Materia Medica: Chickweed

I love, love, love chickweed. I always have. When I was a kid and we didn’t have any food in the house, I would make salads with chickweed and dandelion flowers and pretend that I could save the world from starvation.

For years and years I didn’t think of chickweed at all, or eat it. I would read about it in Susun Weeds Healing Wise (which is linked over there on the side ->), and think I should, but I never got around to it. Susun Weed calls her the little star lady, and says that she has special saponins that let her go into every cell in your body and clean and straighten it up. She goes from your toes to your soul and puts things in order.

Susun said that Chickweed will make you lose weight, too. Studies, however, have shown that only people with some level of hypothyroidism lose weight with Chickweed. Even though I’d always suspected that I had thyroid issues, this didn’t inspire me to eat Chickweed.

It wasn’t until last summer, when I was standing at the top of a wet hill and looked down at a thick, thick carpetting of chickweed, that I fell in love with her again. I laid down on the ground and looked at all the little star flowers and leaves. They are so tiny and perfect and joyously haphazard in their perfection. I ate a bunch. Chickweed tastes like healing, and like water, and soooo good. Sometimes I like to visit my favorite plants at sunset, and when I watched Chickweed curling up over her baby shoots as the sun went down I fell in love. So I stayed parked there that night and ate more in the morning, and then picked a bunch to make a tincture (you never want to dry Chickweed – you need it fresh for all her goodness).

I took a dropper of the tincture every morning and ate Chickweed almost every day. I just couldn’t get enough of her loveliness. Every day I was more happy and life seemed simultaneosly more ordered and more crazy beautiful. After a few weeks I found myself in a bathroom with a scale in it. I stepped on and it said I lost fifteen pounds! Fifteen pounds? I hadn’t been stripping, so hadn’t really been seeing myself naked much. I pulled up my shirt and looked in the mirror. Indeed, I’d lost fifteen pounds. Craziness.

When I went through the border the mean van searcher people spilled my Chickweed tincture and I’ve been rationing it ever since. Less chickweed means more sleeping and slight weight gain. I’m driving south now and can’t wait till I get far enough south to find chickweed.

I don’t have any of my pictures from my old laptop, so here is a picture from WildMan Steve Brill’s site:


He has more detailed pictures for identifying Chickweed on his site, and you can even get a Chickweed t-shirt.

Chickweed’s also useful in a ton of other ways. She’s very healing on cuts, abcesses, and ulcers, and that seems to be how most modern herbalists use her. She’s very cooling and great for fevers or just summer heat. She supports and nourishes the kidneys. She’s soothing for sore throats and tired coughs. She helps your body absorb maximum nutrients from your food, and she’s packed with vitamin c, iron, and a ton of other good stuff.


  1. I love chickweed! One of my New Year’s resolutions is to find a wild plant (or two) on my farm and learn to eat it. Last month it was chickweed. 🙂 I

    Happy travels to you! I hope you find another patch soon!


  2. Beautiful.

    “I laid down on the ground and looked at all the little star flowers and leaves. They are so tiny and perfect and joyously haphazard in their perfection.”

    This is lovely, lovely prose.

  3. I just started my first spring with chickweed – we’ve never danced together before, but I just started a jar of tincture this very morning – chickweed thrilled to be cloaked around her edges with frost!

    She just healed a boil on delicate bits – I’m now in love with Star Lady! :mrgreen:

  4. Ahh the wonders of the placebo effect.
    But hey, if it gets you to eat salad, it ain’t half bad.

    On the other hand, “tincture” is essentially a hippie word for “worthlessly small amount mixed with water”. I at least hope you’re not paying good money for this.

  5. Actually, tincture is a word for an extract of the active ingredients of the plant. They are made with alcohol or glycerine. If you’re using something made with water, it’s probably a flower essence? Anyways, I don’t pay anything for them, I make them.

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