Chickweed, and how to make an infused oil and salve
Sacred Herbs Part II
Chickweed is one of my favourite herbs. It’s the ultimate spring herb to me: fresh, green, juicy and full of beneficial nutrients that help our bodies acclimatise to the shift in the seasons, the turn of the Wheel. Chickweed can be identified by its little white flowers that look like stars. It’s no wonder its latin name is Stellaria media. It is simple to harvest, having very shallow roots and feels springy when you pull it up which can help it be identified apart from other similar looking wild plants that can be toxic.
This herb makes a fantastic spring tonic. I like to drink it in a cold infusion - simply pick fresh, put in a large jar and fill to the top woth fresh cold water and refridgerate. This is an excellent support for cleansing the lymphatic system, helping the body remove waste and toxins, and it tastes delicious and fresh. I like to drink a big glassful every morning which is a really invigorating way to start the day.
Chickweed is high in Vitamin C and antioxidants, is a nutritive, antimicrobial and demulcent herb and is generally safe for use by all. It is makes a fantastic skin treatment when applied topically, soothing ezcema and all dry and irritated skin conditions, due to its juicy, watery nature and its cooling effect on the external body.
How to make a healing salve with Chickweed
There are several stages to salve making! First you will need to make an infused oil. I use the folk method for this - its simple and allows the herb to work its magick without the need for much interference. The herb must be dried prior to this as any fresh herb will have water within that will become a bacteria hotspot once mixed with oil.
Fill a kilner jar about 3/4 with dried chickweed. Fill to the top with a carrier oil of your choice. I use olive oil as my skin likes it best, but you can use anything you choose - sunflower, jojoba, grapeseed, avocado, coconut.. Make sure the jar is filled all the way to the top, leaving no air pocket as this can cause the oil to turn rancid. Then cap tightly, tip and shake and leave in a dark cupboard to infuse.
You can produce an infused oil in around 6 weeks but I often leave them for three lunar cycles to really come out with a powerful oil full of goodness and magick. Make sure to shake the jar regularly.
Now you have your infused oil, you can start making salves with it. There are many salve making recipes online, but here is a fairly simple one for beginners. You will need a double boiler and beeswax, or soy/carnauba/candelilla wax if you prefer although there are sustainability issues with using vegan alternatives. You will also need a container, aluminium tins or glass jars are best for this practice.
Place 1 oz. of shaved wax in your double boiler and warm over a low heat until it melts. If you like, as I do, you can also add 1 oz. of shea or mango butter for a luxurious salve.
Add 4 oz. of your chickweed infused oil. Stir over a low heat until it has mixed together. It’s best to use a metal instrument for this as the wax can be removed from it afterwards.
Remove from heat and quickly pour into your tin or glass jar. Leave to cool.
We haven’t used any preservatives in this recipe, so this salve will last for a year or so. You can add drops of Vitamin E oil if you need it to last longer.