This is a natural health site. It contains a lot of DIY posts and healthy living articles.
My readers come here looking for tips on leading a non-toxic lifestyle.
A lot of them are also searching for natural pain relief, judging by the number of visitors.
I also know for a fact that some of my readers want to try natural health. But they struggle with paying for consultations and dietary supplements.
So foraging for wild herbs may seem like an attractive option.
But please don’t. Unless you are absolutely sure you know what you’re doing.
Or you go outside with an experienced knowledgeable forager.
Foraging can be risky. Because many edible and medicinal plants have toxic lookalikes.
Each year a number of people wind up hospitalized (or worse) because they went foraging and consumed a toxic plant.
That’s why I urge my readers to play it safe.
Order your herbal remedies online or buy them at a health food store.
I know natural healthcare is expensive. But, please, find other ways to save money. There are so many other ways to save money, even on natural healthcare.
In fact, here’s a post I did earlier on How To Save Money On Holistic Healthcare.
Why I Don’t Recommend Foraging
It seems as if nearly every edible wild plant has a lookalike.
Some of these rival species are highly toxic.
You even have to be careful with dandelions. (I’ve seen conflicting information on whether any of the lookalikes are toxic. One species may be for certain animals.)
Every spring I see all kinds of social media posts on how to use dandelions.
Dandelion greens are highly nutritious. The flowers have potential medicinal properties. So do the roots.
In recent years, the lowly dandelion has been elevated to a super food.
It is true that dandelions are good for you. But dandelion lookalikes exist.
One lookalike is another plant called cat’s ear. It looks very much like a dandelion, but with some subtle differences.
In my yard, I seem to have both real dandelion and a lookalike species. One summer, I almost made the mistake of picking some cat’s ear flowers and putting them in a garden salad, thinking I was adding something highly nutritious.
Thankfully, I didn’t do this.
Because I wouldn’t have been serving my family real dandelions. Again, I don’t know if this would have harmed my family.
The information I found was conflicting.
One source said one lookalike species was toxic for horses and rabbits.
Another problem with foraging is that it’s hard to find really good information on how to do it. Foraging is not mainstream. So you’re often left with the Internet, and opposing points of view.
I’ve found the best sources of information are state agricultural extensions and universities.
Why You Shouldn’t Go Foraging
In the spring, you’ll often see eye popping pictures of fiddlehead ferns. These are supposedly delicious when fried.
Ostrich fern fiddleheads are edible.
Other types of ferns, though, have the same coiled shoot, and some are toxic.
I used to want to run and pick fiddleheads. Until I learned about the toxic lookalikes, including a species
I’m horrified to see so many recipes for fiddleheads, without caveats that toxic lookalikes exist.
Also, according to one chef, edible fiddleheads must still be boiled before frying, to release toxins naturally found in edible ferns.
There are other types of fern shoots that may look like an orchid fern. But one species contains carcinogenic compounds.
So I’ll leave you with this. I don’t forage. Yet I eat healthy and am able to eat a lot of organic food because I shop carefully. Lately, I’ve been trying to buy even more of my food at Aldi.
If you’re foraging because you have difficulty affording food, try shopping at discount food outlets. Many overstock stores now carry a lot of food.
Many communities also have farmers’ markets. During the summer, these can be a good place for finding low cost produce.
Some people may forage for the adventure. But, for me, knowing that people sometimes die because they consume a toxic lookalike takes all the fun out of it.
Most of us have enough resources so we don’t have to forage for food. I highly discourage it because it can be potentially dangerous. (You can read more about the dangers here.)
However, if a famine hits our country I will change my mind.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.