Giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifida) Asteraceae - Close relative of sunflowers and sunchokes
Identification -vs Common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) - has fewer and rounder leaves than common ragweed, and they usually have three distinct lobes, but can have up to five. Dangling similar stacks of inverted flowers, these plants can tower up to 18 feet.
Taste/ impression - Spicey, pleasant, aromatic taste
Fun/interesting fact: June 21st, is International Ragweed Day, 17 different species. It has been measured as far as 2 miles high 400 miles wide on the ocean.
Pre-Columbian N. Americans - Food of the gods - medicinal use, promote health & longevity. - seeds found in pre-historic sites 5 times larger than today wild plant - selective breeding/cultivation by the Indians.
The Bad: at first sniff body produces antibodies, flood histamines into the bloodstream. Histamines cause allergy symptoms - recommended treatments is anti-histamines...they block histamine-producing biochemical reactions.
Ragweed is surprisingly edible & good for you. Rivals corn, wheat and soybean in usable calories.The seed contains up to 19% oil, 47% protein and 38% fat - That’s an energy powerhouse for its size. Dries better than soy beans. This would have been an important food source for long winters both human and wildlife (notably quail, but also including some now-rare butterflies and moths).
Homeopathic allergy relief - antihistamine
Vermifuge - Oil - tapeworm, hookworm, roundworm, and amoebic dysentary,
Externally - (Cherokee) Pultices to draw out venom in stings, insect bites or poison ivy.
Juice leaves disinfectant - clean wounds, foot sores, athletes foot, gangrene behaviors.
Internally tea from leaves to treat fevers, pneumonia, nausea, diarrhea, intestinal cramps, constipation, mucous discharges.
Tea from the roots and given to women treat menstrual discomfort & delivery of the placenta
Compost activator - particularly in sheet mulches - increase in nitrates, phosphorus & potassium
Companion plant protect pepper plants from leaf miners
Remove heavy metals lead & industrial waste
Dormant seed for two years - persistent plant elimination.