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One of your 5 a day…

Published on by Dr Paul Beckett

Of course, finding Japanese knotweed in your garden is not ideal; it spreads like wildfire, grows rapidly and breaks hardstandings. But, I always say that the best must be made of a bad situation, and you could do worse than cooking the shoots and stems (not the leaves) to make jam, marmalade, soup or crumble. Many say knotweed tastes like rhubarb, ‘only better.’
It may be common knowledge that knotweed can be cooked and eaten, however the health benefits are less well documented. It is an excellent source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium, zinc, manganese, phosphorus, and resveratrol, which is found in wine and is claimed to reduce the risk of heart attacks and slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. This is explained in Brill (2008) :

“Normally, glial cells in the brain support the neurons (nerve cells), but in Alzheimerís disease, an accumulation of gunk called amyloid plaques signals these helper cells to kill the neurons instead. Resveratrol seems to block this deadly signal. Resveratrol also activates sirtuin genes, which increase cell longevity the same way a calorie-restricted diet does. Whether this might also slow human ageing is still open to question.”

So, finding knotweed need not be the pain you may think it is. In fact, it may aid you in leading a long, healthy life. Bon appetite!
PS Always ensure waste is burnt, boiled or left to rot, as throwing it away is illegal.

About the author: Dr Paul Beckett

Dr Paul Beckett - picture

Dr Paul Beckett is one of the UK’s leading experts in Japanese knotweed and is a member of the Expert Witness Institute. He regularly provides Japanese knotweed expert witness services. He helped produce the RICS knotweed guidance for surveyors and was integral in the formation of the Property Care Association (PCA) Invasive Weed Control Group (IWCG).

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