Tuesday, 15 January 2013

In the Hedgerow - Chickweed

Chickweed
(stellaria media)

A sprawling annual plant with soft green leaves and tiny star like white flowers. The flowers have five petals notched so deeply that they appear to be ten. The pointed oval leaves grow opposite each other on alternate sides of the round stem, with side stems branching from the angles of the leaves. A line of thin hairs grows up one side of the stem.

Watch out though as it does grow like a wild thing and can take over your garden!

Habitat
Gardens, hedgebanks and wasteground

Parts used
Above ground parts, gathered when vibrant and green

Chickweed is an excellent salad plant, especially in late winter and early spring. It is high in vitamins and minerals. Also use in soup as you would spinach.

Medicinally
Chickweed bath for itchy skin, shingles, rheumatism, rashes
Chickweed bath vinegar for itchy skin, shingles, rheumatism, rashes
Chickweed flower essence to help release the past and focus on the present moment
It can also be used as an emergency remedy - pull up a handful and place directly onto the affected part, if you have more time crush it with a mortar and pestle into a poultice. This is very cooling and soothing for bites or sunburn.

Chickweed bath
Put a few handfuls of fresh chickweed in a muslin bag (or a sock) and hang it under the hot tap as you fill your bath.

Chickweed bath vinegar
Blend chickweed in a blender with enough cider vinegar to mix, strain and bottle. Add a couple of tablespoons to bath water. (Its also nice as a salad dressing!).

Magical uses
Fidelity and love



Tansy

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Sources:
Hedgerow Medicine by Julie & Matthew Seal
Edible plants by Pamela Michaels
Cunninghams encyclopedia of magical herbs

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