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What Should I Know About It?


Updated May 16, 2014

Thomas J Peterson Collection/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

What is Chickweed?

Other names: Stellaria media, starweed, mouse ear, satinflower, tongue grass

Chickweed is a plant native to Europe. It grows across North America as a common weed. The parts used medicinally are the leaves, stems and flowers.

Chickweed comes in capsule, liquid extract, tincture, tea, ointment, oils and dried herb forms. In alternative medicine, it's used primarily as a topical cream or ointment.

Why Do People Use Chickweed

Chickweed has been used in folk medicine for skin conditions, indigestion and a variety of other conditions, such as cough, rhematoid arthritis, psoriasis, stomach ulcers and as a "blood cleanser".

Today, chickweed is rarely taken internally. It's more common as a topical remedy for skin conditions such as:

  • Eczema
  • Rashes, burns, chapped skin
  • Inflammatory skin conditions
  • Insect bites, stings, wounds
  • Diaper rash
  • Itchy skin

Side Effects and Safety

Side effects may include contact dermatitis after skin contact with the herb. People with allergies to the daisy plant family may also react to chickweed.

Chickweed should not be used internally by pregnant or nursing women or children.

Chickweed contains nitrate. If you experience symptoms of nitrate poisoning after taking chickweed, call your health care practitioner. Symptoms may include weakness, headache, fainting, bluish fingers and lips and dizziness.

There have been case reports of muscle paralysis from very large oral doses of chickweed. These case reports, however, appear to have been isolated reports.

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