Chickweed: A Little Weed With Big Health Benefits

by Jerem on May 21, 2013

Chickweed (latin name Stellaria Media) is Native to Europe and now grows in abundance across nearly all of North America as a common weed. It grows best in foggy coastal areas, like San Francisco California. But it is also readily found in other climates as well. Chickweed is especially common in landscaped areas, roadsides and gardens. While most garderners consider Chickweed an obstrusive weed, it has many nutritional and medicinal benefits and should be cultivated, not thrown out.

Herbal Remedies

The name chickweed is derived from the fact that these weeds are commonly eaten by little chicks and birds.Chickweed grows year round, even winter. It is a cool season annual plant that germinates in late fall then grows large mats of leafy foliage. The flowers are small and white and blooms from March until fall. The flowers are followed quickly by seed pods. Chickweed flowers and sets seeds at the same time, and because of the large volume of seed pods, it can be very prolific. It is a small plant, generally growing only 6 to 12 inches tall with pale leaves.

The leaves of the chickweed plant are edible and taste delicious. They are commonly served raw mixed in with salads. Chickweed contains numerous nutrients like vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, and zinc. There are 25 varieties of chickweed around the world. Only one type of chickweed needs to be cooked – the Mouse-ear chickweed – the rest can be eaten raw as salads. Or they can also be cooked like spinach.

To make Chickweed salad you can sauté onion and chickweed until it is tender. It is best combined with honey and yeast with warm water and sprinkled with salt. Another common delicacy is chickweed pie, which is best served hot. This pie can be kept for several days in the fridge and can be reheated to serve later as leftovers. Toss a bunch of leaves into your green smoothie or mix with fruit smoothies for a delicious and very healthy drink.

Because of it’s high vitamin C and Iron content, chickweed is very beneficial to the lungs. It also helps thin the membranes of tissue cells in the body so that nutrients are more quickly and easily absorbed by your various organs. It is also a perfect blood purifier to cleanse toxins out of the blood and bring nutrients to the internal organs like liver and kidneys.

The new growth leaves and stems are best for use in recipes and for healing since older growth can become quite woody.

The leaves, stems and flowers of chickweed are commonly used herbal remedies medically. Historically chickweed has been used for centuries to heal many conditions like Asthma, inflammation, conjunctivitis sore, constipation and, most commonly for skin ailments like eczema and other forms of dermatitis. The extract of Chickweed is used as a demulcent as well as used externally as a treatment for rashes and sores, including diaper rash. For Eczema, Chickweed is boiled and used as a tea bath. The tea can also be taken internally. Chickweeds can also be used as a dressing for boils, abscess, and cuts by crushing the leaves and applying them on top of the affected area.

Chickweed is a very beneficial plant. If you happen to have this “weed” growing in your garden, don’t pluck it out. Be happy and learn how to use it.

 

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