Jenny Lynn Keller
Rags to Riches
If you’re sneezing, coughing, and blowing your nose this time of year, ragweed might be the culprit. Think you can run or hide from it? Think again. As a resident of 49 states, ragweed will find you, unless you move to Alaska. With light and fluffy pollen capable of floating great distances, you would have to travel 2 miles above the earth or more than 400 miles off the coast to escape it.
As a card-carrying sufferer of ragweed pollen, I came near sneezing my head off upon learning the despicable plant possesses beneficial qualities. Get this—ragweed helps remove toxic heavy metals like lead from the soil and is planted around industrial waste sites. But wait, there’s more. You can eat ragweed, and it’s good for you. Historical evidence says Native Americans planted ragweed and harvested the seeds. They contain 47% crude protein, way more than corn, wheat, and soybeans. Crush them to obtain a nutritious oil. Crush the leaves to treat bug bites and rashes. Who would’ve ever thunk it? Not my nose.
Now that you’re equipped to make an informed decision, would you eat ragweed?