‘Tis the season for wild carrot (Daucus carota), also known as Queen Anne’s Lace. Now I know what everyone is thinking, “but wild carrot looks so much like poison hemlock that I’m scared to eat it.” I could address the differences here but you know what, I don’t think they look the same at all and I don’t cater to scaredy cats. Figure it out for yourself. There are plenty of resources out there, read them. Then take out your field guide, open it to the drawings and put your bar stool video game skills use playing “spot the difference”.
Urban Scout and I recently found the longest wild carrots ever growing in some piles of loose dirt in his Mom’s yard. I would estimate these to be 4 times longer than your average wild carrot, so unless you stumble upon a loose dirt pile or you start tilling of patches of soil with your digging stick like hunter gathers did (yes, primitive people cultivated the land, get with the picture) don’t expect your harvest to look like ours.
For eating, you want to find first year carrots. These are ones without flowers. They have only a basal rosette of leaves. You will likely find first year plants growing next to second year plants to aid your identification. These roots will be more fibrous and much less sweet than a domestic carrot. They are best cooked. I made a beef stew out of ours. Wildman Steve Brill uses them in carrot cake.
You can eat the wild carrot in its basal rosette form any time of year. So why is this THE season? Because the “bird nests”, the brown seed heads, have a long history of use as birth control (Yes, duh, of course primitive people had birth control, where have you been?). Funny that such a prolific and difficult to control weed would be good for just the opposite. Now I haven’t used the seeds as birth control myself, except as backup, and I don’t usually like to write about things I can’t vouch for, but I think this is important enough to make an exception.
For the very best information on the topic visit Robin Rose Bennett’s web site: http://robinrosebennett.com/wild_carrot%20article.htm
This herb is generally used like a morning after pill. One commonly discussed method is chewing up and eating the seeds, but the tea or tincture may be more effective. The flowers can also be used alone or with the seeds. There are a variety of options. Robin Rose now generally recommends that the tincture be used 3 times after intercourse, once every 8-12 hours, at a dosage of 1/2-1 dropperful each, seeds and flowers. She emphasizes not taking it too much, that withdrawl from the herb is part of its effect. So I emailed and asked the obvious question: What if you are having sex every day!? Would you take it only when you were most fertile? Her response was quick and concise:
“This question has certainly come up before. You could use that approach, take it only during fertile times, it works great unless you have a second ovulation or ovulate at a different time than usual during a month…so I’m more confident with that approach with women who chart their cycles /take their temperature, etc. What I would do is lower the dosage to one time after each intercourse instead of 3 times. And take breaks from the wild carrot when you are absolutely sure you’re not as fertile. Hope that helps.”
Maybe someday I can convince Urban Scout to try out this post-apocalyptic method of birth control. Either way, when you wake up from a wild night, remember the wild carrot!
For more information on this and related topics visit:
http://www.sisterzeus.com. Living with Our Fertility: A Women’s Guide to Synergistic Fertility Management, Fertility Awareness, Herbs affecting the Menstrual Cycle, Herbal Contraception & Herbal Abortion~ An Alternative Approach ~
Plant in flower. Note the small purple dot in center.