Cultivating Weeds for Health: Pros > Cons?

Hey, Marjory here. I hope you already knew that weeds are great for your mental and physical health. But did you know that many predacious weeds can be medicinal too? Since they can grow easily and possibly take over your yard, if you're not careful, make sure you know their uses before throwing them away.

I joined my friend, Dr. Patrick Jones, Veterinarian and Naturopath at, to explain the pros and cons of cultivating weeds on your property or in your garden.

In our brief chat (below), Dr. Jones also mentions how easy it is to wildcraft and identify medicinal plants in his community.

You can learn how to find medicinal plants in your yard by studying in The Grow Network's Academy here: 

I've seen advertisements for dandelion root tea, mullein leaf, and horsetail recently. Many people have claimed that just these few weeds are good for your liver, kidney, lung, and overall health. Maybe we should change our feelings about weeds, huh?

Anyway, instead of herbicides and countless hours cursing the weeds 'til you pull them all up, try harvesting them and learning more about them. At The Grow Network, we're literally providing solutions to thousands of people around the world. It's incredible how so much of what you need is just waiting for you outside. 

Last summer, I hiked parts of Colorado with my gluten-sensitive assistant. Lol made her keep a lookout for cattail. Then before our hiking adventures were over, I made her a yummy gluten-free pie. Nature is literally the gift that keeps on giving. Let me know if I should share my cattail pie recipe.

Also, let me know what weeds you've enjoyed and maybe wrestled with lol


  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,354 admin
    edited April 2021

    Always love Doc Jones! I grow dandelion, chicory, plantain, mullein, burdock, nettles, poke, smilax, ferns .... all kinds of stuff.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,505 admin

    As just about all "weeds" are medicinal or edible, I think the definition here has to be that weeds are "plants that you don't need to cultivate". I tend to leave some of my "weeds" until they are big enough to harvest, rather than aggressively destroying anything that I haven't seeded or planted.

    @Marjory Wildcraft Would love to have your cattail pie recipe! I'm sure many others on TGN would as well.

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    I absolutely agree on all counts! And on my homestead, anything useful that wants to grow here is pretty much welcome. I figure that giving the plant her choice of space is the least I can do to thank her for her usefulness. Who needs a yard full of grass you have to mow, that isn't good for anything (unless you have critters to eat it) ?

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,482 admin

    @Marjory Wildcraft once upon a time, I was very old school and had to spray weeds “vermin” I would say, “lost production” I would say. Then I had an attitude adjustment and realised weeds create so much biodiversity, that it’s just plain stupid to cull them. Nowadays, with education, especially from TGN, I welcome weeds, even plant them, harvest them and turn them into my medicine and food. Currently harvesting, dandelion, burdock, plantain and keeping an eye out for prickly lettuce and golden rod.

    What is a weed anyway? Just a plant in an unwanted space/situation. A rose bush in the middle of a garden bed may be considered a weed to some but a welcome pollinator to others!

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A"weed" is just a misunderstood plant.

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

    My biggest “weeds” are London Rocket, common mallow, prickly lettuce, and groundsel. I use all but the groundsel for myself. My chickens get the groundsel in their nesting boxes as I was told the seeds help repel bugs. I seem to have more than I need when they are growing. I am actually to the point I am using some of the plants as greens for my compost bin as well, because they really have taken over a few parts of my yard and I don’t want that many to go to seed again.