When I see the chickweed emerge from the earth, I know spring is here.
Gazing on this tiny plant with petite flowers, I am reminded that this was the very first herb I learned about.
I came to herbalism with no prior herbal background or any desire to put my hands in the earth! I came to herbalism due to a health crisis. I’m a city chick and was a bit of a diva back then. I struggled with remembering how to identify it in the wild and what it was good for.
This holistic lifestyle change was all so new to me. I didn’t understand that herbalism was about building personal relationships with plants. So, I embraced chickweed as an herb dabbler.
Reading on the internet that this was “good for” obesity, I gave it a try. At that point in my life I was overweight and unhappy about it. I felt lost and discouraged that nothing I tried worked. Chickweed is natural so it had to work. I ordered some chickweed powder and made a tea.
I can’t say for certain that chickweed does anything to combat obesity as I didn’t follow the protocol with herbal work. I didn’t keep a journal, I didn’t change other factors in my life to support the herb’s work, and I wasn’t consistent in working with it. I share this here as so many people struggle with weight issues and are lost and looking for a quick fix. It’s easy to believe claims because we want relief so desperately.
Chickweed does share common chemical constituents with other herbs that I would suggest in supporting weight loss. Those would be herbs in the bitter and cholagogue category. One thing that is different is that chickweed is moistening while bitters and cholagogues are drying.
While it can support the liver and be a part of a lifestyle change to lose weight, I feel chickweed is best left to helping in other areas of wellness.
Sharing about chickweed has inspired me to go harvest some from my backyard- I’ve got LOTS! And in the spirit of Spring’s message of birth and beginnings, reconnect with this old friend. It’s been awhile since I’ve sat and listened to its wisdom.
Chickweed, Stellaria media
Energetics: Moistening, Cooling, Diffusive
Rosemary Gladstar classifies it as a nutritive herb that supports the nervous system.
When I think of chickweed, I think skin. Most of what is shared about this herb pertains to soothing the skin and supporting nutritional gaps. It has been used topically to soothe irritated skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. You can make a decoction and add it to a bath if affected area is larger.
Due to the moistening and cooling energy of chickweed, it can help with coughs, hoarseness, and bronchitis.
It can also be used internally to detox the liver, clear toxins, and alleviate gout and joint stiffness.
Chickweed is highly nutritive and can be used as a daily tea for nutritional support. It is one of the first plants to show in the spring for the animals to replenish their depleted systems after winter.
We can enjoy eating chickweed too. You can chop it up and enjoy it in salads.
- Chickweed is considered safe, but some people have an allergic response, especially if you are allergic to daisies.
- To be on the safe side, don’t use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
If you’d like to work with chickweed this month, I suggest you have a dedicated journal to record your experiences.
Chickweed can be used as a tea, tincture, poultice, compress, cream or infused oil.
To make experimenting simple for those just beginning, I recommend starting with a tea, poultice or infused oil, depending on what your need is.
The tea is taken internally and can be used for inflammatory conditions, coughs, and nutritional support.
Dose: 1 teaspoon dried herb or 1 -2 tablespoon fresh herb to 8 ounces of spring water. Boil the water first. Never boil the herb in the water, you will lose some of the plant medicine. Remove from heat and place the herb in the water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes.
A poultice can be made of the fresh plant by pounding them in a mortar & pestle. You can add the freshly muddled herbs directly to the skin. Cheesecloth is good for adding in the freshly muddled herb. Tie the cheesecloth up and apply to the skin help with rashes, eczema, psoriasis, and hot skin conditions.
An infused oil can be made by placing fresh leaves into the oil of your choice. I like sesame oil or coconut oil. Allow the leaves to meld with the oil for a few days. Store it away from sunlight while its melding. When ready to use, strain the leaves out and apply the oil to affected skin. This is good for treating dry skin conditions, rashes and minor irritations.
Disclaimer: The recommendations in this blog are not intended as a substitute for medical advice or treatment of a medical condition. Please consult a medical professional for any health issues. Experimenting with the herbs mentioned in this blog are at your own risk.
- The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies, The Healing Power of Plant Medicine. Nicole Apelian, Ph.D and Claude Davis.
- Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal, A Guide to Living Life with Energy, Health, and Vitality. Rosemary Gladstar.