Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Chickweed for Chickens and Humans

Chickweed for Chickens and HumansI have heard of chickweed before, but never really knew much else about it until doing a bit of research. Then a few days later I found some growing wild on my farm, which we had as an addition to our salad that very same evening. I always used to weed it out and feed it to the chicken and turkeys. This was a major discovery and with the health benefits behind the herb a new source to draw upon that is absolutely free.

Chickweed has other names, Chickwittles, Mischievous Jack, Starweed, Starwort and Winterweed but this is not exhaustive. It is an annual herb and is widespread in mainly temperate zones, It can mature and produce seeds in a very short space fo time, typically in just 5 to 6 weeks. With this there can be several crop in a single year. The seed can remain dormant for many years only germinating when the ground is cultivated and this can be for up to a staggering 40 years.

Chickweed for Chickens and HumansThe chickweed has an interesting habit of sleeping, every night the leaves fold over their tender buds and shoots. Rich in vitamins A, B and C, calcium and potassium chickweed makes a good tonic for poultry and other caged birds. hence the name.

Chickweeds are Medicinal and is edible and nutritious. As I have already found out added to salads or cooked as a potherb, the chickweed tastes a bit like spinach.

Crushed in a poultice chickweed will relieve roseola, fragile superficial veins or itching skin conditions. It soothes burns, stings and bites, rashes and abscesses as well as easing and moisturizing dry or chapped skin. It is also known and used to relieve constipation. An infusion dried chickweed is used in coughs and hoarseness with additional medicinal treatment of kidney complaints.

Chickweed for Chickens and HumansAs an internal remedy, chickweed is used for stomach ulcers and sore throats and acts effectively as an appetite suppressant. With this some people use it as a supplement while dieting. This backs up the old wives tale of Chickweed water as remedy for obesity.

Crushing a few leaves to release the sap and rubbing onto the skin, should relieve irritation. An infusion taken twice daily should ease a cough or applied externally as a wash for wounds, rashes and sores.

Chickweed for Chickens and HumansI have given some online shops which you can obtain chickweed cream. They are pretty expensive seeing as you can make your own quite easily with some freshly picked chickweed and a poultice, but they are here nevertheless:
Finally, if you have a cold or flu symptoms, simply following this recipe can make a homemade Medicinal tea. It should be taken 4 times daily.
  • 1 tablespoon dried chickweed (double this if fresh)
  • 1 cup boiling
Just steep the chickweed in the water for around 10 minutes.
Take in ½ cup doses.


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