Ok, so it’s snowing today. However, the Ground Ivy is still in the place I left it. And still medicinal!
Meet Glechoma hederacea. Or is it Nepeta hederacea? Well that’s just the thing! You could go either way, unless you’re the USDA. Then you stick with Glechoma as the species. And if you don’t know Latin you can choose from Gil-over-the-Ground, Hedgemaids, Alehoof or any of the common names from the slew of possibilities. So what’s this multiple personality herb good for?
It’s leaves are sometimes referred to as “kidney-shaped” and right there you know that the kidney and this herb go hand in hand. It’s habit to grow profusely right outside your door lets you know the herb works best with regular use as a tonic. This pattern is common for a plant which will tone your body with regular use.
Ground Ivy also reduces inflammation by convincing your immune cells to take a load off, and let the tissues repair themselves. And the dried leaves make a tasty tea! Speaking of aromatic beverages, the Europeans from days of old would use it instead of Hops to flavor and preserve their beer, which seemed to work better than any other herb they used at the time.
The only warning with this herb comes from its rather irritating response in animals. Most grazing farm life choose not to eat it, with the exception of sheep. For this reason, I ask you to take caution when trying this herb for the first time. Take small sips and see how it makes you feel. The only human irritation I read about was gone within 24 hours.
If you would like to try the tea, I recommend picking a couple of stems and steeping them in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. The more you get to know the herb, the more you can add to the pint glass and the longer you can brew it. Most recipes actually say to use the dried herb. Ask the Ground Ivy which method would be best for you! It also has a habit of growing in some dirty places, like roadsides. Take precaution and harvest from a safe/clean location.
Click here for more wildflowers: Herbaloo:Category:Wildflowers
Ground Ivy has the potential to be invasive, reducing space for Native Plants to grow. So your best bet is to wildcraft this wild flower and not encourage it to spread. And, as always, check with your family doctor before starting any sort of regimen with this herb.