The contributions of chickweed to health are not to be left unoptimized. Although it has been in existence for a long while, the plant has remained beneath the surface, thus hiding its impressive qualities. Fortunately, recent scientific reports have found out its numerous uses. Good for you & me.
What Is Chickweed?
Chickweed (Stellaria media), also known as common chickweed in some quarters, is a native European herb long known for its medicinal benefits among specific countries. There are varying species of herbs in the Stellaria genus that bear the name “chickweed.” The Wild Foods and Medicines Website translated “stellaria” and “media” to mean “star” & “in the midst of” respectively. This name thus makes sense, considering the white flower clusters the plant produces.
All chickweed species are cool weather crops, meaning that they thrive most in climates between 53 – 68° Fahrenheit and can be found throughout the US and Europe. They grow best in sunny or somewhat sunny grass patches where they can access moist soil. Common growth season is between fall and early spring.
In case you travel, other names that chickweed may be called in other countries include mouse ear, starweed, satin flower & winterweed.
Chickweed is safe to eat since it is very rich in nutrients. You can eat cooked or raw, and here’s a pleasant surprise: chickweed tastes mild and pleasant, unlike other nutritional plants, such as mustard greens and dandelion.
5 Contributions of Chickweed To Health
The emphasis on the medicinal qualities of chickweed is growing with every passing day. The plant is filled with vitamins, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and several other nutrients, so it is expected to have various benefits.
Rich Source of Vitamins & Minerals
Chickweed is a reservoir of vitamins and minerals, and you will agree that’s a good thing. This richness in nutrients extends to all species of Stellaria. Nutrients chiefly found in the herb include calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamins A, B & C (for example, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamine), and zinc. There’s even a sizable amount of fiber and protein to go round.
Research has proven that chickweed can suppress free radicals’ growth, thanks to its rich contents of antioxidants, including coumarins, flavonoids, hentriacontane, organic acids, phytosterols, saponins, tocopherols, and triterpene.
As a herb rich in vitamin C & zinc, chickweed strengthens the immune function and protects against conditions like allergies, asthma, bronchitis, and coughs. Lastly, since chickweed is so rich in calcium & magnesium, it improves the skeleton’s health while the vitamins A and V and zinc help maintain smooth, healthy skin.
May Possess Pain-easing & Anti-inflammatory Properties
For years now, traditional and homeopathic systems of medicine have prescribed Stellaria herbs in treating symptoms for conditions causing painful symptoms, such as arthritis, digestive issues, respiratory difficulty, rheumatism, and many more. Often, the system of use depends on the symptoms being experienced.
Chickweed can be rubbed topically on swollen skin and painful joints or taken directly like a tincture or tea. Also, this plant has been shown to possess expectorant qualities, and some research has therefore suggested that it may improve respiratory health & loosen mucus.
May Support Digestion & Gut Health
Chickweed supports the intestines, kidney, gut, and digestive, thanks to its high levels of antioxidants, vitamins & minerals (magnesium) & fiber. Additionally, it has natural diuretic qualities as well. With these properties, including chickweed in your diet has been reported to bolster overall gut health, combat oxidative stress, and tackle inflammation. This will, in turn, encourage liver functions, particularly nutrient absorption, detoxification & elimination.
There are suggestions that this herb can be used to prevent or relieve stomach bloating and constipation. By the way, its high fiber content makes it a quickly satiating meal, which will help control appetite and improve bowel movement regulation. Some animal models are leading to thoughts that chickweed has anti-obesity properties. If eaten regularly, it may encourage weight-loss by delaying the intestine’s absorption of carbohydrates & dietary fat.
Natural Diuretic Effects
Chickweed is reported to possess mild, diuretic properties that support bladder and kidney health. Therefore, regular consumption may help combat kidney-related deficiencies and bladder infections while reducing fluid swelling and retention.
Boasts Astringent Qualities, Supporting Skin Health
Chickweed has natural cooling, drying, anti-inflammatory, and astringent effects, and it is therefore used to enhance skin health in traditional medicines. When applied on the skin, this plant has anti-viral and soothing qualities, and it is therefore helpful in the treatment of several skin diseases, for example, acne, boils, cuts, eczema, hemorrhoids, insect bites, itchiness, minor burns, psoriasis, rashes, sores, splinters, varicose veins, and ulcers.
There are different methods of using chickweed to soothe itchy and inflamed skin, one of which is applying its brewed tea to compresses or using chickweed oil to make a natural salve. For cleansing and astringent purposes, you can also run a tincture on your skin.
By the way, aside from its anti-inflammatory effects, chickweed contains saponins, which increases membrane permeability in the skin, thereby allowing helpful compounds to get into the body.
Helpful Ways To Enjoy The Contributions of Chickweed to Health
As earlier said, you can eat chickweed whether raw or cooked, just like other greens, herbs, and sprouts. Common ways to use this herb are listed below:
- Mix with other greens, for example, kale or spinach, in a salad.
- Add some handfuls to a wrap or sandwich.
- Use instead of collard greens, mustard greens, spinach, and Swiss chard in your dishes.
- Try out in pasta stews, soups, and sauces.
- Include in quiches, frittatas, omelets, and eggs.
Concluding The Contributions of Chickweed To Health
Maximizing the contributions of chickweed to health is highly advisable. Unlike other wild plants you may know, it doesn’t taste bitter, so you may have a tasty experience eating it. You can use it topically, orally, and through foods. You have no reason not to try out the winter weed.