Chickweed - Ways to implement this beauty into your practice
Stellari Media - Starwort
Chickweed is a cooling plant and helps us when we need to gently dissolve something or to cool off inflamed tissues. Chickweed not only effects physical health, but is a psychic healer too. It opens us up to cosmic energies and gives us the inner strength we need to handle those energies.
According to Culpeper, this delicate little plant is associated with the Moon because of its cooling properties, especially when drunk as a tea. Maintaining its Moon aspect, starwort displays a sleeping pattern at night - the lower leaves fold upward in a protective action for the upper parts of the plant. Because of this aspect, I incorporate chickweed into protection spells for my children and pets. Some characteristics of the Moon include laxity and the ability to flow with the movement of life. These traits are apparent in the way this herb topples over and grows along the ground. This trait may be seen as weakness to some, however starwort is one of the most widespread and prolific plants in the world, so it's 'laxness' should not be considered weak or passive. Sometimes what appears to be passivity is silent tenacity...the art of war.
It has been used in poppet magic for fertility and abundance and starwort tea is drunk to ease insomnia, a typical use of a Moon plant. It is a member of the carnation family and can be used for dream divination. Paracelsus in 1530 described Chickweed as ‘The elixir of life . . .one of the supreme healers’. Chickweed is best used when it’s still young. Harvest it before it flowers, or just as it is coming into bloom. Chickweed has easily disturbed roots, so the best way to harvest the plant is by pinching the tops. Simply cut several inches from the top, leaving enough stems and leaves for the plant to continue growing. Chickweed will grow back with a flourish after each harvest. Chickweed is a very moist plant, which means it has a high water content when it’s fresh. Infusing herbs with a high water content into oil can add water to the oil, making your oil or salve more easily go rancid, or even moldy. In order to have the best chickweed salve, we need to dry the plants a bit. First, I harvest the plant and let it wilt overnight. The plant material will lose a lot of its moisture, but it won’t be totally dry. Then I use the warm oil method for extracting the plant into the oil. This gently heated process will help to evaporate any remaining moisture that might spoil the oil.
This salve made with this delicate plant brings soothing relief to hot and dry tissues. Consider this chickweed salve for bug bites, hot rashes, diaper rash, or any itchy skin conditions.
The optional lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil is also wonderful for the same conditions, gives the salve a nice scent, and mildly helps to preserve the salve. This recipe makes a soft salve. If you anticipate storing this in a warm location, add more beeswax to help solidify the mix.
2 large handfuls of fresh chickweed
1 1/4 cup grape seed oil or olive oil (I prefer grape seed oil because there is little to no scent)
1 ounce beeswax 30-50 drops lavender essential oil (optional)
Prep the day before: Chop the fresh chickweed finely and arrange it into a thin layer on a cutting board or cookie sheet. Allow to wilt for 12-24 hours.
The next day: Measure out 1 1/4 cup oil in a measuring cup and add the wilted chickweed. You’ll get the best results if there is roughly an equal amount of chickweed to oil, meaning that when you combine the two, there isn’t a lot of extra oil compared to chickweed or vice versa.
Blend the chickweed and oil in a blender or food processo for 15-20 seconds or until well blended.Place the mixture in the top part of a double boiler, or place a bowl on top of a pan that has 2 inches of water in it (the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl)
Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Stir the oil occasionally and continue until the oil is quite warm to the touch. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to sit for several hours. Repeat this process (reheating and allowing to cool) several times within a 24- to 48-hour period to fully extract the plant material into the oil.
When the chickweed has infused well with the oil, the oil will have taken on green color. After 24-48 hours, strain off the chickweed through a double layer of cheese cloth.Measure out 1 cup of the infused oil. (Extra oil can be used as a body moisturizer. If you don’t have a cup of oil, add a little plain oil to make up the difference.)
Measure your beeswax by weight. Using a double boiler or in a pan on very low heat, melt the beeswax. Tip: the smaller your beeswax, the easier it will melt. Once the beeswax is liquid, add the chickweed oil. Stir well to combine, using as little heat as possible.Pour into tins or small jars and allow to cool. This salve will last for a year, if not longer. Yield: This fills four two-ounce containers very full. (Roughly eight ounces)