Spring has sprung and folks are venturing from their homes after their cozy Covid quarantines to explore their yards and see what's up.
And what is it that's up?
That's right, our yards and gardens are burgeoning with weeds at every turn, dandelions, mallow, purslane...well the purslane isn't burgeoning yet but I'm betting it will in another month or so... prickly lettuce, shepherd's purse and a hundred others are all springing from the ground to celebrate the new season.
Of course, the response of most folks to this invasion of verdant vandals is one of frustration. They run to the garden center and buy tools and chemicals...weapons of war for the coming battle. They spray and they dig, and they dig and they spray until finally, in exhaustion and desperation, they shake a handful of weeds at the heavens and cry out "Why oh why Lord did You even create these horticultural hooligans?!"
I think, if we were to quiet our souls a bit and listen, we might hear His answer; "Because I love you...that's why."
You see, God has been watching humans for a really long time and I think, early on, He predicted that we would eventually ruin all of the perfectly good vegetables He created for us.
That's right, we've ruined them.
If you poked your kids into a time machine and took them back a hundred years to sit down for a nice dinner, they'd be begging you to take them home to the 21st century so they could eat their Brussel sprouts! That's because a hundred years ago all of our veggies tasted much worse and...wait for it...they were much more nutritious and much more medicinal. Having foreseen our fumbling forays into selective breeding, the Creator put a nutritional and medicinal back-up plan in place...The Weeds.
"What?!" You ask "Are you saying weeds are nutritious and medicinal?!"
Yup. I'm saying that.
I'm also saying you should be nice to them.
That's right, it's time for you to give up the fight and embrace the chaos. The weeds in your yard are tremendous sources of nutrients and medicinal phytochemicals.
Dandelions are rich in potassium and vitamins. They'll also fix your bladder infection and are a specific for breast cancer. Burdock root is high in fiber and chock full of important micro-minerals and will clear up your eczema and psoriasis better than anything modern medicine has to offer. Purslane is high in omega-3 fatty acids (Save the fishies! Eat Purslane!) and is good topically for burns. Stinging nettle is a wonderful, nutritious tonic and can make your arthritic joints stop hurting and fix your prostate...well, if you have a prostate that is. Prickly lettuce will kill your warts and ease your pains!
I could go on and on.
In fact I did go on and on in my new book The HomeGrown Herbalist Guide to Medicinal Weeds. Go buy a copy. It'll make us both feel happy inside if you do. In fact, go buy a whole box full and you can send copies to your kids and put them under people's windshield wipers at church. People love that.
Before I leave you, I want to share a little poem I penned a few months ago and included as the forward of my new book.
A Blessing of Briars
By Patrick P. Jones
God first made a garden
Where Father Adam dwelled,
And from which, when he displeased God,
He found himself expelled.
When pain and sickness came, he learned
That God's love still was true.
For thorns and briars and noxious weeds
Are all a blessing too.
And so, this spring, I invite you to consider a paradigm shift in your garden. Make some new friends. Try some new remedies. And, spend less time fighting weeds and more time lying in your hammock reading a good book and listening to the medicine grow all around you.