Stellaria media, chickweed, is a cool-season annual plant native to Europe, but naturalized in many parts of North America.
Stellaria media is edible and nutritious, and is used as a leaf vegetable, often raw insalads. It is one of the ingredients of the symbolic dish consumed in the Japanese spring-time festival, Nanakusa-no-sekku.
The plant has medicinal purposes and is used in folk medicine. It has been used as a remedy to treat itchy skin conditions andpulmonary diseases. 17th century herbalist John Gerard recommended it as a remedy for mange. Modern herbalistsprescribe it for iron-deficiency anemia (for its high iron content), as well as for skin diseases, bronchitis, rheumatic pains,arthritis and period pain.
The medicinal actions of chickweed are anti-rheumatic, astringent, carminative, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, laxative, refrigerant, and vulnerary. The benefits of chickweed may in part be due to its high nutritional value. It is particularly high in ascorbic acid (vitamin C), gamma-linolenic acid (GLA, the omega-6 fatty acid derivative), saponins, niacin, riboflavin (B2) thiamin (B1), beta carotene (A), magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, manganese, sodium, selenium and silica.
Taken internally as a tea or tincture, chickweed has a reputation as a treatment for rheumatism and an infusion of the fresh or dried leaves added to bath water is thought to reduce inflammation caused by rheumatic pain.
A poultice of the crushed leaves have been used traditionally to relieve any kind of roseola, and is thought to be effective where there are fragile superficial veins.
Taken internally in small quantities as a decoction, chickweed is considered a treatment for constipation, kidney complaints and quick relief of pain in the digestive system. Additionally chickweed decoction has been used in traditional herbal medicine to treat cystitis and other related urinary tract inflammations.
Chickweed is used as a detoxification agent, and is considered to be as effective as herbs such as burdock root for its blood cleansing abilities.
A decoction of the fresh aerial parts is a traditional treatment for relief from extreme physical fatigue and debilitation.
Fresh chickweed is delicious eaten in summer salads. The seeds are a favorite of finches and other seed-eating birds, and the greens can be fed to domestic animals.
Chickweed may cause contact dermatitis and people with allergies to the daisy plant family could also react to chickweed. Chickweed is usually considered a safe herb but it should not be used by pregnant or nursing women without consulting a professional health care provider. However,
None are recorded.
Source: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellaria_media