Healing Weeds - Getting a closer contact with the healing world of herbs and wild plants.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Conyza canadensis
Horseweed / Canadian Fleabane
NL: Canadese fijnstraal / F: Vergerette du Canada

Native from North America, this plant made its way all over Europe and many other parts of the world. It may not be the prettiest plant one would choose to keep in the garden, neither is it among the most popular plants in modern herbalism. Nevertheless Horseweed, or Canadian Fleabane, as it is also called, was used by most Native North Americans tribes to treat various illnesses, including diarrhea, fever, running nose, rhinitis, but also used to arrest bleedings or to relieve stomach aches, earaches or headaches. Externally, it was made into poultices to treat burns and sore joints. Roots were used in decoction teas to treat menstrual complaints. Dried and burned as incense it was used to ward off insects.

In today’s herbalism Horseweed is mostly employed where an astringent is required: diarrhea, internal hemorrhage, nosebleeds, hemorrhoids, etc. It has been recently researched for its antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties, including against candidiasis - looks promising!

Further one can still find references of folk usages of this plant to treat cholera, rheumatism, tuberculosis, bronchitis, inflamed tonsils, diabetes, menopausal symptoms, kidney and bladder conditions, eczema and ringworm.

It is an edible plant, especially the young leaves, cooked, can be prepared as potherb, or used in the same way as other dark greens. Because of its powerful medicinal properties, it should be eaten sparingly, not in large amounts. It can also be dried and used as food spice - it gives an aromatic flavour to dishes.

Warning: Skin contact with the plant can cause dermatitis in some people.

More information on Conyza canadensis:

Plants for a Future: Conyza canadensis

Antiviral activity of Conyza canadensis (L)

Antibacterial, antioxidant and cytotoxic activities of extracts of Conyza canadensis

Antimicrobial activities of Conyzolide and Conyzoflavone from Conyza canadensis

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Solidago canadensis
F: Verge D'or  - Solidage / NL: Guldenroede

Goldenrods can be seen in flower all over the fields, gardens, in most places in Europe from August till October, depending on the region. Its flowers show all their glory when most other plants are no longer in flower, to the joy of the bees, which are delighted to feast on them.

Luckily for Goldenrod's lovers, this plant has been studied by the scientific community and some of its properties have been already recognized - by the German Commision E - for its effectiveness when used in the treatment of illnesses of the urinary tract. Its restorative, anti-inflammatory, tonic and cleansing properties make it one of the top herbs to aid in any kidney and bladder condition, including kidney stones, nephritis and cystitis.

Next to that Goldenrod also has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, diaphoretic, antiphlogistical, astringent, spasmolytic, hemostatic, anti-mucus, expectorant and anti-oxidant properties. It has been used in folk medicine for centuries to help in the treatment of a wide range of conditions such as seasonal allergies, asthma, colds and flu, tuberculosis, capillary fragility (e.g. varicose veins, hemorrhoids, hemorrhage) and even diabetes mellitus.

Externally it can help disinfecting and healing wounds and various skin problems. It can also be “soaked” in oil to be used in ointments or salves to relieve pain - both muscular and rheumatic pain.

On the top of all these healing properties, Goldenrod has also high amounts of antioxidants - more than green tea!! Its antioxidants work scavenging free-radicals, cleaning up the body, helping to heal and prevent a great deal of illnesses. It is also a delicious tea to use.

Its leaves and flowers are edible, raw or in soups and stews.

There are more than hundred species of Solidago and the most commonly found types (S. virgaurea, S. gigantea, S. canadensis) can apparently all be used in a similar way. Their medicinal properties will surely vary in potency though, depending on the species, on where it grows, etc.

a happy bee feasting on its flowers

In the links below you will find enriching information on Solidago plants:

How to identify Solidago / Goldenrods - LuminEarth

Edible and Medicinal Plants - Goldenrod - Sigma 3 Survival School

Goldenrod: A Torch of Healing - Methow Valley Herbs

Glorious Goldenrod - Susunweed.com

Of Solidago Canadensis: phenolic composition and biological activity

Antioxidant and Radical-Scavenging Activity of Flavonoids From Solidago canadensis

Antibacterial and antimutagenic activity of extracts aboveground parts of three Solidago species.