Chickweed

Scientific names: Stellaria media

Common names: Chickweed also is known as mouse-ear, satinflower, starweed , starwort, tongue grass, white bird's-eye, winterweed, and chickenwort.

Efficacy-safety rating:

Ò...Little or no evidence of efficacy.

Safety rating:

...Little exposure or very minor concerns.

What is Chickweed?

Chickweed is a common plant, particularly throughout Europe and North America. This low-growing annual has a thin hairy stem with pointed oval leaves. It produces small, white, star-shaped flowers throughout much of the year.

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What is it used for?

Traditional/Ethnobotanical uses

Chickweed has been used as a folk remedy for centuries for many conditions, including asthma, blood disorders, conjunctivitis, constipation, inflammation, dyspepsia, skin ailments, and obesity. Chickweed extract has been used internally as a demulcent, but is more typically used externally for the treatment of rashes and sores. The young shoots are edible and have been used as salad greens. In homeopathy, the plant is used to relieve rheumatic pains and psoriasis. ?Chickweed is noted as a folk remedy for many conditions, including asthma, blood disorders, conjunctivitis, constipation, inflammation, dyspepsia, skin ailments, and obesity.

There is no indication that any of the plant's constituents possess therapeutic activity. Its vitamin content is too low to be of therapeutic value. A review of clinical research suggests that the plant is not actively under investigation, as there are no new pharmacological data to report.

What is the recommended dosage?

There is no recent published clinical evidence to guide dosage of chickweed.

How safe is it?

Contraindications

Contraindications have not yet been identified.

Pregnancy/nursing

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

Interactions

None well documented.

Side Effects

Human cases of paralysis have been reported from large amounts of the infusion.

Toxicities

There is no overwhelming evidence to suggest that chickweed is toxic.

References

  1. Chickweed. Review of Natural Products. factsandcomparisons4.0 [online]. 2004. Available from Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Accessed April 23, 2007.

Copyright © 2009 Wolters Kluwer Health

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