Dr Jess says: “As a busy, still-learning gardener, I was excited to discover chickweed had appeared in my raised salad bed. Chickweed grows of its own accord and requires absolutely no care! It grows like a weed and reappears every year. As a herbalist, I have found chickweed great as an oil or cream to soothe eczema or skin rashes, particularly when they are hot and angry. It is mild tasting and easy to add to salads in summer and I can attest to the fact that it lives up to the name…my chickens love it.”

Chickweed, a member of the carnation family, is a pretty addition to any garden, with tiny, white, star-shaped flowers. It is naturally high in vitamin C, and also contains phytosterols (plant sterols, believed to be good for heart and cholesterol issues), tocopherols, which are a natural form of vitamin E and triterpene saponins, which are being investigated by the scientific community for their anticancer properties1

Chickweed is used in alternative medicine to help aid weight loss2, as an expectorant to help relieve phlegm and to fight inflammation.3 It is also used by herbalists to help promote the healing of cuts, insect bites and grazes. It is a popular remedy in traditional Chinese medicine. The scientific community is only just beginning to realise the many benefits of this powerful plant.4 Traditionally in Europe, it has been used by herbalists externally as a poultice (see below) for skin inflammation, swelling abscesses and ulcers and as a wash for red, irritated eyes. It was taken internally for…