Now that I’m on a mission to find new herbs to photograph and describe, I feel surrounded! Everywhere I look is a new plant. This one I’ve seen before so I quickly jumped out of my car to take a picture of it sitting right next to our house.
Lambs quarters (Chenopodium album or berlandieri) is an edible plant in the same family as spinach, beets, chard, amaranth and quinoa. It’s often dismissed as a weed, but the leaves, sprouts, flowers and seeds can be consumed. The leaves, as one would assume based on its relatives, taste like spinach or chard. They can be consumed raw in small amounts, but also like its relatives, care should be taken to not consume large amounts raw due to its oxalate content. Oxalates are diminished with cooking, so that is the preferred method of consumption. The seeds, like the relatives, contain saponin and should not be consumed raw in large amounts either.
But when it comes to nutrients, it outshines its domesticated sisters. According to Susun Weed: “A half-cup serving (110 grams) contains over 300 mg of calcium. (Swiss chard has 88g, spinach 93g.) And 11,600 IU of vitamin A activity. (Swiss chard has 6500, spinach 8100.) Lamb’s quarter greens are also an excellent source of B vitamins, especially riboflavin and folic acid [sic folate]. And they are more than four percent protein.”
Lambs quarters is often dismissed as a food plant alone, but I found a journal review discussing a variety of research studies showing that this plant has the following botanical actions: hepatoprotective, antibacterial (Staph aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa mostly), spasmolytic, analgesic, antimicrobial and antihelmintic (Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus polymexia, Streptococcus
faecalis, Salmonella typhi, Vibrio cholerae, Shigella dysenteriae, Escherichia coli, Penicillum notatum, Aspergillus niger, Candida albicans), antipruritic, antinociceptive, anti-breast cancer, sperm-immobilizer and anti-inflammatory. See the pdf here: http://sphinxsai.com/2014/PharmTech/PDF/PT=50(383-391)JM14.pdf
Exciting stuff for a simple weed!!
Jen Williamson, ND is a native of Buffalo, New York who earned her Bachelor of Science at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania and a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona. While in medical school, she became very involved in the student community, most notably as the President of the Student Government Association. For her service, upon graduation she was given the Outstanding Leadership Award.
In the spirit of Docere, the Naturopathic principle of the doctor’s role as teacher, Dr. Williamson was an adjunct professor in the Complementary and Alternative Therapies program at Daemen College. She has had articles in a variety of publications, includingNaturopathic Doctor News and Review, SheKnows.com, local Buffalo magazines and papers, as well as her own newsletter, blog and website. While practicing in Buffalo, she also offered over 30 different classes to the public at various events and locations.
In 2012, Dr. Williamson moved to Vermont to expand her practice of Naturopathic Medicine as well as provide an atmosphere that resonates with her medicine for her son, Victor, and husband, David. As a Primary Care Physician at Avalon Natural Medicine, Dr. Williamson focuses on mental/emotional, gastrointestinal, and endocrine disorders. Most of her treatment plans include a combination of nutritional, herbal and homeopathic remedies, but she has also received additional training in Hair Trace Mineral Analysis and Bowel Nosodes.