Chickweed and me have been having this crazy little affair going on.
Chickweed (Stellaria media) ; Family Caryophyllaceae
Chickweed is just wonderful in the many ways you can use it – how it molds itself to be so very helpful in so many forms is just part of its special magic.
You can eat it in salad, cook it with foods, make it into tea, juice it, make vinegars with it, make salves, oils and just about anything you imagine you do with it. But before we get into some of that, how about if I get the herby facts out of the way…
It has lots of useful phytochemicals – as well as vitamins and minerals in it such as: flavonoids, triterpenoid saponins, coumarins, mucilage, vitamins A, B, C, D; calcium copper, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc.
In herby speak its actions are considered: antiarthritic, emollient, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, demulcent, astringent, febrifuge, expectorant, antitussive
In words we may actually know, it is historically used for things like: gastritis, colitis, peptic ulcers, IBS, constipation, asthma, dry coughs, bronchitis and sort throats. Or in other words it is great for soothing the irritations in the respiratory and digestive systems.
Externally it is most often used for anything where there is inflammation and heat involved such as eczema, itching, heat rashes, sunburns, oils and acne. Fresh leaves can be helpful for burns as well as for insect bites where their drawing action is great as well as to help in drawing splinters.
Kind of a nifty list, huh?
In general, Chickweed has a great affinity for fluids helping to release them when blocked and to aid their movement within the body. It’s easy to think of it as dissolving blockages in the body – physical as well as emotional. Culpepper thought of it as being under the domain of the Moon with its connection to water and flow.
Part of its magic as a cooling and soothing herb is that it helps with excess pitta and makes for a great ally in Spring when those of us with occasional Pitta imbalances can feel it most.
Beyond just the usual teas/infusions here are some of the fun ways I like to spend time with Chickweed:
- Infuse it in wine – a great traditional remedy for rebuilding strength after a prolonged illness
- Make flower essence which helps you be in the present and let go of the past – who knew Chickweed had such a strong Buddha nature!
- Make a Chickweed infused vinegar which is wonderful nutritive (throw it on salads!) and great for baths and the skin in general
- Throw some fresh Chickweed in with some water a blend it for a refreshing juice
- Take that juice and freeze it in ice cube form to have around to sooth dry skin, rashes or just throw in your drinks year round
And just plain eating Chickweed and drinking Chickweed tea to is pretty awesome. I can’t count the times I didn’t know what I wanted and it turned out some Chickweed tea was the answer!
Somehow it’s like a song (with apologies to Barnes and Barnes and their song Fish Heads!):
Eat them up, yum!
In the morning,
Laughing happy Chickweed,
In the evening,
Floating in the soup!
(BTW – here’s the original song…)
Now, while I will never get that song out of my head, I always welcome Chickweed in my heart.