Learn to Identify and Use Wild Edibles and Medicinals - Then Teach Others!
Ever wonder about the common plants underneath your feet and how traditional cultures might have used them? Begin here. This is both a wild edibles lesson plan and a medicinal plant lesson plan - two in one! The two categories often overlap in nature so why separate here? Learn how to identify and use stinging nettles, then teach your children or classroom. Learn the same skills for plantain, yarrow, and dandelion. Eventually apply gained knowledge to any plant you'd like. Herbal medicine lesson plans and wild-crafting lesson plans are hard to find so consider sharing the page.
Wild Edibles and Medicinals - an Introduction
TIME: 1.5 hours
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: 6 - 13
ENVIRONMENT: herb garden and kitchen
OBJECTIVES: By the end of this lesson, students should be able to:
- Identify plantain, yarrow, dandelion, and stinging nettles.
- Explain different uses for the four plants above.
- Exercise caution when eating wild edibles
- Walk around the property with the students. As you walk, stop and point out notable plants. Try to point out the following: plantain, yarrow, dandelion, and stinging nettles. Allow the students to share any information they know about these plants, and use these points to aid the discussion:
- Plantain and yarrow are two easy plants to identify and use. Perhaps the most common use of these two plants is to make a poultice out of them to stop bleeding. To make a poultice, simply chew up the leafs of a plant. The “guew” is the poultice. Plantain and yarrow are both coagulants. A coagulant is something that helps to coagulate or clot blood. When working and you happen to cut yourself, knowing about these two plants can help the wound tremendously.
- Dandelion and stinging nettles are both incredible plants. Each are edible and each do wonderful things for our bodies. Harvesting stinging nettles can be a painful experience, but it’s worth it. The stinging actually helps many people to ease the pain caused by arthritic. Teas can be made with both of these plants. The roots of dandelion, specifically, can be ground up and brewed to make a coffee substitute.
- As you walk and discuss the plants, encourage the students to eat the edible ones. Suggest to the group that they try making a quick plantain or yarrow poultice, on the spot. After talking and munching for about 30 minutes, travel to a place conducive for a discussion.
- Ask for a student to read aloud the attached article. Then, ask the students if they thought about any of these things when eating the plants outside. Explain the incredible importance in these points of caution regarding eating wild plants that Susan Weed points out. Learning to identify edible and medicinal plants is really neat, but not when doing so makes people sick.
- Allow time for discussion regarding wild edibles and medicinals. Ask the students to share their previous exposure to these things.
Evaluate students on their attentiveness during the walk, willingness to eat the plants and make a poultice, and their contributions to the discussion.
Susan Weed herbal medicine self-help article - Part 1 - be an herbalist - herb safety - wise woman ways. (n.d.). Retrieved October 4, 2009, from http://www.susunweed.com/An_Article_Weed_Self-help1.htm