|Chickweed (Stellaria media) is a member of the Caryophyllaceae family. Common chickweed is a matted, herbaceous, winter annual broadleaf plant. Chickweed consists of the leaves and stems of a low-growing annual herb with small, star-shaped, white
flowers. Chickweed can act as either an annual or a winter annual. It rarely tolerates hot, dry conditions that occur in late spring or early summer. The leaves are small, rounded and pointed at the tip. Flowers are solitary or in small clusters at ends of stems, flower stalks fragile, petals white. Other common names for chickweed include starweed, winterweed, satin flower and tongue grass.
Chickweed has been used in folk medicine as a remedy for asthma, constipation, cough, fever and various other ailments. Chickweed contains mucilage, saponins, silica, coumarins, flavonoids (including glycoside rutin), triterpenoids, and carboxylic acids. The herb is rich in minerals, including copper and iron, and vitamins A, B, and C. Chickweed contains relatively high amounts of vitamins and flavonoids, which may partly explain its effectiveness as a topical treatment for skin irritations and itching.
Chickweed is chiefly used externally for skin irritations. Chickweed is used as a topical application for rashes and sores. Chickweed is particularly good for nappy rash. It has a cooling and healing effect. Gathered fresh, chickweed is beneficial in poultice form to ease rheumatic pain and to treat boils and abscesses. It's also used for psoriasis, eczema, and other skin diseases. Its demulcent, emollient, and anti-inflammatory properties make it the perfect remedy for eczema.
Taken internally, chickweed helps soothe inflammation occurring in the urinary system, such as mild bladder infections, gastric and peptic ulcers. Chickweed has an anti-rheumatic action, which means it helps reduce acidity in the body. This action is particularly useful for arthritic conditions. Chickweed's demulcent properties also make it ideal for treating mucus membranes. Chickweed is an excellent blood purifier as it can help carry away toxins. It may reduce plaque in the blood system. Internal uses also help to treat bronchitis, arthritis, and cold symptoms.