Chickweed (stellaria media)- is one of my favorite herbs – it begins to emerge in early spring. It is a very common “weed” and is found all over the world. It probably received its name because its seeds were used to feed birds. Traditionally it was harvested as a vegetable and is wonderful in a salad or as a cooked green. It is high in protein and minerals. Our Father gave us a great blessing when He gave us Chickweed. It is amazing to me when I study herbs….they point so much to the loving, caring Creator God who because of His love for us gave us these plants to help us to stay healthy or to heal ourselves when we are not!
Chickweed has a mild diuretic action and has been used for weight loss. This makes it a good tea to help with a urinary tract infection. (Prepare as a decoction). You can tincture chickweed to help with rheumatism but my favorite uses are as a poultice, compress or salve. A poultice of chickweed is effective for rheumatic joints, and to draw boils and abscesses. You can use chickweed in a compress for painful and aching joints.
A cream or salve made with chickweed is effective on eczema, especially if it is itching. The cream or salve is also good to draw insect stings or splinters and on burns or scalds. Make an infused oil with chickweed and add a spoonful to your bath to help with eczema.
Chickweed is considered a vulnerary…this is an herb that promotes the healing of fractures, cuts, wounds and burns by protecting against infection and by helping to stimulate cellular renewal. Because of this, Chickweed is a very important component in my healing salve. I gather it fresh in the spring and infuse the oil. I also dry chickweed for use during the winter months. It is best to hang it by the stems, tops down, where it will get good air circulation. It can be purchased from Mountain Rose Herbs (see the link on the right) if you can’t find it growing near you or are not sure what to pick.
Chickweed is also considered an alterative. An alterative cleanses (alters) the blood. Most herbs that cleanse the blood support the functions of the liver, spleen, kidneys and bowels. It takes time to do this work so they need to be used consistently over time. This will lead to the gradual detoxification of the entire blood stream. This then helps to balance digestion, assimilation and glandular secretions. Just remember, drinking a cup of chickweed tea once a week is not going to make great changes…it needs to be used consistently over time 🙂
Chickweed is an anti-inflammatory. This is why it is effective on painful joints. It helps to relieve the swelling and pain when applied externally to the painful area. It is also considered a demulcent…this is an herb that helps to soften, relieve and protected irritated tissue, especially mucus membranes. Chickweed is often found in throat lozenges (at least herbally based ones…which is all you should be using! ).
As you can see, Chickweed has many wonderful uses. So, if you are used to plucking it out of the garden bed and tossing it onto the compost heap…don’t! Use it fresh in a salad, make an oil with it…or a tea, compress or poultice. Dry some so you will have it on hand for the winter months! No longer look at it as a useless weed – look forward to spring and the chickweed making its appearance and remember to thank Abba and praise Him for such a wonderful gift!
Hopefully these pictures will help you to discover it growing on your own land or close by. Remember, always use herbs that have NOT been sprayed or fertilized with chemicals!!
Flower picture courtesy of Michigan State University