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Chickweed (Stellaria media)

Chickweed is a hardy annual that is native to Europe. It has been said that there is no part of the world where the Chickweed is not to be found. It is a native of all temperate and north Arctic regions, and has naturalized itself wherever the white man has settled, becoming one of the commonest weeds.

Chickweed, the ubiquitous garden weed, of which our caged birds are as fond as they are of common groundsel, a taste shared by young chickens, to whose diet it makes a wholesome addition. The custom of giving Chickweed to birds is a very old one. Both wild and caged birds eat the seeds as well as the young tops and leaves.

Chickweed is medicinal and edible. It is very nutritious, high in vitamins and minerals and can be fed fresh or added to salads or cooked diets. It tastes somewhat like spinach.

The major plant constituents in Chickweed are Ascorbic-acid, Beta-carotene, Calcium, Coumarins, Genistein, Gamma-linolenic-acid, Flavonoids, Hentriacontanol, Magnesium, Niacin, Oleic-acid, Potassium, Riboflavin, Rutin, Selenium, Triterpenoid saponins, Thiamin, and Zinc. The whole plant is used in alternative medicine as an astringent, carminative, demulcent, diuretic, expectorant, laxative, refrigerant, vulnerary. It is beneficial in the treatment of kidney complaints.

It is said to be as wholesome as spinach and is a great source of vitamin C, which has also made it valuable in treating scurvy. It also treats imbalanced metabolism, bronchitis, colds/flu, sore throat, respiratory problems, cough, poor digestion, constipation, urinary tract, inflammation, skin problems and bruises.

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