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.