Common Chickweed

Chickweed is known by many other names which include, chick wittles, chickeny weed,  cluken wort, craches, marins, stitchwort, starweed and winterweed. As a lot of the names suggest chickens love to eat it.

During March I have searched for chickweed while foraging but without success. Some of the plants looked like they could have been chickweed but I wasn’t a hundred percent sure.

To my delight I have just found chickweed growing in my very own garden. Conveniently I found it growing in my herb patch!

I easily identified the low-growing chickweed in my garden because of its tell tale flowers. Seeing its tiny five white petals, which are so deeply partially divided that they looked like ten, told me all I needed to know.

I pick the aerial parts (flower, leaf and stem) because they can be eaten and drunk as a tea. They also  have suggested uses to support the body.

I held off on my first grass cut of the year because I wanted to see what herbal beauties are growing in my grass. When I look at my garden now I see it through totally new eyes. I’m absolutely loving learning to identify and use the beautiful herbs on our doorstep.

Uses for Chickweed

Chickweed is a good source of vitamin C and contains high amounts of silicone.

Silicone is necessary for;

  • the formation of collagen for bones and connective tissue
  • healthy nails, skin and hair
  • calcium absorption

Eaten as a vegetable it is said that it may help people lose weight. Therefore I will have to go careful with my consumption because I have the opposite problem where I struggle to keep weight on.

Sprinkling chickweed onto a salad can taste a little bland therefore I mix it together with other salad leaves. Alternatively livening up chickweed can be achieved by making a pesto. Perhaps by adding garlic, pine nuts and parmesan cheese.

Chickweed Tea

Chickweed can also be made into a tea and this can be achieved by using the fresh or dried herb.

I made mine using the fresh herb by;

  • Adding 4 teaspoons of fresh herb to a cup of water in a aluminium free pan.
  • Bringing it to the boil and simmering for 10 minutes.
  • Straining and drinking.

Using dried chickweed I add 2 teaspoons of dried herb,  boiling water, and infuse for 15 minutes.

Tasting the chickweed tea I found it to be bland but it has a beautiful green colour.

Passing the tea onto my husband I made it more palatable by adding fresh lemon juice and honey. I gave him the tea because he is presently trying to lose weight.

Best Known Use for Chickweed

Reading I found that the most common use for chickweed is external and may help the body to heal with regards to;

  • Bites and stings
  • Boils
  • Bruises
  • Burns
  • Inflamed gouty joints
  • Muscular rheumatism
  • Painful eruptions
  • Soothing itches
  • Splinters
  • Sunburn
  • Varicose ulcers

 

Bites

I’m sure that we have all heard about the old saying to rub dock leaves onto nettle stings. However reading about rubbing chickweed onto fresh bites is a new one for me.

For immediate use picking a handful of chickweed and crushing it between the hands is easiest. Then rubbing the crushed chickweed onto the required area of the body seeking relief.

Even though its still early in the year I have been getting bitten for weeks by insects.  My legs and ankles are covered and I also have them on the left side of my body and left arm.

I find it strange that my husband doesn’t have any. Noone seems to know the exact reasons why some bodies are a tastier treat to mosquitos than others. There are a lot of old wives tales out there but no scientific facts to back them up.

Therefore I was very excited to read that chickweed may help with my bites, itching and inflammation.

I found that being bitten at home and having chickweed growing in my garden, the best option for me was to make a paste.

Making a Paste

  1.  I pulled a handful of chickweed from the ground and washed it.
  2.  Using a pestle and mortar I crushed the chickweed.
  3.  I applied the paste.

Reading that you can apply the paste using a bandage I decided against this option because I have far too many bites. Therefore I dabbed a little of the paste onto a lot of different plasters and placed them over my bites instead.

When I put the plasters onto my skin the bites started to tingle and I could feel some kind of magic going on!

The next day removing the plasters I noticed that the inflammation had gone down. The most recent three bites started itching again so I reapplied, but I did get a few hours relief each time.

Cautions

As always try a tiny little bit of the herb first because everyone’s body is different and you never know what you may be intolerant or allergic too. I make sure that I do this regardless as to whether the herb will be used internally or externally.

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Reading that chickweed is available almost all year round is fantastic news. Knowing what its potential uses are I won’t be pulling it up and throwing it away ever again.

Enjoy experimenting with chickweed yourself and feel free to share any successes.

Till next time take care.

 

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