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Chickweed

 Chickweed

 

Scientific Names

Stelleria media L.

Caryophyllaceae

Pink family

Common Names 

Adder’s mouth 

Indian chickweed 

Satin flower 

Scarweed 

Star chickweed 

Starweed 

Starwort 

Stitchwort 

Tongue-grass 

Winterweed

Parts Usually Used

The herb

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

An annual or biennial prostrate weed; the usually creeping, brittle stems grow from 4-12 inches long and bear opposite, entire, ovate small yellowish-green leaves. The small, white flowers can be found blooming all year long in terminal, leafy cymes or solitary in the leaf axils. Petals are 2-parted, shorter than sepals. March to September. The taste is slightly salty. The seeds are eaten by poultry and birds.

Medicinal Properties

Alterative, antioxidant, astringent, antirheumatic, carminative, demulcent, emollient, expectorant, laxative, refrigerant, mucilaginous, pectoral, discutient

Biochemical Information

Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), biotin, choline, copper, inositol, PABA, fatty acids, mucilage, minerals, phosphorus, potash salts, rutin, silicon, sodium, and vitamins B6, B12, and D. A recent study published describing extraction of compounds contained in chickweed is summarized on the web site for the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Five compounds were isolated and identified as apigenin 6-C-beta-D-galactopyranosyl-8-C-alpha-L-arabinopyranoside (1), apigenin 6-C-alpha-L-arabinopyranosyl-8-C-beta-D-galactopyranoside (2), apigenin 6-C-beta-D-galactopyranosyl-8-C-beta-L-arabinopyranoside (3), apigenin 6-C-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-8-C-beta-D-galactopyranoside (4), apigenin 6, 8-di-C-alpha-L-arabinopyranoside (5).

Legends, Myths and Stories

There are about 25 species native and naturalized on the American continent. The Native Americans used native Chickweed for many years, but also adopted naturalized species. Considered a great nuisance by gardeners, but it can be used as a food like spinach. It may be used fresh, dried, powdered, in poultices, fomentations, or made into a salve.

Uses

For serious constipation, take a decoction of chickweed. For other internal uses indicated by its by its properties, chickweed is not one of the more valuable plants. The fresh leaves can be crushed and applied directly or made into an ointment with lard or vaseline for bruises, irritations, and other skin problems. Chickweed can also be used as a vegetable, like spinach. Chickweed is said to cure convulsions. Aids in digestion, stomach ulcers, and all forms of internal inflammation. Reduces mucus build-up in the lungs. May be effective to treat asthma, gastrointestinal disorders, coughs, itching, colds, bronchitis, pleurisy, hoarseness, inflammation, rheumatism, gout, scurvy, skin diseases, tumors, cancer, and blood disorders. One of the best remedies for external application to inflamed surfaces, boils, scalds, burns, inflamed sore eyes, blood poisoning, erysipelas, itch, piles , swollen testes, ulcerated mouth, and all kinds of wounds, bruises, and sores. Use as a vitamin C supplement; rich in minerals, especially calcium, magnesium and potassium. This herb helps carry toxins from the body. Dissolves plaque in blood vessels. Heals and soothes anything it comes into contact with. Said to curb obesity. Culpeper states that chickweed, “boiled with hog’s grease applied, helpeth cramps, convulsions and palsy.” The herb may be taken raw, if available, or else in an infusion. The same infusion refines the texture of the skin when applied as a face lotion. Scientists have not yet thoroughly researched chickweed.

 

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease.