Wildcrafting: A weed to identify and remove, and one to appreciate
The ragweed flowers are hardly noticeable, but they are followed by a pollen output that is substantial for such a small unnoticed plant. I don't know of any positive use for ragweed, while Goldenrod - which so often takes the blame - is safe to use, and has been helpful to support the immune system, for kidney and urinary problems, for colic and digestive upset, and more. Here is an enthusiastic article suggesting a number of ways goldenrod can be used.
If you can, find and remove all of the ragweed in your yard now, before it starts to produce its profuse pollen. If you compost it, it will turn into safe humus. Some people have also reported having a topical reaction to just touching the ragweed plant, so you might want to use gloves. And as you go about your harvesting, celebrate and possibly collect some of the Goldenrod, and steer clear of the ragweed. Goldenrod is harvested for its medicinal uses when it is in full flower, or later in the season the roots are dug and dried or made into a tincture with alcohol. I'll publish more on this plant once it does start to flower.
If you click on the photos you can see a larger image that will help you identify the plant. The second photo has a bit of yellow wood sorrel flowers in the background, the last photo has both red clover and some purple echinacea behind it. Don't mistake those flowers for ragweed! Look for the green narrow cones in the center, and the cut leaves.
Photos of Ragweed by Linda Diane Feldt
Follow me "Wildcrafting"on twitter, or check out my website. I've been a holistic health practitioner in Ann Arbor for almost 30 years, seeing clients full time and teaching High School through Graduate School.