I have just read about bindweed - essentially a variety of morning glory that is considered a weed because of how fast it grows and how it "chokes" other plants. This may be exactly what I need to quickly cover the walls of my terrace (it will be grown in containers and won't be near any other plants). I can't find any place to get the seeds (perhaps understandably). Is there anywhere I can get them, and is there any reason I shouldn't plant them for my needs?
I assume you are talking about Convolvulus sepia. It is quite common in my area (Seattle). I think it would be a big mistake to plant it. Although the individual white flowers are really quite elegant, in the mass this vine is really not very attractive. Also, I suspect that this species propagates vegetatively only, because I have rummaged through stands of this weed dozens of times over several decades looking for seeds, and I have yet to find a single one. I am glad to say.
Why try to eradicate it? Make tea! Bindweed extract has been shown to be helpful for numerous cancers, including prostate cancer, lung cancer, liver cancers, and more. It is so helpful, in fact, that it completely destroyed ‘virulent’ cancer tumors in laboratory mice. The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center reports that:
“Recent in vitro and animal studies show that the water extracts from the plant’s aerial parts, rich in proteoglycans, have anti-angiogenic and immune-stimulating effects. Other studies found that these constituents also increased vasodilation and circulatory function, and lowered blood pressure in animals.”
As quoted directly from the study:
“Water extract from the aerial parts of C. arvensis [Bindweed] is thought to be rich in proteoglycans. It has immunostimulatory effects in animals by increasing total leukocyte and lymphocyte counts as well as increasing serum lysosome activity. The lipophilic glycoside constituents have cytotoxic effects in human tumor cell lines. High molecular weight extract from C. arvensis inhibits tumor growth in a dose-dependent manner probably due to its ability to inhibit growth of blood vessels.