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Chickweed, My Friend Stella, The Monograph


Chickweed

Stellaria Media

Chickenwort, Starwort





Chickweed is a soft, shallow rooted plant that thrives in wet, shaded areas. It is a common weed that can be found in the backyard and in the forest! It likes to grow underneath trees; it spreads along the ground as a cover. It does well in the cold, it survived our icy winter here seemingly unfazed. I've observed the pattern and it seems to grow in a straight line, it took over my plant beds from right to left and grew along the edge of my sidewalk in an upward direction instead of outward. Like the name suggests, it is loved by chickens. It is a plant that has a pretty mild flavor that yields itself nicely to raw foods. Even when harvested with care, it is easy to take some of the roots of the plant that are very skinny and short.


Chickweed has opposite leaves, a hairy stem that may be difficult to see when wet. This plant has a square stem, some parts of the plant may have a reddish stem. When it flowers, the flowers are small and white with five halved petals that look like ten individual petals. The oval leaves are very green and chlorophyll rich, preparations with this plant will take on this hue.





Energetics & Actions:

Chickweed has a red color that symbolizes one of its predominant actions, working as a blood cleanser. Chickweed thrives in habitats with lots of water, it works as a mild diuretic, draining the body of waste through the urine and helping to move stagnant lymph fluid. It does this while also having a moistening ability energetically, it seems to provide the best of both worlds. Chickweed's high chlorophyll seems to lend to its anti-inflammatory action, it works wonderfully on irritated, itchy, inflamed skin. It has that same reaction inside the body, it helps to cool inflamed tissue states like ulcers and gastritis.


Chickweed adds moistness to the body, it works on the mucous membranes as a cool expectorant and on the mammary glands as a galactagogue. At the same time, it is a mild laxative and diuretic, it can drain excess lymph fluid when there is stagnation. This makes sense when we consider the sweet and salty taste that this herb provides.


Chickweed is nutritive, containing minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium. Chickweed may help facilitate chemical breakdown as its thought to help the body better assimilate nutrients, the saponin content may also help break down tumors. Chickweed is also one of the herbs that are tooted for weight loss as it is thought to give a feeling of satiety, it helps increase fat metabolism and it can help one lose water weight.




Demulcent Cool Anti-Inflammatory

Mild Diuretic Moist Demulcent

Mild Laxative Sweet Emollient

Lymphatic Salty Nutritive

Galactagogue Astringent/Vulnerary

Expectorant







Drying & Storage:

Chickweed dries really fast, I like to bunch it up (see above) and hang it from a hook, this plant can dry overnight. It retains its color and "grass" like smell when dried, I keep it in an airtight jar and use it mostly in smoothies. I've read that chickweed doesn't dry well and that it only stores about 6 months, I can't speak to the last part but using the method that I use seems to work well, it might be notable that this hangs semi close to a window.


Preparations:

I made a great infused oil using grapeseed as a base, it is a great addition to any skin blend with eczema as it can help relieve itchiness and help the skin to heal. It is amazing to watch the fresh tincture turn green in less than 5 minutes in undiluted Everclear alcohol. The only preparation I haven't had success with is a fresh infusion, it did not impart the vibrant color to the "tea" even after an hour and it tasted like fresh grass.


Pairs well with red clover for its alterative, lympahagogue, nutritive properties

with plantain for its cooling, moistening, vulnerary action, and cleavers for its anti-inflammatory, soothing action to irritated, itchy skin.