Spring is HAPPENING!!!! The proof is in the chickweed. Chickweed is yes, my least favorite word, a weed that Mama sends our way in the beginning of spring. It is a fabulous treat for us. It’s such a great plant and grows around the worls in all temperate regions. Somesay that it follows mankind and grows where man grows. It usually starts blooming in March and grows until the hottest of the Summer months.
Chickweed is unfortunately, one of the great herbs that have lost favor in some of the herbal world, simply because it grows everywhere. It’s hard to make money on a plant the literally grows all over your yard or sidewalk. Personally, I love a freebie and a freebie that is so incrediably good for you makes it all so much better. Chickweed can be harvested from a poison free yard and eaten raw in salads or tossed into stirfry or a big pot of greens. Think of it as a pot herb. Anything that can take spinach will taste great with chickweed.
Why do I eat it? Well it’s extrememely high in Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Silicon and Zinc. It’s above average in Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, and Vitamin A. Oh and did I mention that it’s free??? As a country, we will pay high prices for food and let it rot in the fridge. This is equivalant in good for you healthy vitamins as spinach or Swiss Chard. I love both of those greens as well, but like I mentioned in another post, there is something about gathering and eating a food that nature has grown for you from her seed as part of her plan. I think it brings us all closer to the planet and closer together.
Medicinally, chickweed has a history as a poultice to pull out infections and abcesses. It’s great applied externally to help in inflammations, also. A tea made from the fresh or dried plant is often used to wash away the mucus of Pink Eye or to ease the pain of a sty. This is probably because of the saponins of the plant. Saponins are emulsifying parts of the plant that cause foaming up. They’re the soaps that help wash the bad away. Chickweed also has a mild diuretic and expectorant quality that make it a great addition to a cold and flu formula.
I gather my plants until about mid June. It seems East Tennessee starts to get crazy hot about then and the plants just don’t grow as much as they do in the Spring. I eat all that I can fresh and dry a pound or so for use over the year. It’s such a mild grassy flavored plant that it really blends with almost any flavor. I think the kids really like to pick this one. It comes up so easily and they can wash it quickly. I use the flower and the stems but not the root, because they have almost no root.
Enjoy your Spring and all the gifts Mama Nature is sending your way!