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Wild Edible Plants of the Pacific Northwest

Terms in this set (61)

The young, tightly coiled tender tips of plant are called 'fiddleheads'. The spring fiddleheads of all varieties of north temperate ferns are edible. Remove hair/wool from fiddleheads, soak in salt water to remove bitterness.
Fiddleheads are best when boiled for half an hour in two changes of water. Fiddleheads can be dried for storage.
rhizomes can be roasted/pit-steamed, peeled, and pounded to remove whitish edible part from fibers, or chewed to suck out starch. Root - rich in a white starch that can be eaten raw or cooked. Dried rhizomes can be ground into flour.
grows in wide range of areas, including foothills and montane region. A glue can be made from the rootstock. The young shoots are diuretic, refrigerant and vermifuge. They have been eaten as a treatment for cancer. The leaves have been used in a steam bath as a treatment for arthritis. A decoction of the plant as been used in the treatment of tuberculosis. A poultice of the pounded fronds and leaves has been used to treat sores of any type and also to bind broken bones in place. The root is antiemetic, antiseptic, appetizer and tonic. A tincture of the root in wine is used in the treatment of rheumatism. A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of stomach cramps, chest pains, internal bleeding, diarrhoea, colds and also to expel worms. The poulticed root is applied to sores, burns and caked breasts.Warning: avoid long term use, has carcinogenic properties. Warning: avoid mature bracken, which destroys vitamin B and can cause a deadly blood condition.
Young leaves are edible raw. Older leaves are best when boiled in 1-2 changes of water with pinch of baking soda.
roots of first year plants can be cooked in a soup or stir-fry.
roots can be mashed and fried as patties. Rroots can be dried for storage. Roots can be roasted/ground as coffee substitute. Roots are best when shredded/sliced and soaked in water for 5-10 minutes to reduce harshness. White pith of young flower stalks is edible raw. Varieties in the Pacific Northwest are Common burdock (Arctium minus) and Woolly burdock (Arctium tomentosum). Look for burdock on disturbed soil sites. Menominee and the Micmac Indians, for example, used burdock as a poultice or compress to treat skin infections and sores. A poultice is a soft, moist mass that is usually heated, spread on a cloth, and applied to warm, moisten, or stimulate an aching of inflamed part of the body. Burdock is also a diuretic, blood cleanser, and bitter stimulates digestive juices and bile secretion to aid in digestion and appetite. It has been used to treat arthritis, skin disorders and infections, fluid retention, gout, hemorrhoids, herpes, hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, kidney problems, liver problems, lymphatic congestion, measles, poison ivy/oak, obesity, poisons, sore throats, swelling, venereal diseases, tonsillitis, tuberculosis, tumors, ulcers, various other disease states historically, and some still today. Burdock is used to treat arthritis because of its anti-inflammatory and astringic properties. Burdock was taken medicinally by creating a tea from it, consuming it as you would a vegetable, and applying it (or an extract) topically. Burdock seeds have been researched to see if they possess a mechanism to protect the stomach and treat ulcers, possibly preventing the formation of ulcers. This study found that the preparations created from these seeds had a definite effective on the activity of gastric secretions in rats and also the action of the smooth muscles in the stomach and small intestine. Do not confuse with Cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium), who's leaves are poisonous if not thoroughly cooked. Cocklbur has rough rather than velvety leaves and has more solid burs.
Young leaves are edible raw, though they will sting in the mouth for a short time. Young shoots and young plants are edible when steamed/cooked. Roots are edible when cooked.
roots are best when collected in spring/autumn.
Stinging nettle root is used for urination problems related to an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia [BPH]). These problems include nighttime urination, too frequent urination, painful urination, inability to urinate, and irritable bladder. Root is also used for joint ailments, as a diuretic, and as an astringent. Above ground parts are used along with large amounts of fluids in so-called "irrigation therapy" for urinary tract infections (UTI), urinary tract inflammation, and kidney stones (nephrolithiasis). The above-ground parts are also used for allergies, hayfever, and osteoarthritis. Some people use the above ground parts of stinging nettle for internal bleeding, including uterine bleeding, nosebleeds, and bowel bleeding. The above ground parts are also used for anemia, poor circulation, an enlarged spleen, diabetes and other endocrine disorders, stomach acid, diarrhea and dysentery, asthma, lung congestion, rash and eczema, cancer, preventing the signs of aging, "blood purification," wound healing, and as a general tonic. Above ground parts are applied to the skin for muscle aches and pains, oily scalp, oily hair, and hair loss (alopecia). Extract is used as an ingredient in hair and skin products. Leaf used primarily as a diuretic and laxative in ancient Greek times. Contains ingredients that might decrease inflammation and increase urine output.Warning: don't confuse stinging nettle (Uritica dioica) with white dead nettle (Lamium album). Grows in moist soil and disturbed areas in plains, foothills, and montane regions. Warning: wear gloves when collecting to avoid stings.

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