The common chickweed (Stellaria media (L.) Vill.) is a small plant (up to 40 cm high) with biennial cycle, herbaceous and very common in Italy, belonging to To the Caryophyllaceae family.
Systematically this plant belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, Kingdom Plantae, Spermatophyta Superdivision, Magnoliophyta Division, Magnoliopsida Class, Caryophyllidae Subclass, Caryophyllales Order, Caryophyllaceae Family, and therefore Stellar Genus and S. Medium Species.
The genus name (Stellaria) is of Latin origin and clearly refers to the starry shape of the flower. Common names (especially vernacular ones) make it easy to refer to penned animals (both birds and chicken breeds) that feed on young plants and seeds. In English this plant is called: Chickweed; While the French call it: Mouron des oiseaux; The Germans call her: Vogelmiere. The plant is known by other popular names: peverascia, puddas grass, beccagallina, mozafi, centose, centocchio, gallinella, grass herb.
Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The common chickweed is a cosmopolitan species, and is therefore spread to all parts of the world without any particular area of preference. It is probably an archeophyte plant, originally of Mediterranean origin, and then later become cosmopolitan.
Its preferred habitat is however the cultivated fields, the areas frequented by livestock, gardens, but also in ruderal areas and on the margins of roads and paths. It’s easy to find it even in urban centers (it’s a syndrome plant). This plant is indifferent to the type of soil and in any case it is nitrophilic. Its spread goes from the plane up to 1600 m s.l.m .; Rarely pushes up to 2500 m s.l.m ..
The common chickweed is a herbaceous annual plant or bienne with prostrate-ascending stems, branched from the base and rooted at 10-40 cm high, greenish or partly reddish, with 1-2 lines of hair or sometimes glabrous. The leaves are opposed, patented rounded, oval, rounded ovals, sharpened, whole, normally glabrous, with petiole of the same length, similar, sessile, but superior superiors. Herbaceous floral Brattees, progressively reduced.
The flowers of this plant are numerous, small harvested in inflorescence top end capsules, lasta, carried by pedicels, erect, with patented hair that stretch to fruition (4-6 times the glass) and are reflected downward. The chalice consists of 5 lanceolated, dull, patented and hairy sepals outside the long 3 to 4 mm. The petals are of 1 / 3-2 / 3/3/3 long white color of the sepals, deeply bipartite. The stamens are 5 short of petals, white filaments with rounded anthers, dorsifissi, purple-reddish. It has a unilocular ovate, dull and green, 3 erect, white styles. The capsule is longer piriforme than the persistent goblet (2.5 mm). Finally, the seeds of this plant are reniform, reddish brown, covered with rounded tubercles.
Common chickweed prefers semi-dark and wind-sheltered places. It does not tolerate hot heat and fears the direct rays of the sun. It prefers wet, fertile, well-drained soil and alkaline pH. With regard to water supplies it requires constant irrigation especially if grown in pots. Watering should be done early or late evening, taking care not to wet its delicate leaflets.
Being a nitrophilic plant requires nitrogen fertilization throughout the life cycle as it tends to impoverish the soil of this precious element in no time. Nitrogen fertilizers should be made before the plant’s vegetative recovery. We always recommend the nitrogen given during the winter in organic form (good bovine livestock) and never the one in the nitric form for the obvious contraindications both on the biological ecosystem (the plant becomes weeds) and on the soil and ground and on the Health aspects (for the effects of nitrogen compounds on human health).
In more than a few cases, the Common Centocchio is in fact considered a weed plant for its rapid development; It also occupies space otherwise available for more useful species, and absorbs much nitrogen from the soil by impoverishing it quickly.
The plant is reproduced by seed but spread very easily by means of airplane or propagation. Seeds should be sown directly in potted or in the ground. In one year a plant can produce over ten thousand seeds (which are said to be) quiescent, in the soil, up to 80 years. The sowing substrate must be soft, well-worked and above all humid and rich as seen in nitrogen. Stellaria crawl stumps in contact with the soil emit, as is the case with strawberries, adventitious roots that generate many plants identical to that of the mother, capable of autonomous life. For this reason, this can be used as a propagation system.
With regard to pruning, it does not need to be worked out but the dead stems are eliminated in order to avoid the spread of fungal diseases.
Although it is a rustic plant that is resistant to aphids and coccinelli, it fears rotting of the roots and the marshence of the creeping stems if the cultivation soil is not sufficiently drained.
Uses and Traditions –
Substances in the common chickweed are: saponins, alkaline salts, tannins, vitamins from the B and C groups. This plant has healing properties: diuretics (facilitates urine release), vulnerable (heal wounds) and astringents (limits secretion Of liquids), galactogenic (increases milk secretion), carminative (favors the release of intestinal gases), expectorant (favors the expulsion of bronchial secretions), laxative (has purgative properties) and diaphoretic (facilitates skin transpiration).
Of the common chickweed are used: leaves and seeds harvested in the summer; Is used as infusion or dyeing. The first parts are dried in the sun. “Centocchio” baths are also recommended to cleanse the skin (itching, eczema, stinging) or wrap on irritated parts. It is used in homeopathy.
Common chickweed is a great nourishment, one of the few herbs that grows abundant even in the winter, the only time of the year where it is not found is on the hot and dry summer days.
Its refreshing ability, especially for those with fever or infection, is unsurpassed.
In addition, it contains steroid saponins. Saponins are like soap, emulsify and increase the permeability of all the membranes. Saponins increase the absorption of all nutrients, especially minerals, from digestive mucosa. They also weaken the walls of bacterial cells, making them vulnerable to the destruction of their activities. Common chickweed juice is so rich in saponins that is used to dissolve warts and other growths.
It is the most versatile among first-aid herbs thanks to its incredible calming and refreshing properties. It is useful for all skin disorders, including eczema, psoriasis, insect bites, dry skin, itching, hives. It is great for eye problems like conjunctivitis, redness. Calm and disinfect all internal membranes (mouth, throat, stomach ulcers). It helps to lose weight, melting body fat and lowering cholesterol levels. It is a powerful nutrient of the lymphatic system and glandular.
Its many properties are also due to its high nutritional value.
In fact, it is rich in mineral salts, including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, manganese, copper, cobalt, silicon and as seen from vitamins in addition to chlorophyll, proteins and fibers, all in a highly assimilable state.
In some areas common chickweed is eaten in salad (only the apical parts) or cooked; But you have to be careful about the presence of saponins.
Among the animals it is noticed that geese are delighted with this herb. It seems that it stimulates the female to imbibe the offspring.
There are few news of the use of the stalk, though it has been a very widespread plant in rural countries. It is reported that old-fashioned men of the old time used to suggest centrifugal water as a remedy against obesity. It is also rumored that a beak-wicked plaster enclosed in a muslin (a finely woven fabric of cotton, silk or wool) has been a safe remedy for a carbon (difficult to believe because it is not scientifically supported). Remedy that today we know is completely useless.
Discounted for its use as hen fowl from which it draws its common names in various European languages.
The presence of a glycosidic saponin, alkaline salts and tannins does not make it very appetizing to us, but may be tasty on the gallin palate. Although the taste is not inviting, the massive presence of vitamins from both the B and C vitamins make the plant interesting also from the point of view of strengthening immune, especially with the approach of the winter season.
Recently discovered new triterpenes have also been isolated, whose phytochemical investigations are still under finalization but should not have adverse effects since this plant has been used for many years.
In an ancient 16th-century Urbine Herbarium, preserved in the Vatican Library, finds this recipe for the Hera Adriana, which could be the Androser or even the centovy, given its properties: “it sucks powder and it damages to drink with a little De hot wine, to those who had a quartana fevre, or a terzana, half octave little at a time. Item to anyone who has any postage, or other badness in the body, takes about half an octave at a time. And it is not tried. ”
Methods of Preparation –
In the kitchen it lends itself to infinite uses, including the simplest and most salutary are its raw consumption in excellent salads, centrifuged juice, pesto.
You can still cook. If you want to experience this herb in tasty recipes try the centipede and apple iInsalata, the pesto of stew, the juniper and kiwi juice.
The most common use of the stellar media involves the use of cinnamon to prepare the salad. Just pick up the cymbals, wash them and season them and then enjoy a fresh salad. Raw stellar has a rather wild taste so you can mix it with other vegetables like rocket, chicory or dandelion. The stellar can also be consumed cooked. The stalk is very delicate, so cooking must be very short: it will suffice to burn for 2 to 4 minutes. The young lashes that have grown in the shade are much more bearable than flowering peaks, so increase the cooking time by 5 to 7 minutes if you have chosen the most dated peaks.
One of the recipes, like dtto, pesto at the stew: Put a cup of stew, half a cup of pine nuts, nuts or almonds, a piece of Parmesan cheese, salt and oil Q.b and chop everything. It can be used to dress pasta or croutons.
Use in the kitchen is not limited to the green parts of the plant. From the seeds a very rare flour is obtained. Collecting stellar seeds is not easy, so finding producers of this flour is rather rare. The seeds should be harvested when the plants are dry: there is enough to shake their foreheads to see the seeds out of the capsules. For the production of flour, the seeds should be milled with a simple coffee grinder, the common stew flour is perfect for use as a thickener in soups, soups and velvety.
The common stellar is very useful in winter, when it lacks fresh vegetables. To avoid buying off-season products, it is possible to collect wild stellar (better defined as spontaneous).
Among the ancient remedies of the grandmother against skin disorders, the stellar was reduced to mash and used fresh as cataplasm.
Common chickweed dye, taken with confidence for long periods, dissolves the cysts, especially the ovaries. In any case, despite the fact that many people use it without problems and in quantity, the presence of saponins and their rather strong effect may irritate particularly sensitive people, so it is best to try and eat spicy.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. The Health of the Lord’s Pharmacy, Tips and Experiences with Medicinal Herbs, Ennsthaler Publisher
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (eds.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
Attention: Pharmaceutical applications and surgical uses are indicated for information purposes only; they do not represent any prescription of a medical type; Therefore, no responsibility for their use for any curative, aesthetic or food use is considered.