Chickweed, or Stellaria media is also known by the names “scarwort”, “star weed”, and “satin flower”.
It’s a common weed, easily found all over the world. It’s edible and has an abundance of nutrients, including protein, vitamins and minerals. Externally, it is used for wounds, even on open skin, for drawing out toxins and increasing the permeability of bacterial cell walls.
It’s great on salads, and is often known for being a tender wild green.
Chickweed can be used in other recipes, such as teas, and in pestos. It has a bland flavor, but mixed with other greens can be quite delightful. Since it’s most likely already in your yard as a “weed”, you are sure to be able to find some by looking for the right plant. It’s a “floppy” plant, with leaves of bright green. It has small, white flowers approximately 1/2″ in diameter that are star shaped with deeply notched petals.
Chickweed is a demulcent, which means that it’s useful for soothing irritations in membranes.
This would be useful during colds, coughs, or the flu, drinking 6-12 grams of dried herb infused in one quart of water to be sipped on during the day. It has also been used as a poultice for pink eye, by crushing the plant with your hands until it releases it’s “juice” and placing over the eye for 5-10 minutes. [tweet “What’s small with white flowers and oh so good for you?”]
Other common uses for chickweed are for skin irritations such as eczema.
To make an ointment for itchy skin soothing, you will need:
- 6 grams dried chickweed(available here, if you don’t have some already)
- 6 grams dried marshmallow root (another herb with soothing properties-available here)
- 1/2 cup jojoba oil (available here)
- 3 Tablespoons beeswax (available here)
Begin by placing the measured dried herbs in the jojoba oil. Place in an ovenproof container, in a 200 degree oven for 2 hours. Drain the herbs and throw away. Place the infuse oil back into the oven with the beeswax and allow the beeswax to melt. Stir to combine and pour into a container with a tight fighting lid. Allow to cool, and label with date and herbs and oils used. To use, simply place a thin layer over the effected area 2-3x a day. You can also get the recipe for my detox salve here that includes chickweed.
You can see that this little “weed” is a star in the yard.
It provides green mulch for your plants, as well as having medicinal value to you. Locate some of this valuable and easy to find weed in your yard this Spring!
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Gladstar, R. (2012). Rosemary Gladstar’s medicinal herbs: A beginner’s guide. North Adams, MA: Storey Pub.
Hoffman, D., & Hoffman, D. (1988). The herbal handbook: A user’s guide to medical herbalism. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
Hawkins, Jessie (2013). Botanical Medicine in the Home, 2nd edition.
Weaver, Rachel (2013). Backyard Pharmacy, Weeds that heal.