Scientific Name(s): Stellaria media (L.) Villars.
Common Name(s): Chickenwort, Chickweed, Mouse-ear, Satinflower, Starweed, Starwort, Tongue grass, White bird's-eye, Winterweed
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 2016
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
Uses and Pharmacology
Although there is extensive scientific literature describing chickweed, this literature focuses largely on its control as an unwanted weed. There is no indication that any of the plant's constituents possess therapeutic activity, and its vitamin content is too low to be of therapeutic value.Tyler 1987 A review of clinical research suggests that the plant is not actively under investigation.
A study in rats with induced hepatitis found the water soluble fraction of chickweed to improve liver enzyme indices as well as be protective as demonstrated histologically.Gorina 2013 Anti-hepatitis B virus (HBV) activity of S. media was demonstrated in human cell lines.Ma 2012
Research reveals no clinical data on the use of chickweed in hepatitis or other liver disease.
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
Research reveals no clinical data on the use of chickweed in the management of obesity.
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.
Human cases of paralysis have been reported from large amounts of the infusion.
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