Edible and Medicinal Seeds? 10 Seeds You Can and Should Eat

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Edible Seeds Medicinal Seeds

Seeds, Seeds. Edible Seeds. Medicinal Seeds.

Right now it’s all about seeds at our house. Every year we order more than actually gets planted in the ground. Sometimes that means we wind up eating some of the stock that was intended to be planted. Sound odd? It’s not really, I promise!

There are a number of seeds that are actually food and medicine in their own right. If you purchased organic, non-treated seeds, or of you’ve saved your own, you might find yourself dipping into the seed supply from time to time for a quick remedy or even a tasty snack. Here are a few edible seeds that are worth a closer look:

Edible Seeds for Better Health

Dill (Anethum graveolens) / Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) / Anise (Pimpinella anisum)

All three of these aromatic seeds are important for the health of the digestive tract. Dill was the first remedy I suggested to my husband. He used to eat antacids like candy as a result of the stress of his job. Instead I sent him to work with a small bag of edible seeds and he chewed just one or two when the burning and bloating attacked him. Relief is just as easy as that. Dill, fennel and anise can all be chewed individually or combined for the same purpose or made into a simple after dinner tea. (Find organic dill seeds, organic fennel seeds, and organic anise seeds here.)

Sesame (Sesamum indicum)

The sesame seed isn’t here just to decorate your hamburger bun. In health circles, many know the virtues of sesame oil, but did you know that adding the seed to your food in larger quantities may benefit you as well. I like to gently toast them and grind them for seasoning. Sesame seeds are high in calcium, so anyone who needs a boost would do well to get to know this delicious seed a bit better. (Find organic sesame seeds here.)

Burdock (Arctium lappa)

Many people hate burdock. The burrs that inspired Velcro stick to your pets, your pants, and sometimes even to your fingers. It’s difficult to imagine any use for one of our more common Midwestern weeds. When carefully removed from the outside barbs of the burr, burdock seeds are a common medicinal seed that supports kidney, liver, and even eye health. (Find organic burdock seeds here.)

Borage (Borago officinalis)

The seed of borage can be pressed to produce oil. This oil is high in gamma-Linolenic acid (GLA) and is very effective as an anti-inflammatory agent. (Find organic borage seed oil here.)

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

The well-known yellow sunflower has more to offer than beauty. It may be more common to munch on the sunflower seed for a snack, but did you know it is a medicinal seed as well? It is one of my favorite remedies for men who are having difficulty with their prostates.

Psyllium (Plantago ovata)

This slimy little seed comes from a species in the Plantain genus. When added to water it swells and produces mucilage that, combined with its bulk fiber content, is great for the digestive tract. In particular, it is good for constipation. (Find organic psyllium seeds here.)


This little seed has become quite popular as a health food found in smoothies, breakfast cereal, and even kombucha! While it is a household name, most people don’t really know what it is. Chia is the seed of a variety of sage called Salvia hispanica. It is best known for being rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. (Find organic chia seeds here.)

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)

Your favorite Mexican herb, cilantro, has a secret identity. Cilantro is the name we use for this plant when we eat the leaves. When we are using the seed we call it coriander. Used as both a culinary and medicinal seed, coriander is a well known anti-inflammatory in India. (Find organic coriander seeds here.)

Are you planting any of these edible seeds this year? Are there others that you use to both plant and eat?


About Dawn Combs

Dawn is a wife, mother, farmer, author, ethnobotanist, professional speaker, and educator. She has over 20 years of ethnobotanical experience, is a certified herbalist, and has a B.A. in Botany and Humanities/Classics. Dawn is co-owner of Mockingbird Meadows Farm. Her books include Conceiving Healthy Babies and Heal Local.

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  1. charlice says

    Hello Dawn, thank you for the article.

    I actually like the Sunflower for its beauty. And honestly, I never knew it has much more to offer other than beauty. My fear is that it may not be widely available in my neighborhood.

  2. Vanessa says

    I really need to add the Dill-Anise-Fennel mix to my in purse remedies. Thanks for the reminder!