Chickweed helps the body absorb nutrients better – safe and nourishing herb for a person of any age to take over several months when weak, chronically tired from overwork and stress, traumatized, anemic or recovering from a long-term illness or surgery. – Deb Soule, Herbalist
Botanical Name: Stellaria media
Common Name(s): Chickweed, stitchwort
IDENTIFICATION: Chickweed is covered in soft hairs on the stem, leaves and flower buds. The soft hairs on the stem are found in a line on one side of the stem. At each pair of leaves, the line of hairs switches to the other side of the stem. The small, ½-inch long oval leaves are arranged in opposite pairs along the stem. The flower has five white petals, which have very deep clefts so it looks like there are 10 petals.
PARTS USED: Flowering tops
HARVESTING: After morning dew has evaporated, cut top 2/3 of plant, before or during flowering.
ENERGETICS: cooling, moistening, pungent (diffusive)
Alterative, carminative, refrigerant containing: Saponins, coumarins, phytosterols, mucilage
- Nourishes and strengthens->convalescents, weak children, post-surgery, anemic, malnourishment
- Inflammation -> moistens, cools, and soothes irritation and inflammation throughout the body.
- Detox and metabolism-> saponins help dissolve excesses in the body such as mucus, bacteria, undigested proteins, and fat cells (herbal diet pill)
- Alterative – supports all areas (liver, lymphatics, endocrine, kidneys, skin, intestine, lungs). Supports movement and clearing – balancing excess and replenishing deficiency.
- Skin -> Eczema (dry or weeping), acne, mysterious itches, first aid (bites, sores, bruises, blisters, splinters)
- Eyes-> pink eye, sties, crusty, red inflamed eyes – poultice
- Respiratory -> cool, calm and resolve infections: bronchitis, pleurisy, whooping cough, asthma, flue, pneumonia, etc.
- Musculoskeletal – lubricates, soothes issues related to joints, bursitis, stiffness, gout (internal and external)
Very high in: Magnesium, Manganese, silicon, zinc, iron, copper, High in: calcium, chorophyll, cobalt, phosphorous, potassium, protein, carotenes (expressed as Vit.A). Also a good source of vitamin C complex (expressed as ascorbic acid, chromium, molybdenum, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine.
Leaves: Fresh in salads, extracted in alcohol (medicine) or vinegar (nutrients), drink as a tea or infusion (steep for 4-8 hours) for both medicine and nutrition. Infuse in oil for skin issues. Matthew Wood recommends a fresh poultice of leaves and flowers for cancers of the lymphatic system, breasts, lungs, and skin. Use as a poultice for infections, sore breasts, mastitis. Poultice (leaf and/or flower) also for: abscesses, acne, arthritis, minor skin irritations, sores, and swollen glands. Use to cool issues related to joints, bursa, rheumatism, pain – internal and bath.
Note: This blog entry is an excerpt from 2017 Wild Plant Walk “SPRING TONICS FROM THE WILDISH SIDE”