Goutweed, Bishop's weed, Snow-on-the-mountain,
Your probably familiar with this common, landscaping plant. It loves shady, damp areas and can become extremely invasive. You may know it by one of its many other names which include: snow on the mountain, bishop's weed, ashweed, goutwort and ground elder. Its botanical name is aegopodium podagraria 'variegata'.
But, I'm betting you didn't know that goutweed is edible! The leaves taste a bit like licorice or anise and can be eaten raw in a salad or cooked like spinach. The roots are also edible.
Both the leaves and roots have been used for medicinally for centuries. In fact, Culpeper says: "It is not to be supposed that Goutweed hath its name for nothing; but upon experiment to heal the gout, and sciatica; as also joint aches, and other cold grief's; "the very bearing it about one easeth the pains of the gout, and defends him that bears it from disease."
Hill recommends the root and fresh buds of the leaves as excellent in fomentations and poultices for pains; and the leaves, when boiled soft, together with the roots, for application about the hip in sciatica.
Goutweed is not only anti-inflammatory but has also been used as a sedative and a diuretic. Used externally as a poultice it can treat gout, painful joints, arthritis, sciatica, hemorrhoids, burns, wounds and insect bites.
Whether you love or hate goutweed I hope you'll look at this plant with just a little more respect now!
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