Healing with weeds

WEED WOMAN: Amyria Taylor advocates the medicinal use of weeds.
WEED WOMAN: Amyria Taylor advocates the medicinal use of weeds.

A gardener's nightmare is Amyria Taylor's dream scenario.

Towering weeds make her ecstatic but most people see red and can't wait to rip them out.

The naturopath and herbalist is keen to change weeds' bad reputation.

Once people understand their healing properties they won't treat them as weeds anymore, Ms Taylor says.

"My absolute favourite probably has the worst reputation, the nettle. I think I'm a rebel at heart.

"I get excited about patches of nettle. It's a bit sad, but yeah, I do."

She urges everyone to learn more from nature rather than taming everything in their backyard.

"You don't have to be a hardened hippy," she says.

Many common weeds have great healing properties but anyone who is sick or injured should seek medical help, she says.

The nettle is great for people recovering after illness, injury or surgery or feeling under the weather, she says.

Ms Taylor describes it as a "safe nutritive herb" and as a naturopath she recommends it to breastfeeding women.

Dandelion is another favourite with lots of nutrients which are good for the liver, kidney and for spring cleansing, she says.

Some plants are used in salads and others are used in tea or cold drinks.

For example a couple of handfuls of nettle can be added to a litre of boiling water and left to steep for at least six hours in a two-litre jar, she says.

Her words of warning are to make sure you correctly identify the weeds you use and check that the area hasn't been sprayed.

To be sure you can take a sample to a community garden, read a book, visit a Conservation Department bookshop or do an internet search.

North Harbour News