Botanical Name: Stillaria media | Family: Caryophyllaceae
Common name(s): Chickweed, Starweed, Starwort, Stitchwort (and more!)
- Annual; considered a weed | Zones 3-8 | Grows along ground, 6-15 inches | Very small white flowers all season (March – September) | Leaves are smooth and oval, stalks are hairy
- Grows everywhere, easily reseeds | Good ground cover because the roots are shallow and don’t compete with garden plants.
Harvest the aerial parts all season long.
PREPARATION / DOSAGE
Infusion: Pour 2 cups boiling water over 2 ounces of fresh herb and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Drink 1/2 cup, 3x/day.
Tincture: A dropperful 2-3x/day. (This is not the most common way of using chickweed, but useful for preserving it for use off-season.)
Food: Can be eaten as a green, in salads, or added to juices.
Salve: Infuse wilted fresh greens (spread in a single layer on a basket, screen, or towel out of the sun for a few hours until limp) in oil and use directly or to make a cream.
Notes: The fresh leaves don’t dry or store well, so it’s best to freeze or tincture them, or make them into a salve.
Constituents: Vitamin C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, coumarins, saponins
Actions: [glossary]Alterative[/glossary], [glossary]antitussive[/glossary],[glossary]antipyretic[/glossary], [glossary]demulcent[/glossary],[glossary]diuretic[/glossary], [glossary]emolient[/glossary], [glossary]expectorant[/glossary], [glossary]vulnerary[/glossary]
Uses: Nutrition, weight loss (stimulates the metabolism), kidney and liver disorders, skin irritation, eye irritation. Mild enough to be used on babies and children as a salve for diaper rash.
- Sweet, mildly bitter, cool
- Mother Earth Living
- Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs (Peterson Field Guide)
- Medicinal Herbs, Rosemary Gladstar
- The Way of Herbs, Michael Tierra
This picture is chickweed in my garden (really close up, the flowers are tiny, and the leaves are delicate). I have another sprawling, similar looking plant in my front garden with larger white flowers and pointier leaves. Loved this article for helping me identify chickweed via its internal “stem.” Still trying to identify that other plant! I haven’t eaten chickweed yet because I wasn’t sure about its identification (you gotta be sure before you eat the weeds!).