Stellaria media, Caryophyllaceae
Literally means “in the midst of stars”
Chickweed is a low grower who knows no boundaries. She sneakily, sweetly sprawls, hugging the earth and producing a soft green carpet in her wake. Chickweed loves cool weather and cool, damp places. You will find her in moist, fertile, low spots of the land, alive and kicking in winter, early spring, and even into summer in cooler climates. Chickweed is shy, blending in with other garden weeds and hiding her gentle white, star-shaped blossoms until mid-day. Chickweed is good for the garden. She helps soil retain nitrogen and forms a protective barrier for gardens in the off-growing months. Chickweed has naturalized herself throughout the US and if you see her, you should use her- her medicine is absolutely best fresh (seriously, don’t even bother with dried Chickweed. Her power is held in the moment)
Chickweed is a nutritive tonic, rich in minerals. Eat her daily if you can! Chickweed is a cooling agent in her anti-inflammatory, anti-pyretic, and refrigerant properties. Chickweed soothes - she is a demulcent, emollient, vulnerary, and pectoral herb perfect for any itchy, inflamed, painful or irritated situation.
Fresh Chickweed juice is rich in steroidal saponins. These compounds have a soap-like activity in the body. As you can imagine how soap cuts through grease, Chickweed’s saponins also cut through fat in the body. In the same way, chickweed’s steroidal saponins increase cellular membrane (made of fats) permeability, making it easier on cells to release and neutralize toxins while uptaking good minerals and nutrients. Chickweed can even soften bacterial cell walls making it easier for the immune cells to destroy them. Chickweed’s saponins and delmulcent qualities are great for breaking up gunk in the lungs and a fresh poultice can even dissolve cysts. Rinse eyes with diluted (with distilled water) fresh chickweed juice or a poultice for inflamed, itchy, or infected eyes. Chickweed’s anti-inflammatory, bioavailable nutrition are a dream on hungry, inflamed, and upset tummies. For any hot, inflamed and dry condition, think Chickweed! Hot sore throats, congestion, dry coughs, hoarseness, cranky livers, and constipation - think Chickweed!
Identification points: habitat, small white flowers with five deeply divided petals, single row of tiny hairs growing along stem- smooth otherwise, grows out instead of up, crush the stems- feel the juiciness
Taste: mild, buttery, sweet, cooling, nutritive/salty
Best as: FRESH! Chickweed salad, pesto, substituted anywhere you would use fresh greens, broth, tincture added to water and/or vinegar - stay away from dried (basically worthless)
Visit our Perfect Pesto Every Time post for our full-proof pesto recipe
Sea salt, lemon, beet, yum.... This is how we hydrate - all day long and with botanicals and minerals that help us absorb the water we are drinking.
Did you know that many modern maladies are simply the result of chronic dehydration at the cellular level?
WHAT TO DO:
1. GET A BERKEY - Berkey makes the best water filters out there and we really can't recommend them enough. From basic filters to cartridges that remove flouride, you are definitely investing health when you get berkey with it.
2. GET TO KNOW BEETS - Beets are filled with betaine (and lots of other goodies) that improve liver and gallbladder function. We need these fat-digesting organs, toxin-removing organs to be functioning if we want to feel good. Sluggish livers and gallbladders can really make us feel crummy. Beets get the motors running and the bile circulating! We love this beet powder and keep it on hand for hydrades, smoothies, and sauces!
3. LOVE LEMONS - These sour fruits are our tummies favorite fruit, hands down. Lemon water helps replenish digestive juices and keep our system running clean.
4. DON'T BE SCARED OF SALT* - Sea salt is PACKED with minerals that have been stripped from modern table salt. Lava, pink Himalayan, black - whatever floats your boat! Just makes sure its straight from the source and in its whole, mineral rich form. You can also add Trace Mineral drops for extra mineral-y goodness.
*Excessive salt does lead to high blood pressure and stressed kidneys, but naturally occurring salt is self-limiting, meaning it is VERY hard to overdo. What gets people is all the crummy sodium added to processed food to add flavor to lackluster food. If you eliminate processed foods, you shouldn't have to worry about overeating salt
HERB GIRL'S HYDRADE
As herbalists and nutritional therapy practitioners, we relish in the interface between nourishing herbs and foods.
We adapted this recipe to be fitting for our students in the Restart Program, a guided 3-week vacation from sugar and processed foods. During this time, we retrain our bodies to burn fat - its preferred fuel - over carbs - the macronutrient that has been villianized by current fad diets but that actually holds tremendous value when consumed in the proper amounts (there is a that reason sweets taste so good!).
The addition of rose hip and licorice powder give a delightful herbal touch to these satisfying chocolates.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is known as the great harmonizer in several herbal traditions for its ability to enhance and round out the flavor and action of other herbs in formula. A little bit goes a long way with licorice, so treat it like you would sea salt. Rose hips (Rosa ssp.) are excellent cardiovascular aids and give a bright touch to the deep richness of the cacao.
Raspberry Rose Chocolate Recipe
keto, paleo, no-sugar, delish!
Ready in 15-20 min (10+ minute chill time)
¾ c coconut butter
¼ c coconut oil
¼ c grass-fed butter
3 tbsp cacao powder
1 tsp vanilla
½ c coconut butter
½ c frozen raspberries
2 tbsp coconut cream/milk
1 tbsp rose hip powder
2 pinches licorice powder
2 tsp maple syrup
1 c toasted, shredded coconut
In a small pan, add ¾ c coconut butter, ¼ c grassfed butter, ¼ coconut oil, 1 tsp vanilla, and 4 tbsp cacao powder, and a pinch of sea salt and heat on medium low until everything is melted. Stir until everything is combined. Remove from heat. Set aside.
1. Filling-In a small saucepan mix together ½ c coconut butter, ½ c raspberries, 2 tbsp coconut cream/milk, 1 tbsp rose hip powder, 2 tsp maple syrup, and a pinch of salt on med-low. Heat until coconut butter is melted and incorporating into the raspberries. Pour ingredients into a blender or use an immersion blender to blend well. Set aside.
Using a silicon ice cube tray, pour the bottom ½ of each cube with the chocolate mixture. Put this in the freezer so it is resting evenly and the chocolate sauce doesn’t cool crookedly in the ice cube molds. Let freeze for at least 10 minutes until the chocolate is set. Remove from the freeze and spoon ~1 tsp of the raspberry filling into each cube mold. Press ~½-1 tsp of toasted coconut flakes into the raspberry filling. Pour the remaining chocolate sauce over each mold so that the raspberry and shredded coconut filling is covered. Return to the freeze for another 10 minute at least to let that set. Remove from freezer and dust in a combination of cacao and rose-hip powder or toasted coconut.
Add 1 tbsp maple syrup to the raspberry filling
Add 2 tsp maple syrup to the chocolate base
Inflammation and How Gold Dust Might Help
Turmeric’s popularity has skyrocketed in the last few years, and for good reason - this Ginger family root can answer many a modern malady. Why is it so effective for such a large range of common complaints? Two words: PROLONGED INFLAMMATION.
In fact, prolonged inflammation is such a common source of pain and disease and it has been called “the root of all disease” in western medicine (1 in 3 Americans suffer from an inflammation-caused disease). There is some truth to this - but rather than simply treating inflammation on the spot, we are wise to look a bit deeper as to what is causing this prolonged inflammatory reaction.
But first, we have to define inflammation. Oftentimes, these health buzzwords get thrown around so much that we forget the meaning. Inflammation is simply our bodies response to some type of adverse stimuli such as an injury, infection, or general imbalance. The inflammatory response triggers our body’s immune system to kick into action and start the healing process. Inflammation is designed to treat acute/short-term issues. You cut yourself- a scab forms and mends the skin. You catch the flu- a fever comes and goes. Sometimes, however, when the body feels an onslaught of adverse effects, it is unable to return to homeostasis and the immune system stays turned on. Overtime, you can imagine that this majorly wears the system out.
Back in Roman times, Inflammation was defined by 5 characteristics: redness, aching, swelling, heat, (calor, dolor, rubor, tumor) and loss of function. Have you ever felt any of these in an injury? Sometimes, if an injury (internal or external) is unable to heal, the long-term affect is illness. And to be clear, an injury doesn’t have to be something as clear as breaking your leg. Injuries can look like lingering damage from a bad cold, knicks in your arteries from clunky blood, or most commonly these days - chronicaly inflamed guts from eating foods our body doesn’t understand how to digest. A few examples of inflammation induced diseases are: arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular disease, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, MS, and fibromyalgia.
The goal is to allow an inflammatory response to do its job. As soon as you see signs of inflammation, address them before chronic inflammation takes hold yielding much more complicated problems.
Apart from addressing diet and lifestyle factors, we have a favorite anti-inflammatory drink that is well-balanced and therefore pleasing to the majority of constitutions out there. We call it GOLD DUST and it features Turmeric, Eleuthero, Fenugreek, Maca, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cardamom, and Black Pepper.
How to Make the Perfect Cup of GOLD DUST
Here are a few of our favorite ways to enjoy this delightfully warm and sunny drink:
THE MILKY WAY- Gently heat 8-12 oz of your favorite milk in a saucepan. We like raw cow's milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, or hemp milk for this. You want the milk very hot but not simmering (if you overheat raw milk, it deactivates all the goodies inside). Meanwhile, add 1 tsp of Gold Dust to a mug. Pour the hot milk over the Gold Dust. Add 1/2 tsp maple syrup, honey or agave. Use a hand frother and froth to perfection (alternatively, mix it up in a blender). Top with a dollop of whipped heavy cream or coconut cream and a cinnamon sprinkle. Enjoy in place of coffee, as an afternoon pick-me-up or post-dinner dessert.
THE ATHLETE- Bring 8-12 oz of filtered water to a simmer in a saucepan. Meanwhile, add 1 tsp of Gold Dust to a mug. Cover with simmered water, 1 scoop collagen (coupon code #OCEANLOVE for 10% off!), 1 tsp coconut oil, coconut butter, or MCT oil. Use a hand frother and froth to perfection (alternatively, mix it up in a blender). Top with a pinch of cayenne and cinnamon. Enjoy after a workout or to nourish you on busy mornings.
THE COLD SHOULDER- Mix 2 tsp of Gold Dust and 1 tsp honey or maple syrup in ~1/4 c very hot filtered water until completely incorporated. Add 12 oz of your favorite cold milk (we like almond or coconut for this). Blend up with some ice and enjoy on a sunny day.
The Herbs In Gold Dust
Below you will find materia medicas on all the harmonizing, anti-inflammatizing herbs in Gold Dust. Materia medicas are like an herb's resume. They are very helpful in deepening your understanding of all the things a single herb can do.
Eileen Brantley & Amy Wright
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