Chickweed is not only one of the oldest herbs used in botanical solutions and salves, but it’s one of our favorites! We love all of our natural ingredients not only because they allow us to connect with nature and bring joy and comfort, but they also come with tons of benefits from the phytonutrients that come along with them. But chickweed holds a special place in our repertoire.
In fact, some of our botanical salves wouldn’t work without chickweed! Take our Tattoo Care Salve, for example. Without chickweed, this phenomenal, all-natural solution for soothing swelling and protecting freshly inked skin would be far less effective.
Don’t know what chickweed is or how you can use it for your own skin treatments? Let’s take a deeper look at chickweed and explore exactly what makes it such an ideal botanical ingredient for many of our best salves.
What is Chickweed?
Also called Stellaria media, satin flower, starweed, and mouse-ear, chickweed is one of the most common flowering plants in the carnation family. It’s pretty easy to spot once you know what you’re looking for, characterized by a hairy stem, small and star-shaped white flowers, and a relatively low height.
You can find chickweed mostly in Europe and North America, and it’s been used for all kinds of folk remedies and culinary dishes for centuries. Chances are you can find it in your yard or in your garden during the spring and summer.
How is Chickweed Used?
Both traditionally and today, people harvest the chickweed leaves once the plant is mature. Once you grind up the leaves or otherwise extract the vitamins and oils within, you can then mix those key compounds with other ingredients to create nourishing topical salves, or you can even crush the leaves and make them into tea!
If you see chickweed in your garden or on your property, you can harvest the leaves to reap some natural benefits. You don’t need to worry too much about the roots, as these are usually left behind since they don’t provide the same benefits.
You can, in a pinch, also harvest and apply the whole chickweed plant directly to your skin to help soothe and serve as a skin protectant (though the effect you’ll get is far from the same as a finished salve made with multiple skin-protecting ingredients).
Alternatively, you can also make a chickweed-infused oil. This can either be rubbed on your skin or added to a bath. To do this, follow these instructions:
- Start by chopping up two cups (100 g) of fresh chickweed leaves
- Place the leaves on your countertop and let them dry and wilt for about 24 hours
- Combine the leaves with 1 ¼ cups (270 g) of coconut oil--it’s best to do this in a blender to make sure that the combination is even and smooth
- Heat the mixture in a double boiler until it’s warmed all the way through
- Let the mixture sit for three hours once it is properly warmed
- Repeat the warming and sitting step four more times
- Once the oil is visibly green, it’s ready to be used--you should still strain the oil to get rid of any large leaf pieces that may be left behind
- As with all essential oils, remember that you’ll need a carrier oil for dilution--you should also never ingest chickweed essential oil and only ever use it topically
- Don’t use this for aromatherapy, as chickweed steam isn’t fully studied and potential side effects are unknown
This topical solution is a great home remedy for mild skin irritation and allergies. However, if that all sounds like a lot of work, don’t forget that we’ve done all that work for you and you can enjoy the skin-protecting benefits of chickweed from a variety of our salves including our First Aid Salve, Foot Care Salve, Hand Goo, and much more!
Benefits of Chickweed
Speaking of benefits, chickweed provides so many that it’s a wonder more people don’t use it for their own homemade herbal remedies! Truth be told, chickweed contains tons of helpful compounds, including flavonoids, vitamin C, tocopherols, and more.
Here are all the ways chickweed can benefit your life depending on how you use it.
Digestion Support/Weight Loss
In a nutshell, chickweed might be able to help you with weight loss and digestion (in combination with a healthy diet and exercise) since consuming the leaves in small quantities results in delayed absorption of carbs and dietary fats. Basically, people can still eat enough that they feel full, but their body won’t digest everything too quickly and end up storing the extra energy from a large meal as fat.
This isn’t to say that chickweed allows you to eat whatever you want with impunity. But it can be a great thing to put in your tea if you want a little extra help when you don’t follow your diet strictly.
Chickweed is also very effective for soothing. When you apply whole chickweed leaves, crushed up and mixed into a paste to swollen areas, you can enjoy some mild soothing and calming effects on your skin.
Supports Wound Healing
Perhaps the most interesting and potent effect chickweed brings to the table is increased healing, plus a certain level of rejuvenating protection. In fact, people have known about chickweed’s ability to help wounds heal properly for generations, especially in Chinese medicine.
Chickwee’s ability to protect and nourish the skin gives your body an easier time naturally healing surface wounds, cuts, and scrapes. Furthermore, some of the nutrients in chickweed, like vitamin C, support skin health overall.
That’s why a lot of our salves contain chickweed as a primary ingredient, especially when it comes to nourishing dry, cracked hands and feet.
How Does This Botanical Help with Tattoo Care?
Green Goo’s Tattoo Care Salve is a targeted, all-natural product designed to support the body’s natural healing process and protect sensitive and irritated skin after getting inked. It’s mixed with all kinds of helpful botanicals like calendula and plantain, that help to moisturize and soothe irritated skin.
Another main ingredient in the salve is chickweed. As you can see from the information above, chickweed is a great plant for skin protection and nourishment, which is exactly the role it plays in our Tattoo Care Salve.
Specifically, chickweed helps the salve to form a protective layer over the surface of a new tattoo – after all, a new tattoo is essentially an open wound. By doing so, it prevents debris from reaching down to the dermis. It also seals in moisture and stops your skin from becoming too dry and flaky.
All of this helps your tattoo to heal as it should!
Are There Side Effects from Using Chickweed?
Not normally. However, if you consume too much chickweed, you might get nausea, diarrhea, and similar GI discomforts. But this will normally only occur if you don’t crush up the chickweed leaves into small enough pieces when making tea, or if you try to eat the leaves whole.
Notably, for our topical salves that use this ingredient, the chickweed leaves are dried and infused with natural oils like olive and sunflower. For topical applications like this, you shouldn’t need to worry about any side effects or negative outcomes since you aren’t ingesting the chickweed.
On rare occasions, some people may have an allergic reaction when chickweed is applied directly to the skin. However, this is true for any botanical ingredient. As with all salves and topical treatments, it’s wise to dab a little bit onto your skin and do a patch test before regular use to make sure that you aren’t part of the small portion of individuals allergic to chickweed .
Ultimately, chickweed is one of the most valuable and versatile botanical ingredients you can find. It’s certainly one of our favorites, and we use it for quite a few of our salves. All of these formulas use chickweed for the same purpose: to protect your skin and help soothe your skin.
So, whether you’re looking to make sure that brand new tattoo heals like it should, or if your feet are dry and cracked and need a little nourishing protection, chickweed is definitely a botanical you’ll be happy to have as an ingredient in your salve of choice!