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Chickweed

Chickweed

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Published by IreneRains
Chickweed herb general information and various uses
Chickweed herb general information and various uses

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Published by: IreneRains on Aug 21, 2013
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CHICKWEED
Stellaria media
Adder’s Mouth, Passerina, Satin Flower, Starweed, Starwort, Stellaire (French)
ORIGIN OF PLANT / HABITAT
It is an extremely prolific weed, providing an abundant source of edible & medicinalfoliage, even in winter in milder areas. It has been used as an healing herb for centuries, and was also valued in many countries as a food for birds & domestic fowl,hence the name ‘chickweed’. Stellaria comes from the Latin ‘stella’, ‘star’, referringto the star shape of the flowers. Native to Europe but spread through many countries.Cosmopolitan weed of temperate regions.
GROWTH
Spreading, mat-forming annual, often over-wintering, with a long slender taproot anddiffusely branched brittle stems. Moist soil in sun or shade. It is tender & fragile anddoes not like the soil around it disturbed.
LEAF SHAPE
Ovate leaves, go 2.5cm.
FLOWERS
White, star-shaped flowers, 5mm across, with deeply notched petals, appear at anytime of the year.
PARTS USED
Whole plant.
CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS
Mucilage, anti-inflammatory saponins, rich in mineral salts including calcium &potassium,
ACTIONS
 
A soothing, cooling, slightly saline herb that relieves itching, promotes healing, andhas alterative, anti-rheumatic effects.
CAUTIONS
Excess causes diarrhea & vomiting.
CONTRAINDICATIONS
Contraindicated during pregnancy.
MEDICINAL
Internally – Rheumatism & chest infections, aid for digestionExternally – Itching skin conditions, eczema, psoriasis, vaginitis, urticaria, ulcers, boils, abscesses,Combines well with:
Φ
 
Often blended with Althaea officinalis or Ulmus rubra in anti-pruritic prescriptions.
CULINARY
Φ
 
Sprigs are added to salads and cooked as a vegetable.
Φ
 
Liquidized with other herbs & vegetables as a tonic juice.
Φ
 
It combines well with parsley to make a dip.
Φ
 
Add to soups & stews in the last minutes of cooking.
Φ
 
The Tswana people gather young chickweed shoots & add potatoes & onions tomake a type of spinach dish. It is believed to give them strong blood.
COSMETIC
Φ
 
Has antiseptic qualities and can be made into a mild lotion & dabbed onto spotty& problem skins.
Φ
 
It is an excellent slimming herb – a standard brew taken once or twice a week.
HOME
Φ
 
Add to compost – it is rich in nitrogen.
HISTORICAL
Φ
 
The leaves are readily infused in oil as a simple remedy for dry, itchy skin;Culpeper’s recommendation was to “Boil a handful of Chickweed, and a handfulof red rose leaves (petals) dried, in a quart of muscadine, until a fourth part beconsumed; then put to them a pint of oil of trotters of sheep’s feet; let them boil agood while, still stirring them well; which being strained, anoint the grieved placewherewith, warm against the fire, rubbing it well with one hand” (The EnglishPhysician Enlarged, 1653).
FOLKLORE/MYTHICAL
Φ
 
POWERS: Fidelity, love.

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