Back Yard Herbs...Part One

Spring is just around the corner, and before you know it, the grass will be green, and the weeds will be upon us. I thought I would take this time to write a series of articles on the "weeds" that are actually beneficial in herbal medicine.
Pineapple Weed (Matricaria discoidea) is a wild relative of Chamomile (Matricaria recutita). It grows in compacted, dry, dusty soil, such as gravel parking-lots, sidewalk cracks, footpaths, trampled sandy beaches and other wastelands. It is also called Disc Mayweed. The weed is an annual herb, mostly found from June into November depending on where you live. It reaches up to about 3-5 inches, but in the right conditions, can reach 10-12 inches in height. The foliage is rather ferny looking.

Pineapple weed has the same herbal medicinal value as it’s herbal cousin. A tea made with the leaves, flowers, and stems, is relaxing for tension and stress. It is also useful for stomach upset.

Just like Chamomile, Pineapple weed can be drank for insomnia. and enjoy as a beverage, or to relieve nervous tension, stomach upset, and insomnia caused by stress.

When crushed,pineapple weed gives off the fresh scent of pineapple. You will notice that, unlike it’s cousin, it does not have white flower petals. The flower is simply the small green nodule at the end of the stem.

You may use pineapple weed fresh, or dry it for later use. All aerial parts are used to make the tea. Be sure to clean and dry thoroughly. To make a tea from the herb, take a large handful of pineapple weed, and put it into a pan. Cover it with about 1 cup water. Cover pot. Simmer, for 20 minutes on very low heat. Strain, and drink hot or chill and have as an ice tea. Add just a pinch of spearmint, for a minty, pineapple flavor.

Luckily, we have it growing here in our walkways, and use it all summer as a wonderfully tasty cold ice tea. We also dry some for year round use.

Cosmetically, pineapple weed can be used in treating skin sores. Make an infusion and gently apply with cotton ball. Pineapple weed can also makes a very effective bug repellent. Crush the entire plant, and rub onto you skin.

So, the next time you are out walking in your yard, look down and see if you can find Chamomile’s wild cousin, and take some inside and have a wonderful tasting tea.

Be sure to pick in an area that is not sprayed with toxic chemicals or pesticides.

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