Chickweed Benefits

Chickweed
Latin Name

Stellaria media

Also Known As

Common Chickweed, Chickenwort, Craches, Maruns, Winterweed, Starweed, Starwort, Mischievious Jack

Origin

Europe

Parts Used

Leaves and Flowers

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

Chickweed is native to Europe and evidence of its use has been found in pre-neolithic dig sites here in Britain. It has been naturalised throughout much of the world, including North America, where it was extensively used by Native Americans for the treatment of respiratory disorders, colds, coughs, flu, sore throats and as an effective wound healer.

In European traditional medicine Chickweed was used for a wide spectrum of conditions including, bronchitis, asthma and indigestion. This pretty flowering plant was (and still is) used as a tasty, nutritious salad leaf, a pot herb and in soups and stews. High in vitamin C, sailors used Chickweed vinegar to prevent scurvy when fresh citrus was unavailable.

Chickweed Benefits

Coughs/Colds/Flu

Chickweed contains saponins, plant compounds that can alleviate inflamed mucous membranes and facilitate the breakup of secretions from the membranes. It acts as a demulcent and expectorant, helping to clear mucous and ease congestion in the lungs.

Also high in many nutrients, including vitamin C and antioxidants, Chickweed helps to relieve inflammation in the nose, sinuses and respiratory tract whilst helping to eliminate the underlying cause of infection.

Healthy Weight Loss

A natural appetite suppressant, the saponins in Chickweed have been found to emulsify fat cells and flush them from the body. This versatile herb also supports healthy thyroid function which is essential in the smooth running of the body’s metabolism. It contains natural lecithin which specifically aids in fat metabolism.

Digestive Health

The aforementioned saponins present in Chickweed increase the permeability of mucous membranes, increasing the absorption of nutrients whilst soothing the digestive tract. It functions both as a mild laxative and a diuretic, helping the body to rid itself of toxins through the kidneys and the bowels.

Chickweed also balances the beneficial bacteria in the gut, providing the optimum environment for healthy digestion.

Skin Health

Chickweed is known as a skin rejuvenator in the world of contemporary herbalism. It has a cooling and drying effect on wounds, bites and minor burns. As an astringent, Chickweed can be used draw out splinters and help to heal the wound left behind.

With anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antifungal properties, infusions of Chickweed can be used to treat a number of skin complaints including; boils, sores, rashes, wounds, eczema and psoriasis. It will also relieve the itching and inflammation that accompanies many of these conditions.

Typical Use

Chickweed Tincture: 

Traditionally Taken: 2-3ml taken 2-3 times per day, or as directed by a Herbal Practitioner.

Chickweed Tea: 1 - 2 tsp of dried herb per cup. Allow to steep for 15 - 20 minutes.

Folklore and History

Chickweed has a varied and magical history, steeped in folklore and myth. In European folklore and magic, Chickweed was used to promote fidelity, attract love and maintain relationships. Carrying a sprig of Chickweed was believed to draw the attention of one's intended beau or ensure the fidelity of one’s mate. 

According to the 17th century herbalist Culpeper, Chickweed is under the dominion of the moon, and is therefore associated with feminine energy, love and fertility. Due to its presumed ability to attract the perfect mate it was a common ingredient in love potions.

As a medicinal, Culpeper recommended Chickweed for the cleansing and healing of wounds. He prescribed it to be taken internally it as a remedy for "inward bruising" and as a cooling diuretic.

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Chickweed
Constituents

Chickweed contains; ascorbic-acid, beta-carotene, calcium, coumarins, genistein, gamma-linolenic-acid, flavonoids, hentriacontanol, magnesium, niacin, oleic-acid, potassium, riboflavin, rutin, selenium, triterpenoid saponins, thiamin and zinc.

Precautions

There are no known contraindications or drug interactions. 

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