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Chickweed



    Scientific Names

    Chickweed
    • Stelleria media L.
    • Caryophyllaceae
    • Pink family

    Common Names

    ivyAdder’s mouth
    ivyIndian chickweed
    ivySatin flower
    ivyScarweed
    ivyStar chickweed
    ivyStarweed
    ivyStarwort
    ivyStitchwort
    ivyTongue-grass
    ivyWinterweed
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    Parts Usually Used

    The herb
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    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.
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    Where Found

    Found in abundance all over the world in gardens, fields, lawns, waste places, and along roadsides. A common European weed.
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    Medicinal Properties

    Alterative, antioxidant, astringent, antirheumatic, carminative, demulcent, emollient, expectorant, laxative, refrigerant, mucilaginous, pectoral, discutient
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    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).
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    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.
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    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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    Formulas or Dosages

    Chickweed can be used fresh or dried.

    Infusion: steep 1 tbsp. herb in 1/2 cup water. Take 1/2 to 1 cup a day.

    Decoction: boil 3 heaping tbsp. herb in 1 qt. water until a pint of liquid remains. For constipation, take a cupful warm every 3 hours, or more often, until the bowels move.

    Tea: to be taken internally, steep 1 heaping tbsp. in 1 cup boiling water for 1/2 hour. Take 3 or 4 cups a day between meals, a swallow at a time, and take a cup warm upon retiring.

    Juice: take 1 tsp. to 1 tbsp., 3 times a day.

    Capsules: take 1 capsule for up to 3 times daily.
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    Nutrient Content

    Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins B6, B12 and D.
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    How Sold

    Capsules, powder, ointment
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    Resource Links

    LiveStrong.com: Chickweed Help

    LiveStrong.com: What Is Chickweed Used For?

    University of Maryland Medical Center: Eczema

    Drugs.com: Chickweed

    PubMed.gov: Total phenolics level, antioxidant activities and cytotoxicity of young sprouts of some traditional Korean salad plants.

    PubMed.gov: Studies on chemical constituents from stellaria media.

    Health-Care-Tips.org: Chickweed -Uses and Benefits

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    Bibliography

    Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

    Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

    Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

    Buy It! Culpeper's Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

    Buy It! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

    Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

    Buy It! The Nature Doctor: A Manual of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, by Dr. H.C.A. Vogel; Keats Publishing, Inc., 27 Pine Street (Box 876) New Canaan, CT. 06840-0876. Copyright Verlag A. Vogel, Teufen (AR) Switzerland 1952, 1991

    Buy It!The Magic of Herbs, by David Conway, published by Jonathan Cape, Thirty Bedford Square, London, England. (Out of print)

    Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

    Buy It! Earl Mindell's Herb Bible, by Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D., Simon & Schuster/Fireside, Rockefeller Center 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020

    Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

    Buy It! American Folk Medicine/i>, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

    Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements, by James F. Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., Avery Publishing Group, Inc., Garden City Park, NY

    Buy It! Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

    Buy It! How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine & Crafts, by Frances Densmore, Dover Publications, Inc., 180 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014, first printed by the United States Government Printing Office, Washington, in 1928, this Dover edition 1974

    Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

    Buy It! A Useful Guide to Herbal Health Care, HCBL (Health Center for Better Living).,1414 Rosemary Lane, Naples, FL 34103., Special Sale Catalog, 1996

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