Monday, April 8, 2013
Pineapple Weed Matricaria matricaioides Identification: This plant is related to chamomile (M. chamomile). Pineapple weed is an annual, 10 - 40 cm tall with a non-rayed composite flower head. It does have a distinctive pineapple scent. Its leaves are pinnate. Habitat & Distribution: Pineapple weed is found in almost all waste areas. It can be seen growing in cracks in the sidewalk in the centre of most towns and along many a backwoods dirt road. Edible Parts: Pineapple weed may be eaten as a tasty snack item while hiking or added to a wild salad. It makes a calming tea when steeped in hot water. The crushed leaves, stems, and flowerheads may be applied to the skin as an insect repellent. A wash made of pineapple weed will remove greases from the hair and act as a general shampoo and natural hair tonic. It can be used as a treatment for diarrhea, stomachaches, flatulence, as a mild relaxant, and for colds and menstrual problems. Externally it can be used for itching and sores. Pineapple weed is an edible, medicinal plant that closely resembles wild chamomile. It’s prolific in the western U.S., (although I believe it can be found in the eastern U.S. as well). Wikipedia has a good article with some identifying characteristics and where to find it. If you keep your eyes peeled, you’ll start noticing the lacy foliage and little yellow flowers popping up in disturbed areas with poor soil. I live on a very hilly property, and anywhere that a bulldozer flattened out once upon a time now has pineapple weed growing all over it. I use this plant in place of chamomile for tea. It makes a soothing, mellow flavored tea that is wonderful with a little bit of honey. To use the herb fresh, snip off about a tablespoon of the yellow flowers and steep in hot water for a few minutes. To harvest and store for later use, gather it into bunches first thing in the morning and hang in a cool, dry place to dry. Snip off the buds and put them in a jar to preserve the flavor and aroma. You can make tea with pineapple weed alone, but I like making mixtures with whatever I have lying around. A cup of this is especially good if you’re kind of feeling like crap… Pineapple Weed Tea makes: one 32 oz. french press (although you could easily change the amounts for whatever size press you have) Ingredients: 1 tbs. dried pineapple weed – or- a few sprigs of fresh pineapple weed 5 fresh mint leaves 1 tbs. loose-leaf tea, such as Oolong honey to taste a few tablespoons of milk (optional, to taste) (I’m wondering if I need to write directions out for this? I will anyway though…) Heat a kettle of water to just shy of boiling. Put pineapple weed, oolong tea, and mint leaves into a french press. Pour hot water into press and let everything steep for 3-4 minutes. Press, and pour into cups. Stir in honey and milk to taste. Remember…. When you’re foraging for plants, make sure they’re not from an area that’s been contaminated by pollutants such as run off from a road. Know your plants some look a likes will kill you.