I am often asked what are the most useful plants to have to hand growing around you for home remedies for kids. Chickweed or Stellaria media is one such plant.
If you have a polytunnel you may already see Chickweed up this time of year.
It also grows well outside. Sadly it is seen by many gardeners and veg farmers as a scourge as it spreads fast creating a thick carpet of tangled green. They are overlooking one of the most useful and highly effective medicinal plants we have around us. I especially love to use it for children's complaints and as a first aid remedy. We use it fresh as it grows from spring right through to autumn and each year we make an infused oil from Stellaria to add into varying remedies.
Externally it's great for itchy spots and inflamed rashes that mysteriously appear on the kids. Whether it's an actual insect bite, nettle sting, nappy rash, dry eczema or psoriasis, heat rash or a dermatitis reaction to washing powders etc your homemade Chickweed ointment or cream is the go to remedy. It calms the skin, helps it heal and soothes the itching. It's anti-itching properties make it useful for alleviating symptoms of viral infections like chicken pox and alongside treatment for worms.
Internally Chickweed is a fantastic anti inflammatory for the gut from top to bottom! It can be used for any kind of inflammation of the mucosa of the mouth by simply chewing the fresh stems and leaves. Any upper or lower digestive tract inflammatory conditions will also benefit from Chickweed as a tea or just eaten fresh. It is very nutritious making it an excellent addition to daily vegetable or fruit juices for children especially where the digestion may be sluggish. These are just a few of Chickweeds many uses!
Stellaria will grow throughout the summer spreading in the polytunnel or in your garden. It does like moist areas so remember to give it some water in summer if you want it to retain its high moisture content. It is best to harvest it when it appears to be at it juiciest! This is just one of the plants I will showing you and explaining how to make remedies from at our workshop on herbal care for children.