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Scientific Name(s): Stellaria media (L.) Villars.
Common Name(s): Chickenwort, Chickweed, Mouse-ear, Satinflower, Starweed, Starwort, Tongue grass, White bird's-eye, Winterweed

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Nov 19, 2021.

Clinical Overview


Chickweed infusions and extracts have been used traditionally for widespread uses, although clinical studies are lacking. Antiviral, hepatoprotective, and antiobesity properties have been demonstrated both in vitro and in rodents.


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


Contraindications have not yet been identified.


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


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Poorly documented cases of paralysis have been reported if the plant is consumed in large quantities.


The consumption of chickweed, while common in some societies, is typically avoided due to the possible risk of side effects at high doses.

Scientific Family

  • Caryophyllaceae


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.(Duke 2002, Khan 2009, USDA 2021)


The whole dried plant has been used in the preparation of infusions. 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.Spoerke 1980 In homeopathy, the plant is used to relieve rheumatic pains and psoriasis.Schauenberg 1977 Chickweed is cited as a folk remedy for many conditions, including asthma, blood disorders, conjunctivitis, constipation, epixtaxis, inflammation, dyspepsia, skin ailments, and obesity.Duke 2002, Khan 2009


Nitrate salts and vitamin C (375 mg per 100 g) have been identified in the plant.(Duke 2002, Spoerke 1980) Chickweed contains rutin and several other flavonoids.(Budzianowski 1991) Carotenoid content is about 4.2 mg per 100 g.(Guil 1997) Chickweed also contains alkaloids, octadecatetraenic acid, linolenic acid, and the esters hentriacontanol and cerylcerotate.(Duke 2002, Khan 2009) Secondary metabolites such as flavonoids, oligosaccharide stellariose, anthraquinone derivatives, fatty acids, steroid saponins and phenolic compounds have been documented.(Oladeji 2020)

Uses and Pharmacology

Although there is extensive scientific literature describing chickweed, the literature focuses largely on its control as an unwanted weed. The bioactive secondary metabolites (mentioned above) have displayed diverse pharmacological activities such as antiobesity, antifungal, antibacterial, antioxidant, antiproliferative, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antidiabetic, and anxiolytic activities using mostly in vitro and, in some cases, in vivo experiments on rats.(Oladeji 2020)

Animal data

A study in rats with induced hepatitis found the water-soluble fraction of chickweed was able to improve liver enzyme indices as well as being protective, this was demonstrated histologically.(Gorina 2013)

Anti-hepatitis B virus (HBV) activity of S. media was demonstrated in human cell lines.(Ma 2012)

A study in mice suggested the observed antiobesity effect of chickweed might be mediated by inhibition of intestinal absorption of fat and inhibition of digestive enzymes.(Rani 2012)

A study demonstrated that, although chickweed does not seem to be toxic, the results did not support the rationale of its use in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia in rats.(Demján 2020)


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

Pregnancy / Lactation

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


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

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


Grazing animals have experienced nitrate poisoning secondary to chickweed.Duke 2002 Chickweed extract appeared to be safe in a brine shrimp toxicity evaluation.Shah 2014



This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. This product has not been reviewed by the FDA to determine whether it is safe or effective and is not subject to the quality standards and safety information collection standards that are applicable to most prescription drugs. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. This information does not endorse this product as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product.

This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. This product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other medical procedures. It is important to fully inform your doctor about the herbal, vitamins, mineral or any other supplements you are taking before any kind of surgery or medical procedure. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age.

More about chickweed

Related treatment guides

Budzianowski J, Pakulski G, Robak J. Studies on antioxidative activity of some C-glycosylflavones. Pol J Pharmacol Pharm. 1991;43(5):395-401.1824129
Demján V, Kiss T, Siska A, et al. Effect of Stellaria media tea on lipid profile in rats. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2020;2020:5109328. doi:10.1155/2020/510932832047525
Duke J, Bogenschutz-Godwin M, duCellier J, Duke P. Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. 2nd ed. ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2002.
Gorina YV, Saprykina EV, Gereng EA, et al. Evaluation of hepatoprotective activity of water-soluble polysaccharide fraction of Stellaria media L. Bull Exp Biol Med. 2013;154(5):645-648. doi:10.1007/s10517-013-2021-823658890
Guil JL, Rodriguez-Garcia I, Torija E. Nutritional and toxic factors in selected wild edible plants. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 1997;51(2):99-107. doi:10.1023/a:10079888158889527345
Khan I, Abourashed E. Leung’s Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics. 3rd ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley; 2009.
Ma L, Song J, Shi Y, et al. Anti-hepatitis B virus activity of chickweed [Stellaria media (L.) Vill.] extracts in HepG2.2.15 cells. Molecules. 2012;17(7):8633-8646. doi:10.3390/molecules1707863322810196
Oladeji OS, Oyebamiji AK. Stellaria media (L.) Vill.- A plant with immense therapeutic potentials: phytochemistry and pharmacology. Heliyon. 2020;6(6):e04150. doi:10.1016/j.heliyon.2020.e0415032548330
Rani N, Vasudeva N, Sharma SK. Quality assessment and anti-obesity activity of Stellaria media (Linn.) Vill. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012;12:145. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-14522943464
Schauenberg P, Paris F. Guide to Medicinal Plants. New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing Inc.; 1977.
Shah NA, Khan MR, Nadhman A. Antileishmanial, toxicity, and phytochemical evaluation of medicinal plants collected from Pakistan. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:384204. doi:10.1155/2014/38420424995292
Spoerke DG, Jr. Herbal Medications. Santa Barbara, CA: Woodbridge Press; 1980.
Stellaria media. USDA, NRCS. 21021. The PLANTS Database (, November 2021). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901. Accessed November 2021.

Further information

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