Chickweed (Stellaria medica)

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Chickweed Summary

Chickweed is a small herbaceous plant found growing throughout North America and Europe. It has naturalized on nearly every continent, and thrives in colder climates.

Although there is not much modern research involving chickweed, it has rich traditional references.

Chickweed was used internally for lung infections and irritations, and topically for skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It's mainly used as a succas, or consumed whole in fresh form.

 

+ Indications

  • Constipation
  • Asthma
  • Lung disease
  • Obesity
  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • Skin ulcers
  • Insect bites
  • Gout

+ Contraindications

  • Skin irritation and allergies may occur from topical application.

Herbal Actions:

  • Demulcent
  • Refrigerant
  • Emollient
  • Antibacterial
  • Antitussive
  • Expectorant
 

How Is Chickweed Used?

Chickweed is used internally for lung conditions, including asthma, chronic bronchitis, or asthma. Topically, it's made into creams and salves for skin irritations. This can include psoriasis, eczema, skin ulcers, or rashes. It's also consumed as a food in many Northern climates where it grows naturally.

 

Weekly Dose

Part Used

  • Aerial Parts

Family Name

  • Caryophyllaceae

Distribution

  • Found on every continent on earth except Antarctica

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Constituents of Interest

  • Carotenoids
  • Linalool
  • Caryophyllene
  • Borneol

Common Names

  • Chickweed
  • Starweed
  • Alsine Media
  • Passerina
  • Mouse Ear Star
  • Satinflower
  • Starwort
  • Stellaria
  • Winterweed

CYP450

  • Unknown

Quality

  • Cold

Pregnancy

  • No adverse effects expected.

Taste

  • Unknown

Duration of Use

  • May be used long term.
 

Botanical Info:

Chickweed is known for its creeping nature, and ability to grow in very cold weather. It's even been found growing underneath the snow in mountainous regions of North America.

Chickweed is a member of the Caryophyllaceae family, which contains as many as 2625 species distributed into 81 genera. The stellaria genera itself contains between 90 and 120 different species.

 

Research Overview:

Still compiling research.

 

Clinical Applications Of Chickweed:

There is little research on chickweed, however, it was shown to have high levels of carotenoids, as well as well-known antibacterial volatile oil compounds like caryophyllene, menthol, and linalool. Additionally, chickweed contains saponins, which are thought to have a soothing effect on the skin. These are likely the mechanisms behind chickweeds popularity as an ointment for skin inflammation and infection. For this application chickweed is generally used as a fresh succas, or made into salves, oils, and creams.

The traditional use for lung conditions is thought to be due to the saponin content, which is well known to have mucus membrane irritant effects, promoting the excretion of excess mucus.

 

Cautions:

None noted.

 

Author:

Justin Cooke

The Sunlight Experiment

(Updated November 2018)

 

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