Chickweed was traditionally harvested as a vegetable, also used to heal wounds and included in poultices for drawing boils.
Very cooling in nature – it is for this reason it is soothing to hot skin complaints – where there is heat and itch. Swellings (mastitis), wounds, rashes – any inflammation.
Also cools internally.
Commonly found in the garden as a ‘weed’.
Latin binomial: Stellaria medica
Common name(s): Chickweed
Part(s) used: Aerial Parts – Leaves, Stems and Flowers. Harvest throughout growing period.
Qualities: Sweet, moist & cool (Ody)
“…in a word, it comforteth, digesteth, defendeth and suppurateth very notably” – John Gerard, 1597
- Herbal saponins are known to irritate mucous membranes: used as expectorants/antitussive
- Soothing properties when applies to the skin
- Mild laxative and diuretic
- Cooling (Braun & Cohen, 2010)
- Astringent (Ody)
- ‘Cooling’ to the liver
- Nutritive – most of B complex, magnesium, oleic acid, ascorbic acid, carotenoids, calcium, iron, sodium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, molybdenum, zinc
- Internally used in helping to treat conditions characterised by fever and bronchial phlegm
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Inflammatory disorders — rheumatism, gout & cancer Tx adjunct
- Taken orally it can be used as a cough suppressant
- Topically it may sooth inflamed and itchy skin. Anecdotal evidence suggests it has some effects when treating conditions such as urticaria, eczema, rashes and burns. (Braun & Cohen, 2010). Soothes the inflammation – mix with other herbs to help get in and heal/reduce infection etc.
- MASTITIS –– apply poultice to inflamed skin.
- HOT FLUSH MENOPAUSAL – cooling to the liver and body
- Digestive inflammation – diarrhoea, constipation, dyspepsia and ulcers ‘HOT’
Contraindications/cautions: Allergic skin reaction can occur with topical use – caution in people with hypersensitivities.
Considered safe in pregnancy when consumed in dietary amounts.
1:1 LE 20 to 100 mL weekly
FRESH PLANT SUCCUS: 20 to 40 mL weekly — use a wheatgrass juicer
- DECOCTION: Use the herb fresh if possible for a cleansing, tonic mixture to help relieve tiredness and debility. Also good for urinary tract inflammations.
- TINCTURE: Add to remedies for Rheumatism
- POULTICE: Apply fresh plant to boils, abscesses , eczema or hot skin conditions. Pound fresh leaves with a mortar & pestle.
- COMPRESS: Soak pad in hot decoction or diluted tincture for painful rheumatic joints
- CREAM: Apply to eczema- ESPECIALLY if ITCHING. Use to draw out insect stings or splinters. Use on burns or scalds
- INFUSED OIL: Apply as alternative to creams for irritant skin rashes or add 1 tablespoon to bath water for eczema
Braun, L. & Cohn, M. (2010) Herbs & Natural Supplements; An evidence based guide. Elsevier: NSW. Pg.310-311
Ody, Penelope (1998). The Herb Society’s Complete Medicinal Herbal. Milan: Dorling Kindersley
Hoffman, D. (1990). Holistic Herbal. London: Thorsons