We had such a fun unit study of chickweed for school last spring that I had to include our project day where we gathered chickweed, observed, ate and made chickweed salve and tea. Chickweed is best used fresh but it can be dried or frozen for future use.
We gathered a large amount of chickweed and first rinsed it off and then let it dry a little bit on a dishtowel. The little ones were munching on it the entire time we were working. Little Woman especially enjoyed it and even made a "hat" with it, they all loved the texture and feel of the chickweed.
To make a salve, pick out and discard any black, yellow, or dead leaves and then chop the chickweed finely. Fill either a quart or pint jar three quarters full of the chopped chickweed and cover with olive oil. Give it a good shake and place into a crock pot lined with a dish cloth. Fill the crock pot with water and choose the warm setting. Let the oil mixture steep for 3 days, keeping the water line at the rim of the crock pot and agitating the jar once in a while.
After the three days, strain the pulp from the oil, squeezing every last drop out. For each cup of herbal oil, melt one ounce of beeswax in it over very low heat. Remove from heat and add 5 drops per cup of benzoin essential oil or rosemary essential oil as a natural preservative.
Pour into containers and let the mixture harden before putting on the lid. Each of the kiddos made their own labels and added this salve to their personal first aid kits. I also put one in my kit and one in the bathroom cupboard for everyday use.
Little Woman didn't waste any time putting her chickweed salve to good use on an owie she had just acquired.
If you can't find any fresh chickweed, you can purchase dried chickweed or chickweed seeds from Mountain Rose Herbs. They also carry benzoin essential oil, beeswax and containers.
The first plants to appear during the spring are some of the most medicinal; dandelion, yarrow, comfrey and mint are just a few I have seen popping up around my yard. Chickweed is among those first spring greens that get labeled as a "weed" but one you will come to love, once you get to know her.
Chickweed has very tiny flowers that close when overcast. It is one of the first plants to appear in early spring and full of nutrients and first aid healing properties. She is also known as Starweed because of her beautiful tiny, and I mean tiny, white flowers that resemble little stars.
Herbal Actions and Properties
Methods of Use
In the Yard
I have been a busy bee in my garden and spending time with family that I haven't had a chance to post the last couple of weeks, but wanted to start back up with the plant series before the official planting season begins. Spring crops have already been planted - and still can if you haven't started yet. You can check out my spring plant series here. Today we will be talking peppers!
Sweet peppers and chili peppers are all part of the capsicum family which were discovered by Columbus in the West Indies and brought back to Spain where they grew and spread throughout the world. There are so many varieties, colors, shapes, sizes and flavors to choose from, half the fun is deciding what to plant. Baker Creek Seeds have some great heirloom varieties to choose from.
Seed Starting and Planting
Harvesting and Preserving
One of the easiest plants to save seeds from, simply cut open a pepper, scrape out the seeds and allow them to dry for a week or two. Make sure you wear gloves when handling the hot peppers so you don't burn your fingers. And if you happen to burn them because you didn't listen to me, you can pull out the burn spray! Store in an airtight container or seed envelope.
Nutrition and Healing
Shared on: Tuesday Garden Party.
I’m Annie. Welcome to my place where I share what I have learned of natural and frugal living, healthy eating, gardening, homeschooling, herbal crafting, preparing temporally and spiritually, and love for God and Country.
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