Kicking around outside in Queenstown a few weeks ago, I showed the kids how many medicinal plants were around. There was chickweed, yarrow, cleavers, oregano, mugwort, plantain, dandelion, violets…the place was rampant with medicinal herbage. It reminded me of the French Pyrenees, where I used to live, I would come home from walking the dogs with armloads of fragrant plants.
This is chickweed. Stellaria media. She is a great friend. I try and eat greens wild every day. Chickweed is yummy and is packed with minerals and vitality. You can eat it alone, on sandwiches, in salads, or lightly steamed with new potatoes with fresh olive oil and sea salt, like my friends in Croatia taught me. Simple and so good. Such a fine line between medicine and food. Chickweed is also one of the main herbs in the salve I make every year. Here’s a post on how to make magic salve.
They even had broom growing in abundance like I used to have up behind my house in France. The kids eyes bugged out when I told them my neighbours still used to lash broom branches to a longer straight stick to make a broom to sweep their floors. I imagine that is where the name ‘broom’ comes from. Dried, it also makes amazing kindling. Pretty important stuff when the fire is your only source of heat in a country where it snows.
It was like being around old friends. Now I just need to find a source of elderflowers and berries nearby…