"...and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;” Gen. 3:18
There are many wonderful “weeds” that we can find easily in most yards, gardens, fields or roadsides that are actually very helpful, nutritious plants. A few of our family favorites are, wild violet, dandelion, horse radish, mullein, plantain and chickweed.
We would like to cover the above herbs in the blogs to come, for now we shall focus on chickweed because it thrives in the winter.
Chickweed is the most common of plants growing in all corners of the world. It is a lovely green plant which hugs the ground and has many small, heart shaped leaves.
Chickweed grows freely here in Tennessee all through winter and into early spring when the tiny white star flowers appear. Some folks think of this invasive weed as a real bother so they spend lots of energy pulling it up just to replace it with another plant which may be no more nutritious or valuable than the chickweed! (We use to do the same thing until we found out how good it was!)
Chickweed is an edible herb. When my daughters were very young they discovered chickweed while they played hard in our woods. Out behind our house, they would imagine being dainty English ladies drinking “tea” (spring water) with their pinkies poked up in the air or they were energetic Indians, whooping and running through the woods, they always made chickweed an important part of their play. When those little ladies and Indians got hungry what did they eat ? The girls would collect chickweed along with a few wild onions, wash the wild crafted herbs in the nearby spring and serve it up on cherry bark “plates”. Yum! I was amazed and grateful that they had chosen such a healthy ‘play food ‘ . Soon our whole family was enjoying this tasty free treat in our salads.
It is such a wonderful surprise that in the dead of winter you can find the lively, bright green plant growing there just waiting to serve you in food or medicine.
Chickweed can be used like spinach, some folks put it in their green drinks. You can make a nice tea with it. ( You may want to add peppermint or your favorite tea and honey to taste.) One of my favorite ways to use this versatile weed is by making a salve with it.
Although chickweed is a very safe and mild herb, it’s importance is great with many health benefits. Chickweed is rich in Vitamin C and minerals especially calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc. It is good for you inside and out. Teas can be made with chickweed which could be used as a wash to help acne.
The North American Chippewa and Iroquois Indians use it as an eyewash, and as we already mentioned the little ladies and Indians of the West woods, ate their chickweed.
Chickweed is very good for skin diseases such as eczema, it is both soothing and healing on psoriasis, rashes and sores. Chickweed has been used for sores in the mouth and throat. This wonder working weed is also good for burns and works at drawing out boils and splinters.
Chickweed helps any form of internal inflammation. It is used for lung conditions and great for coughs and colds. It is a blood purifier and absorbs toxins from the bowls. It dissolves plaque in the blood vessels and more. Now that’s what I call a wonder weed!
Our family counts it a real blessing to have chickweed come up all over our gardens and fields without our sowing, planting or cultivating, free for our using for our food and health!