MEET THE HERB
Many moons ago, when I wrote about the humble common spurge, I remarked about how some of the most unassuming and common plants can have such a positive impact on our health. When something is common it is often thought to be of less value. I do not agree with this. I believe its availability is a hint from the divine forces in the universe as to the extent it is needed, even if the need is not yet recognised.
As I wrote in a previous blog, nettles and cleavers also grow in abundance. They are two of the first plants to come up in spring, after surviving the natural depravation of winter. And these two plants are found, more often than not, growing together. This is because they are vital spring tonic herbs. Nettles cleanse the blood and provide a store of vital nutrients. Cleavers cleanse the lymphatic system. That these two plants are found growing together reflects the interdependence of the two systems they affect within the body. Their abundance reflects the extent of our need.
Chickweed is a low growing plant that is prolific, yet often getting overlooked. It grows in in fields, gardens, country lanes, between flagstones and pathways, and in waste places. Like nettles, it prefers rich soil, but can survive in most soils. Like nettles, Chickweed contains vitamin C, and its availability throughout the year makes it a valuable addition as a food supply, both in salads and as a pot herb.
Chickweed, also known as satin and star flower, is governed by the water element, and so brings that elements attributes to hot conditions. Specifically herbalists apply in dry, inflamed and itchy skin conditions where its cool and moist nature are well suited. Chickweed has both an internal and external application in such conditions. I stock a simple Chickweed cream for the short term symptomatic relief of such maladies, but any chronic skin condition needs further investigation and a more systemic approach is usually required.
Chickweed is plump, cool, succulent and juicy. It imparts these attributes where it is applied. It is also slightly saline (like marshmallow). Salt is hydroscopic, meaning it attracts water. I have used this principle also found in marshmallow (which also contains large quantities of plant mucilage) to resolve a hot and dry bowel condition.
One of the signatures of Chickweed is evident when you hold the stem between the fingers of both hands and pull. The breaking of the stem reveals an inner core that suggests the sinews of the body. In that sense, it has application where these are dry and shrinking. Chickweed will bring the qualities necessary to regain proper function. I achieved similar results using small amounts of Sage tincture, albeit this herb is subject to different forces and properties.
Like most herbs, Chickweed has multiple uses and areas of influence in the body, but it should take pride of place in any natural first aid cabinet, in the form or a cream or ointment, for the relief of inflamed, itchy and dried skin conditions where a cooling remedy is best employed.