Chickweed, or Stellaria media, is a low-growing, matted, crawling plant that produces a white, star-like flower from early spring until late fall. Considered a common weed, chickweed is high in vitamin C. Chickweed may provide health benefits that can help soothe, relieve and heal a variety of ailments and conditions. It is best used in teas, lotions, ointments and compresses or when eaten fresh. Use caution when trying chickweed.
When used in lotions, chickweed can help moisturize and lessen itching or burning caused by dry, chapped skin. Ointments and salves containing chickweed may ease itching and irritation associated with the skin conditions roseola, eczema and psoriasis. Due to its astringent qualities, the tea form of chickweed makes a good facial wash and may help heal troublesome acne. Prepare a bath using dried chickweed tied into a cheese cloth; soaking in the water may help reduce pain from rashes, sores, boils, insect bites and burns.
Chickweed is an expectorant, according to Washington State University, and may help relieve a variety of respiratory ailments. Drinking tea made from chickweed can help reduce phlegm in the lungs, which may ease the congestion often experienced in common colds, the flu and bronchitis. When making teas, use fresh chickweed, as the plant loses much of its therapeutic health benefits when dried. Prepare chickweed tea by steeping 1 teaspoon of fresh chickweed in 8 to 12 ounces of water for 10 to 15 minutes.
Eating fresh chickweed in a salad or drinking chickweed tea may aid in digestion and help reduce symptoms of indigestion, bladder infection and peptic or gastric ulcers. Chickweed acts as a diuretic and a mild laxative and can help relieve symptoms of constipation. Ingesting large amounts of chickweed may lead to vomiting and diarrhea; avoid using chickweed if you're pregnant or breastfeeding.
When used fresh in tea or salads, chickweed may act as an anti-inflammatory and a pain-reliever. Applying ointments or lotions that contain chickweed may help ease swelling and pain in the joints due to arthritis, gout and rheumatism. Using poultices and salves made from chickweed on injuries stimulates the healing of bruises and pulled muscles and may even encourage healing of damaged tissue. Soothe muscle aches and pains by adding fresh chickweed, tied in a cheesecloth, to your warm bath.
- Washington State University: Common Chickweed Stellaria media
- Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association: Chickweed A Delicious and Nutritious Weed
- College of Idaho: Aaron's Botany Page: Common Chickweed Stellaria media L.
- The Foundation of Herbalism: Chickweed Stellaria media
- University of Virginia Health System: Alternative ComplementaryTherapy for Midlife Women
- Plants for a Future: Stellaria media (L.)Vill.
- James Gritz/Photodisc/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.