I always tell my students that the weeds that are growing by their front door, in their yard or garden are growing there for a reason.
Here's a true story that I experienced:
I would like to relate an experience I had with a woman and one of the common weeds growing in our area - chickweed. Together, we formed a relationship with chickweed and learned once again of the healing powers we have inherent within us.
One Sunday afternoon, I received a call from a distressed woman, Erin. Erin told me that she had a sty on her eye that had become badly infected. She had gone to a doctor who prescribed an antibiotic. Not only was she having a bad reaction to the antibiotic, but also it was doing nothing to stop the infection. In fact, Erin said that her eye was getting worse and her doc was recommending lancing the sty as the next step in healing. She did not want the sty to be lanced and wanted to stop taking the antibiotics. Erin asked if I, as an herbalist, knew what would relieve the infection and the pain caused by it. I suggested chickweed, Stellaria media, as being a help to many in her situation and that she probably had plenty of it growing in her yard.
Erin could not identify chickweed, so, I gathered a bouquet from my yard and took it to her home. She met me at the door with a very red eye that was swollen almost shut and the infection was obviously running throughout her body. I showed Erin how to mince the chickweed and apply it to her eye as a poultice, covering with a clean cloth and lying on the couch to rest until the chickweed felt warm to the touch. This usually takes about 15 minutes. As the chickweed pulls infection from the eye, it heats up. I recommended that she throw away the used chickweed poultice and cloth since it now contained some of the infection and that she use fresh minced and clean cloth for each subsequent application.
My suggestion to Erin was that she change the chickweed poultice every 15 minutes for the first 2 hours and then 3 times a day for the next 2 days, or until the infection was completely gone. I encouraged her to freely eat the fresh chickweed during this time.
Before I left, Erin and I went into her yard for a mini "weed walk" and found not only an abundance of chickweed, but many other edible and medicinal weeds as well. Another case of what a person needs in the plant world growing right outside the door!
Two days after our visit, I received a call from Erin. She related that by the end of the evening the first day using the chickweed poultice, the swelling had gone down by a third and the sty was draining on it's own. No lancing needed! The next morning, her eye was not itchy as it had been and the swelling had done down even more. By the afternoon, her painfully swollen infected eye had been reduced to a small bump.
Erin continued to use the chickweed for a couple more days until the sty was gone. She was amazed and delighted that, after spending $125 for a doc's visit and antibiotics that did nothing to help her, all she needed to do was look right outside her own door for all the help she needed.
Weeks later, I received a lovely card from Erin. She wrote that she got a sty in her other eye and one day using chickweed was all she needed for the sty to disappear.