Categories: Garden

Why You Shouldn’t Kill Wood Sorrel in Your Garden: 8 Compelling Reasons

Wood Sorrel, often regarded as a pesky weed, has been quietly hiding its treasures right in our gardens and backyards. This unassuming plant, known by various names including Oxalis and shamrock, has been underestimated for far too long. In this article, we will explore the compelling reasons to embrace Wood Sorrel and uncover its hidden marvels. However, it’s essential to accompany the benefits with a disclaimer to ensure that people are aware of potential risks and how to avoid problems.

The Wood Sorrel Renaissance

In recent years, Wood Sorrel has been experiencing a resurgence in popularity. No longer just an unwelcome guest in our gardens, this vibrant plant is making its way into farmer’s markets and fine dining establishments. Wood Sorrel is now celebrated not only for its health benefits but also for its culinary delights.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Wood Sorrel is its versatility. It can be found sprouting through sidewalk cracks, invading garden beds, and even decorating gourmet plates in prestigious restaurants. Dr. Artemis Simopoulos, president of the Centre for Genetics, Nutrition, and Health, has even bestowed upon it the title of a “miracle plant.” During her time at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Simopoulos discovered that Wood Sorrel boasts the highest levels of Omega-3 fatty acids among all green plants.

Nutritional Powerhouse

The succulent leaves of Wood Sorrel are shaped like teardrops and are not just visually appealing; they are also rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. This makes Wood Sorrel a true nutritional powerhouse. But there’s more to it than just nutrition. Wood Sorrel leaves offer a refreshing, tangy, lemony flavor with a hint of peppery zest, making it a delightful addition to a wide range of dishes.

While early Americans, including Martha Washington, enjoyed Wood Sorrel both fresh and pickled, its popularity waned in the early 1900s. Fortunately, a resurgence of interest has brought Wood Sorrel back into the spotlight, thanks to farmers, foragers, and innovative chefs who recognize its potential.

A Recipe to Try: Wood Sorrel and Basil Pesto

If you’re intrigued by Wood Sorrel and want to try it in your own kitchen, here’s a straightforward recipe for Wood Sorrel and Basil Pesto:


  • 2 cups young Wood Sorrel leaves and stems, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 45g basil leaves, rinsed
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 45g toasted almonds
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 50ml olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine Wood Sorrel, basil, garlic, almonds, and lemon juice in a food processor.
  2. Pulse until the mixture is well combined.
  3. While the processor is running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until the mixture emulsifies.
  4. Season with salt and pepper according to your taste.

Enjoy this flavorful pesto on toasted sandwiches, roasted vegetables, meat, or tossed with pasta. It’s a unique and delicious way to incorporate Wood Sorrel into your culinary adventures.

The Nutritional Benefits of Wood Sorrel

Now, let’s dive into the myriad of nutritional benefits that Wood Sorrel has to offer:

1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Wood Sorrel stands out as an outstanding plant-based source of these essential fatty acids, crucial for brain and heart health, particularly for vegans.

2. Antioxidants: Packed with antioxidants like glutathione, Wood Sorrel aids in cell protection, fights damage, and slows down the aging process.

3. Minerals: With notable levels of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, copper, folate, and selenium, Wood Sorrel bridges gaps in the Standard American Diet and promotes overall well-being.

4. Vitamin C: A significant supplier of this immune-boosting vitamin, which contributes to a strong and resilient immune system.

5. Beta-carotene: Abundant in Wood Sorrel, beta-carotene acts as a precursor to vitamin A, addressing common deficiencies.

6. Melatonin: Unlike most plants, Wood Sorrel contains melatonin, a hormone vital for sleep regulation, making it a valuable natural source.

7. Cholesterol Reduction: Thanks to betalain, an antioxidant found in Wood Sorrel, it helps prevent cholesterol damage to blood vessels and positively influences LDL cholesterol levels.

8. Tryptophan: Wood Sorrel holds tryptophan, a crucial amino acid that aids in mood regulation and fights depression.

A Word of Caution

While Wood Sorrel offers an array of benefits, it’s essential to be cautious. Some varieties of Wood Sorrel contain oxalates, which can be harmful when consumed in large quantities. Oxalates can contribute to kidney stone formation in susceptible individuals. To avoid problems, consider the following:

  1. Moderation: Enjoy Wood Sorrel in moderation to reduce oxalate intake.
  2. Variety: Consume a diverse range of foods in your diet to minimize the risk of oxalate-related issues.
  3. Consult a Healthcare Professional: If you have a history of kidney stones or other health concerns, consult a healthcare professional before adding Wood Sorrel to your diet.

In conclusion, Wood Sorrel is more than just a garden weed; it’s a versatile and nutritious plant that deserves a place in your kitchen. From its Omega-3 richness to its melatonin content, this plant has much to offer for your well-being and taste experiences. Just remember to exercise caution, enjoy it in moderation, and consult with a healthcare professional if you have concerns about its consumption. Embrace the wonders of Wood Sorrel and discover the benefits it can bring to your life.

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