The Medicine Hunter, Chris Kilham, recently spent the day with Steve “Wildman” Brill in New York's Central Park, to learn about foraging for medicinal and edible plants. The two ended up finding some tasty plants, which also happen to relieve pain.
One plant in particular that the pair found was chickweed, known for its many health benefits.
“We have chickweed growing right here, where mowers can’t get it,” Brill said, pointing to the plant. “This is a nice salad vegetable. It has opposite leaves, leaves in two, a little row of hair on the stem (?). It tastes like an earthy version of corn on the cob.”
Brill said chickweed is loaded with vitamins. Ancient herbalists gave it sick people in order to restore their strength after a debilitating illness. Brill suggested making a tea with it, since it’s a gentle, natural diuretic. And, if you mix it with clay, it’s good as a poultice for a skin sore.
“It tastes delicious,” Brill said. “I put it into salads. I cook it into soups. I steam it. Add a little bit of garlic sautéed in oil with a tamari soy sauce, and it’s a wonderful vegetable side dish.”