Photo of Chickweed by Wildlife Trust
by Ana Victoria Salcido-Cobbe, La Tierra Buena
Chickweed is a low-growing, succulent plant that has a preference for cool, shady places. It is abundant in cool weather, especially the time in-between Winter and Spring (now!) It’s likely that it’s growing as a “weed” somewhere in your garden.
Chickweed is cooling and moistening, making it wonderful for cooling down “hot” conditions such as inflammation, itchy and/or irritated conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, hemorrhoids, bug bites, minor burns, etc.
Reach for this friend as a fresh poultice to soothe conjunctivitis (pink eye), or swollen, itchy eyes. Stare at a screen all day? Try placing a rag soaked in chickweed and chamomile tea over your eyes for a few moments as you relax.
This plant contains a rich source of saponins, which can emulsify cell membranes, thus increasing their permeability, allowing cells to assimilate minerals and nutrients more readily. This means nutrition becomes more bio-available to you – great news! Saponins also dissolve matter such as mucus and excess fat cells. This is why you may have heard some folks call chickweed “the herbal diet pill.” It is also a mild diuretic, keep that in mind and stay hydrated!
Chickweed is considered a choice wild edible that is delicious by itself, or in pestos, salads, sandwiches, and is a source of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Raw, cooked, in tea, tincture, salve or oil – Chickweed is a good friend to know!
Ready to get out and harvest some? Here are a few key clues to look for:
- A singular line of hair grows along the stem, and alternates between leaf sets
- If it’s in flower, look for the heart-shaped white flowers with five petals (which actually look like 10!)
- The inner stem of chickweed is elastic, so if you gently pull the stem apart, the outer sheath will separate while the inner part will stretch.
What are your favorite things about Chickweed? Comment below!
This information is for informational purposes only and should not be misconstrued as medical advice. Always talk to your healthcare provider before trying something new, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking medications, or are an elder.