Introduction of Chickweed:Starweed or Chickenwort.

Popular Herbs. ✵The article gives records of the herb Chickweed, its English name, Latin name, common names, other names, property and flavor, its botanical source one plant species, ①.Stellaria media(L.)Vill., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of this plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of this plant species, the features of the herb Chickweed, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.


Stellaria media:growing plants English Name: Chickweed.
 Latin Name: Stellaria media(L.)Vill.
 Common Names: Chickenwort, Craches, Mouse-ear, Maruns, Adder's Mouth, Passerina, stitchwort, tongue grass, white bird's-eye, winterweed.
 Other Names: Mouse-ear, Satinflower, Starweed, Starwort, Star Chickweed, Stellaire(French).
 Property and flavor: cool in nature, tastes slightly bitter, sweet, sour.

 Brief introduction: Stellaria media is an annual plant, it grows in temperate and subtropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The herb is harvested from the wild for local use as a pot herb, a leaf vegetable for salads and greens, and medicine.

 Botanical source: Common herbal classics defined the herb Chickweed as the above-ground part of the species (1).Stellaria media(L.)Vill. It is a plant species of the Stellaria genus, the Caryophyllaceae family (carnation, pink family). The leaves, stems, and white flowers are used medicinally. This commonly used species is introduced:

(1).Stellaria media(L.)Vill.

 Stellaria media:flowering plants Botanical description: Stellaria media is an annual or biennial plant, it grows up to 10~30 cm tall. The creeping stem is slender and prostrate, and most upright branches are produced on the nodes. The branches are cylindrical, juicy and crisp, broken and hollow, with a row of pubescence on one side of the stem surface, and the rest are glabrous. Leaves are opposite; The upper leaf has no stalk, and the lower leaf has a stalk; The leaves are oval or egg-shaped, 1.5~2.5 cm long and 1~1.5 cm wide, the apex is pointed or short, the base is nearly truncated or shallowly heart-shaped, entire edge or wavy edge, and both surfaces are smooth and glabrous.

 Flowers are bisexual; Flowers are solitary in axils or terminal cymes, with slender pedicles and hairs on one side; Equal piece 5, lanceolate, with short white glandular hairs on the out surface, and scarious edges; 5 petals, white, shorter than calyx, 2-parted to the base; 10 stamens, anthers are purple-red and then turn blue; Ovary is ovate, style 3~4. The capsular fruit is ovate, the apex is 6-lobed. Seeds are numerous, dark brown, the surface is densely covered with verrucous small bumps.

 In the south, its flowering period is from February to May, fruiting from May to June. In the north, its flowering period is from July to August, and the fruiting period is from August to September.

 Stellaria media:chickweed flowers Ecological environment: Stellaria media grows on the grass beside the roadside or stream in the field, it grows almost anywhere, it is a common garden weed. It is distributed in temperate and subtropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere and also North Africa. It grows in the low wet places of alluvial sandy land on both sides of rivers with an altitude of 350~2,700 meters, or at the edge of shrubs and ditches. Likewise, it grows on the banks of rivers and lakes, on wet grass, beside ditches, and in damp places such as hillsides, roadsides, fields, and grasslands.

 Growth characteristics: Stellaria media is a very easily grown plant, it prefers moist soil and a position in full sun or partial shade, it can be very lush and vigorous when grown in fertile soil, but in fertile soils, it will flower and set seed whilst still very small. It is a food plant for the caterpillars of many butterfly species.

 Stellaria media:flowering plants Characters of herbs: All the herb is twisted into a ball. The stem is thin cylindrical, about 2 mm in diameter, multi-branched, with longitudinal edges and a yellow-green surface. There is a row of gray-white pubescence on one side, and gray-yellow fine fibrous roots at the nodes, which are tough in quality. Leaves are small opposite; Sessile, flattened, complete leaves ovate or oval, sharp apex, grayish-green, brittle, and fragile. There are several or one florets in the tip or leaf axil, light brown and slender pedicle; Sepals 5, petals 5. Sometimes an oval capsule with several small round seeds and dark brown and verrucous bumps on the surface can be seen. The herb has a slight odor, a light taste.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.a source of vitamins and nutrients; ②.clear heat, etc.

 Chickweed contains a low level of vitamin C and other constituents, rutin, saponins, steroids, and various plant acids including vanillic acid, ferulic acid, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, ascorbic acid, dehydroascorbic acid, amino acids, aminoadipic acid, saccharopine, etc. The whole herb contains about 4.5% saponins, its main sapogenin is gypsogenin. Its nutrients have no value in treating skin rashes or other ailments because the concentrations are very low, except vitamin C may be played a role in preventing and treating scurvy.

 Medicinal efficacy: Traditionally the herb chickweed was used as a pot herb for salads and greens, used as a leaf vegetable, young leaves are cooked as a potherb, it is nutritious and can be added to salads. Preparations and formulations were used for rashes, sores, itches, ulcers, abscesses, boils, and other skin irritations, in the 17th century, the herb was recommended as a remedy for mange by herbalist John Gerard (John Gerard, 1545~1612 A.D., English herbalist, author of The Herball, or generall historie of plantes.). Internally it is used to soothe sore throats, mucous membrane inflammations, weight loss, treat fever, bronchial asthma, constipation, lung diseases, and blood disorders. As a source of vitamins and other nutrients. In homeopaths, it is used for psoriasis and rheumatic pains.

 In TCM works, the herb is recorded clearing heat and detoxification, cooling blood and treating boils, promoting blood circulation to relieve pain, and as a galactagogue. It is indicated for dysentery, acute appendicitis (periappendicular abscess), abscess of the lung, acute mastitis, furuncle malignant boil and swelling poison, hemorrhoids and swelling poison, bleeding, traumatic swelling pain from a fall injury, stagnation abdominal pain after childbirth, lack of milk, etc. In TCM works, the herb is recorded as cool in nature, tastes slightly bitter, sweet, and sour, and its medicinal property enters into the liver and large intestine meridians, mainly for clearing heat, detoxification, and breaking stagnation, etc.

 Administration of Chickweed (Starweed): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Chickweed (Starweed)
Herbal classic books: In North America, the herb is recommended at a dosage of three 389 mg capsules are taken three times a day. In TCM works, the herb is recommended internally as water decoction, 15~30 grams, or 30~60 grams for fresh herb, or extract juice, externally use proper amount, mashed the herb and apply a coating, or charred the herb with its property retained, prepare to finely ground herb powder and apply a coating mixed.
 Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions: Chickweed appears to be a relatively safe herb to use in moderation, as many people have used it without incident over the centuries. But animals grazing on chickweed have suffered nitrate poisoning, and sketchy anecdotal reports suggest that paralysis developed in individuals who drank large amounts of chickweed infusions. So the herb should not be used in large dosages.
 Although no side effects have been associated with taking chickweed, the nitrates it contains may result in nitrate poisoning, especially among infants younger than 6 months of age. Because chickweed contains uncertain amounts of nitrates, which may be responsible for miscarriage or birth defects, chickweed should not be taken by pregnant women. Due to a very small risk of nitrate poisoning, chickweed is also not advised for breastfeeding women or small children. Because the first sign of nitrate poisoning is a bluish coloration of the fingers and lips, nitrate poisoning in infants may be known as Blue Baby Syndrome. It is a serious condition that could cause death, brain damage, or other severe consequences if it is not treated immediately.

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