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My Top 5 Favorite Wild Edibles!

Harvesting wild edibles is a fun and rewarding practice. I had the pleasure of meeting Willy Pink, an Ethnobotanist at Pechanga Indian Reservation in California and learning some of the basics from him. 

Pick up a good wild edible book with clear pictures before you go out foraging. Always make sure you know what you are eating and that it hasn't been sprayed. There are all kinds of wild edible nature hikes available also. 

I found a hand cranked greens juicer a year ago at the Natural Expo Show and I often take it hiking and camping with me! 

There are many amazing edible plants in the wild! Here are some of my top favorites! 



As a child growing up camping  in Utah, I can’t say that nettles were exactly my favorite plant. After running through many, many patches of these stinging plants in shorts I learned I better watch where I was going. However, now I have learned the amazing properties of this plant and have no issues picking and eating it with my bare hands. You just have to know how....As David explains in the video below, you pick the leaves from the bottom up and "taco" them and eat them. I will add here that as you "taco" them I squeeze the leaves between my fingers to neutralize the stinging compounds.

I harvest nettles in the spring when they are young and dry them for tea. I also use them in soups, sauteed as a side dish, make pesto out of them...really any green can be substituted for nettles. Try them in smoothies too! 

Nettle is one of the best arthritic pain relievers in the herbal world. Tinctures and teas have been used for treating skin disorders such as eczema and nail fungus and for stimulating milk production. Nettle acts as an expectorant and has been used to treat bronchitis, colds, asthma and other lung disorders. It has antibiotic properties and is especially good for bladder, kidney and other urinary tract disorders. 



Mullein contains expectorants, antispasmodic, antiasthmatic compounds. It has been used to treat coughs, pneumonia, asthma and bronchitis. The flowers have been used as a sedative and sleep aid. Has also been used as a laxative and to treat bleeding bowels as well as to treat hay fever and swollen glands. 



Red Clover 

Red Clover contains many immune system enhancers, cancer fighting agents and preventatives. Used in auto immune diseases, chronic fatigue and AIDS. Red Clover has been shown to be an effective antibiotic for bacteria. It also acts as a blood purifier, appetite suppressant and has sedative properties. 




Dandelion is, I think, my favorite wild edible ever! You can find this everywhere! This is a common lawn “weed” and you CAN use it straight from your yard as long as you have not sprayed your lawn with any chemicals. When I go hiking, I find dandelion everywhere, and it’s often over a foot tall! Dandelion is a favorite of mine in smoothies and juices. 

Dandelion is a powerful liver cleanser and detoxifier. It is also beneficial for the kidneys, spleen, stomach, pancreas and gallbladder. It is also a diuretic. It’s been used for anemia, rheumatism, cirrhosis, edema and constipation.  

Check out the video below with Sergei Boukento for an amazing Dandelion Pesto Recipe!



I discovered purslane by accident after coming home to my garden after being at the Raw Spirit Festival one year. I discovered a "weed" that had taken over the garden was the same weed I had had in the most amazing salad I'd ever had at the festival. 

Purslane is very high in Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. It's a wonderful addition to salads, soups, juices and smoothies!  



What are YOUR favorite wild edibles? What grows in YOUR part of the world you love to forage for?

Leave a comment below and let us all know!

In love and health,

Lori Clayton, LMT, CHHC