Foraging: Chickweed

One of my goals for this year is to try to incorporate new plants into our diet by foraging for greens and herbs that commonly grow as weeds or that have been growing in our yard and we didn’t know we could eat.

Chickweed is one of the first I’ve been wanting to try.

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I’ve always known chickweed was edible for rabbits and chickens, but imagine my surprise when I was flipping through an herbal encyclopedia and there it was as an herb!

Chickweed commonly grows in shaded, semi-moist areas; I’ve usually found it growing on the north side of our house or in shady flowerbeds. It’s kind of hard to describe what it looks like; it has small star shaped white flowers and is a low growing plant that spreads across the ground, typically no higher than 10 inches or so. It is found pretty much in every region except Antarctica, so chances are you have some growing near you!

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It has a nice, fresh taste- not bitter at all, and when chopped up into small pieces fits really unobtrusively into a salad. Make sure you chop it finely though because the stems can be stringy otherwise.  I picked some last week and stuck it in a salad and the menfolk ate it without even noticing what it was! Not that you need to sneak it…but some people might be weirded out by thinking they are eating chick weed from the yard.

Why would you want to eat chickweed?

It has great nutritive benefits!

Chickweed helps your body absorb nutrients more effectively.  It helps reduce inflammation, is an expectorant and can be used to help reduce phlegm from common colds. It also helps improve digestion and soothes the kidneys, sore throats, bladder, urinary tract and when eaten regularly even can possibly help reduce cysts in the breast or ovaries.

Chickweed used as a poultice can be used for skin conditions like bug bites and stings, and helps draw out puss from infected cuts. For even better healing properties, you can combine it with plantain leaf when making a poultice.

We feed it to our chickens and they love it, and the kids just pick it and eat it raw sometimes, right from the plant. I love finding herbs growing in our backyard!

Of course, I am not a doctor and cannot prescribe treatment for anything, and these statements haven’t been approved by the FDA. I’m sharing what we’ve done as a family and from the herbal knowledge that has spanned centuries of use. Make sure you know without a doubt what you are eating before you go picking random flowers/plants from your yard or the forest as there are poisonous plants out there! 

For more information on chickweed, check out this website or this one or go get yourself a great herb encyclopedia.

We have an older similar version of that book and I LOVE it!

I don’t get a commission from Amazon for recommending this book, it’s just a great one to have in your library.

Have you ever tried chickweed? I’d love to hear about it!

 

Shared at Wildcrafting Wednesday.

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3 thoughts on “Foraging: Chickweed

  1. I forage a lot of common berries, want to try the Mayapple “apple” when they ripen. I understand they can cause intestinal upset if you eat more than a couple. Happy foraging! Looking for chickweed tomorrow! Thanks

    • I foraged for a few nettles, although to really do that well I’ll have to go into the woods. There were only 3 or 4 plants around our place, but I clipped the tops off for some tea. Wildcrafting IS so much fun!! 🙂

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