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Chickweed as an Herb

Chickweed as an herb

Stellaria media

Chickweed is found throughout temperate areas of North America and Europe, the plant's native homeland. Chickweed can be found growing in gardens, fields, lawns, waste places, and along roadsides.

The Chickweed is also is termed the 'Sleep of Plants,' for every night the leaves approach each other, so that their upper surfaces fold over the tender buds of the new shoots, and the uppermost pair but one of the leaves at the end of the stalk are furnished with longer leafstalks than the others, so that they can close upon the terminating pair and protect the tip of the shoot.

Chickweed is held in great repute among herbalists, used mostly in the form of an ointment.

Chickweed as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

Externally, chickweed is good for skin diseases, due to its astringent properties, and the tea added to the bath is good for soothing skin irritations and rashes. One tablespoon of the infused oil added to bath water is thought to soothe and heal.

A poultice of the leaves treats cuts, wounds, itchy skin, skin irritations, eczema, psoriasis, swellings, tumors, vaginitis, swollen testes, piles, and bruises.

Chickweed is believed to cleanse the blood. It is also known to soothe irritated mucous membranes and to relieve nasal and lung congestion.

Chopped and boiled in lard, chickweed makes a fine green cooling ointment, good for piles and sores, and cutaneous diseases. It has also been employed as an application for ophthalmia.

The juice was once used to remove warts. A decoction was used as a cleansing tonic, to relieve weariness and for debility, as well as to treat urinary tract infections.

A decoction made with the fresh plant is good for constipation, and an infusion of the dried herb is efficacious in coughs and hoarseness. The dose of the fluid extract is 10 to 60 drops.

Because it is such a valuable vitamin and mineral source, chickweed is used in foods and chickweed herbal tea for the ill to help build the body.

For constipation: 1 ounce Chickweed to 1-1/2 pints water; simmer down until one pint remains; take by the mouthful every 2 to 3 hours until bowels move. OR, a handful of fresh herb added to boiling water; steep 15 minutes, taken in half-cup doses twice a day until relief is gained. Yet another method is 1 ounce of dried Chickweed in 1 pint of water, simmered 30 minutes; 1/2 cup taken 3 times daily.

Chickweed and Weight Loss

Chickweed water is an old wives' remedy for obesity. Today, it is sometimes used in weight loss formulas due to its diuretic action. It will removes water weight. It is said that the effects are only of 1 week duration before the body neutralizes its effect.

For weight loss, chickweed should be taken before meals. It is said to help curb the appetite.

Chickweed As a Salve

  • Salve 1: Fresh chickweed which has been chopped and slowly warmed in petroleum jelly or lard; put into containers; first aid for cuts, nicks, bites and scratches.
  • Salve 2: Place 12 ounces fresh chickweed in 1 pint of olive, sweet almond or other suitable vegetable oil in ovenproof container; heat at 150 degrees for 3 hours; strain and add 1/2 ounce melted beeswax to oil; stir as mixture thickens. Used for soothing itches and rashes.

Home Made Herbal Diaper Rash Ointment

Ease baby's skin problems.

Home Made Ointment 1 tablespoon dried chickweed
1 tablespoon dried marshmallow root
1 tablespoon dried comfrey root
1/8 teaspoon goldenseal powder
1 cup sweet almond oil
2 ounces beeswax

Combine all the ingredients except the beeswax in a medium-size saucepan. Cook over moderately low heat until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the beeswax and keep cooking until the beeswax melts copoletely. Then strain through cheesecloth into a small glass jar; seal tightly and refrigerate until solid.

Apply when changing a diaper. Will keep 2 months in a cool place. Yield: 20 applications. Caution: If the rash doesn't disappear after 3 or 4 applications, call your doctor and ask whether or not to continue the treatment.

Culinary Uses of Chickweed

Chickweed was traditionally harvested as a vegetable, especially in spring when fresh greens were a welcome addition to the diet.

Sprigs (or fresh tops) have been added to salads and cooked like a vegetable (ie. spinach).

This annual spreading plant is usually considered as an obnoxious weed by the typical gardener.

Cautions

When taken internally in recommended dosages chickweed is considered safe.

Do not exceed dosage as an excessive dose can have an adverse effect on the kidneys; and, in rare cases, may cause heart failure.

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