Likely to be safe when consumed in dietary amounts; however, safety is not known when used in larger quantities.
PRACTICE POINTS/PATIENT COUNSELLING
• Chickweed has been traditionally used as an ingredient in herbal creams and ointments to soothe inflamed itchy skin and promote wound healing. Although controlled studies are unavailable, the pharmacological actions of several constituents within the herb suggest that it may be useful.
• Although it is likely to be safe, it is prudent in pregnancy to avoid using chickweed in amounts greater than those ingested when used as a food.
ANSWERS TO PATIENTS' FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What will this herb do for me?
When chickweed is applied topically it may soothe inflamed and itchy skin. It is taken orally as a cough suppressant and expectorant. How quickly will it work?
In practice, topical preparations are reported to produce symptom relief within 30 minutes; however, there are no controlled trials to confirm this. Are there any safety issues?
Chickweed can be consumed as a food in salads, cooked as greens or prepared as a juice; however, the safety of larger intakes is unknown. Used as part of a herbal cream it is likely to be safe, although it would be wise to do a test patch in a small area before applying to large areas. The safety of large doses in pregnancy is unknown.
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