Sunday, May 16, 2010

Chickweed and Plantain revive with spring rains!

I got so hung up on the nuances of botany and identifying and wild harvest/crafting in the woods this spring, I completely forgot to make my herbal tinctures and oils with chickweed and plantain! By the time I remembered, the chickweed was looking a bit ratty and my husband was already mowing, so the plantain had a haircut…. but then the rains started. We really didn’t get our April rains, but May is making up for it and the chickweed is so lush, bright green and moist now I just had to get outside first thing this morning to harvest some! Now Comfrey Cottages has the “s” on the end for a reason. I customarily harvest and garden not only in my own garden and yard, but also my children’s and my brother Eric’s. Today I went over to my son Tommy’s yard (Dylan’s dad), because he has been working overtime and he hasn’t mowed recently and there was so much lush chickweed and brand new moist plantain leaves just waiting to help keep our family healthy:)



Chickweed is just so very fresh tasting I happily munched on it while I was preparing these medicines and had to put a bit out on the floor for the kitties to enjoy also, to keep them away from the preparation area!


And some of the plantain went to the kitties too:) Young Dandelion kitty seemed just ravenous for some greens:)

The chickweed tincture will be used for many things as an herbal helper, but I am especially interested in the fact it is reputed to be excellent for dealing with arthritis and other conditions like rheumatism. My daughter has been having a lot of trouble with arthritis symptoms for quite awhile now and frankly, I am very worried about the side effects of many arthritis drugs. I will be thrilled if chickweed tincture ends up being of benefit for her. From Gail Faith Edward’s book Opening our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs, I have learned that chickweed has alkalinizing properties that can benefit those with chronic bladder and urinary tract infections. The chickweed oil will be used to help with many minor skin complaints such as diaper rash and bug bites. The next harvest I make of it, I plan on infusing some in vinegar. I also am thinking to chop some up to freeze in ice cube trays so I can just pop out one to use as a poultice for its drawing, cooling and dissolving properties, when it is winter again and hard to find and harvest any. These little chickweed cubes will also be nice to have on hand for any eye irritations due to strain or infection.  Chickweed is right now one of my favorite plants to just grab and use as a poultice for bug bites and skin scratches we all get when gardening:) Gail also shared that chickweed is  excellent for dissolving ovarian cysts and helping reduce swollen glands. My husband has trouble with a gland in his groin which will swell up and cause his leg to hold heat and I am planning to use the tincture to help him when this condition strikes next! Since chickweed weakens bacteria, this will also be used in times of colds, and other respiratory problems, my family and friends might experience. I am especially curious to see how it helps the asthmatics in my family. Its expectorant and cooling actions will probably be so helpful for when we have those hot, dry cough going on.

The plantain oil will be used for many skin problems. I am especially interested in seeing how it does for a family member who suffers from hemorrhoids, which it is reported to help shrink and soothe.  The tincture will help with coughs and other respiratory complaints with its antispasmodic actions on the mucous membranes and moistening and expectorant qualities. Nice to have in the herbal medicine chest for its astringent properties when faced with diarrhea issues, also. If any of us are faced with kidney or urinary tract issues, this nourishing, soothing herb should be of great benefit. So excited about getting to know and working with plantain this year! I will keep you posted in who I share these medicines, why and how they respond to them as the year progresses.

Great big herbal and honey hugs to all who take the time to visit here at Comfrey Cottages





Anke said...

Leslie, as always I learn so much from you. I really need to go out and buy that book, sounds like there is a ton of very useful information in there.
Have a great week!

Comfrey Cottages said...

anke, i thought of you when making this post:) you have a great week too hon

janet said...

I have never used chickweed, good to learn this information! I do use plantain, it's great on mosquito bites and when walking if you get a blister, just put a leaf over it in your shoe, it really helps. All of your stuff is so lush and green, I am not surprised to see cute kitty enjoying it:)

*Ulrike* said...

Leslie, how is it used to dissolve ovarian cysts? My daughter has one. I have tons of chickweed, and my mom does too (which she doesn't like as it is in her flowerbed!) I need to check on Amazon for that book. You are always a world of information! Thank you!!
Take Care!

Comfrey Cottages said...

here is a very nice link with what susun weed has to say about chickweed and ovarian cycts
and on it is a link for this full article

Rita M said...

Thanks for the very intresting link Leslie :o)

Anonymous said...

A couple of years behind in commenting here, but I had to say that was some great work on that cat, good for you.
Also, yes I've found plantain is THE herb for hemorrhoids :)
Have you tried a mullein compress for your husband's swollen gland? It works a treat.

Comfrey Cottages said...

Aww thanks Christine:) I have not tried mullein on swollen glands before! Thanks for the tip! xxxx