
Web MD Wild Carrot
PFAF Daucus carota
Web MD Poison Hemlock
Commoner with a Regal Name

Disclaimer: All information on Not Your Typical Hippie is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor, veterinarian, dietician, or health expert. If you wish to have advice on a medical problem, please consult a doctor. I cannot guarantee that any information provided will work for every person. Please consult a doctor before making any health changes. I am not liable for any choices you make based on the information provided on this website. (Learn more here)

Spring Wild Harvest List: Midwestern & Eastern U.S.

Foraging can be quite exciting but do you know what can be harvested during the different times of the year? This list is for the midwestern and eastern U.S. Since I’m from Ohio these are the plants available in my area and surrounding areas.

 

Spring is always so exciting because the snow is finally gone and we start to see green again. There are so many flowers the pop up in spring and it’s just a beautiful time of year. There are so many plants that can be wild harvested in spring so this is by no means a complete list of plants and it does not include mushrooms.

Before we get into the plant list let’s talk about wild harvesting.

Practicing Sustainable Wild Harvesting

  1. Only harvest plants you know are safe and can identify
  2. Only harvest plants in safe areas that are not contaminated or polluted
  3. Do not harvest on private property without permission
  4. Harvest no more than 10% or use the method: take 1 leave 2
  5. Know how to handle and prepare the plants you are harvesting
  6. Always check the legal status of the plant you want to harvest (is it endangered?)

The most important thing to do is to make sure you correctly identify the plants you are harvesting. Some plants have poisonous look-alikes so you must be 100% sure. If you aren’t sure, don’t harvest or eat it! Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America is a great field guide for medicinal plants in the area. Also look at joining some online identification groups to get second opinions. Facebook is a great place to find some of these groups.

Spring Wild Harvestable Plants

Pigweed (Amaranthus spp.)- young shoots
Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota)- roots
Wild Ginger (Asarum spp.)- rhizome
Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)- young shoots & leaves
Chicory (Cichorium intybus)- young crowns & taproot
Wild Lettuce (Lactuca canadensis)- leaves/young shoots
Sow Thistle (Sonchus spp.)- young leaves
Dandelion (Taraxacum spp.)-young crowns, taproot, flower
Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)-young shoots
Sweet Birch (Betula lenta)- sap & twigs
Rock Cress (Arabis spp.)- young leaves & buds
Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)- rhizome & leaves
Wintercress (Barbarea verna)- Leaves & buds
Mustard (Brassica nigra)- leaves & buds
Shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa pastoris)- young leaves
Water-cress (Rorippa nasturtium aquaticum)- leaves & shoot
Chickweed (Stellaria media)- shoots
Lamb’s-quarters (Chenopodium spp.)- young shoots
Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)- leaves
Indian potato (Apios americana)- tubers
Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)- flowers and shoots
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)- twigs
Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)- roots
Canadian Onion (Allium canadense)- leaves & bulb
Indian cucumber (Medeola virginiana)- rhizome
Evening primrose (Oenothera spp.)- root
Pokeberry (Phytolacca americana)- young shoots
Pine (Pinus spp.)- needles
Plantain (Plantago spp.)- young leaves
Dock (Rumex spp.)- young leaves
Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)- shoots
Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris)- leaves & buds
Rose (Rosa spp.)- flowers
Black/raspberry (Rubus spp.)- leaves
Greenbrier (Smilax spp.)- young shoots
Basswood (Tilia americana)- flowers
Cattail (Typha spp.)- rhizome, young shoot, young spike
Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)- fruit
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica)- young shoot
Violet (Viola spp.)- young leaves & flowers
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)- leaves & flowers
Redbud (Cercis canadensis)- flowers
Ramps (Allium tricoccum)- bulbs & leaves

Click on the common name of the plant to learn more about the plant, its identification, and its uses! Feel free to comment or send me a message if there’s a plant you think should be added to the list. What plants are you planning on harvesting this spring?

History, Identification, & Uses of Roses

The rose: queen of the flowers and symbol of love. This flower is more than a gift to show your love to someone but a great medicinal plant that has been used for centuries.

The rose: queen of the flowers and symbol of love. This flower is more than a gift to show your love to someone but a great medicinal plant that has been used for centuries.
The rose: queen of the flowers and symbol of love. This flower is more than a gift to show your love to someone but a great medicinal plant that has been used for centuries.

(This post contains affiliate links. Learn more.)

Ledgens and lore about roses go back over 3,000 years. The Greeks believed that roses formed after the goddess Aphrodite got her foot stuck on a thorn, which bled and formed the rose while trying to help Adonis. The Turks believed that red roses obtained their color from the blood of Muhammad after his blood landed on the flower and stained it. It is also said that roses did not get their thorns until the fall of Eden.

The Egyptians were known for their perfumes, which often included roses, but most notably is how Cleopatra used them. It is said that she once had the floors of her palace covered in roses petals that were knee deep! She hoped that the romantic aroma of the flower would help her win over Mark Anthony when he came to visit her. Whether it was the flowers or Cleopatra herself, she did win him over.

The modern rose can be traced back to China and now can be found throughout the world. There are some native species to other parts of the world including Europe and North America. Today the rose is best known for its fragrance and it’s fruit, rose hips, that are high in vitamin C. All parts of the rose have been used in medicine and has been used to treat anything from topical injuries, uterus issues, and the cold and flu.

Vitamin C

There are over 100 different species of roses so that means there are over 100 different types of rose hips available. Not every rose is the same so that means that not every rosehip will the same either. One study tested 11 different species to find which one had the highest amount of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). They found that the species Rosa villosa have the highest source of vitamin C.

Vitamin C is important to have because it is water soluble and does not store in the body. This vitamin is responsible for the growth and repair of tissues throughout the body. It is used by the body when healing wounds and repairing bones. There is a possibility that vitamin C could also help lower the risks of certain diseases or improve symptoms of chronic diseases.

Medicinal Roses

Due to the number of different rose species available, there are some species that have been used in medicine and for other purposes for centuries. The rose hips from the species Rosa villosa has the highest concentration of vitamin C but here are some other roses that are commonly used:

  • White Rose (Rosa X alba)
  • Dog Rose (R. canina)
  • Provence Rose (R. centifolia)
  • China Rose (R. chinensis)
  • Damask Rose (R. damascena)
  • Eglantine Rose (R. eglanteria)
  • French Rose (R. gallica)
  • Cherokee Rose (R. laevigata)
  • Japanese Rose (R. rugosa)

bush-rose-1804888_1920

Profile

Common Name: Rose
Scientific Name: Rosa spp.
Identification:
Flowers: colors vary, single flower or in clusters
Leaves: alternate, pinnate, 5-9 leaflets
Fruit: turns from green/yellow to red, sizes vary, hard or pulpy
Harvest Time: Spring- first autumn frost
Parts Edible: Petals, hips (fruit)
Found: Native to mostly China, found throughout the world; likes damp ground

Historic Uses

-Rose petals have been used as tonics and mouthwashes to treat catarrhs, sore throats, mouth sores, and stomach issues
-Roots were once used to make teas
-In ancient Greece, rose petals mixed with oil was used to treat uterus problems
-In Ayurvedic medicine, rose petal poultices have been used to treat skin wounds and inflammation and rose water was used as a laxative
-During high middle ages in Germany rose hips were used to treat just about anything
-Native Americans mixed the petals with bear grease to treat mouth sores, powder petals were used t treat sores and blisters, and rose water made with rainwater was used on sore eyes
-Native Americans also used the inner bark of the rose to treat boils
-Since the 1600’s roses have been used to treat headaches, dizziness, mouth sores, menstrual cramps, diarrhea, tuberculosis, coughs, vomiting, and to strengthen the stomach

Vitamins, Minerals, & More

Petals

-Quercitrin
-Volatile oils
-Colorants

Properties: astringent, carminative, diuretic, laxative, ophthalmic

Hips

-Vitamins A, B, C, E, K
-Organic acids
-Pectin
-Flavonoids
-Essential fatty acids

Properties: anti-inflammatory, astringent, carminative, diuretic, laxative, ophthalmic

rose-hip-2697670_1920

Preparations

-Rose hips are used in making teas, syrups, jams, jellies, and wine
-Hips are also used in baking and cooking
-Petals are made into rose water
-Oil from the petals are used in perfumes, soaps, candles, and more
-Rose petals are often candied and used in desserts or fresh salads
-Both rose hips and petals can be found in many beauty products
-Dried flowers are used in decor and potpourri

Precautions

-Consuming too much rose petals and rose hips can cause diarrhea due to too much vitamin C
-Other side effects may include:  nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, stomach cramps, fatigue, headache, inability to sleep
-Do not give to children under two years of age
-Rose hips could interact with many medications talk to your doctor before using rose hips if on:

  •  Antacids
  • Estrogen pills
  • Antipsychotics
  • Diuretics
  • Blood thinners
  • Anti-Inflammatories

-Rose hips could interact with any of the following conditions: diabetes, blood disorders, kidney disorders, heart attacks

Harvest

-Flowers should be harvested during the spring and summer after they have bloomed
-Rose hips should be harvested in the fall when the hips are orange to red
-Hips will become sweeter after the first frost but harvest before they begin to dry out
-Soft rose hips are spoiled

rose-hip-1078726_1280

Where to Purchase

Rosebuds/petals (dried)
Rose hips
Rosewater
Rose essential oil

Recipes

Canndied Rose Petals
Rose Petal Jam
Rose Hip Whiskey Smash
DIY Rose Water
Wild Rose Petal Sangria

Practicing Sustainable Wild Harvesting

  1. Only harvest plants you know are safe and can identify
  2. Only harvest plants in safe areas that are not contaminated or polluted
  3. Do not harvest on private property without permission
  4. Harvest no more than 10% or use the method: take 1 leave 2
  5. Know how to handle and prepare the plants you are harvesting
  6. Always check the legal status of the plant you want to harvest (is it endangered?)

Rose Profile


Sources

Rose Hip Benefits
PFAF Dog Rose
Web MD Rose Hips
The History of Roses
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
-Carr, Anna, William H. Hylton, and Claire Kowalchik. Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs. N.p.: Rodale, 1998. 422-27. Print.
-Castleman, Michael. The New Healing Herbs: The Essential Guide to More than 125 of Nature’s Most Potent Herbal Remedies. 3rd ed. N.p.: Rodale, 2010. 403-05. Print.

Disclaimer: All information on Not Your Typical Hippie is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor, veterinarian, dietician, or health expert. If you wish to have advice on a medical problem, please consult a doctor. I cannot guarantee that any information provided will work for every person. Please consult a doctor before making any health changes. I am not liable for any choices you make based on the information provided on this website. (Learn more here)

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There's so many ways to take elderberries! This tea is perfect for boosting your immune system.
There’s so many ways to take elderberries! This tea is perfect for boosting your immune system.

(This post contains affiliate links. Learn more.)

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(This post contains affiliate links. Learn more.)

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