Discovering Creeping Jenny
As someone who is interested in sustainable living and promoting biodiversity, I have found myself drawn to the idea of utilizing invasive species that grow in my bioregion for food and medicine. Not only does this approach allow me to cultivate a deeper connection with my local environment, but it also provides a unique opportunity to reduce the impact of invasive species on the ecosystem.
One such plant that I have discovered here in Eastern Connecticut and, sadly, on my property is Creeping Jenny. This invasive plant, which is often considered a nuisance due to its ability to rapidly spread, actually has a range of uses as a medicinal herb. Plus, since it is an invasive species, there is no risk of overharvesting it.
How to Know if you have creeping jenny
I was surprised to find Creeping Jenny spreading throughout parts of my property this spring, since it wasn’t here last year. This seemed a testament to its invasiveness, as its dense mat of creeping stems seems to assert its dominance over the landscape with a fast and furious speed. However, rather than succumbing to frustration, I embarked on a journey of discovery to understand this invasive plant’s potential uses. Through my research, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this common intruder, scientifically known as Lysimachia nummularia, held medicinal properties waiting to be harnessed.
One of the most striking features of Creeping Jenny is its leaves, which bear a captivating resemblance to small, shiny coins, hence its nickname “moneywort”. These rounded leaves, arranged opposite each other along the stems, caught my attention and sparked my curiosity. Delving deeper, I learned that these leaves, when properly prepared, can be transformed into a soothing tea with potential health benefits.
As the plant matures, it generously adorns itself with bright yellow, cup-shaped flowers, injecting a burst of vibrant color into its creeping carpet. This cheerful display of blossoms not only adds aesthetic appeal, but also serves as a visual cue, guiding me to the plant’s location.
With its tenacious creeping habit and distinctive features, Creeping Jenny becomes easily recognizable within the landscape. Rather than viewing it solely as an unwelcome invader, I now saw an opportunity to utilize its abundance for medicinal purposes.
A history of Medicinal uses
What I learned through my research of this invasive plant is that it possesses a rich history of medicinal use that spans centuries. This versatile herb has been treasured for its various therapeutic benefits and has found its place in traditional medicine practices worldwide.
One of the primary traditional uses of Creeping Jenny is its application in digestive health. The leaves of this plant contain compounds that have been believed to possess mild astringent and anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful in soothing gastrointestinal discomfort. Infusions and decoctions made from the leaves have been traditionally consumed to alleviate digestive issues such as indigestion, bloating, and cramps.
Furthermore, Creeping Jenny has been reputed for its potential calming effects on the nervous system. Traditional herbalists have utilized this herb to promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and even aid in sleep disorders. The leaves are often prepared as herbal teas or incorporated into calming herbal blends to support mental well-being and promote a sense of tranquility.
In addition to its digestive and calming properties, Creeping Jenny has also been utilized externally for its potential wound-healing and anti-inflammatory effects. The fresh leaves, when applied as a poultice or infused into oils and salves, have been employed to soothe minor skin irritations, cuts, and bruises. Its gentle yet effective properties have made it a valuable addition to traditional herbal remedies for topical application.
Throughout history, Creeping Jenny has been highly regarded for its medicinal virtues. From ancient herbal traditions to folk remedies, this resilient plant has been celebrated for its diverse applications. Its use in traditional medicine speaks to its reputation as a trusted ally in promoting wellness and addressing common ailments.
It is worth noting that while Creeping Jenny has a rich history of traditional use, it is always important to consult with a healthcare professional or a qualified herbalist before incorporating any new herbs or remedies into your healthcare routine. They can provide personalized guidance and ensure safe and appropriate usage based on your specific health needs and considerations.
Preparing Creeping Jenny Tea
Preparing a soothing cup of Creeping Jenny tea is a delightful way to unlock the potential medicinal benefits of this herb. Here’s a simple guide to help you prepare your own invigorating cup of Creeping Jenny tea:
Harvesting the Leaves: Begin by gathering fresh, healthy leaves of the Creeping Jenny plant. Look for leaves that are vibrant green, plump, and free from any signs of damage or disease. Harvest the leaves in the morning when the plant’s essential oils are most concentrated.
Washing the Leaves: Once you have gathered the leaves, gently rinse them under cool running water to remove any dirt or debris that may be clinging to them. This step ensures that your tea is clean and ready for brewing.
Preparing the Infusion: Take a handful of the washed Creeping Jenny leaves and place them in a teapot or a heat-resistant container. For a single cup of tea, approximately 1-2 teaspoons of dried leaves or 2-3 teaspoons of fresh leaves should suffice. Adjust the quantity based on your preference for a milder or stronger infusion.
Boiling Water: Bring fresh, filtered water to a rolling boil. Allow the water to cool for a minute or two before pouring it over the Creeping Jenny leaves. This slightly lower temperature helps to preserve the delicate flavors and beneficial compounds of the herb.
Steeping Time: Cover the teapot or container and let the Creeping Jenny leaves steep in the hot water for about 5-10 minutes. This allows the water to extract the flavors, aromas, and potential therapeutic properties from the leaves.
Straining the Tea: After the steeping time has passed, use a fine mesh strainer or a tea infuser to strain the tea, separating the liquid from the spent leaves. If desired, you can sweeten your tea with a natural sweetener such as honey or add a splash of lemon juice for a touch of acidity.
Enjoying Your Creeping Jenny Tea: Pour the freshly strained Creeping Jenny tea into a teacup or mug. Take a moment to appreciate its vibrant color and delightful aroma. Savor each sip mindfully, allowing the soothing properties of the tea to envelop you.
Remember, the flavor and potency of the tea may vary depending on the specific growing conditions and individual preferences. Feel free to experiment with the steeping time and leaf quantity to find the perfect balance that suits your taste.
Enjoy the gentle nourishment and potential wellness benefits that Creeping Jenny tea can bring to your tea-drinking rituals.
Learn About Other Medicinal Plants and Herbs
After carefully harvesting the creeping jenny from my yard, I am reminded of how this invasive plant can negatively impact native plants by taking their light, nutrients, and space. It’s no wonder that creeping jenny can stop other plants from growing, making it important to keep its growth in check.
So, even though this plant has medicinal use, it’s crucial to recognize its characteristics and understand how it affects the surrounding environment before using it. If you do choose to harvest it for its medicinal benefits, be sure to do so carefully to avoid further spreading it. Once you’re done collecting the leaves, it’s essential to make a plan to get rid of creeping jenny from your yard to prevent further damage to the local ecosystem.
Disclaimer: outdoorapothecary.com is informational in nature and is not to be regarded as a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. While we strive to be 100% accurate, it is solely up to the reader to ensure proper plant identification.
Some wild plants are poisonous or can have serious adverse health effects. We are not health professionals, medical doctors, nor are we nutritionists. It is up to the reader to verify nutritional information and health benefits with qualified professionals for all edible plants listed in this website. The information provided is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the guidance of your qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.