1. Chickweed (Stellaria media)
After moving north from the deep south, I didn’t know what this tiny white flowered plant was, except that it would be one of the first to appear in my garden and quickly spread out. A good indication that the soil was rich with nutrients and extremely healthy. As I pulled and cursed its speedy growth I got to wonder if I could use it as food or medicine. Research led me to Wise Woman Herbal by Susan Weed. Her chapter on Chickweed reveals it to be high in vitamins A,D, B complex, C, rutin, iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, sodium, copper, and silica, with the special addition of steroidal saponins. In the human body saponins assist the digestive mucosa, neutralizing toxins. Chickweed in tincture form is useful for breaking down growths, both topically (warts) and internally (ovarian cysts).
Raw chickweed, including the stem, leaves and flowers, can be eaten in salads, or cooked like spinach, which is what it tastes like. It has diuretic properties that help to cleanse the kidneys and urinary tract without depleting essential minerals. You can make a chickweed infusion by pouring 1 cup of boiling water over 1/2 cup of fresh chickweed and leaving it to steep for about 20 minutes, strain and drink warm.