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(not the same as dandelion-type plant also called Rattlesnake weed) Funny smelling plant usually found in cow pastures, up to 4 ft tall (1.3m). Rub leaves on skin and clothes to keep ticks away. Dark purple square stems. Large saw-tooth jagged-edged dark green or red hairy leaves tinged with purple underneath. Aromatic minty smell. Long flower spikes with lots of small pink/purple flowers. When seed pods dry, the stems rattle like rattlesnake tails. Entire plant is edible, but new young sprouts, leaves and tops are best. Leaves have very peasant sweet taste and are used in all kinds of dishes worldwide, popular Japanese salad green (Shiso). Seeds have very nutritious oil. Many use it as a sugar substitute. Antibacterial, antiseptic, antimicrobial, expectorant, helps stomach. Used in many cancer therapies, also for asthma, lung problems, colds, flu, cough, nausea, vomiting, food poisoning, allergic reactions, stomach pain. Used for its aromatic properties to make perfumes, aromatherapy, potpourri.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz