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Natural Awakenings of Greater Ann Arbor & Detroit / Wayne & Monroe Counties Michigan

Plants, Plants Everywhere and Plenty to Eat

Everywhere we go, we are surrounded by plants that are both edible and medicinal. From the weed that grows in the back yard or between the cracks in the sidewalk to the diverse growth of plants in the fields, meadows and forests. Basic identification skills are critical to know and understand what we are eating and using. The properties, benefits and the plant itself holds many secrets; some good, some very dangerous.

Learning to use a good field guide or two is very important. There are many reasons why we should learn how to identify edible and medicinal plants. They are a free and abundant source of food and medicine, and they grow around us no matter where we live. It is also important to know the possible hazards, aside from the poisonous look-alikes, such as whether the area in which the plants are growing can sustain harvesting or has been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides, if it is too close to a busy road or in touch with other types of pollution.

Sustainability and ethical harvesting practices are also important to know. When harvesting any plant, think about whether the community is large enough to withstand our impact. If the plant is endangered, there must an abundance of them in the area and we are the only one picking the plant. First:


     Identify medicinal plants and edible plants

     Learn the medicinal properties of herbs

     Learn how to use field guides

     Understand the benefits of herbs and wild edibles.

     Get out in the field. This convening with the plant itself with cannot be matched a book, website or picture.


The Naturopathic Institute offers many classes in herbology. For more information, visit