A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.
The plant known as the chickweed is a very fragile appearing herb; as a plant it is actually a very lusty annual plant characterized by the presence of matted to straight green stems growing in profusion over vast areas of land. The chickweed is an extraordinarily hardy herb, and the normal growing starts during the fall season, it is very capable of enduring harsh sleet and severe snowstorms during the winter months, and has been found to be growing even in the far northern areas of the continent, the plant is so hardy that it has been known to be resistant to the majority of weed killers used in agriculture. The production of seeds is usually over by the spring, even though the plant itself is known to begin blooming even when the ground is still covered by snow. The strength and vigor of this herb is such that flowers are given of in most areas of the country every single month of the year, and the chickweed is an abundantly fruitful plant, in all areas in which it grows. The plant is characterized by the presence of oval lower and median leaves and the entire plant reaches a foot high, with matted or trailing stems. The stem is also thinner and is highly variable in the morphology of the upper leaves born erect. A related plant species, called the star flower or the great chickweed, spp. S. pubera, is another striking plant and is characterized by the presence of bright white blooms, which are about half an inch across in breath. The flowers of this plant have very deeply notched petals, due to this only five petals on the flower may actually seem like ten in number. The chickweed flowers usually unfurl fully in direct and brilliant sun, though in general they gather and fold themselves together during the night and on days when the weather is cloudy or fog laden.
Aerial parts, root.
Used as an herbal ointment or poultice, or in the form of a cream or even straight as herbal juice, the chickweed herb is generally used in the treatment of external disorders such as skin irritations - in any form, the herb is mainly used as a topical remedy. When all other herbal remedies have failed such as during extreme itchiness in the skin, the remedies made from the chickweed can easily help in soothing and alleviating the affected skin. External disorders such as eczema, problems like varicose veins, and disorders such as nettle rash - called urticaria are treated using the herbal remedies made from the chickweed. In cases of inflammation affected the body, patients can benefit by washing themselves or taking baths using bathwater fortified with chickweed herbal infusion made from the fresh or the dried plant. In these cases, the chickweeds emollient properties and strong anti-inflammatory effects will lead to improvements. Such treatments are particularly beneficial to beat back problems such as rheumatic joints; the treatment with the infusion will also promote the repair of tissues and increase regeneration of tissues in the body. Many types of chest ailments can also be treated by consuming concoctions made from the chickweed herb. Digestion is also aided by taking remedies made from the chickweed especially when this is done in small quantities or at minimal doses over a long period of time.
As a detoxification agent and a blood purifying herb, the remedies made from the chickweed plant are equal to other herbs such as the root of the burdock in its blood cleansing abilities. In all emergency situations, especially when the possibility or the threat of any type of blood poisoning or tetanus exist due to the presence of a chemical dye or from dirt entering the bloodstream - the following procedures must be followed. To draw out as much of the poison as possible from the affected area, prepare an herbal poultice and apply this directly on to the affected area of the body for fast detoxification. The herbal poultice should be prepared by grinding into a smooth paste or an even consistency, a tbsp. each of some powdered ginger roots, some capsicum and the seaweed kelp, to this mixture add just a little honey / some wheat germ oil - these must be mixed in equal parts for maximum effect. The prepared poultice or paste can then be spread on the affected area of the skin using clean surgical gauze; this herbal application must be thinly applied over the whole area and left on the skin for some time. If it is needed, the affected area of the skin can be covered up and left for up to seven hours before it is changed again, this treatment must be repeated from time to time till the affected area is healed and the detoxification is completed. During this process of topical treatment using the poultice, a number of capsules of the chickweed, usually six at a time or a herbal chickweed tea taken two cups at a time can be drunk, the tea can be prepared by boiling two cups water to which two tbsp. of the dried herb has been added, this solution must be steeped for twenty minutes and then strained carefully before it is drunk. The same treatment can also be very successful in problems such as carbuncles, various types of external boils, all types of venereal diseases, in the treatment of herpes sores, to treat swelling in the testicles and the inflamed breasts of affected women.
In other disorders such as the symptomatic treatment of the miseries induced by chronic itching and severe rashes in the body - the chickweed based remedies have also been shown to be of great value. While the dried powdered herb can be used to make a salve, the best option if available is to prepare a salve using only the fresh chickweed. To prepare this remedy, about one to a half cup of the coarsely cut fresh chickweed herb, or if unavailable about half a cup of the liquid chlorophyll content equivalent to one cup powdered chickweed can be used, to this must be added two cups of pure grade virgin olive oil and finally six tbsp. of beeswax. The preparation can begin by warming in a pan on top of the stove which is on medium heat - the oil and the beeswax gradually. Following the warming of the oil and the beeswax, mix all the ingredients in a heavy cast iron skillet, if this is not available, a small heavy roast pan can also be used instead, the roast pan or the skillet containing the ingredients must be place in an oven set to warm for about two hours to allow blending of the constituents. The result of this herbal combination can then be strained using a fine wire strainer, this straining must be carried out even if the mixture is still hot, once the straining is completed the prepared remedy can be pour into air tight small clean jars and stored for use whenever needed.
Habitat and cultivation
The chickweed is now found through much of the world, growing as a wild weed. Though originally it is a native species of Europe and Asia. Seen as a troublesome and hardy weed, the chickweed herb grows very easily in any open areas and in many waste spaces. Summer is the usual season for the harvesting of this herb - harvested parts of the herb are used in the preparation of a wide array of herbal medications.
The general use of the chickweed as a herbal remedy nowadays is as an herbal topical cream, though it was originally used as an internal herbal tea, the herbal cream is usually applied over the affected area liberally and this treatment is generally repeated several times every day during the treatment of all kinds of external rashes and skin inflammations, including disorders such as eczema, the herbal topical treatment helps in alleviating the intense itching and inflammation in affected skin. Dosage is about 1 - 5 ml daily if the herb is taken in the form of an herbal tincture.
Side effects and cautions
No side effects with chickweed have been reported.
How it works in the body
The saponin content of the herb is believed to be the reason that internal drinks of the herbal remedy succeed in relieving the intense itch in the skin of affected patients. The herbal remedies based on the chickweed are used for all types of skin problems which come about as hot and itchy sensations - the soothing qualities of the herb are believed to help in the quick relief from local inflammation and reactions in the skin due to their cooling effects. The ability to reduce scarring is another notable ability of the chickweed which is utilized in many herbal medications. All of the chemicals present in the chickweed are also believed to be extremely beneficial for arthritic conditions and they are conjecture to act in a concerted manner when relieving external problems in the affected areas of the skin. A soothing and healing quality is generally ascribed to the plant as a whole and this property is valued in the preparation of many herbal remedies. The irritated digestive tract can also be treated using the chickweed herb, and when taken in small amounts, the soothing and healing powers of the herb are believed to be of particular importance as they enable quick relief from pain in the digestive system.
Aromatic and diuretic marinade
Pour the boiling water onto the chopped chickweed. Thinly slice the celery and blanch separately. Add the blanched celery, the vinegar and the dill seeds. Sterilize or refrigerate. Consume within 1 month as a garnish on chickpeas or pate, or in a salad.