Getting the best out of herbs: The healing value of chickweed
In the West Coast of Africa, chickweed grows in humid soils as troublesome weeds. What the Yorubas called "Awede" (Dissotis rotundifolia) is the local equivalent of chickweed and it has similar healing properties with the Stellaria media that usually grows in the temprate climate. Analysis has shown that the leaves of chickweed are very rich in Vitamin C, traces of other vitamins especially the B-Vitamins. Also present in the plant are minerals like iron, silicon, potassium, magnesium, copper and other trace elements. Yet another constituents of chickweed is the saponin glycoside, which is now thought to be responsible for most of its healing properties. Saponin glycosides gives most plants their ability to foam like soap in water.
From clinical experience and studies, chickweed is known to exhibit a very strong anti-inflammatory action - other secondary physiological actions of chickweed include: Expectorant (anti-tussive), anti-pyretic, alterative (blood cleansing), emollient, astringent, etc.
The aerial part of the plant is commonly used in preparing a herbal decoction (i.e. boiling 2-3 teaspoonful of the shreded dried herb in 1 tea cup of water which will then be allowed to simmer for up to 15 minutes).
After filtering, the preparation is normally taken 3 times daily. The herb could also be prepared and taken in tea form (i.e. as a herbal infusion).
1) As an anti-inflammatory herb, the decoction or the infusion of chickweed when taken orally helps in the treatment of gastritis, peptic ulcers, colitis, and other kinds of internal inflammations. The anti-inflammatory actions of chickweed are enhanced when it is combined with other herbs like fleabane, stinging nettle, etc. With these combinations, chickweed also becomes a very potent blood purifier - cleansing some of the accumulated morbid wastes from the blood.
2) An infusion of chickweed is taken orally to ease the pains of arthritis, gout, aching joints and other rheumatic afflictions.
3) In natural medical practice, it is known that over-eating of rich spicy foods often overburdens the liver and the kidneys - taking an infusion made from chickweed will help in enhancing the eliminatory functions of these two important organs.
4) A regular intake of the herbal tea made from chickweed helps in checking excessive body weight. This remedy becomes highly effective when the tea is combined with cornsilk or when it is combined with the regular oral intake of lemon juice sweetened with pure natural honey.
5) An infusion of the herb acts as a mild laxative. It moves the bowels, when it is taken for up to 3 times daily.
6) When the herb is combined with ginkgo biloba or mistletoe, it becomes an effective tonic that restores strength and enhances the retentive capacity of the brain. This combination (i.e. chickweed/ginkgo biloba or mistletoe) is very useful in the treatment of fatigue and mental exhaustion.
7) Chickweed combines anti-inflammatory and anti-tussive (expectorant) actions in one and this makes a very useful agent in the treatment of all the diseases affecting the respiratory system such as: Asthma, bronchial problems, colds, coughs, etc. The anti-tussive action of chickweed could be enhanced when it is combined with herbs such as lemon grass, eucalyptus, mistletoe, thyme, etc.
External uses of chickweed
1) Chickweed is often incorporated into creams or ointments used in the treatment of eczema, irritant skin rashes, dermatitis, minor burns, bruises and cuts.
2) A strong infusion or decoction of chickweed could be applied externally as compresses in the following cases:
i) To reduce the inflammation of the testicles, itching and pains around the genitals.
ii) To ease the pains of an inflammed appendix
iii) To treat skin ulcers, rashes, varicose ulcers and most importantly to reduce the puffiness around the eyes.
|The statements which appear on have not been evaluated as medical cures. The information on this web site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Although every effort has been made to ensure that information is accurate, please note that some information may be outdated by more recent scientific developments. The information presented is meant for Nutritional Benefit and as an educational starting point only, not as a substitute for personal consultation with a qualified healthcare professional.|
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