During spring, we use a lot of herbs traditionally as cleansing plants. Most of these herbs are weeds, and they are natural cleansers and healers for our bodies. These herbs grow wild around our houses and probably around the neighborhood.
Some of these herbs include dandelion, violet, plantain, chickweed, and more. In this piece, we shall be discussing chickweed.
What is Chickweed?
Chickweed is a wild edible green leafy plant that grows in temperate locations all over the world. It is a very common weed you can find in partially shaded places that are moist.
Chickweed is a spring-cleansing herb that is sweet and nourishing. You can use chickweed for herbal purposes because of its medicinal functions.
It has smooth stems and leaves with a little flower at the top. In science, the name of chickweed is Stellaria media. Chickweed derived the name stellar from its star-like look.
Chickweed is an excellent medicinal plant that you can use to remedy many things. The following are some of the medicinal functions that chickweed performs.
- Chickweed is a diuretic, and it helps cleanse our kidneys in a gentle way
- You can use it traditionally to curb appetite
- It is good in healing body tissues
- It is an important herb that heals our skin
- It is an excellent herb for healing digestive tracts, especially if you have an ulcer.
A prime place to find chickweed is cow pastures because chickweed loves to grow out of manure. If you have a garden or lawn and you’ve tilled in some manure, you’ll find chickweed springing up everywhere.
One of the easiest ways to identify chickweed is by looking closely at its stem. This is a key feature. Even though the stem is smooth, there’s a line of tiny white hairs if you look closely. The hairs travel up just one side of the stem and then switch to the other side right at the top.
The chickweed flower looks like a star. If you look at it, it seems as though it has ten petals, but what you see is five deeply divided petals.
How to Collect Chickweed
Before collecting chickweed, you need to differentiate it from other plants. As much as chickweed grows among herbs, it grows among poisonous plants.
Poisonous plants like spurge and scarlet pimpernel look very much like chickweed. So, it is vital to differentiate chickweed properly from a toxic plant.
How to Differentiate Chickweed from Poisonous Plants
There are two ways you can differentiate chickweed from toxic plants. You either do it yourself, or you request to go on a foraging trip with a local expert. But if you want to do it yourself, follow the procedure below.
- Chickweed has leaf stems. The main stem connects to the leaf stems that then give way to the leaves. While on poisonous plants like scarlet pimpernel, there are no leaf stems, and the leaves connect directly to the stem.
- If you look at chickweed closely, you’ll see little white hairs running up the stem. In contrast, the scarlet pimpernel has a smooth stem that is without hairs.
- If you gently break the chickweed stem, you’ll see a thin thread-like material that runs through the stem. But when you break the stem of a scarlet pimpernel, there is no thread-like material.
The best time to harvest chickweed is on spring mornings when there is no sun because sunlight causes it to wilt quickly. It is advisable to collect chickweed after rain because that is when it is fresh and sweet.
There may be areas where chemical sprays have been contaminated, and you must avoid collecting chickweed from these areas. Such chickweed includes chickweed growing by the roadside, chickweed growing along railways, and chickweed that grows near your trash can.
The chickweed you collect from contaminated areas will likely have a bad taste and may not be healthy for consumption. You can contact your local Native Plant Society to point you to places where you can find edible chickweed. Below are the procedures for collecting chickweed.
- Separate chickweed from other plants – Chickweed grows next to other plants, and sometimes it can mix up with the plants. In this case, you need to pack the chickweed in a bunch and comb through them. Combing through the bunch saves your time, and you can easily separate the plants from chickweeds.
How to Store and Use Chickweed
Chickweed is usually fresh after harvesting but if you intend to store it, follow this procedure.
- Pack the chickweed plants in small separate bunches
- Tie the stalk of each bunch together with a string or band
- Let the bunches dry at room temperature
- Collect the dry leaves of the chickweed from their stems
- Store the dry leaves you extract in a container
Using Fresh Chickweed Tea to Prepare Tea
You can use fresh chickweed leaves by following the steps below
- Extract the fresh leaves of the chickweed
- Pour at least two tablespoons of fresh chickweed into a cup of hot water
- Leave the mixture to sit for at least five minutes
- Stir and enjoy
Using dry chickweed leaves to brew tea
- You can use dry chickweed leaves by following these steps below
- Pour at least two tablespoons of dry chickweed leaves in a cup of hot water
- Leave it to brew for at least fifteen minutes
- Stir and enjoy
Other Applications of Chickweed
You can traditionally harvest chickweed as a vegetable and use it with your salads and sandwiches. Chickweed has earned its spot in the hearts of many herbalists and self-healers.
Most people tend to enjoy Chickweed as a tea in the springtime because it helps cleanse the blood.
Chickweed is excellent for the eyes because it likes to cool and moisten. It helps with the discomfort of irritations, eye redness, and dryness. It also helps with other eye conditions.
Chickweed is a herb that has many medicinal properties. It can remedy a lot of ailments and improve some conditions in the body. Also, chickweed tea can remedy skin problems when you add it to your bathwater.
Therefore, if you’re in the habit of getting rid of chickweed from around your home, garden, or lawn, you’ve to stop. Thank you so much for time to read this article. If you some questions, please leave your comment below, and I’ll be more than happy to write back to you.