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Did you know that more than 100 plants are versatile?
Biodiversity, therapeutic care, housework, cooking ...
Discover our 5 essentials.
Common European birch (Betula pendula pubescens)
Its white bark and leaves with silvery reflections make it one of the most ornamental trees and appreciated in the garden. It can grow up to 25m but only lives about 80 years!
Very interesting for wildlife, its pollen nourishes bumblebees and bees, its leaves many invertebrates and beetles and birds delight in its seeds and buds.
For us too, the birch is also a precious source, thanks to its leaves and its sap, known for their therapeutic virtues. Herbal tea from the leaves, fresh or dried, is diuretic and soothes cystitis and rheumatism.
In inhalation, it clears the nose and, in rinsing water, it makes the hair soft and shiny. In the spring, draining its sap allows it to be consumed fresh for a detoxifying cure.
Finally, birch steres are used as firewood: bark and wood burn well, even when fresh!
The bark can also be used to make a yellow dye bath for textiles.
- Read also: health benefits and virtues of birch
The daisy (Bellis perennis)
It makes its appearance in the first days of good weather and is found almost throughout the year in the wilderness as well as in parks and gardens.
The daisies are flowers which reseed naturally and are not afraid of the mower. Representing a year-round food for insects, they can be consumed by humans as an herbal tea (2 teaspoons per cup, infusion time: 10 minutes) or in salads.
They are also an excellent cough remedy (fatty cough). Rubbed on bites or small wounds, they relieve the skin.
The flowers of daisies are edible, especially from May to July. They have a little nutty taste. They are also used to decorate toast and to spice up your salads.
Be careful not to pick them along the roads, rather favor known and ecological gardens!
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)
It grows quickly and in abundance from May to October, in sun or partial shade. The nasturtium is as useful for pollinating insects (especially bumblebees, bees and butterflies) as it is for humans!
It is, in fact, a natural broad-spectrum antibiotic, disinfectant, healing and anti-inflammatory, also strengthening the immune system.
Nasturtium vinegar (1 handful of flowers macerated for 1 week in vinegar) is, for example, effective as a gargle against sore throats and, as a conditioner rinse, it resolves oily, tired or dandruff hair problems. Also use nasturtium in cooking as a condiment, in salads and spreads: it is rich in vitamin C, its leaves and flowers taste like cress. Finally, it is useful in the garden, vegetable patch and orchard to drive out pests, while being an excellent green manure.
Nettle (Urtica Dioica)
Don't eradicate it! Thenettle is a valuable garden plant, which grows from April to September. This invasive hardy is a food plant for more than 35 butterfly caterpillars and is an outstanding natural fertilizer.
To make nettle manure, steep 1 kg of nettles in 10 liters of water for about 2 to 3 weeks, stir every day and then dilute with water in a serving of 1 to 10.
Do not hesitate to make soups too, or smoothies and juices: rich in vitamin C, nettle strengthens the immune system and energizes people suffering from seasonal depression. Nettle tea is also a diuretic and detoxifies the body.
Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)
Unlike theasparagus white, not widely used in gardens because associated with intensive work, green asparagus is easy to grow in a vegetable patch: it is harvested from the 3rd year after semi and… for 15 years at a rate of 500 g of asparagus green by claw.
Rich in nectar and pollen, its flowers are invaluable to honey bees, bumblebees and other wild bees. As for its red berries, they feed the birds in winter.
Harvest them also from mid-April to mid-June to enjoy them in the kitchen: more fragrant than the white ones, they are rich in potassium and are easily prepared. Raw asparagus and root herbal teas are diuretics.
Finally, its needle-shaped twigs embellish country bouquets!
To read Multipurpose plants, by Bärbel Oftring, published by Delachaux and Niestlé.
Visual credits: Birch: © Ablokhin - stock.adobe.com Daisy: © M. Schuppich - stock.adobe.com Capucine: © Varts - stock.adobe.com Nettle: © Ondrej83 - stocke.adobe.com Green asparagus: © Dušan Zidar - stock.adobe.com