Did You Know This Invasive Weed has Medicinal Properties?
There's probably a dangerously invasive weed in or around where you live and it's not only pervasive by now, it's also entirely edible AND medicinal. Word on the streets is that the stalks taste like rhubarb and can be prepared as such-- as in pies, tarts and other delectable treats. It can also be treated savory and eaten as one would asparagus or dare I say, pickles. If any of this sounds delicious, you can forage some Japanese knotweed recipes and learn about why JK also a huge pain in the tukkus and treated as a noxious weed here.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF JAPANESE KNOTWEED
According to Barbi Gardiner of Outdoor Apothecary,
Japanese Knotweed may be invasive, but it’s also a delicious and nutritious plant that can be a great addition to your diet. It is rich in a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds. It is particularly high in Vitamins A and C and contains potassium, zinc, phosphorus, and manganese. Additionally, it contains a range of antioxidants, including resveratrol, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
Gardiner also notes that "Japanese knotweed has been used in traditional medicine for centuries and is still used by herbalists today. Recent studies have shown that it contains several compounds with potential health benefits." Some of those benefits include:
- Anti-inflammatory: Japanese knotweed contains resveratrol, a potent anti-inflammatory compound. Resveratrol has been shown to reduce inflammation in various diseases, including arthritis, cancer, and heart disease.
- Antioxidant: Japanese knotweed also contains high levels of flavonoids and other antioxidants, which can protect cells from oxidative damage and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
- Cardiovascular health: Resveratrol in Japanese knotweed has been found to improve heart health by reducing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol levels, and preventing blood clotting.
- Anti-cancer: Several compounds in Japanese knotweed, including resveratrol and emodin, have shown potential anti-cancer effects in laboratory studies. They may help prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells and induce apoptosis (programmed cell death).
- Neuroprotective: Some studies suggest that resveratrol in Japanese knotweed may have neuroprotective effects and could be beneficial in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
- Lyme Disease treatment: An article in Medical News Today reports that Japanese knotweed is one of the plants whose active compounds appear to be highly effective against the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
In this article, the author includes sources and further explanation about her findings, so if this interests you, feel free to check it out. As with all things, make sure to do your own research. And check with your own trusted medical professional before starting any treatment program. For further insights, you can also check out this article from the Botanical Institute, this one from Practical Self Reliance and this one from Healthline. Happy foraging!