Chickweed has a weed-like appearance, grows low to the ground and can form rather large patches. The plant has a stem with a single hairy line that goes through the whole stem from the root to the top. Rather thick leaves are bright green in color; they ordinary fold over the shoots at night. Its flowers are small and white in color. They are quickly followed with numerous seeds.
Chickweed as a common weed grows almost everywhere in temperate and arctic zones. It prefers cool temperature, shady locations and moist soils.
The plant is very spread throughout North America, Europe and Asia.
Chickweed young leaves are used in salads, when boiled they are added in soups (taste like spinach). In medical purposes leaves are also used. Stem and flowers are used in different preparations as well.
Chickweed is available on the market in various forms. You can consume it as an Herbal Tea (in fresh or dried form)- stir 250 ml of boiling water into a cup with 1 teaspoon of the dried or fresh herb, cover the cup and leave it for 15 minutes, add honey if the taste is too bitter and drink it as needed (3 to 6 times a day). Or in form of capsule or tincture – use 1–5 ml per day three times daily.
But different other forms of Chickweed that are used externally are more popular today. Chickweed liquid extracts, ointment, oils and creams are used in herbal medicine here and there and considered to be rather effective. Depending on the form and ailment it is applied to the skin several times a day.
Chickweed is rather high in vitamins. Especially in vitamin C, which along with flavonoids makes it an effective remedy in case of different skin conditions. It is high in mineral content (contains Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, and Zinc). Its other important constituents are Ascorbic-acid, Beta-carotene, Niacin, Thiamin, etc. Chickweed is used for its cooling effect and is very popular for its expectorant, astringent and diuretic properties. The plant is also a tonic, laxative and carminative.
The plant is historically used in herbal medicine for treating different ailments starting from skin conditions to indigestion. Its health benefits include:
- Chickweed decoction is used to ease constipation
- Infusion of the dried herb is used in case of rheumatic pains and stomach ulcers (applied externally)
- Used topically to treat different skin conditions (itching, irritation, psoriasis, eczema) as well as in case of wounds, burns and insect bites.
- Relieves coughs and hoarseness (tea or infusion taken internally)
- It relieves the irritation of the sore throats (drink tea)
- When eaten fresh in salads it might be beneficial in loosing weight
- It helps in some other cases such as kidney problems
Using Chickweed is considered to be safe. But as with all plants, be sure that you don’t have an allergy to it (if you are allergic to daisy plant family you are most likely allergic to Chickweed). Don’t use it if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Do not exceed the dosage (especially when taken internally), as the results may be rather serious. And make sure you use the real Stellaria media as a Common Chickweed.
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