Stellaria media (L.) Vill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Last updated: 07 Dec 2016

Scientific Name

Stellaria media (L.) Vill.


Alsine apetala Kit. ex Nyman, Alsine avicularum Lam., Alsine barbata Stoks, Alsine bipartite Gilib. [Invalid], Alsine brachypetala Opiz, Alsine elongata Jord. & Fourr., Alsine glabella Jord. & Fourr., Alsine gussonii Jord. & Fourr., Alsine media L., Alsine media (L.) Druce [Illegitimate], Alsine media var. transiens (Bég.) Tzvelev, Alsine repens Vell., Alsine vulgaris Moench, Alsinella wallichiana Sw., Arenaria vulgaris Bernh., Holosteum alsine Sw., Stellaria apetala Ucria ex Roem., Stellaria glabra Raunk., Stellaria hiemalis Raunk., Stellaria media var. apetala (Ucria ex Roem.) Gaudin, Stellaria media f. apetala Rouy & Foucaud, Stellaria media f. malachioides Macloskie, Stellaria media var. media, Stellaria media var. normalis Speg., Stellaria monogyna D. Don. [1]

Vernacular Name

English Bindweed, chickweed, chickweed starwort, common chickweed, satin flower, starweed, starwort, stitchwort, tonguegrass, white bird’s eye, winterweed. [2]

Geographical Distributions

Stellaria media is abundant in Europe, has been naturalized in the Americas and is now found throughout the world. While the habitats may vary, it requires nutrient-rich soil in order to thrive. [3]

Botanical Description

S. media is a member of the Caryophyllaceae family. This plant is an annual, biennial, or perennial herb. [3]

The stems are decumbent or ascending, pale purplish, 10-30 cm tall, sparsely branched at base, with 1(or 2) lines of hairs. [3]

The basal leaves have long petiolate, while the distal leaves are sessile or shortly petiolate. The leaf blade broadly ovate to ovate-orbicular, 0.8-2.5 × (0.5-)1-1.5 cm, base narrowed or cordate, apex acuminate or acute. [3]

The flowers are in sparse terminal or axillary cymes. The pedicel is measures of 0.7-1.4 cm, elongate and nodding after anthesis, slender, with 1 line of hairs. It consists of 5 sepals, ovate-lanceolate or ovate-oblong, ca. 2-2.5 or 4 mm, outside glandular pubescent, margin broadly membranous, apex slightly obtuse or nearly rounded. The petals are oblong, shorter than or subequaling sepals, 2-cleft nearly to base; lobes nearly linear. Stamens 3--5, shorter than petals. It has 3 styles that are linear. The capsule is ovoid, slightly longer than persistent sepals, 6-valved. [3]

The seeds are numerous, red-brown, ovoid to compressed globose, 1-1.2 mm in diameter, semiglobose-tuberculate or curved reticulate. [3]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

S. media has been reported to contain carotenoid [4] and flavanoid [5] compounds.

Plant Part Used

Aerial parts [6]

Traditional Use

S. media has been reported traditionally to treat inflammatory disorders, rheumatism, gout, external application for skin ailments, and wound healing. [6]

S. media is most commonly used externally to treat a plethora of skin ailments.  The Iroquois used a poultice of the whole raw plant in order to treat the pain associated with rheumatism as well as a general treatment for open wounds and sores. [7]

S. media has been used widely to treat boils, burns, haemorrhoids, and swelling and redness of the face. [8]

It has also been used around the eyes to relieve discomfort [8] and the Iroquois considered it useful for eyewash [7].

S. media has also been used by some Native American tribes as an external cancer treatment. [9]

Internally, S. media has often been used as a cleansing agent.  In Native American medicine, it has been used in order to cleanse the blood [10] and liver [11]

Preclinical Data


Antioxidant activity

S. media has been reported to exhibit in vitro antioxidant activity by a strong inhibition of xanthine oxidase. The resulting inhibition of xanthine oxidase produced by S. media extract was higher than the inhibition produced by the reference extract. The antioxidant activity associated with S. media extracts may be beneficial in the treatment of certain disorders, such as rheumatism, gout, and disorders of the central nervous system. [12]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation.


No documentation.

Side effects

The allergic reactions (predominantly contact dermatitis) and irritant reactions following exposure to S. media have been documented in the literature and cross-sensitivity to members of the Asteraceae family may exist. [13]

A case of erythema multiforme and recurrent erythema multiforme with photoaggravation following patch testing to fresh S. media leaves has been documented in medical literature in which a thin layer chromatography completed on S. media samples revealed the contact allergens borneol, linalool, 1,8-cineole, menthol and additional terpenes. [14]

S. media supplements should be used with caution in atopic patients as with all allergies, the incidence of allergic reactions is higher in patient populations where asthma or atopy is already present. [15]

Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

No documentation.


No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing

No documentation.


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Stellaria media (L.) Vill. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 Dec 07]. Available from:
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume V R-Z. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 394.
  3. Flora of China. Stellaria media. [homepage on the Internet]. No date [cited 2016 Dec 07]. Available from:
  4. Guil JL, Rodriguez-Garci I, Torija E. Nutritional and toxic factors in selected wild edible plants. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 1997;51(2):99-107.
  5. Budzianowski J, Pakulski G, Robak J. Studies on antioxidative activity of some C-glycosylflavones. Pol J Pharmacol Pharm. 1991;43(5):395-401.
  6. Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C, editors. PDR for herbal medicines. 2nd edition. Montvale, New Jersey: Medical Economics Company, 2000; p. 180-181.
  7. Moerman DE.  Native American ethnobotany. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press; 2009.
  8. Hutchens AR. Indian herbalogy of North America. Boston, Massachusetts: Shambhala Publications, 1991; p. 87-88.
  9. Heatherly AN. Healing plants: A medicinal guide to native North American plants and herbs.  New York: Lyons Press; 1998.
  10. Rain MS. Earthway: A native American visionary's path to total mind, body, and spirit health. New York: Pocket Books; 1990.
  11. Hutchens A.  Indian herbalogy of North America. Boston, Massachusetts: Shambhala Publications; 1991.
  12. Pieroni A, janiak V, Dürr CM, Lüdeke S, Trachsel E, Heinrich M. In vitro antioxidant activity of non-cultivated vegetables of ethnic Albanians in southern Italy. Phytother Res. 2002;16(5):467-473.
  13. Javanović M, Poljacki M, Mimica-Dukić N, et al. Sesquiterpene lactone mix patch testing supplemented with dandelion extract in patients with allergic contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis and non-allergic chronic inflammatory skin diseases. Contact Dermatitis. 2004;51(3):101-110.
  14. Jovanović M, Mimica-Dukić N, Poljacki M, Boza P. Erythema multiforme due to contact with weeds: A recurrence after patch testing. Contact Dermatitis. 2003;48(1):17-25.
  15. Paulsen E, Otkjaer A, Andersen KE. Sesquiterpene lactone dermatitis in the young: Is atopy a risk factor?. Contact Dermatitis. 2008;59(1):1-6.