Action: Demulcent, emollient, vulnerary, alterative, nutritive tonic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, antipruritic.
Systems Affected: Blood, liver, lungs, stomach, intestines, kidneys, bladder, skin.
Preparation and Dosage (thrice daily): Dried flowering plant, dose 1-5 grams by infusion. Fresh or dried leaves and stems applied locally to skin conditions.
A European native, the plant is now naturalized worldwide as a weed, and is considered a curse by many gardeners because of its creeping and twining growth among other plants.
Chickweed is both a valuable healing herb and a good nutritious food which can be eaten raw or cooked in the same way as any other vegetable. Long used by country folk as a fresh vegetable in winter, its seeds also provide food for birds and poultry; hence its name in English, in French (herbe a I'oiseau) and in German (Vogelmiere).
Internally, it is used for inflammatory conditions of the lungs, bowels or stomach. Boiled, eaten and the water drunk freely, it has a soothing and healing influence.
Externally, it is an extremely valuable and reliable remedy for all inflamed and pruritic skin conditions. It can be used safely for wounds, sores, conjunctivitis and styes, dermatitis, eczema and all kinds of skin eruptions or irritations. Bathe the affected parts with a strong infusion at least twice a day and apply Chickweed ointment. The plant can also be taken internally at the same time.
As a poultice, compress or ointment, it is useful for carbuncles, abscesses and indolent ulcers. The ointment alleviates itching and burning around the genitals and anus. In blood poisoning, the infusion taken internally and a poultice applied locally give good results.
The plant is of value in debility, anaemia and rheumatism. It has been claimed that people with general weakness and children suffering from malnutrition 'will quickly gain strength if this herb is used as a food'. Nutritionally, the plant contains B-complex vitamins and vitamins A and C, plus calcium, iron, sodium, phosphorus, zinc and molybdenum.
Of great value for treating blood toxicity, inflammatory conditions and other characteristically 'hot' diseases, Chickweed is a mild herb used for food as well as medicine, and is considered safe to use in large doses whenever needed.