It's Chickweed Time! 4 Recipes + Potential Use in Interstitial Cystitis

It is officially spring and among the many plants popping up in my garden, I've got a glorious patch of chickweek (Stellaria media). I'll bet you have some too around your yard or neighborhood. Here's what it looks like.



Naturally, I felt called to consume it in some way, so I tried out several recipes; 2 smoothies, a quesadilla, fresh tea, and cooked as a green vegetable.


Besides the fact that chickweed is a wild edible, it also has medicinal properties, including traditional use for Interstitial Cystitis (IC). While there isn't a lot of modern research to support its use specifically for IC, several well respected herbalists (David Winston, Kat Maier, and Susun Weed) list it for this use based on traditional literature and clinical experience.


My experience of consuming it as both a tea, and as food, is that it has a slippery, mucilaginous quality. One of the properties of mucilage is that it has an anti-inflammatory effect on tissue that it comes in contact with, and chickweed is well known to support healing of skin wounds topically. It is easy to imagine then, that chickweed could indeed support healing of the gut and bladder mucosa as it comes in contact with these tissues internally. Chickweed is also known to contains saponins, which are constituents found in plants that are known to have anti-inflammatory activity.


Additionally, there is one animal study which showed that chickweed reduced inflammation when given orally to rats whose paws had been stimulated to be inflamed.


Now for the recipes!


RECIPES


Strawberry, Banana, Chickweed Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 frozen banana chunks

  • 1/2 cup strawberries (preferably frozen)

  • 1 handful of fresh chickweed

  • 1/2-1 cup milk (or milk alternative, such as almond, rice, oat, hemp, etc)

Blend together in a standard or bullet blender.


The smoothie was pretty good, but my daughter and I were not happy with the fact that the chickweed turned the color brown. The strawberries we used were not frozen, so that might have contributed as well. More experimentation needed on this one.



Orange, Cherry, Banana, Chickweed Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 3 frozen banana chunks

  • 1/2 fresh peeled orange

  • 6 frozen dark red cherries

  • 1 handful of fresh chickweed

  • 1/2-1 cup milk (or milk alternative, such as almond, rice, oat, hemp, etc)

Blend together in a standard or bullet blender.


This smoothie was much better. The color was a bit better; greenish-brown, rather than just brown, and the flavor was excellent.


Chickweed Quesadilla (gluten-free, dairy-free)

Ingredients:

  • Gluten-free tortilla

  • Dairy-free butter

  • Dairy alternative feta cheese (or other to your preference)

  • Leftovers (beans, onions, and brown rice in this case)

  • Handful of fresh chickweed

Place a pat of dairy-free butter in a pan on low heat. When melted, put tortilla in pan. Add all the ingredients and cover for 4-5 minutes. Remove from pan, garnish with fresh chickweed and enjoy.



Fresh Chickweed Tea

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz fresh chickweed

  • 1 quart water

Insert 2 oz fresh chickweed into a quart mason jar. Fill jar with just boiled water. Let sit for at least 1 hour. Strain and drink.


This tea had a pleasant flavor that I can only describe as "light green" or maybe, "grassy." It felt soothing, cooling, and a bit slippery. All in all, I was pleased and would drink it again.




Cooked Chickweed with Sauteed Onions

Ingredients:

  • Basket full of fresh chickweed

  • 1 small onion

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Slice onion into thin slices and sautee in olive oil, mixing occasionally, until onions turn translucent and start to brown slightly. Add half the chickweed and 1/4 cup of water. Cover and let simmer. After 4-5 minutes, the chickweed will have softened and reduced in size. Add the remaining chickweed and more water if necessary. Cover again for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve as a side vegetable to your meal. This was really delicious and my husband actually asked if it was spinach!




REFERENCES


Maier, Kat. (2021). Energetic Herbalism. Chelsea Green Publishing. https://books.google.com/books?id=AyRLEAAAQBAJ&pg=PT166&lpg=PT166&dq=interstitial+cystitis+and+chickweed&source=bl&ots=BJ2otxNn8Y&sig=ACfU3U0fkQXad4STt2b_xUYMV-mYXdwjCg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiChpnmvNz2AhU3lIkEHSHCDrAQ6AF6BAgREAM#v=onepage&q=interstitial%20cystitis%20and%20chickweed&f=false


Oladeji, OS, Oyebamiji, AK. (2020). Stellaria media (L.) Vill.- A plant with immense therapeutic potentials: phytochemistry and pharmacology. Heliyon. Vol 6, Issue 6. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2405844020309944


Weed, S. (2007). Healing Wise...Chickweed Is A Star. Wise Woman Herbal Ezine with Susun Weed. Vol 8, Num 5. http://www.susunweed.com/herbal_ezine/May08/healingwise.htm


Winston, D. (2012). Simple Herbal Extracts - Chickweed. David Winston Resources. https://www.davidwinston.org/extracts/chickweed.html



About me:


My name is Jillian Bar-av and I am a Registered Herbalist and Licensed Nutritionist who works with busy women to help them have the energy to do what they love. I specialize in conditions that affect the reproductive system and urinary tract, such as PCOS and Interstitial Cystitis. I believe that it takes healthy people to create a healthy planet, and I want to make a difference for both.


For more information, to sign up for my newsletter, or to book an appointment, go to: www.greenspringherbs.com


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