The purpose of this article is two-fold. On the one hand, the edible weeds I’m about to reveal to you have, indeed, so many health benefits it’s not even funny.
The other reason is that these plants may very well be on your post-collapse urban diet. This isn’t to say you won’t find them outside cities but let’s keep in mind that urban dwellers are going to have a very tough time finding food when it hits the fan.
That’s the cool thing about these edible plants: you ca run into them in pretty much any green public space, so you don’t have to venture too far away from your home and risk becoming the victim of angry mobs and gangs that will probably be ruling the streets.
Before we move on with the list, I want to assure you of two things…
First, all of the chosen edibles are jam-packed with vitamins and minerals. You literally cannot go wrong regardless of what you choose for your next salad. Second, all of these plants are low on calories so if you’re looking to lose weight or simply want to feel better and more energized each day, this list is a great start, even though society hasn’t broken down yet.
That being said, let’s see our list of 5 urban edibles!
#1. Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale)
Wow, where should I start? Dandelions contain a plethora of micronutrients that are essential to your body. The dandelion greens in particular make one heck of a salad and for good reason: vitamins such as A, C, E, K, B1, B2, B6 and minerals like iron, potassium, magnesium are jam-packed in this very common plant that people don’t even bother to look at when they step on it in open spaces, rushing to get to their jobs. With all these micronutrients, you can probably guess that the list of health benefits is huge, so I’m not gonna write all of them, just a few that are more important. Dandelions may help you against diabetes, acne, and anemia, they help you maintain good bone density, they keep your liver functioning properly and may be even effective against urinary issues.
Dandelions are also a great source of fiber which,
as you probably know, is great against constipation and… I saved the best for last: dandelions are rich in antioxidants which prevent free radical damage which can help slow down the aging process.
You can add them to your bean soup or baked beans or you can just pick them up, wash them and eat them raw. By far, the micronutrient that’s most abundant inside clovers is manganese, and you also get decent quantities of magnesium, calcium and iron. Nope, I didn’t forget the health benefits: they are effective against arthritis and respiratory infections, they improve digestion, they’re used in dental care procedures and may even improve men’s sexual stamina.
#3. The Common Mallow (Malva Sylvestris)
Mallow is yet another urban edible that you can throw into your salad but it can also be used to treat bronchitis, throat infections and even asthma. It’s a good laxative and anti-inflammatory, it helps balance the pH levels in your stomach, helps restore damaged skin tissue, it’s good against ulcers and, just like the dandelion and it’s a great diuretic. Potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin A – these are all great and can be found in the common mallow.
#4. Chickweed (Stellaria media)
The thing about chickweed is to eat it while it is still young and still tastes great.
Wondering about the nutritional profile? Here goes: zinc, potassium, copper, magnesium vitamin C and many others, which “translate” into dealing with constipation, stomach aches, lung diseases and asthma. It’s also a fantastic lotion to treat joint pain, and various skin conditions OR, if you want, you can just tie it inside a thin cloth and place it on your bathtub.
#5. Wild Garlic (Ramsons or Allium Ursinum)
Although many see it as a pest, the leaves of wild garlic make a very good soup. Only problem is, they look very similar to those of lily of the valley, which is highly poisonous despite the fact that it has a sweet scent. And that’s the key to knowing the difference: when you crush a leave in-between your fingers, you will either smell garlic or that sweeter scent, so this is a sure way to tell the difference.
Well, those were it.
It’s amazing to look back at the health benefits of these plants and see just how many illnesses they can help treat or alleviate… it’s just mind-boggling. These benefits are definitely something to keep in mind. Want to learn about even more edibles? Check out this urban foraging article where you will also find my list of foraging rules that it’s best to keep in mind when doing this activity on public property and how to tell which plants are poisonous and which aren’t (we saw in the case of wild garlic that things aren’t always easy).