As soon as the first sun beams appear many wild herbs make their appearance. Chickweed can be found in borders, but also is known to grow all over in meadows. The herb (Stellaria) grows the whole year over, but can also be found under the snow, but in spring the plant makes the prettiest appearance with lush green leaves and delicate white petals. The mainly perennial herb prefers eutropic soil found in the northern hemisphere, in places up to 2000m above the sea, but mainly in plains.
Many farmers and gardeners believe strongly that chickweed should be regarded as a common weed, but almost all wild animals appreciate this little plant as a distraction from their usual diet. Even chicken and rabbits like chickweed, they regard the herb as a little goodie, so the common name of the plant can also be Huhnerkraut etc, what] points in the direction that these animals really love the wild herb. Another name is star herb, trying to capture the form of the flower in the name.
How do I recognise Chickweed
The plant belongs to the family of carophyllaceae, height is between 20 to 40 cm, the best property to distinguish the plant from others are the 3 cm lancet shaped green leaves and the white petals. The crown consists of 5 green sepals and 5white petals, which give the appearance of 10 petals. If you look very close, you can find between 5 or 10 stamina. They are pollinated by insects, develop into sphere or cylindric pods, releasing after some time round or kidney shaped seeds, distributed by the winds.
Can you mix up chickweed
A mean destinguishing detail is the one cellular stem, which hair points in only one direction. Ackergauchheil is the only plant, that has similar properties, but the flowers are orange and the stem doesn’t show any hair.
Components and effect
Chickweed can be regarded as ideal vegetable, containing much more vitamin c than salad, calcium, potassium, iron and magnesia. If you want to treat yourself and the animals in your care, use chickweed especially in the spring. It’s a real treat for everyone.
The wild herb also contains vitamins a and B, flavanoides, coumarine, gamma linolen acid, oxalic acid, selen, zinc and precious aetheric oils.
Is chickweed poisonous?
Chickweed contains a lot of saponins, so it is not advisable to eat too much, but after the bleak winter months chickweed is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals.
Is it possible to eat chickweed, chickweed used as vegetable?
If you do not call Guinea pigs, chicken or other birds your own to give them a little treat, then you have to indulge yourself. You can transfer a common weed into a 5 star dish to everybody’s delight. Chickweed can rise, enjoyed hot or cold, to a really beautiful addition to your diet.
Uncooked you can use the herb in quark spreads or cottage cheese spreads or simply add it to soup as a topping.
If you would like to capture spring in a dish, use the herb as main ingredient for pesto, you could use the delicate leaves with walnut and salt, use a mortar and use high quality oil to cover. Refridgerated this pesto will keep fresh for about a week. If you are in a playful mood, add some paprika, lemon juice or Parmesan to enjoy different flavours.
An absolute classic is the wild herb soup, out of the deli of nature. Brown onions in butter, then add a bit of flour and fill up with water or better, vegetable soup. Bring it to the boil, then let simmer for a few minutes. Add a bit of heavy cream and mix gently.
Chickweed is very popular as a side dish, just use butter or olive oil and blanch the greens. It goes very well with fish, it complements the flavour.
Phyto-therapy and folk medicine
Chickweed is used like many other wild herbs as a cholerethic, cleansing herb, especially in detoxing and blood cleansing. In popular medicine the herb is used to cure diseases of the airways, especially as expectorant and soothing, anti inflammatory and antispasmodic drug.
Chickweed is used to fight off cramps, inflammation, pain, liver upset rheumatic fever and gout and bladder infections, also to strengthen and clean the whole body.
Chickweed in homeopathic usage
The homoeopathic name of chickweed is Alsine media, but the drug is also known as Stellaria media.
The main areas of usage are chronic pain, rheumatic fever, gout, inflamed joints and general moodiness with fatigue, pain and burning eyes, also stiff neck muscles.
Liver problems and digestive problems (diarrhoea and constipation) can be reduced by the use of Stellaria media.
Your homoeopath will be able to understand your symptoms as he/she is able to see your symptoms in a holistic way and will prescribe the right combination of homeopathic drugs for you.