This apparently feeble member of the pink group is actually a lusty annual with matted to upright green stems that take over many areas. Commencing its growth in the fall, it vigorously thrives through the sleet and snowstorms of winter, even in the far north, survives most weed killers, beginning to bloom while the snow is often still on the ground, and many times it finishes its seed production in the springtime. Chickweed is so abundantly fruitful, however, that it flowers throughout most of the country every month of the year. Growing to a foot high in matted to upright trailing stems, it has egg - shaped lower and median leaves and stem less and highly variable upper leaves. In the star or great chickweed (S. pubera), the characteristic blooms, brightly white and about 1/2 inch across, have such deeply notched petals that their 5 appear more like 10-the number of stamens. Usually gathering themselves together at night and on cloudy or foggy days, they unfurl under the brilliant sun
Chickweed ranks beside herbs such as burdock root as being terrific blood cleansers. Where there exists a threat of blood poisoning or tetanus due to chemical dye or dirt getting into the bloodstream, here's what you should do. First make a poultice and apply it directly to the affected area in order' to draw out as much of the poison as possible. To make the poultice, simply blend together 1 tbsp. each of the powdered ginger root, capsicum and kelp, adding just enough honey/wheat germ oil (equal parts) to form a smooth paste of even consistency. Spread this on clean surgical gauze and apply to the area. Cover and leave for up to 7 hours before changing again, if necessary. At the same time administer internally capsules of chickweed (6 at a time) or a tea (2 cups at a time) made by adding 1 tbsp. dried herb to 2 cups boiling water and steeped for 20 minutes before straining and drinking. The same steps can also be followed with great success in treating carbuncles, boils, venereal disease, herpes sores, swollen testicles and breasts.
Chickweed brings great comfort to the miseries of chronic itching and severe rashes. Just make a salve using fresh chickweed, if possible; otherwise the dried powder will have to be used instead. Needed: 1-1/2cups coarsely cut fresh chickweed (or 1/2 cup liquid chlorophyll with 1 cup powdered chickweed); 2 cups pure virgin olive oil; 6 tbsp. beeswax. Warm up the oil and beeswax in a pan on top of the stove on medium heat. Then combine all the ingredients in a heavy cast iron skillet or small heavy roast pan and place in the oven for about two hours on just the "warm" setting. Then strain through a fine wire strainer while mixture is still hot, pour into small clean jars and seal tightly.
Chickweed is chiefly used to treat irritated skin, being applied as juice, poultice, ointment, or cream. Chickweed may soothe severe itchiness where all other remedies have failed. Chickweed is often used to relieve eczema, varicose veins, and nettle rash (urticaria). An infusion of the fresh or dried plant may be added to a bath, where the herb's emollient properties will help reduce inflammation - in rheumatic joints, for example - and encourage tissue repair. Chickweed may also be taken internally to treat chest ailments. In small quantities, chickweed also aids digestion.
HABITAT AND CULTIVATION
Native to Europe and Asia, chickweed is now found in most regions of the world. Chickweed grows easily in open areas and is generally regarded as a troublesome weed. The plant is harvested in summer.
Chickweed contains mucilage, saponins, silica, Minerals, vitamins A, B, C, fatty acids.
HOW MUCH CHICKWEED TO TAKE
Although formerly used as a tea, chickweed's main use today is as a cream applied liberally several times each day to rashes and inflammatory skin conditions (e.g., eczema) to ease itching and inflammation. As a tincture, 1 - 5 ml per day can be taken.
SIDE EFFECTS AND CAUTIONS
No side effects with chickweed have been reported.
HOW IT WORKS IN THE BODY
Internally, it is thought the saponins are responsible for the relief of itching. It is particularly noted for its cooling qualities, and is especially soothing when applied to skin problems presenting as hot and itchy. Chickweed is thought to be useful on wounds to reduce scarring. Additionally, the combined constituents are thought to be beneficial for arthritic conditions, while topically the whole plant has a soothing, healing quality. Chickweed works also on the digestive system in small amounts, soothing and healing the digestive tract.
DECOCTION - Use the herb fresh, if possible, for a cleansing, tonic mixture to relieve tiredness and debility. Also helpful for urinary tract inflammations, such as cystitis.
TINCTURE - Add to remedies for rheumatism.
POULTICE - Apply the fresh plant to boils and abscesses; also to painful rheumatic joints.
COMPRESS - Soak a pad in the hot decoction, or tincture diluted in hot water, and apply to painful joints.
CREAM - Apply to eczema, especially if it is itching. Use to draw insect stings or splinters, and on burns and scalds.
INFUSED OIL - Follow the hot infusion method, and apply the oil as an alternative to creams for skin rashes, or add 1 tbsp to bathwater for eczema.
ROOT DECOCTION - Use for hot fevers related to weakness in chronic illness.
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