Stellaria media is edible and nutritious, and is used as
a leaf vegetable, often raw in salads. It is one of the
ingredients of the symbolic dish consumed in the
Japanese spring-time festival, Nanakusa-no-sekku.
S. media contains plant chemicals known as saponins,
which can be toxic when consumed in large quantities.
Chickweed has been known to cause saponin poisoning
in cattle. However, as the animal must consume several
kilos of chickweed in order to reach a toxic level, such
deaths are rare.
In folk medicine
The plant has medicinal purposes and is used in folk
medicine. It has been used as a remedy to treat itchy
skin conditions and pulmonary diseases. 17th
century herbalist John Gerard recommended it as a
remedy for mange. Modern herbalists prescribe it for
iron-deficiency anemia (for its high iron content), as
well as for skin diseases, bronchitis, rheumatic pains,
arthritis and period pain. Not all of these uses are
supported by scientific evidence. The plant was
used by the Ainu for treating bruises and aching bones.
Stems were steeped in hot water before being applied
externally to affected areas.
Stellaria media, chickweed, is a cool-season annual
plant native to Europe, but naturalized in many parts
of North America. It is used as a cooling herbal remedy,
and grown as a vegetable crop and ground cover for
both human consumption and poultry. It is sometimes
called common chickweed to distinguish it from other
plants called chickweed. Other common names include
chickenwort, craches, maruns, winterweed.
The plant germinates in autumn or late winter, then
forms large mats of foliage.
Flowers of the common chickweed
(unranked): Core eudicots
Alsine media L.
Stellaria Apetala Ucria ex Roem.
Prophet Noble Drew Ali, Founder (1913AD)
Dr. R.Gernan-Bey, NGS, Emeritus
MSTA-GMT, Inc. Baltimore, Md.
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