I was thinking about what new herb I should write about this morning when I gazed out on my balcony and saw the beautiful covering of chickweed in all my pots. Chickweed may seem like an annoying weed since it is difficult to get rid of, but it is actually an amazing medicinal herb.
Imagine my surprise when I checked out my go-to herbal books and it was not mentioned! Maybe that is because it grows wherever humans settle and is so widespread that it tends to be ignored. This is one of the first herbs I learned about in school and definitely the first one I ever used. It is included in the Plants For A Future information as well.
Throughout history Chickweed or Stellaria media has been used for eye washes as well as rheumatism and skin complaints such as eczema. Chickweed also helps emulsify fat cells and remove them from the body. So while it is not a specific for weight loss, it can be used in conjunction with healthy eating plans.
One caution! Chickweed in high amounts can cause nausea and vomiting as well as diarrhea. The plant will absorb toxins from the soil so if you use any sort of plant food or pesticide, don’t eat the chickweed.
As for the medicinal uses of chickweed, it has an amazing effect on skin eruptions and eczema. Even when other treatments have failed, chickweed can be beneficial in reducing inflammation and removing redness.
My first use of chickweed was in a wash for eczema. I steeped a large handful of chickweed in 1 ½ cups of boiled water overnight. I then applied it to the affected area. It cleared it up nicely.
You can place chickweed in a clean bottle with some carrier oil such as almond or olive for a week or so, strain the oil and then apply it to the affected area. Chickweed can also be made into a poultice and placed on the affected area.
Chickweed can be added to a bath to ease inflammation of skin and hemorrhoids. It speeds healing of cuts and wounds, and can even be used to draw out splinters or the stingers of insects.
If you have skin eruptions on your face, the chickweed wash above will be an excellent rinse. Simply splash it on and rinse it with clear water. For persistent spots dab on some wash with a cotton ball and let it dry.
One of the actions of chickweed is as a refrigerant. It cools inflammation of the digestive tract and respiratory system making it effective for the treatment of sore throat. The mucilage contained in chickweed helps coat the throat.
Chickweed is both a nutritious herb and a healing one. The next time you are in your garden tearing out handfuls, you just may want to take it inside and add it to a salad or a bath.