Staying on the topic of common weeds having uses other than irritating most home owners, I thought I’d share with you the little chickweed. It’s best gathered in the spring, but it is available all year.
Found: Easily found just about anywhere, in particular moist locations. Of course it’s also located in many lawns and gardens, and not just in the U.S. It’s found in many countries and is one of the most common of herbs.
Identifying: Chickweed can get rather long (6 – 15″), with a trailing stem with many branches. This particular genus (there are about 13 species of chickweed) contains tiny hairs that run up only one side of the stem. When the hairs reach a pair of leaves, the hairs change to the opposite side. Little white star-shaped flowers bloom singly in the upper leaves’ axils. Chickweed flowers from March to late autumn.
Parts Used: The whole arial part of the plant, dried or fresh.
Medicinal Use: Great externally as a salve or poultice for cuts and wounds, itching and irritation. Also for eczema and psoriasis relief. Taken internally as tea or tincture, a good remedy for rheumatism. Got a touch of the scurvy? Chickweed juice has been used with good results. As a tea, it’s also good for coughs and hoarseness. Has also been said to cure obesity.
Preparation: Chickweed can be drunk as a tea (2 tsp. dried herb infused in boiling hot water for 5 minutes); or as a tincture (10 – 60 drops). It also makes a healthy addition to salads or to green smoothies.
Allergic Reactions/Warnings: None known.
Note: These posts are not meant to be a medical guide but an overview. Consulting an herbal specialist is always recommended.