Scientific Name: Glechoma hederacea
Ground Ivy is an attractive creeper with tiny edible mauve flowers that attracts lots of butterflies. It is a survivor plant that can take sun, heat, frost and even thrive in shade/ partial shade and shady moist conditions. It also does well in pots and hanging baskets. Grow it under hedges and shrubs - it will form an even green carpet, choking out weeds and cooling the soil. To harvest: you can use the whole plant - pick leaves throughout the year and use it fresh.
Ground Ivy has a balsamic odour and aromatic bitter taste. It was used by the early Saxons to clarify and flavour ale and minty liquers. Before hops has been introduced, ground ivy leaves were steeped in the hot liquer. Today you can add the fresh leaves to stir fries, salads, soups and vegetable dishes. Dip sprigs of fresh leaves in batter, fry and serve with salt and olives - this snack can be served with ale.
Since early centuries it was a remedy for stubborn coughs, buzzing ears, tinnitus, to stimulate the kidneys and to clarify the blood. It was taken by painters as a remedy for 'lead colic' and to bathe sore eyes. The leaves were stuffed into the nostrils to relieve headache, or grounded into a snuff.
Today we know that a tea made with ground ivy is:
- anti-catarrhal, astringent, diaphoretic and an expectorant.. It treats colds, hay fever, allergic rhinitis and bronchi as it dries secretions and inflammation. It has a cleansing effect on the mucous membranes and will dislodge old mucous from the sinuses and nose, clear coughs and ear infection and bring down fever. It soothes and calmes throat and chest ailments. You can also combine it in a tea with other anti-catarrhal herbs such as golden rod, plantain, chamomile, and elderflower. Use 2 parts ground ivy to one part traditional herbs. Dried leaves can be grounded and used as a snuff to treat headache.
- has diuretic properties and is useful against kidney complaints, slow burning urine and to purify the blood.
- treats indigestion and digestive disturbances like heartburn, colic, gastritis, diarrhoea and dries up watery stools.
- an excellent poultice to apply to abscesses and tumours - combine with yarrow- and chamomile flowers
- used as a wash for sore eyes.
- good at cleaning problem skin - it will clear oiliness, close pores and clear up spots (wait for the tea to cool down first before applying!).
Ground Ivy is safe for children and old people.