Chickweed
Chickweed
Chickweed
Chickweed

Chickweed

Stellaria media

Chickweed is a great anti-inflammatory, especially for swollen glands. It is also an anti-tumor agent and helps regulate the thyroid & balance metabolism.

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names: Star Weed, Starwort, Stitchwort
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: Yes
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Leaves & Flowers
  • Side Effects: Large doses may cause digestive upset with diarrhea, especially if large quantities of seeds are eaten
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About Chickweed

Chickweed is an annual and perennial flowering plant that has earned the reputation of weed over the past seasons. It comes from the Caryophyllaceae family and is sometimes termed as common chickweed. As the name indicates, it serves as an important food source for the poultry.

Chickweed is characterized by fragile hairy stems, adorned by oval leaves that are arranged in an opposite manner. Its tiny white flowers possess petals whereas; some plants do not have petals. 

Commonly hailed as Satin flower, bindweed, starwood, starwort, and whatnot, is a low, spreading weed that flourishes upon the exposure of cold and wet weather. Apart from its invasive nature, no one would dare to kill chickweed if its medicinal benefits get pronounced universally. The plant is highly respected in homeopathy where it is used to support psoriasis and rheumatism. Traditionally, it is used to help with asthma, inflammation, constipation, blood disorders, conjunctivitis, skin disorders, dyspepsia, and weight gain.

Certain chromatographic studies prove the presence of saponins, flavonoids, coumarins, hydroxycoumarins, Vitamin C, and triterpenoids in the chickweed.

Growing

Chickweed requires a lot of space to grow because it spreads readily. It prefers light shade and moist soil to prosper. Chickweed seeds can be sown in spring, provided the fact that the soil must be free of stones, debris, and other stuff that may hinder the growth of chickweed.

The standard procedure is to broadcast three seeds per inch in the troughs. The seeds must be ¼ inches deep in the soil. The seeds must be watered generously pre and post-germination as chickweed loves the wet environment.

Growing chickweed under a tall tree or bush seems divine as it is the most suitable environment for its healthy growth.

The seeds of chickweed sown in spring usually sprout in the season of fall. If the temperature of the soil ranges from 53 ºF to 68 ºF, the process of seed germination may take place at a little quicker pace.

Provided the damp and wet conditions, chickweed plant steps into its flowering phase in May and continues till late October. The flowers are brimmed with nectar that invites butterflies and parasitoid wasps to carry out the process of pollination. Chickweed is a really fast learner of its environment; it quickly switches to self-pollination in the absence of pollinating insects.

After pollination, fertilization occurs that gives rise to the formation of oval pods that bear seeds. These pods hang from the short stems below the plant. The chickweed seeds disperse in the vicinity of the plant without even getting ripped, which usually happens with seeds of other weed plants.

Harvesting

Chickweed stems are harvested in the March and April because this is the time when plant gives out new, young tendrils.

Tender new stems of chickweed are highly anticipated for the harvest in order to make medicines or complimenting a salad.

The chickweed stems are washed thoroughly and wrapped in a damp paper towel to store it in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. This way, chickweed can last for several days.

Usage

Chickweed is not bestowed upon us to be killed and tossed in the bin. We must accept this precious gift of nature warmly and employ it to ameliorate our deteriorating health. Slipping chickweed into the dinners or medicinal preparations is easier than ABC.

  • Tincture - Infuse freshly chopped chickweed in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place.
  • Tea - Fresh chickweed stems are soaked in hot boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes and strained. The tea is consumed hot to attain its highly prized essence.
  • Decoction - Fresh chickweed stems are decocted in water for an hour to yield a concentrated chickweed decoction.
  • Salve - A blend of slightly wilted chickweed stems, leaves, and olive oil is heated and stirred with melted beeswax to form chickweed salve.