CHICKWEED - Stellaria media

Other Names for Chickweed are: Star Chickweed and Mouse Ear Chickweed

Chickweed is an annual weed, having established itself all over the world- possibly carried on the clothes and shoes of explorers. Most species are succulent and have white flowers- all with the same edible and medicinal values.

The cultivation of this baby is not necessary, as it’s very abundant and easy to find. Gather the fresh plant between May and July, as soon as flowers appear. It can be used fresh or dried for later medicinal use- store in air-tight glass jars.

Chickweeds are medicinal and edible- they’re very nutritious, high in vitamins and minerals and can be added to salads or cooked as a pot herb, tasting somewhat like spinach. The major nutritional properties in Chickweed are: Ascorbic-acid, Beta-carotene, Calcium, Coumarins, Gamma-linolenic-acid, Magnesium, Niacin, Potassium, Riboflavin, Rutin, Selenium, Thiamin, Zinc, Iron, Phosphorus, Manganese, and Silicon. Lots of minerals!

The whole plant is used in alternative medicine as an astringent (tightens, reduces bleeding) carminative (relieves indigestion), demulcent (coats and sooths body surfaces- gastric mucous membranes), diuretic, expectorant and laxative. Besides being useful for reducing lung congestion, Chickweed helps dissolve fatty tumors and acts as an anti-cancer agent, reduces arterial plague build-up, soothes inflamed bowels, and reduces cholesterol. Chickweed can aid in weight reduction and is an appetite depressant, along with having anti-inflammatory effects.

Chickweed is chiefly used to treat irritated skin, being applied as a juice, poultice, ointment, or cream- soothing itchiness where other remedies have failed. It’s used to relieve eczema, urticaria, boils (carbuncles) and varicose veins. For these conditions, you would want to make a salve using fresh chickweed, if possible.

Needed for salve: 1-1/2 cups coarsely cut fresh chickweed, 2 cups pure virgin olive oil and 6 Tablespoons beeswax. Heat the oil with Chickweed in it, either in a pot, in the oven or in a crock pot. Leave in at least 24 hours. Strain out the herb and add beeswax to oil. Immediately put into tins or jars. Be sure to label for future use. See p. 165 for information on making salves.

An infusion of the plant can also be added to the bath water, where it’s emollient properties will help inflammation and encourage tissue repair. Drinking Chickweed or eating the plant regularly reduces arterial plague build-up, soothes inflamed bowels, removes fat from body, reduces cholesterol and is said to help dissolve fatty tumors.

Here’s a recipe you might want to try, using freshly picked Chickweed.

Chinese Chickweed

2 cups chickweed tips, snipped fine with scissors
1 cup cleaned fiddleheads (ferns)
1/4 cup chopped dandelion greens
2 tablespoons chopped sorrel
1 tablespoon grated gingerroot
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 cup pineapple chunks
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
12 ounces (1 package) chow mien noodles

Stir fry greens and gingerroot in hot oil for 5 minutes. Add pineapple chunks and soy sauce. Heat briefly. Serve immediately on chow mien noodles.

Serves 2.

From pages 89 and 90 – Do It Yourself Weed Medicine.