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5 Backyard Medicinal Plants (and how to use them)


Welcome surly reader to the world of backyard remedies, where nature's healing touch is just steps away. For years, we've been cultivating and harvesting medicinal plants right from our own backyard and infusing them into the skincare products which has become our passion. Join us on this journey as we explore the wonders of 5 backyard plants with remarkable medicinal properties. From soothing bug bites to enhancing skin health, these plants offer a natural pharmacy right outside your door.



Plantain leaf, often overlooked as a common weed, reveals its powerful medicinal properties upon closer inspection. Identify it by its distinctive ribbed leaves forming a rosette pattern .close to the ground. The leaves are lance-shaped with parallel veins, and characteristic stalks shoot up with tiny, inconspicuous flowers.

Plantain Leaf Growing in the grass and dirt


This unassuming plant is a supreme ally for wound healing and skin injuries. From bites, cuts, scrapes, and stings to puncture wounds, Plantain is your go-to remedy. It's a fantastic drawing agent, capable of extracting dirt, splinters, stings, and poisons. Whether used in poultices, salves, or eaten in salads, Plantain brings its versatile healing powers to your backyard pharmacy. Native Americans harnessed the power of the plantain through spit poultices (chewing the leaves and putting them directly on the affected area).


  Ah, the humble Dandelion, often dismissed as a pesky weed. Recognize it by its vibrant yellow flowers and distinctive toothed leaves. Before it transforms into the iconic puffball, Dandelion's leaves and roots hold medicinal treasures.


Dandelions aren't just for making wishes. Rich in vitamins A, C, and other nutrients, they offer internal and external benefits. Dandelions are useful from the roots to the flower and leaves. The plant is a powerhouse for your skin, acting as an antibacterial, germicide, and anti-fungal ingredient. Dive into the world of dandelions to detoxify your skin, clear pores, and bid farewell to acne breakouts.


Forsythia, with its vibrant yellow blossoms, announces the arrival of spring. Recognize this shrub by its arching branches adorned with clusters of bell-shaped flowers.



Beyond its ornamental charm, Forsythia harbors medicinal potential. The flowers are used traditionally to alleviate respiratory conditions. Create soothing infusions or syrups to combat colds and respiratory discomfort. Forsythia's natural beauty extends far beyond its appearance. Check out this study about how forsythia might be a useful for treatment of allergic skin inflammatory disorders.


Wild Violets

Wild Violets, with their delicate purple or blue flowers, add a touch of enchantment to your backyard. Recognize them by their heart-shaped leaves and distinct violet or blue hues.

photo: Nichole Ouellette/Wikipedia


These lovely blooms hold centuries of healing history. Rich in salicylic acid, an anti-inflammatory agent, Wild Violets can be utilized topically for skin conditions like eczema, dry skin, bug bites, and varicose veins. Explore their versatility in teas, syrups, or as a flavorful addition to your culinary creations.


Cleavers, also known as bedstraw, boasts tiny, sticky, and hooked hairs that cling to anything they touch. Identify them by their whorls of narrow leaves and small white flowers.


This clinging herb is more than an innocent weed. Cleavers have been traditionally used to support the lymphatic system. Harness their detoxifying properties by making teas or infusions. Cleavers can be your ally in promoting skin health and overall well-being.

Gone are the days of looking at all of the ‘weeds’ in your backyard with disdain! Instead, embrace the wealth of nature that surrounds you. From the unassuming Plantain Leaf to vibrant wild Violets, these backyard plants are not just part of the scenery – they're your allies in health and skincare. Incorporate their magic into your daily routine, whether through infusions, salves, or culinary delights. Did we mention you can find many of these herbs in Surly Girl products? Check out Silent Spring Skin Healing Salve, Hypatia’s Revenge Face and Decollete Balm and Viriditas Radiance Face Oil all of which feature some of these all star plants.

Stay tuned for more insights into the world of backyard remedies, where every leaf and petal holds a story of healing.

Be Well,



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