Monday, April 30, 2007

Chickweed itch oil

Growing in my yard is the chickweed plant. It is the first thing I see when I go out my back door. My Dog is suffering from flea bite dermatitis, he was hanging around some dogs with fleas. Now he chews, bites and itches himself. He is getting the mange type sores from the flea's saliva that he is allergic to. His diet is great so the fleas are gone, just have the sores left to deal with. After giving him a sea salt water bath with some calendula flowers I am going to follow up with some chickweed itch oil. He is a Bernese Mt Dog so he is covered with long thick hair. An oil will work better than a salve on him. Since I have so much chickweed available I am going with this plant for the itch oil.

The chickweed is in flower so now is the time to pick it, it is most potent at this time, according to Nancy Phillips, I will get better results from an extract of the freshly dried than the fresh plant ( the chickweed does not retain it's alkalinizing constituents for long, so it must be recently freshly dried for this to be true- experiment with both, fresh seems to be good as well). Certain herbs are best dried before being processed, other examples are Cascara Segrada, actually has toxic qualities when fresh and Fresh Angelica root can be hard on the digestive tract when fresh. I'm going to use the dried plant, but if you were to use fresh plant to make an oil, you may want to add a little sodium benzoate.

Chickweed is a very palatable plant & packed with nutrients including Vitamins B1, B2, B3, C & E, Calcium, essential fatty acids, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, sulfur, & zink. You can eat it right there on the spot, or add it to your sandwich as a sprout replacement, or add it to your evening salad (Just make sure the area has not been sprayed with pesticides.) It reminds me of a bright sunny day, just it's name sounds happy. I have grabbed some chickweed, chewed it up and used it as a quick poultice out in the woods when I get scrapes and cuts from passing by thorn bushes (the superficial ones that itch). So this is the last "weed" I am going to get to harvest from my current home.

Resource: The Herbalist's Way Nancy and Michael Phillips


An oil is an extraction of herbs in oil for external use as massage oils, creams, and ointment. Herbal oils made from flowers are usually cold infused, while those from leaves are best prepared by hot infusion. To make a cold infused oil, pack a quart glass with the fresh or dried herbs. Cover with the oil. Cap tightly and place on a warm, sunny windowsill for two weeks, shaking each day. Strain through a jelly bag, squeezing hard, and then repeat with more herbs. After two weeks, strain again and pour into sterilized, dark glass bottles. Cap tightly, label and refrigerate for up to a year. To make a hot infused oil, combine 8 ounces dried herbs with 2 cups oil in the top of a double boiler or for roots you can use a crock pot set on medium. Heat gently for three hours or longer, careful to not let the lower pan boil dry if using a double broiler. Cool. Strain through a cheesecloth, jelly bag or muslin. Pour into sterilized, dark glass bottles. Cap tightly, label and store in a dark, cool place.
Above Picture Taken By Angie Goodloe Sandy Or