Chickweed (Stellaria media)

Chickweed (Stellaria media)

Identify:

  • The leaves are opposite, smooth, and oval (with a point at the tip)

 

When to collect:

  • Best harvested between May and July, it can be used fresh or be dried and stored for later use
  • Available during winter

 

What to eat:

  • Leaves, seeds
  • Added to salads whilst the cooked leaves can scarcely be distinguished from spring spinach

 

Medicinal:

  • Beneficial in the external treatment of any kind of itching skin condition
  • The flowers develop into small capsule-like fruits which contain many tiny seeds
  • . The seeds generally germinate within a few years, but can remain viable for much longer.
  •  A single plant may produce around 2,500 reddish-brown seeds, which can remain viable in the soil for 25-40 years
  •  It can be applied as a poultice and will relieve any kind of roseola and is effective wherever there are fragile superficial veins
  • An infusion of the fresh or dried herb can be added to the bath water and its emollient property will help to reduce inflammation – in rheumatic joints for example – and encourage tissue repair
  • Contains gamma-linoleic acid (GLA). The medicinal effects of this fatty acid read much like the values ascribed to chickweed. GLA is recommended for a variety of skin problems, for hormone imbalances as in PMS, and for arthritis. It clears congestion, controls obesity, reduces inflammation, reduces water retention, acts as tonic for the liver, and reduces the negative effects of alcohol abuse.
  • Chickweed is best known for it’s ability to cool inflammation and speed healing for internal or external flare-ups
  • Wise women and herbalists still drink teas of fresh chickweed as one of the classic spring tonics to cleanse the blood.
  • Chickweed is an effective and gentle laxative.

 

Nutrition:

  • High in ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and mucilage, and also provides rutin, para amino benzoic acid (PABA), gamma linoleic acid (GLA, an omega-6 fatty acid derivative), niacin, riboflavin (B2), thiamin (B1), beta carotene (A), magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, manganese, sodium, selenium, and silicon.
  • Seed – ground into a powder and used in making bread or to thicken soups

 

Ayurveda:

  • Clears heat and toxins

 

Dosage:

  • Although formerly used as a tea, chickweed’s main use today is as a cream applied liberally several times each day to rashes and inflammatory skin conditions (e.g., eczema) to ease itching and inflammation. As a tincture, 1-5 ml per day can be taken.

 

Toxicity:

  • The leaves contain saponins
  • these substances are very poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm. They are also broken down by thorough cooking.

 

 

http://www.kingdomplantae.net/chickweed.php

http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Stellaria+media

http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail149.php

http://books.google.mk/books?id=QLin14nRVBsC&pg=PA277&lpg=PA277&dq=Chickweed+(Stellaria+media)+Ayurveda&source=bl&ots=CvqUk6A8v5&sig=ogiPKYTGuc7hATHZcUitpvuFfx4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=heCdUaK-CYjTtAbR04G4Ag&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Chickweed%20(Stellaria%20media)%20Ayurveda&f=false

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