Buy dried yellowroot and other wild herbs at Payne Mountain Farms.
Chickweed (stellaria media) is a small, spreading plant that helps eczema and other skin problems (especially boils). It is used to treat insect bites, stings, burns, rheumatic conditions, urinary infections, indigestion, constipation, and wounds. Chickweed is also known as Star Lady and Mouse Ear.
Fresh chickweed makes a cooling poultice for boils, abscesses, splinters, and infected sores. As the poultice dries, it pulls out poisons and toxins. Chickweed has astringent properties and is a good remedy for many skin conditions when added to creams and ointments. Use on wounds, irritated skin, rash, acne, eczema, bedsores, and painful joints as needed.
Chickweed may be taken in tea form or added to green drinks. Chickweed is a great tonic when used for cleansing the system. It has diuretic properties and was once used in the treatment of obesity. The tea also makes a good remedy for stubborn urinary tract infections (drink several cups daily for a month).
Chickweed is soothing and helps ease joint pain. It does all this and more with no known side effects.
Chickweed is a nourishing plant that tastes a little like spinach. To prepare chickweed as a vegetable, pick the tender plants (with flowers and seed pods) and soak in strongly salted water for one or two hours. Drain, wash, and cook in a small amount of simmering water for ten to fifteen minutes. Drain and press out the water. Cook again with a tablespoon of butter and add salt and pepper to taste. Chickweed is also eaten raw in salads. Remember that old chickweed is mostly stalk and not nearly as appetizing as the tender new plants. Gather fresh chickweed in springtime for best flavor and texture.
Chickweed is often fed to chickens as a spring tonic. Caged chickens (and other birds) love the tender plant and free-range chickens will seek it out if given the opportunity. All parts of the chickweed plant contain high levels of flavonoids, vitamins, and minerals.
Chickweed is native to Europe, but is now found growing all across the United States. In Union County, it is especially abundant around old home places and farm yards. Chickweed is usually considered a common weed. The eight inch tall, trailing plant grows all year long in North Georgia and can become a pest in the garden. The flowers are small and star shaped. They have five petals that are notched so deeply that they appear to be ten. Under a magnifying glass, the stems have a line of fine hairs that run up the stem on one side only, then change to the other side at the next pair of leaves. Chickweed resembles a succulent with smooth, teardrop shaped leaves. Another identifying feature is that the plant “sleeps” at night. Every night the leaves fold over the tender shoots (then open back up come mid-morning).
Harvest chickweed with ordinary sewing scissors. Cutting chickweed plants is like clipping hair – collect leaves, flowers, and stems for use in the kitchen and in herbal remedies. Chickweed may be used fresh or dried.