"Let's Talk About" Series, Blog, Gardening, Herbalism

Chickweed as an Herbal Ally

Amber Shehan December 23, 2008

Poor Little Chickweed Hush now, don’t tell! I’m harboring a fugitive. She is constantly under attack by my neighbors for being a pest – they try to poison her, stab her, slash her, cover her in mulch and choke her out…but don’t you worry. She’s safe in my backyard, for now, poor thing. Her name…

chickweed

Poor Little Chickweed

Hush now, don’t tell! I’m harboring a fugitive. She is constantly under attack by my neighbors for being a pest – they try to poison her, stab her, slash her, cover her in mulch and choke her out…but don’t you worry. She’s safe in my backyard, for now, poor thing. Her name is Stellaria Media, but everyone knows her as Chickweed. Ain’t she pretty?

We have a joke, Chickweed and I. She giggles and grins about how silly we fleshy ones can be sometimes… everybody around us struggling to lose weight while they devour processed foods that don’t nurture them, everybody wondering why they don’t feel healthy but never ingest fresh greens or whole foods. She giggles about how they despise her so, and she is the one stellar little powerhouse who could really do them some good if they’d acknowledge her offers of assistance!

I suppose people take one look at her and decide she’s just a useless weed since she doesn’t seem to take well to command. There’s no growth in straight lines for the little star lady – she just pops up when and where she pleases and often appears when you need her assistance. You should go out and walk around your yard and see if you can find her. She lives EVERYWHERE, so it should be easy!

If you haven’t ever met Chickweed before, you might want to take a guide with you so that you are sure about the identification. Chickweed has a handy defining feature…if you pluck a stem and hold it up to the light, keep turning it until you notice a line of fine hairs on only one side of the stem in a single stripe. If you haven’t put any poison on her, then pick a young leaf and pop it in your mouth! Trust me – it’ll be fine…I do it all the time. When I do that, all I taste is fresh and green…she’s great to throw into a salad mix for a boost of nutrients and nurturing live food (like pesto!)

Chickweed plant image on pixiespocket.com: Learn all about chickweed and how it can help you!

It’s cold here, this morning as I write this love letter. The grass is frosted, but Miss Chickweed is awake at sunrise and ready to roll! She loves this crisp weather – she loves to share her cool and soothing touch with us if we let her, too. Even if you feel too weird about eating your yard, you can utilize Chickweed for any skin ailments you might have, like itching, sunburns, or cysts. She’s best fresh, but you can freeze your chickweed for use later in the year.

I’ll give you an example of the power of fresh chickweed. I was working with someone with a huge and very angry Bartholin cyst. With chickweed’s help, it disappeared entirely in a matter of a few days with no popping and no antibiotics! All it took was a sprig or two of fresh, gently bruised chickweed applied directly to the cyst and covered with a cool, damp towel. When the towel got warm and the chickweed wilted, we got a new sprig and did it again. We kept that routine up the whole time that the client was at home, both before and after work and poof! Pain and swelling were gone in a matter of days!

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I have a tincture brewing with Chickweed and her sister Nettles – they will dance with some dear friends of mine to help them with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) and a really impressively large sebaceous cyst, respectively. Chickweed is best able to help you when she’s fresh, but tinctures are a lovely light green color and they do a good job in a pinch. You can also tincture chickweed in vinegar!

For now, I’m into the backyard to get my morning sprig of chickweed to munch on while I get myself moving for a long winter day. Let sweet Stellaria help guide you into Springtime…I promise it is right around the corner.

Sources:

A Modern Herbal: Chickweed http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/chickw60.html

The Herb Book, by John Lust. (buy a copy)

Healing Wise, by Susun Weed (buy a copy)

Amber Shehan

Hi! I'm Amber Pixie, and this is my site. Enjoy the recipes, information, posts, and please feel free to message me if you have questions!

15 Comments

  1. Jan from BetterSpines on December 23, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Welcome back! Or is it just welcome? Whatever. And a fine post, too. Most informative and amusing at the same time.

  2. Amber on December 24, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Thanks, Jan…either good greeting suits me fine! 😉 Glad you enjoyed it…I hope to update pretty regularly!

  3. Erik on February 26, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    That’s so cool. I didn’t know that one.

    On the PCOS front, are you ingesting caffeine these days? My understanding is that caffeine is often a factor in fibroids and cystic issues. Just a thought. 🙂 Muchas besas.

  4. Elise Gillette on May 19, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    I really love this post! Chickweed is an all time favorite of mine, the only concern i have is that innocent readers might make the common mistake of harvesting chickweeds poisonous look-alike Scarlet Pimpernel. When it bloom it is easy to identify both based on Chickweeds white flowers vs. Scarlets Orange flowers with purple centers, but when not in bloom they have a nearly identical leaf pattern/structure and look dangerously similar. Just be careful and know your plants.

  5. […] I’ve discussed before, sometimes I think my neighbors must hate me for harboring a yard of unwanted pests and dingy […]

  6. […] Whether you have snow on the ground or not, now is the time to start looking for Sister Chickweed hiding the in shaded moist areas of your yard!  I’ve been keeping a pot of the sweet greens blooming in my window for constant pruning and adding to salads.  Revisit my profile of Chickweed here. […]

  7. Let's Talk About Violet | Pixie's Pocket on February 21, 2014 at 9:27 am

    […] little starsister Chickweed has been absolutely prolific along my fence row! Y’all remember Chickweed? She has been a fresh burst in my salads, stewing in my vinegar, and soaking in my vodka to make a […]

  8. […] So, first off, there’s this dark green patchwork all over my yard, with lacy leaves and delicate flowers that range from purple to light violet to a rich blue. These guys are shallow-rooting, and their rose-like clusters of leaves remind me of succulent plants. I know just from seeing how prolific and hardy they are that they are probably a hated weed! And you know how I just love to harbor hated weeds. […]

  9. […]  Dandelion is a blood cleanser, high in iron, and bitter but tasty from root to flower.  Chickweed is a great spring green to eat, and it helps heal cysts and skin issues. Violet leaves, those […]

  10. Alecia @ Chicken Scratch NY on January 2, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    This is perfect timing for me, my husband has horrible cystic acne and the holiday stress seems to make it so much worse. Poor guy has a few giant sores at the moment. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for some chickweed when the snow disappears again. He’s used to me doing strange things so rubbing him with some small green plants shouldn’t surprise him at all!

    • Amber Shehan on January 5, 2015 at 8:04 am

      Oh, Alecia, I hope that helps! Add some to witch hazel and let it infuse for a week, then use that to help him with the breakouts. Those can be terrible. Plantain is a good friend for that, too! Yeah, mine’s used to me doing odd plant things to him, too. *grin*

  11. Recipe Box: Wild Greens Pesto - Pixie's Pocket on February 8, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    […] had a mix of stinging nettles, bittercress, wooly lamb’s ear, baby spinach, kale, chickweed, and carrot […]

  12. Things I Love: Lazy Christmas ~ Pixie's Pocket on January 5, 2016 at 11:41 am

    […] care about the other dogs and preferred just to amble about with us while I took pictures of chickweed and such. Afterwards, we rewarded ourselves with a pint at Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company in […]

  13. Marc & Mindy on February 5, 2016 at 9:32 am

    What a beautiful stand of chickweed! Hard to find a suitable patch here in Boston! Nice article, and we definitely agree on the value of that inconspicuous little plant!

    • Amber Shehan on February 5, 2016 at 9:55 am

      Thanks for commenting, Marc & Mindy! I’m pleased to meet you – I like your blog and will try to get a chance to listen to the podcast later. 🙂

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