Sunday, October 24, 2010
The Bountiful Benefits of Chickweed
Chickweed is a yummy, refreshing plant with many health benefits; it grows wild in temperate and north Arctic regions, and originates from Europe...it grows wonderfully wild in Bixby, Oklahoma where my husband, Joe, and I live. However, many people consider Chickweed a "weed" that is an eyesore and must be "killed" I think this is absolutely crazy (same goes for the medicinal Dandelion). I understand wanting to have an aesthetically pleasing part of your yard for grass and other desired plants, but isn't it nice to embrace what naturally grows on you property...especially if it is edible, has health benefits, and is tasty?! I work at Akin's Natural Foods Market and one day I saw a lady come in to purchase Chickweed in a supplement form and I told her that Chickweed grows wild in this area and that my husband and I eat it on salads and in sandwiches and that it tastes kind of like spinach; I also told her that you can make a tea out of the fresh Chickweed...she then looked at me with a confused look on her face and walked off. I thought that was a little odd and I thought "Oh well, at least she is giving it a try and feels that she needs it for some health benefit". She probably wanted to use the Chickweed to help her lose weight, since Chickweed stimulates our metabolism and makes our bodies burn more fat! It also stimulates the digestive system and can help you if you are constipated.
My husband, Joe, picking some Chickweed with me in our backyard.
Hopefully I have sparked your curiosity...here are some health benefits of Chickweed:
Chickweed is a demulcent, a vulnerary, an alterative, a carminative, and an emollient. It is a useful remedy for respiratory infections, digestive issues, arthritis, and an array of skin problems - chickweed is even used as a weight-loss herb.
Wonderful raw, chickweed is a rich source of nutrients, slippery, soothing saponins, protein, fiber, and even essential fatty acids. This herb is a direct source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a derivative fatty acid of omega-6 fatty acid, which is rarely found in food sources.
Chickweed greens are a powerful source of minerals, with high amounts of magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, aluminum, silicon, and zinc. It also boasts moderate amounts of calcium, chlorophyll, potassium, chromium, B vitamins, vitamin A,C, and fiber. The saponin content of chickweed thins cell membranes, increasing the body's ability to absorb nutrients. Saponins work as emulsifiers in the body, picking up useful vitamins and minerals, while also helping to dissolve harmful plaque build-up in arteries, fatty material, and toxins, thereby working to cleanse and rejuvenate the body while at the same time nourishing. Chickweed is a positive herb for weight loss as it helps the body dissolve and rid itself of excess fat cells.
The beneficial chickweed properties can be utilized simply from ingesting the leaves. Eat the fresh greens to strengthen and heal the glandular system, relieving cysts, thyroid problems, and ovarian cancer and also for all respiratory and digestive illnesses. Chickweed cools and soothes, reducing inflammation and healing tissue, whether taken as a whole food, used externally as a poultice, or made into a tea or tincture.
For painful joints, a strong chickweed infusion can also be added to a bath. Chickweed baths will relieve arthritis, a stiff neck, joints, and back. This is also an effective treatment for eczema or psoriasis. For serious cases, soak twice a day.
Here is my darling husband, Joe, eating some chickweed. I put some on my ham sandwich today and it transformed it from dull to delicious!
If you don't have chickweed growing in your area, you might want to check out these Etsy shops who are selling chickweed and therapeutic creations using chickweed!
Chickweed - 1 Pound c/s Stellaria media by Spirit Herbs.
"Chickweed Tincture (1 oz bottle) green nourishment for city dwellers" by Good 4 You.
"CHICKWEED cold process SOAP" by Lydia's Needle.
"Chickweed Herbal Infused Oil 30ml" by Naturally Up North.