A Star in the Garden

Chickweed, whose botanical name (Stellaria media) means little star, can often be found thriving from Spring onwards in gardens, roadsides, and parks. It is a delicate little spreading plant with small soft leaves and tiny white star-shaped flowers.

chickweed

Many traditional orchardists encourage the growth of chickweed under their trees as it is thought to encourage larger fruit yields – in fact it is often planted in vineyards on the Rhine. The leaves of the plant are quite delicious, and are an incredibly nutritious addition to any salad. They have a milder flavour similar to lettuce, but can tend towards being somewhat stringy if too many stems are included.

The nutritional profile of chickweed indicates that this plant is a great source of iron, calcium, chromium, cobalt, molybdenum, magnesium, manganese, silicon, zinc, and vitamin C. The leaves are rich in chlorophyll, and are therefore great for nourishing and purifying the blood. Eat the leaves raw in salads, add them to sandwiches, make a chickweed pesto, sprinkle them over eggs or simply brew them as a herbal infusion.

Chickweed works well both internally and externally. It is very soothing for the digestive system, with a particular focus on treating inflammatory conditions. People who have respiratory issues can also benefit from these soothing internal properties,

Chickenwort, Craches, Maruns, Winterweed, or C...

Image via Wikipedia

and they are also recommended for the relief of arthritis, rheumatic pain, constipation, diabetes, candida, fatigue, mouth ulcers, blood poisoning, eyesight improvement, thyroid functioning, urinary system ailments, liver and gallbladder health, and aiding the lymphatic system!

A poultice or ointment made from this plant can give great relief to eczema sufferers, along with many other skin conditions, including burns, bites, and rashes. Chickweed in the bath can soothe the skin, and is also useful for haemorrhoids, joint pain, and over-worked muscles.

Herbal folklore considers chickweed to be valuable where dissolving is required. Taken daily over many months, it has been shown to dissolve cysts, breast lumps, and lumps elsewhere in the body.

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2 thoughts on “A Star in the Garden

  1. Hi Meg

    I have pulled up a whole pile of chick weed but I’m not sure because there were like little spots of yellowie brown which I think is Clevers reminded me, which one is which?

    • Hi Kylie – Cleavers (Galium aparine) also have little white flowers, but in four wider pointed petals rather than 10 long thin petals like chickweed. The leaves are quite different also, with the cleavers leaves being long and thin in a circular arrangement at a single point on the stem. Chickweed leaves are in pairs arranged directly opposite each other on the stem – they are wide and come to a point. Cleavers are also very ‘sticky’ to touch. If you google “cleavers flowers” and check out the images, comparing them with the chickweed images in this post, you can see the visual differences.

      We used to refer to cleavers as “biddy-bids” when we were young because the little seed pods would stick to our clothes and pets. However, we also referred to the plant Piri-piri (Acaena microphylla) as biddy-bids or biddi-biddi as well! Another very common name for cleavers is goosegrass. Cleavers are also a valuable medicinal plant, being good for skin conditions, swollen lymph glands, detoxification, kidney stones, urinary health, blood pressure regulation, and even as a fresh juice for cancer.

      Hope this helps!
      Meg

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