Pineapple Weed – July’s Herb of the Month

A Delicious Weed That's Actually an Herb with Lots of Benefits!

Pineapple Weed – July’s Herb of the Month

An herb that’s always a summer treat for me, pineapple weed brings to mind some very special memories, too.  One of my favorite things to do each summer was to visit my dear friend and herbal mentor Caroline Johnson and do herbal field walks on her ranch and in the forest nearby.  We’d hike the dirt roads, trails, and meadows , identifying all the medicinal herbs that grow in the wild at 9000+ feet in southeast Wyoming and talking about their uses.  I’d always snack on the pineapple weed that grows abundantly there and fill up some bags of it to take home and dry.

What is Pineapple Weed –

Pineapple weed (Matricaria matricarioides), sometimes called “wild chamomile,” is actually a close relative of chamomile.  It’s most distinguishing characteristic is it’s delicious fruity pineapple scent and taste that reminds me of summer treats when I was a kid.  In fact, pineapple weed smells so good, that native peoples used to use it as a perfume.  Pineapple weed looks a lot like chamomile but without the white petals on the flowers.  It’s flower heads are cone-shaped and yellowish-green in color, and it usually grows closer to the ground than chamomile.

Where To Find Pineapple Weed –

It has an affinity for growing in waste areas or places where it could get trampled easily such as vacant lots, sidewalk cracks, along the edges of dirt roads, and in weedy patches.  Because it’s considered a weed, it unfortunately gets sprayed a lot along with other weeds.  I’m hoping that by focusing some of my featured herb blog posts on herbs like this that are “weeds,” maybe it will inspire less spraying of weeds because the bees need these flowering plants, we need them for their herbal medicine, and reducing the use of these chemicals is always better for the environment and everyone’s health.

Caroline taught me quite a few uses for this tasty plant, but my favorite was her advice on using it for Thanksgiving Dinner.  She said when you’ve eaten until you just can’t possibly eat any more, take some pineapple weed, and it’ll help you to be able to eat a second helping of everything.  I love it!  She was right, though.  One of it’s primary uses is as a digestive aid.  It’s used to move food through the digestive tract without feeling gassy and bloated or having stomach cramps.

Pineapple Weed’s Benefits –

Like chamomile, pineapple weed is considered to be a relaxing herb, great for calming nervousness, agitation, and anxiety and for promoting restful sleep.  When we have digestive troubles of any kind that are caused by nervousness, this can be a great remedy.  It helps to relieve stomach cramps and intestinal cramps, but it also helps with menstrual cramps as well and can be a good aid for painful periods.

New moms have often found it beneficial to take right after birth to help get a healthy supply of milk started for the newborn.  And as an extra bonus, the effects of this herb can pass from mom to her baby through the milk providing some digestive support for the baby as well.  It’s a gentle herb that’s great for babies and children with colic, gas pains, and teething.   It’s even used for children’s colds, especially in children that are warm-natured, have flushed cheeks, and usually don’t like to wear warm clothes.

How to Gather and Use Pineapple Weed –

When gathering pineapple weed, it’s important to get it from an unpolluted area especially since this plant is so often sprayed.  Avoid collecting it by roadsides or most urban areas or places where people and cars travel through frequently.  And it’s best to pick it in the summer when the flower heads are soft and fresh and not in the fall when they turn to seed heads that are harder.

It can be enjoyed as a trail snack or put in salads.  I love to eat it both of those ways!  I also enjoy using it in breads and muffins in place of ingredients like blueberries.  It can easily be dried and stored in an air-tight container to be enjoyed all year long.

It makes a lovely, naturally-sweet tea that is a great treat either hot or cold.  It’s especially perfect for bedtime.  To make a cup of tea, just put a handful of flowers in a tea cup, add some hot water, and let it steep for 10 minutes.  Strain and serve.  You can add a little honey if you like.  I love to make it as a sun tea.  I just think every tea tastes better when it’s been infused with the sun’s energy!

This “weed” is a delicious little herb with so many fantastic benefits.  And it’s all around us, sometimes right under our feet.  Rather than spraying it, let’s gather it and dry it.  After all, it could help us eat another serving of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving this year.


In loving memory of Caroline Johnson, beloved friend and mentor (1943 – 2018)

 


P.S.  I always include this helpful suggestion at the end of my herbal blog posts.  If you’re interested in using herbs as part of your health regimen, I encourage you to make an appointment with a clinical herbalist like me and get a personalized recommendation.  By having a consultation with a professional herbalist, you’ll know that you’re get a recommendation for appropriate herbs for your needs and desired outcomes and that you’re using them in the correct dosage and preparation.  This way you can be sure you’re receiving the benefits that you want from using them and save yourself a lot of money and frustration that comes from using the wrong herbal therapies.

 

 


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ABOUT AUTHOR

Tracey Kamm MH, RH(AHG), CR, NBCR(ARCB), CNT, CEHC

Tracey Kamm is a holistic wellness professional who began studying holistic medicine 20 years ago after being diagnosed with lupus and other auto-immune diseases. She made a full recovery and now has a practice in Cheyenne, WY, seeing clients in her office and long distance. She's privileged to be able to empower others who also want to be in the best health possible for them by doing holistic assessments and creating personalized wellness plans with them which include herbs, nutritional supplements, diet, holistic lifestyle, emotional healing work, and reflexology. Tracey holds a diploma as a Master Herbalist, is a Registered Herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild, a Certified Reflexologist, a National Board Certified Reflexologist with the American Reflexology Certification Board, a Certified Nutritional Therapist, and a Certified Emotional Healing Coach. Be sure to join her newsletter to follow her blog and get other great healthy tips and resources as well as a free copy of her e-book, "How to Lose Weight without Even Thinking about It." To work with Tracey, visit her website: www.spiritofthebearllc.com

COMMENTS ( 6 )

  • Peggie, thank you for that question and your comment. I haven’t come across any information that specifically talks about that being a benefit of Pineapple Weed. I would love to hear about someone who has tried that, though, and it seems it would only benefit the mother and the baby to give that a try since it’s so good for both of them.

  • Thank you Tracey for broadening my chamomile knowledge beyond the German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)! It is always good to learn and use the herbs locally available. One question: Can postnatal mom use infused tea of pineapple weed to soothe cracked nursing nipple like German chamomile as well?

  • Thank you, Andrea. I hope you’re able to find some pineapple weed, and I’m glad you’re looking forward to trying some of these ideas!

  • Thank you, Megan. According to a map from the USDA, it does grow in the South. I hope you’re able to find some.

  • Thank you for another lovely article Tracey! I really like your suggestions to add pineapple weed to trail mix, salads, or even muffins! I love finding new ways to incorporate herbs into my daily routines. Looking forward to finding some pineapple weed so I can give these ideas a try!

  • Does it grow in the South? I don’t think I have ever heard of pineapple weed, and may not meet it personally, but I do appreciate you sharing all this info.

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