Chickweed Uses and Benefits

Join Julie Polanco on this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast as she discusses chickweed uses and benefits!

Join Julie Polanco on this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast as she discusses chickweed uses and benefits. Find out how this common plant has been used for centuries to help with many health issues.

Some Facts About Chickweed

History

Not much is written about Stellaria media, or chickweed. We know it originated in Europe because archeologists found it in pre-Neolithic dig sites in Great Britain. The ancient Greeks also wrote about it and it was commonly eaten in Ireland. From Europe, it spread throughout the world, including North America, where it’s mentioned a few times in Native American tales. Listen to the podcast to hear some interesting beliefs about chickweed from ancient times.

What does it look like?

Well, first of all, chickweed is very common all over yards and fields across Europe and North America. It seems to like cooler, temperate climates and you can find it at most times of the year. It is a low-growing, weedy plant with small white flowers in a star-like formation around the tiny center. The long pinkish stems can grow up to eighteen inches long and have a line of fine hairs along them. The small, pointed, oval-shaped leaves grow in pairs along the stem. It’s rather non-descript appearance gets confused with other plants sometimes.

But, chickweed has no milky sap. If you’re not sure if it’s chickweed, try pulling the stem apart. It not only lacks sap, but the inner stem is rather elastic. These features should help you distinguish chickweed from other similar looking plants. Don’t forget that it also has a line of hairs along the stem, too. Another interesting feature of chickweed is that it undergoes the “sleep of plants” each night. That is, it folds up its leaves over the tender buds and new shoots.

Chickweed Uses and Benefits

Like many other weedy plants, chickweed makes a great salad green. It’s also a favorite among foraging animals. However, it spoils easily, so always eat it fresh. Eating chickweed in salads can give you a boost of the following nutrients: Ascorbic-acid, Beta-carotene, Calcium, GLA (Gamma-linolenic-acid), Flavonoids, Magnesium, Niacin, Potassium, Riboflavin, Selenium, Thiamine, and Zinc. And even though, spinach is the most mineral rich green in grocery stores, chickweed boasts 12 times more calcium, 5 times more magnesium, 83 times more iron, and 6 times more vitamin C! But, you’ll never see chickweed in grocery stores. It wouldn’t survive the transit. And besides, you can probably find plenty of it in your backyard!

Chickweed has many uses and benefits. Traditionally, chickweed uses and benefits have mostly been associated with skin afflictions like acne, eczema, psoriasis, rashes, minor burns, boils, cuts, insect bites, and even splinters. It’s also good as a compress for soothing hemorrhoids and varicose veins. But, it’s steroidal saponin content – compounds that foam when water is present—accounts for its use in other applications. It acts like a type of soap and increases the permeability of many membranes in the body through partially dissolving them. That’s why it’s been used for digestive and intestinal support and to relieve inflammation. This helps us understand chickweed’s traditional uses in dissolving congested tissue including cysts, tumors, swollen glands, and thickened mucus membranes.  Because of this, chickweed also increases our ability to absorb nutrients across our intestines. Listen to the podcast to hear how saponins add to chickweed uses and benefits.

This herb has traditionally been prepared as a tea or salve. It can be eaten in salads every day if you wish, as long as you aren’t allergic.

Warning

Generally considered safe. Be careful of possible allergies, although this is uncommon.

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