Chickweed is “the little engine that could” in the herb world. It is a delicate herbaceous annual that comes back year after year providing a powerhouse of nutrition to those who seek it out at the first sign of spring. We have had just enough warm weather in January to welcome its early arrival here in south Texas. As soon as there was a decent amount to gather, I picked enough to fill a jar full and made chickweed infused olive oil.
According to Austin herbalist Nicole Telkes, chickweed infused oil is the “premiere” oil for all skin irritations including inflammation, eczema, itching, wounds, and hemorrhoids. It can either be applied as an oil, made into a lotion, or combined with beeswax to make a salve.
Making an infused oil is very simple. To make the chickweed infused oil, take the freshly picked chickweed and let it wilt until it is 1/3 of its original weight–weigh the chickweed before and after it wilts. This reduces the amount of water in the plant and makes for a stronger infusion.
Fill the jar with the wilted chickweed.
Cover the chickweed with olive oil. Put the jar in a cool dry place and let set for at least 2 weeks. Gently shake the jar once a day to keep the oil and plants mixed thoroughly. Check to make sure there is enough oil to keep the plants covered.
Once the plants have infused, the olive oil will turn a beautiful deep emerald green color. It is now time to strain the oil.
Place a cheesecloth over another jar or glass measuring cup. Carefully pour the oil and plants into the cheesecloth. Gather the four corners of the cheesecloth and squeeze out the oil.
The oil is now ready to be used. Rub on irritated skin or use in salves or lotions. Store the jar of oil in the refrigerator.