BloAting, excessive gas, abdominal discomfort, ulcers, constipation, diarrhea and tooth ache are some of the common discomforts that may arise from festive-over indulgence. Though these conditions are not limited to the occasional holiday feast like the just celebrated “New-Year,” people tend to encounter them more during this period, due to unhealthy nutrition and habits. For instance, foods people tend to over indulge in are either over spiced or very high in sugar/sodium content and to say the least, very fatty. In addition, some people who are on medications may tend to be carried away with so much festivities that they forget to take their drugs. Some may even say that taking a day off from their diets will do no harm! Although long term health problems are not caused by one day of over eating, festive periods may be a trigger for pre-existing conditions. For example, specific ulcerated areas in the stomach or generalized stomach wall irritation can be aggravated by unusual foods you may not be used to eating, like unique foods spiced unusual ways. So, if you have existing ulcers or gastritis, those festive foods can aggravate them. Not only foods- beer, liquor, alcoholic beverages and the secret ingredient not listed in your energy drinks may also be increasing your risk of ulcer. And remember, ulcer and many of the other health conditions mentioned above present with the symptom of pain, which is the last thing you would want to start off the year with! Keep these conditions at bay with Stellaria media.
Other names include chick weed, chickenwort, satin flower, (awede in Yoruba).
Parts used: whole plant.
Chickweed is so named because chickens and birds love it. The plant is a prolific, low-growing, creeping, and annual. It is easily recognized by its hairy stems, oval leaves, and small daisy-like blossoms with five crenellated petals. Chickweed is a highly nutritional plant, used as a medicinal herb by many.
The phytochemical components of this plant which attribute to its diuretic, carminative, anti-septic, antispasmodic, anti allergic, anti hepatomic and anti inflammatory properties include-alkaloids, terpenes, caryophyllene, saponin glycosides, coumarins and hydroxycoumarins, flavonoids, carboxylic acids and vitamin C, up to 350mg per l00g.
Chickweed is commercially prepared as tincture, infused oils, powder, capsule, cream and dried tea forms.
Chickweed tea is made by infusing one teaspoon of the dry herb in 150 mls of freshly boiled water for 15 minutes. A cup per day consumed slowly after breakfast and dinner may reduce fat and help with weight loss while lessening various diseases of the body as follows:
Excess weight – chickweed tea is thought to aid weight loss because of its traditional use as a diuretic and digestive aid. And so to avoid over eating and cut extra inches you may have added to your waist line (from festive over-merriments) make this tea your new best friend.
Digestive problems – perhaps one of the most common uses of this plant is for the treatment of different digestive disorders and symptoms associated with them which include-ulcers, nausea and vomiting, excess gas/flatulence, cramps, voracious hunger, inflated and bloated abdomen, indigestion, constipation and bleeding hemorrhoids. To avoid these conditions which may result from indulging with fatty, spicy foods and too much alcohol, as already noted, be sure to take a cup of chickweed tea daily. Also, it is beneficial when consumed immediately after foods, such as beans, dairy products (lactose intolerance), carbonated drinks, cabbage e.t.c that are known to cause gas or other intestinal discomfort.
Fatigue and exhaustion – a tea cup sipped gently is invigorating and stimulating to the whole body, producing vitality and a sense of well being. This will greatly benefit students during exams and people undergoing physical or intellectual overloading.
Coughs and fevers – used as a febrifuge, chickweed can help to bring down a fever. It is also used for sore throats that worsen when the sufferer consumes any cold drink, exhaustion owing to flu and chronic dry coughs, chronic fatigue syndrome (a viral ailment of the immune-system, generally distinguished by weakening, tiredness and flu-like symptoms) as well chest infections and breathing problems. Regular use of this plant can clear congestion of the respiratory system and bring cooling relief to the lungs by breaking up mucus accumulations and restoring moisture.
Urinary tract infection (UTI) – a teacup of the tea taken 2 – 3 x daily may help relieve relieve signs of heat in the urinary tract, such as frequent and painful urination. Thanks to it’s diuretic properties.
Skin conditions and wounds -the herb serves as a great relief from skin that is irritated as well as itchiness. Typically, a topical poultice of the fresh plant is used to achieve the soothing effect. Chickweed poultices are useful for cooling minor burns, hemorrhoids, scrapes, blisters, skin irritations, insect bites and rashes particularly when associated with dryness and itching. For me, it is the go-to plant in order to draw out boils and splinters. The whole plant parts can also be made into salves to help with skin issues such as eczema and psoriasis. If you have dull skin worsened by the conditions listed herewith, chickweed may be the wonderful rejuvenator your skin hasn’t tried!
To make chickweed poultice, simply crush fresh aerial tops and apply topically on affected parts.
Pains – those with rheumatic pain and gout will greatly benefit from the herb. For hip baths, add 4 handfuls of chickweed in 4-5 liters of hot water allow to macerate and then heat up and add to bath water. Also, poultices can directly be applied to aching body parts to help ease tension and lessen inflammation.
Is not amazing that this annual weed can help so much?
ENJOY my Chickweed Green Juice!
Ingredients: chickweed; (cucumber, orange, grape, apple, pineapple, with its core) or honey to taste.
Take a handful of clean fresh chickweed herb and add to a glass of your desired fruit juice (you can choose one or more from the list). Using a blender, grind to mix properly, add honey, if desired. You may chill before taking or add ice to enjoy a cold drink. This can be taken 2 x daily.