How to Grow and Use Chickweed
Chickweed, as its name implies, is a favorite of the poultry species. Chickens love eating the plant, particularly its seeds. But chickweed isn’t just for chickens; the plant also has culinary uses and is a valued herbal medicine. It is actually quite a shame that most people only know it as a weed and an invasive plant.
Chickweed has a distinct fresh taste that goes well with soups and green salads. It is chockfull of nutrients and, as an herbal medicine, chickweed is known to help prevent and treat a number of ailments.
Cultivation of Chickweed
If you want to grow your own chickweed to enjoy at home, there are two ways to do so. One is to find a chickweed plant and transplant it to your own garden or in a pot. Two, grow them from seeds.
- Chickweed can grow even if it’s completely under shade, so you can choose practically any spot in your backyard. Prepare the soil by tilling and adding some compost.
- If you wish to control the growth of your plant, you have to surround your cultivated soil with uncultivated land. Since chickweed only likes cultivated soil, it will not spread any farther than the boundary you create.
- Use a garden hoe to make furrows. Water the furrows, but don’t soak them.
- After the water has drained, plant 3 chickweed seeds for every inch, and then cover with topsoil.
- You can expect the seeds to sprout in a week. When the seedlings reach 2 to 4 inches, you can start thinning them so that there will be 4 to 6 inches of space between the chickweed plants.
Tips on Growing Chickweed
- It is best to start growing chickweed during early spring when the ground has thawed.
- Chickweed thrives on its own. You can leave it undisturbed right after planting the seeds until thinning is needed.
Medicinal Uses of Chickweed
Though some people, mostly farmers and gardeners, would rather get rid of this plant, it actually deserves a place in the kitchen and in the medicine cabinet. These are just some of its medicinal uses:
It’s a weight-loss tool – Chickweed, in tea form, is a diuretic and an appetite suppressant. It allows the body to flush out contaminants through urination, which helps lessen water retention and bloating. And because it suppresses the appetite, it helps you avoid food binges and helps keep your waistline in check.
Bye-bye, pain – Because of chickweed’s anti-inflammatory property, body pains caused by arthritis, menstruation, rheumatism and other culprits are lessened. Chickweed tea may be applied directly on affected areas to help reduce swelling and pain.
Cleanses the kidney and the liver – Our forefathers knew about the beneficial effects of chickweed and used it to flush out toxins from the kidney and the liver.
Improves digestive functions – Having problem with digestion and constipation? Can’t stand stomach pains any longer? Drink some chickweed tea for instant relief.
A hodgepodge of vitamins and minerals – Chickweed is one of the most nutritious plants known to man and it is quite ironic that man considers it a pest.
Some of the nutrients and other beneficial substances that chickweed contains are calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, selenium, vitamin C, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, riboflavin, niacin, rutin, carboxylic acids, coumarins and hydroxycoumarins, genistein, gamma-linolenic-acid, hentriacontanol, oleic-acid, triterpenoids, thiamin, saponin glycosides, and flavonoids.