Ground ivy

ground ivy

Ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea)

Ground ivy has the typical square stem of the dead nettle family.  We find it both within the woodland and in some of the surrounding fields, so it seems to tolerate both shade and sun.  And mostly we find it creeping along the ground, but sometimes growing more upright.

It’s also known as ‘ale hoof’ as it was used to flavour beer prior to the use of hops; also because its leaves are somewhat hoof shaped.

The leaves are generally matt and covered in tiny ‘hairs’.

Property : Aromatic, Bitter, Saponin containing herb

Constituent : Flavonoids, Phenolic acid,Volatile oil, Saponin

Action : Expectorant, Anticatarrhal, Anti inflammatory, Astringent, Vulnerary, Diuretic, Stomachic

Indication: Chronic catarrh, Bronchitis, Sinusitis, Tinnitus

Ground ivy has a long history in herbal medicine.  It is an astringent, so it causes tissue to contract and reduces bleeding.  It is also an expectorant, diuretic and anti-inflammatory.  Ground ivy tea has been used to treat catarrh,  bronchitis, tinnitus, sinusitis, dyspepsia and piles!

One of my favourite woodland teas is ground ivy and nettle, a couple of leaves of each.  It’s delicious!

There appears to be some evidence that ground ivy contains a chemical that can irritate the intestines and kidneys, so as always seek the advice of a qualified medical professional.

If you’re interested in wild plants, take a look at our Herbal Remedies course. You can see photos from previous courses on our Facebook page.

About Gary

Lead Instructor at Jack Raven Bushcraft, teaching bushcraft, wilderness and survival skills to groups and individuals.

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