Chickweed is traditionally used for soothing skin issues, and draw out splinters, pulmonary issues, any form of internal or external inflammation of the membranes or skin and weakness of the stomach and bowels. It is very nutritional as a food, eaten raw in salads or steamed as an ordinary vegetable (with the water used as a soothing and healing medicine either internally or externally). They are better when boiled 5 minutes and served as greens. The whole herb is astringent, carminative, demulcent, emollient, expectorant, and laxative. A decoction is used for a cleansing tonic that relieves serious constipation, eases pain in hemorrhoids, cramps and aids in losing weight.
Latin Name: Stellaria media
Storage: Store in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.
Shelf Life: It is very difficult to pin down an exact expiration date for most single herbs as they do not really expire, they lose potency or strength over time but will still have value. Unlike synthetic material or drugs, herbs can contain many constituents that contribute to their medicinal effects. Even when we know what the active constituents are, there are often many of them in a single herb, each with different rates of degradation. Some herbs lose their effect more easily. Other herbs that possess more stable compounds such as alkaloids or steroids will last much longer.
A huge part of the degradation rate of herbs depends also on the storage conditions of the herb, & even on the quality of the herb before storage – how it was grown, harvested, dried & processed. If the product is left in hot places or open to sunlight then it will degrade much quicker than if it was stored in cool, dry place & sealed tightly.
A good rule of thumb is that herbs should be stored no longer than 2-3 years but many herbs will have great strength much longer than that. To determine if a an herb is still good you can check the appearance & aroma. Herbs that are no longer acceptable will have lost much of its vibrant color & will instead appear dull & faded. The bigger key though is to smell the raw materials to see if the potent aroma is still present.