Identification: Chickweed is a small, sprawling plant growing only 3-8 inches tall but trailing stems can be 16 inches long. The smooth oval leaves are somewhat sharply pointed and grow in opposite pairs on the stem. During the summer it has small white flowers, each with five tiny white petals. It grows easily in waste ground, fields, thickets, meadows and disturbed soils. You probably have some growing out by the garage.
The plant contains a lot of copper, good for all homestead animals except sheep.
Medicinal: The leaves can be mashed into a poultice to treat rashes and burns. It contains many of the soothing and tonic properties of slippery elm, and can be used as a tonic for the digestive system as well as external ointment for eye lotion, rheumatic inflammation and stiff joints.
Chickweed is an important tonic food for poultry, especially young chicks, and can be used to help treat coccidiosis in chickens.
Cautions: Do not let sheep (especially lambs) gorge themselves on this herb, as it has too much copper for their diet.
Brown, Tom Jr. Tom Brown's Field Guide to Wilderness Survival. New York: Berkley Books, 1983. Print.
Angier, Bradford. Field Guide to Wild Edible Plants. Harrisburd, Pennsylvania: Stackpole Books, 1974. Print
Levy, Juliette de Bairacli. The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable. London: Faber & Faber, 1991. Print.